Monday, May 18, 2015

It's been awhile...

This year's annual leave from work takes a twist on the old and the changes in the new.

First is the fact that after a respite from NAIA terminal 1 which is currently being renovated, I am back. And am pleasantly surprised that some renovation is coming along. I guess I expected to be "amazed" or probably have eyes wide open at "changes" at the NAIA 1, but the disappointment tugs in my gut.

It's obvious that I can't help but compare (aren't we all entitled to compare?) the renovations at NAIA 1 and my first airport stop at Hamad International Airport in DOHA, Qatar.

Like two friends during my travels, both NAIA 1 and Hamad International are places I have not been to for quite some time. Both are undergoing renovations as well. I guess it's not going to be a fair comparison because obviously our paltry-looking NAIA 1 will pale in comparison to the opulence of Hamad International. The economies between the two countries are, after all, far apart from one another.

NAIA 1 isn't completely done yet, and while the lighting looks brighter, the makeover is shabby at best. Of course, the only positive thing here is the choice of food stalls. The fact that you have Starbucks inside NAIA 1 tells you that at least there will be decent food in the area. The business class lounges are a sore eye. Old, lacking in quality and refurbishment, warm (air conditioners are barely functioning), and entertainment a clear blur (TV is really hazy) - the lounges are a reflection of how third world we are...and sadly, will remain this way until the government gets its act together. I deliberately did not take pictures anymore, as taking a photo of the lounge would have been insulting to my camera phone. Oh yeah, I don't need to mention about the customs counter. While there seems to be a semblance of service, nothing much has changed. And there's really no surprise there.

Landing in Hamad International Airport opens up to a totally different ambience. The duty free shops and lounges and food kiosks are carefully segregated. Once upon a time, we landed in the Mujabi desert and had to be scooted out of the plane to the airport using busses (or as first class passengers, on a BMW) in the hot summer air! Today, there are no bus gates. Just tube connections to the vibrantly spankingly clean airport. The business class lounge is an oasis of tranquility and world class service.

As a Filipino, I can't help but wonder why we cannot seem to try to improve on even the bare essentials like providing a decent looking gateway to tourism for the world to see! We throw billions of pesos into needless spending and graft and corruption, or even bonuses for the people running government-owned corporations, have megamalls and shopping venues that are jaw dropping...I can't understand why we cannot even spruce up a dilapidated airport.

It's really been awhile that I've seen changes in our own country. And our politicians aren't really good at taking criticisms well. To them, it's really just excuse after excuse after excuse. For lack of a better description on our politicians, it's really been awhile, since we've had someone willing to die for the country, to literally make a change.

1 comment:

Gene Ramos said...

Your question: Why the government cannot - has not - done the right thing right after all these years, in the country's gateway. I, too, have been asking the same question. What is so goddamn difficulty about fixing the very obvious malady? Why can't they just decide once and for all to spend the required amount of resources to fix THE problem before - or at the same time - the DOT spends millions on advertising campaigns all over the world?