Saturday, February 28, 2009

The shortest plane ride in the Philippines

Based on all the route maps I have checked, the flight between Cebu and Bacolod that I took last Saturday is the shortest commercial plane route in the Philippines. Served by both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, it's a mere 117 km from runway to runway-- definitely the shortest flight in distance, if not in duration.

For perspective, Tokyo's Narita International Airport is 60 km from Tokyo itself.

A distance of 117 km is normally very drivable. But Cebu and Bacolod are on different islands, divided by the Tañon Strait, with some rugged hills on both islands to complicate things. Buses are available for transportation between the two cities (taking a roll-on/roll-off ferry to cross the Tañon Strait), but a comfortable plane is preferred for those who can afford it.

The plane took off at 8:22 AM, and 17 minutes later the pilot was calling the crew to prepare for landing. The descent and preparation for landing took nearly half the time of the flight itself. Total flight time: 32 minutes.

It annoyed me that when I glanced at the fellow passengers on the plane, almost no one was looking out the window. I wonder... Are they really so snooty that they feel the need to mask their faces with boredom, or have they just grown so jaded that they feel no enthusiasm for a trip through the sky? At what point does one stop being filled with awe by looking down at the earth from 30,000 feet? I never want to become that guy.

Here's a few pictures from my flight.

This dainty thing was my vessel in the sky for 32 minutes. It has a capacity of just around 80 people. Checking in at the airport, they didn't just weigh my luggage-- they had to weigh me.

A view of messy, poorly-planned Lapu-Lapu City as we take off from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

The hilly terrain of central Cebu Island.

Clouds clouds clouds.

Coming down on Bacolod City, their glorious new "government center" stands out from everything else. The airport is actually in Silay City, 14 km to the north.

A view of the clean, manicured agricultural fields in the plains of Silay City.

Arrival at the New Bacolod-Silay International Airport.

It's a nice airport.


  1. Nice pics Mike,

    If you're riding an ATR-72-500, your alitutde would have most likely been at 13,000 feet, especially with such a short flight.

    And yeah, Cebu Pacific does have a practice of weighing all of its passengers on their ATR-72-500 flights. Sometimes I wonder... what if there's this Obesity convention that is only accessible via their turboprops...

  2. I just assumed 30,000 feet because that's what they show on the little information monitor thing in international flights. :p Makes sense that they would be at a much lower altitude with a smaller plane.