I’m currently residing in La Trinidad, Benguet and unfortunately we don’t have a working airport that connects us to domestic destinations. We have to travel to either Manila or Mabalacat. I was bound to travel to Batanes on October 22nd for a friends wedding and I have to be at the airport at least 2 hours before the flight time to avoid the hustle.
Before I left the house something felt of. The handles on my trolley bag broke of, both of them flew of as I lugged my Bag. (Oh what the heck I’m running late and I don’t have a spare bag to transfer my stuff to, I’ll just drag it around.) At first I didn’t heed the warning. I was able to catch a ride at victory liner in Baguio and everything was alright till the bus stopped at Tuba. Damn I told myself I’m running late and this happens. It turned out that the steering liquid is leaking from the bus and I had to wait for the next bus so that I can transfer. After an hour of worrying the other bus came and I boarded immediately and of we go. From there on out I was wishing the bus sped up and bring me there on time. I was also praying that that would be the last mishap that happens on this trip.
The trip was a breeze, no significant event happened along the way. I made it to Dau bus terminal still with a good allowance of time. I waited in line for the air-conditioned shuttle jeepneys located at the bus terminal. For a shuttle it’s affordable you can pay php 100 but you’d have for 5 passengers or you can pay php 500 for the whole ride. I wish they have this kind of stuff in Manila. After 20 minutes we proceeded to Clark International Airport.
At the airport, the security is tight but the people are still accommodating and friendly even though I had to pass the Xray machine a couple of times due to the metal on my belt, shoes and suspenders. (My God my pants are falling). The Airport was less crowded than I anticipated. I thought the place would be jam packed just like in NAIA 3 but there’s a lot of room. At the check in counter for Philippines Air Lines, I had an excess baggage of 2 kilos. I had to fix this on the side and repack some other things and stuff them in my hand carry bag. For the tickets I paid for I only have 10 kilos of check in weight, anything in excess of that and I would have pay php 200 a kilo. The clock was ticking and I thought to myself yet again another hurdle. (tsk..)
Normally when I travel, I only brought light weight clothes and probably a couple of extras just to avoid the hustle of looking for clothes in case we got stranded, Yes people I was stranded before. I’m at the plus sized department, Ready To Wear shops in the Philippines only stock up on the Filipino small, medium, large and extra large sizes. Emphasize on the “Filipino Size”, it’s a lot smaller than the american sizes. Basis for comparison I’m 5xl at Filipino size, American size I’m at 2xl/2xg. Since we are attending a wedding I had to bring some of my long sleeved Polo and the stuff that goes with it. I squeezed everything in my hand carry bag hoping that it wouldn’t explode.
After all that I was able to check in. I proceeded to pay the terminal fee which was php 150.00 and proceeded towards the boarding area and wait for our flight to be called. At this point I just barely made it in time. It was 11:15am and our flight supposedly leaves at 11:45am. We just waited and waited and then the broadcast PA mentioned something about the Batanes bound plane having some repairs and our flight being delayed. That’s fine as long as I can fly over to Batanes and be at my destination. After an hour and a half of waiting we were kind of worried that the flight might get canceled but we were still crossing our fingers. For the we have waited they gave us some snacks(see picture below).
Bim Bom…Broad cast PA: Unfortunately the flight bound for Batanes is canceled due to Aircraft needing more time for maintenance…blah blah blah (WHAT!!! You’ve got to be kidding me!)…please wait for our staff to approach you for your details and for your flight to be rescheduled. I can’t go back to Baguio and I don’t have the necessary funds to stay in a hotel nearby. We are now feeling a bit pissed. The Great part about it is when the PAL staff approached us and offered if we are willing to stay in a hotel nearby with all expenses paid, food and shuttle services going back to the airport the following day same flight time or if we would like to be transported to Manila to take the flight there at 5:00 am the following day. I opted for the stay. I don’t have the energy to travel again and need some time off. After all that happened that day I’m in no mood to just wait for that long to catch that flight.
Every Cloud has a silver lining sure enough we got transported to Prime Asia Hotel. I thought we were going to be stuffed in a single room and then paired of with strangers. but upon arrival the place was grand. I was given a 2 bed room with clean sheets, with good Air conditioning and working hot shower in a decently sized comfort room and all this to myself. (Cue Music: All by myself…all by myself…) I wish I could’ve jumped over the bed and mess up everything but I was tamed and tired. My room also has television and Wifi to keep me entertained. Not bad at least I can burn time just watching the TV and surfing the net. They also have a roof deck pool. I kinda wanted to try it out but I don’t want the hustle of drying clothes or stuffing wet things in my already heavy bag.
They served lunch in my room. It was Fried chicken with buttered vegetables and rice paired of with a cream of mushroom soup and pineapple juice for the beverage. It was a good meal specially so since I was hungry and tired. Nicely seasoned and not soggy.
After that meal I just slept for the rest of the afternoon and woke up late just in time for dinner. One thing nice about the place is that they have secure floors and only guest can go towards the rooms with the use of their key cards. The places accessible to other guest who are not checked in are the ground floor and the 6th floor. I explored the place a bit and they have a fine dining restaurant at the ground floor and a bar & restaurant at 6th floor.
For the evenings meal I ate at IMO Bar & Resto which is located at the 6th floor of the hotel. It has a bar area, an outdoor pool and a projector screen that plays some movies or clips, ideal for an outdoor party. The place had a grand feel to it and very cozy. As for the food what I had was a plate combo of Pork and chicken Adobo (Adobo is Filipino meat dish. It is meat simmered in vinegar and soy sauce with garlic and black pepper.), Pork and chicken Afritada (Afritada is a meat dish which simmered in tomato sauce usually with carrots, potatoes and bell pepper.) and creamed vegetables, and paired of with a noodle soup. It was filling and sumptuous. Iced tea was the beverage for that evening. I just wish they had dessert to top it of. After that meal I was able to enjoy the Mabalacat skyline for a bit till it drizzled. Time to retire for the night.
I took a bath and the shower heater was perfect and relaxing. Just about the right touch of heat for the sore body. They also have the rain shower head it was nice but I’m more used to the regular shower head. The bed and pillows were comfortable, I had a good sleep. I just wish there was someone with me to have a little chat and drink tea before I hit the sack. At least the internet was keeping me company and HBO.
The following day I woke up early and went for a stroll. I was able to find a 7 eleven nearby to buy some stuff that I forgot to pack. After that I went to IMO to eat breakfast have some coffee and enjoy the scene for a bit before I prepare myself for what I hope wouldn’t be a repeat of yesterday. I had Filipino breakfast(yes no pun intended), it had Beef Tapa (Fried marinated beef ) Daing na Bangus (Fried marinated fillet of Milk fish) with Garlic rice, 2 sunny side up eggs, a slice of tomato and parsley. A heavy meal that would last me up until we touch down to Batanes. Last minute fixes and I am off to the Airport.
Overall my stay was great. I forgot I encountered all that to get to Clark and it was thanks to PALs incentive for the cancelled flight. Prime Asia Hotel has courteous staff, clean and comfortable rooms and great food. And yes I would recommend them if you need a place to stay in Mabalacat Pampanga.