The weekend of "Thrilla in NAIA" a.k.a. when, in the urban wilderness of Manila Airport's Terminal 3, sort-of-powerful sorta-journalist got into a brawl with husband of famous actress after HFA caught SPSJ videotaping FA while she roasted employee of inefficient trash budget airline over baggage problems, I was in Cebu. Internet memes now define 'claudined' - a neologism, in case one gets bamboozled - as to lose one's tact and breeding in a state of anger (yes, that makes it a verb - I suspect it can also be an adjective, like "Rosalinda becomes a claudined zombie when her sister is around).
Here is a cellphone picture I took as our plane departed Mactan Airport on an early Tuesday morning bound for Iloilo. Some of the city's landmarks, the trained eye might recognize - Waterfront Hotel Mactan just behind the terminal building, and in the distance, castle-like Waterfront Hotel, Crown Regency Hotel and Towers (the tallest structure in the city), and Marco Polo Plaza on the hills, to name a few.
The twenty minutes or so that preceded this takeoff, however, was the highlight of the morning. Our flight was scheduled to commence boarding at 5:40AM for a 6:10AM departure. Because of taxi issues at the hotel (bitch taxis also exist in Cebu, we discovered), we arrived at the airport a few minutes before 5:30. We breezed through check-in as there was miraculously no line - the 60+ other passengers, I overheard the attendants, were already done. So, as planned, I waited near the terminal fee counters while Mother and Sister exited the building to buy Cebu's famous lechon at an outlet across the street.
When they returned not a short while later, the PA system came to life and screamed for all the world to hear, "Calling the last three passengers of AirPhil Expess flight blah to Iloilo, please board the aircraft now." We fell in line to pay our terminal fees. "Final call for boarding for the last three remaining passengers..." We arrived at the final security check. "Calling the last three passengers..." And they announced our names!
It was 5:40AM. What the heck?! We were supposed to just start boarding at this time and now they have everyone onboard except us? We even had one of their attendants personally escort us like lost schoolchildren all the way to the stairs to the plane. Less than five minutes after we took our seats, we were rolling down the taxiway.
Lore has it that my grandfather, in those days of old when air travel was still a creepy thing, once chased after a train he was supposed to catch. I praise AirPhil Express for their efficiency, but it's just too weird a system for me. Claudine takes one of their flights, checks in, goes out to buy lechon as peace offering to the Tulfos (in your dreams!), takes a very long while outside, and gets left behind by her luggage. Oh dear.