El Nido Airport
Villa Libertad, El Nido, Palawan
- 4 Reviews
- 1 Recommend
- 4 Reviewers
Most Recent Reviews
We flew with AirSwift on our trip to El Nido last December. AirSwift is a boutique airline offering daily flights between Manila to El Nido and Cebu to El Nido. They have multiple flights daily but the planes are quite small so they can only carry a small number of people per flight.
The El Nido Airport is also managed by the company which runs AirSwift, Island Transvoyager Incorporated.
I find the airport to be quite cute and rustic. The arrival and departure areas are two open huts facing each other. There’s a smoking area near the drop off area. The baggage area is under the shade and has a really cute sign. Everything about this airport says, “VACATION IS HERE!”
They have free food and drinks for all passengers waiting for their bags (arrival) or plane (departure). The toilets are pretty clean but it would be better if they had better lighting, It was too warm and dimly lit.
They are building a new terminal area across the runway that will be available I think this 2017.
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A unique airport with a modern bahay kubo as its terminal communicates that El Nido is still a virgin island. Aside from the runway, all other roads were quite rocky and narrow. The place was surrounded by beautiful big trees, grasses and fresh air. The whole scenery just screams nature and relaxation. Definitely a good way to start disconnecting with the city stress and reconnecting with what actually matters.
As we deplaned, a jeepney was waiting to transfer us to the terminal. We were greeted with traditional Filipino ladies that sang a welcoming song to its arriving guests. Afterwards, we were led inside the bahay kubo terminal to rest and wait for our luggage. In the middle of the room was a table with Filipino delicacies such as puto, butsi, kuchinta, and suman. To complement these, coffee, tea and juice were also served. I loved the accent of the whole place. Since it's not yet industrialized, the signages used wooden blocks with words carved into it. I find it really pretty and photogenic.
What really amazed me was their baggage area. It was literally out in the open space. To claim the luggage, it's important to present the claim slip. Since electronic X-ray scanners are not available yet, the bags are manually checked one by one. Yes, it did take quite some time to have all bags checked, but it's fine. Do note that taking seashells and sand from the islands are prohibited. Doing so will result to a fine of fifteen thousand pesos. It's the local's way to preserve the beauty of the place.
There are no air conditioning available but there are several evaporative air coolers to keep the place nice and breezy. Comfort rooms were clean and organized as well.
Among all of the provinces I have visited, El Nido's airport was the warmest and most welcoming one. Maybe because it's only a small island where only a few visit that enables them to do so. Regardless, it is beautiful in its own way through its rustic, native designs and scenic views.
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Airswift ground crew in Manila airport terminal 4 was all smiles and pleasant. They gave snacks in a small paper bag.
Airswift ground crew at Lio Airport didn't smile at all and no pleasantries were said. They were respectful though as they opened and inspected all baggages (no X-ray machines!)
They need to train more their check-in person (short haired tomboy?). Better put a more pleasant, friendly one there.
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First time in El Nido. We flew via Air Swift (Ayala-owned and formerly known as ITI). I think they are the only airline using this airport. I loved this airport. It's really small that I think only small planes can land there like Sea Air maybe. Our flight took only an hour from Manila. It was drizzling then. A jeepney fetched us from the tarmac. Then we disembarked at a waiting area that looks like a big bahay kubo. Locals greeted us with a song number and snacks were served at a buffet table. We felt like VIPs actually. For someone who's used to CebPac, our experience here is much better. The baggage area is situated by the trees. The staff were very helpful and will call a tricycle for you. The airport is about 45mins from the town by tricycle. Fare is P300.
Departure: Our return flight is at 1pm but it was delayed due to Manila air traffic (what's new). The departure area is very much like the arrival area. A big bahay kubo with buffet snacks (kakanin, to the delight of the foreigners) and clean restrooms. They have a bookshelf full of hardcover travel books you can read while you wait for your flight. They don't have aircon but they do have big air coolers. Make sure to use Off Lotion though. I really liked our experience with Air Swift. We felt like VIPs kasi eh. I dunno. Iba eh. The staff treat you like kings and queens that you just won't feel with CebPac or even PAL. Not sure but maybe this is common with smaller airports.
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