Our Problem with Airports and Digichive

Sunday, January 06, 2013
Even before 2013 started, I already had a couple of things I wanted to do for the upcoming year. I actually came up with a bucket list whose items I plan to crash out as I fulfill each one. When an airlines announced a promo fare, I quickly informed my friends about it and got tickets for all five of us bound for Cebu this coming August. Yeah, it’s still eons away but we’re all excited for it already and we’re saving up for the trip. I’m looking forward to it because I admit I don’t travel much. Last year, I got to travel to Manila for a photo shoot and I traveled alone which is turned to be a good experience for me.

I've read an online article about how Philippine Airports are not that bad. Well, maybe for some but I would have to disagree somehow. Now, I don’t mean to degrade anything or any place for this matter but although I don’t go to Zamboanga’s airport often, this observation has not escaped me. Our airport obviously needs a lot of improvement. It’s small and cramped and the waiting area runs out of seats fast. The actual design is pretty historical, I know. But I think it’s time we get to upgrade these things for the travelers’ maximum comfort and unique experience. After all, customers need to be pleased right? Also, on my previous flight from MNL to ZAM, it was raining. Yes, they had umbrellas but not for everyone. Or you have to wait until a crew comes back with all the umbrellas so another batch can come down the plane. It’s inconvenient.  Again, I’m not here to offend anyone.  In my case, I want to see a much bigger reception area/check-in area for the travelers, more seats on the waiting area, cleaner and more restrooms and a covered walk, maybe or a bus that will drive us from the aircraft to the arrival area. On a lighter note though, I’m just glad that they’re already working on plans of transferring our airport to a much bigger place (much nearer to our home too!) and hopefully with all my wish list covered.  

Source: Airport-Codes. Our Airport's waiting area.
Since I haven’t gone to a lot of airports, I don’t know if they’re facing the same problems. Improvements can take a lot of time and money but I believe that it’s a good place to start. Talking of improvements and money, I've read about a recent issue on our airports concerning advertising  You see, advertising has taken different forms these days. We see them everywhere and by everywhere, I also mean on airports. They’re all there, acting discreet or too in-your-face but do you know that brands/businesses pay huge amounts of money to have their ads displayed in these strategic places? Our airports actually earn revenues from this to also support its functions.

Source: Wikipedia

Now this is where the issue comes in. I only got to know this now; our gov’t employs a private entity to take care of the advertising for them. In this case, the Manila International Airport (MIAA) contracted a company called Digichive to handle all advertising for the airports. In turn, the company will pay MIAA a fixed amount yearly (they pay MIAA PHP13M yearly) and it’s up to them now to earn more to gain profit. Seems okay? Well, not really. Advertising experts believe that airport ads gain much more than what Digichive pays MIAA. (It is also worth noting that Digichive sort of plays MIA online) When MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado took note of the issue, a re-bid was requested, for short a Daang Matuwid Test. Digichive suddenly offered to pay more than PHP100M yearly - which is  way more than what they pay previously!  Accordingly, Digichive didn't win the bid and came only second.  Imagine when they had offered this a long time ago then surely our airports might have improvements already! Travelers would have experienced a satisfying flight and would have more compliments about airports.

I think that MIAA had done the right thing. If they can’t handle advertising on their own, then a yearly bidding must be done to give opportunities to other players as well. Also, bidders must be recognized by the AdBoard of the Philippines, in this case, they don't get ripped off by some unknown company. The money gained must then be used for the improvement of our airports – more facilities and high technology equipment to ensure passenger safety most especially during inspection. Well, here's to hoping for improvements!


  1. it's not the first time that I complained about a certain airport. I've been to Bongao, Zamboanga, Jolo, Davao, Cagayen de Oro, and NAIA terminal 3 airports.

    I can tell that the first three really needs reconstruction, because CdeO airport will be transferred to Laguindingan in 2014. i mean, if they are promoting tourism, they should look at the airports first.

    i won't ask for aesthetic value of the airports, just the functional one will be okay. i mean, the restrooms must at least be clean and working. though, giving it a beautiful design would be a bonus to travellers already.

    nice article sis.


  2. The new terminal (NAIA terminal 3) is okay for me. But terminals 1 and 2, ESPECIALLY the domestic terminal is the one that I don't really like.

  3. It is really a shame that this is happening in our airports. The issue here is corruption, hope people in government will change this year.

  4. Compared to the airports in Incheon and Singapore, ours really looks kawawa.

  5. I only fly to Zamboanga at least twice a year for the holidays and have noticed minimal sloth-like phase on improvement of ZIA’s improvement.

    ZIA is confoundingly grim... a dingy concourse. Despite it’s high ceilings and charming rustic exterior, the whole building have very low lighting, cheap monobloc chairs randomly here and there, stinky bathroom with broken urinals and my god, a tabo and balde – plain gross!

    ZIA should be as pretty as Zamboanga itself, not a big let down.

  6. Yeah the new terminal is kind of okay, the old airport (formerly MIA) is the worst. No amount of advertising can cover up how pathetic it is unfortunately.

  7. That's what our country needs to boost our wonderful tourism offerings.. a huge fully operational airports that will offer world-class service to all guests, may they be local or inbound tourists/guests. It's not nice to be known as a country who has a very low-ranking international airport. Hope this all change soon. Time is ticking.



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