Airport hacks: Iloilo International Airport

Photo by Marcos Caratao Jr

Once described as “the most beautiful and modern in the country” by former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during its inauguration a decade ago, Iloilo International Airport is one the largest airports to be constructed in the Philippines. Also known as Cabatuan Airport (after the municipality of Cabatuan, where it is located), the airport complex is reminiscent of Hong Kong International Airport’s modern architecture. Designed to accommodate around 1.2 million passengers annually, it started operating on June 14, 2007, replacing Mandurriao Airport, which had previously served the Western Visayas region for over 70 years. Iloilo International Airport is divided into three levels: arrivals and baggage claim area on the first floor, check-in area on the second floor, and departure area on the third floor.

Transportation options

The airport is approximately 30 minutes away from Iloilo City proper. A number of transportation options are available for arriving and departing passengers, such as taxis, shuttle vans, and jeepneys and multicabs. Taxi cabs to Iloilo City cost around P350 to P400 per trip. Shuttle vans, on the other hand, are a cheaper option: from SM City Iloilo Mall, the fare costs only P70 to the airport. However, passengers are advised to be at the SM City Iloilo terminal at least three hours before their scheduled departure as the shuttle vans leave only when the vehicles are full. From the airport, the shuttle vans ferry passengers to Iloilo City at a reduced rate of P50. Jeepneys and multicabs are also an option (a lot cheaper compared to the shuttle vans), but the transportation process is more complicated — especially for non-locals.

Satisfy your hunger

Good dining options are available inside the airport complex. Try the airport canteen in the parking lot for simple, no-nonsense fare, or the JD Bakery Cafe in the pre-departure area for cheap but delicious rice meals and toppings (meals cost less than P100). There are also plenty of restaurants in the nearby Airport Access Road where visitors can try Iloilo’s yummy batchoy noodle soup.

Written by

Margaux C. Ortiz

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