It was my first time using Diosdado Macapagal International Airport or more known as Clark International Airport (IATA: CRK) on my flight back from Cebú from Sinulog Festival. The first question of a first timer commuter is: How do I get out of the airport? I have been here a few years ago, but just until the waiting area. We walked from CM Recto Highway (near UP Pampanga) and it was a bit far from the airport terminal itself. Given the time constraint (I have work at Manila by 11PM, I arrived Clark at 7PM and Manila is almost a hundred kilometers away!) I have to leave as soon as possible. Now here are some of the options on how to get out of Clark Airport and head on to Angeles or Manila:
- Taxi – It is probably the most expensive option of them all. The taxis charge for P400+ or so from the airport terminal to at least Dau Bus Terminal in Mabalacat. If you have some extra cash to shell-out, this is the most convenient.
- Bus – There is a direct bus trip from Clark Airport to Manila (Cubao-Pasay) via EDSA non-stop. There is a counter at the arrival area, you can just buy your tickets from there. By far this is the most convenient for Manila-bound passengers since there wouldn’t be any hassle of stopping over and picking-up passengers. The fare though is double the price of an air-conditioned bus bound for Manila from Dau, around PhP300.00 (almost US$7.00). Yet I do recommend this for those who aren’t that cash-strapped and wanted to go to Manila ASAP.
- Aircon jeepney + bus for Manila or wherever – For PhP50.00 (almost US$1.00), you can manage to get out of Clark Airport through an air-conditioned jeepneys and have you dropped either at SM City Clark, Main Gate, Balibago Angeles City or ultimately Dau Bus Terminal at Mabalacat if you are bound for Manila or northern cities such as Baguio or Vigan. This is the best option for cash strapped passengers like I was. Dau to Manila on an airconditioned bus costs around PhP150.00 (US$3.00).
And if Manila or any northern or central Luzon destination is your ultimate place to go, Dau Bus Terminal in the town of Mabalacat, Pampanga is the hub for most bus companies. You can almost virtually go anywhere through here for any Central Luzon destination, Baguio or Ilocandia.
Given that Clark is the next big thing in aviation in the Philippines, I wish the government would now start improving the public transport system in this area. The controversial North Rail and NLEX may be a great help yet Clark is still far for most Metro Manileños. I think Clark is in a good start.
And as for me, looks like I’ll be using Clark in a few months time. Given that it is the hub for low-cost carriers, I’ll give it a try next time. This time, the question is: “How do I get there?”