Things To Do in Manila NAIA Terminal 3 during a Long Layover | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Jul 23, 2017

Things To Do in Manila NAIA Terminal 3 during a Long Layover

A long layover can be exciting, but it can also be dreadful. Ed and I have experienced being stuck for 16 hours inside an airport terminal because of my carelessness. We were just lucky that the "nightmare" happened in Singapore Changi Airport - the best airport in the world - which to me is a destination of its own.

But what if it happened in Manila? I could have not forgive myself for such stupidity! Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit here. We still could have found ways not to get bored inside NAIA, although it is obviously not as great as Changi Airport. 

So, during my recent homecoming trip, I decided to do an experiment

In between my Domestic flight from Bacolod and International flight to Dubai was a 7-hour layover in NAIA Terminal 3. Instead of killing time at the nearest mall (We usually go to Mall of Asia.), I opted to stay inside and roam around the airport terminal!

Things to do in Manila NAIA Terminal 3

When I approached the Immigration Officer at International Departure Gate for my exit stamp, he checked my boarding pass and immediately told me "Papasok ka na? 4pm pa boarding mo. Wala kang gagawin sa loob". ("You're going in already? Your boarding time is at 4pm. You will have nothing to do inside.") It was only 10 in the morning, but I nodded and confidently answered "Yes, okay lang po. I'll be fine."

So, I went in, 6 hours before boarding for my flight to Dubai. I honestly felt excited. I have been in that terminal countless times, but it was the first time that I was not in a rush. NAIA T3 International Depature area is indeed a small feat, but it also has amenities that kept me busy for awhile.

Here are 5 things to do inside Manila NAIA T3:

1. Pasalubong shopping!
Before I reached the boarding gates, I found several shops selling popular Filipino delicacies - dried mango, polvoron, dilis, chicaron and the like. There are also local handicrafts showcasing the Filipino culture - miniature  jeepney and kalesa, woven items and wood-carved ornaments.

Filipino food inside Manila NAIA Terminal 3
Filipino goodies: Chicharon, Banana Chips, Dried Mangoes and more!
Prices are higher compared to your local grocery store, but at least the products are available in case you forgot to buy!

Filipino products inside Manila NAIA T3
world-class and stylish handwoven bags 

2. Eat!
In terms of dining, there are more options outside (in level 4) than inside the international departure area. But although small in number, variety is somewhat okay. There are Filipino, Japanese and Chinese restaurants. There are also coffee shops near the gates.

A Japanese cafe/restaurant inside Manila NAIA Terminal 3
A Japanese cafe/restaurant inside Manila NAIA Terminal 3

3. Retail therapy/Window shop.
Famous international brands have shops at NAIA T3. I did a little window shopping at Michael Kors, Longchamp and Kate Spade. Their collections are new; just like what I have seen in Dubai. But since I had no plans to purchase, I didn't get to compare prices. There's also a Duty Free selling imported and local goods. I got a small box of Hawaiian Host at around 8 USD; not bad for a chocolate brand I rarely see in the UAE. 

Kate Spade and Coach in Manila NAIA Terminal 3
International shops (Kate Spade, Coach, and more) in Manila NAIA T3

4. Stay connected.
I always enjoy the free WiFi in NAIA T3, especially now that it's faster than before! Connecting to Globe free wifi is easy, no signing up or activation code needed. But this complimentary internet access only lasts for 1 hour. Another way to access free wifi is to tambay in one of the cafes and stay connected while getting a caffeine fix.

Mini garden behind one of the cafes in NAIA T3
Mini garden behind one of the cafes in NAIA T3

5. Relax in the lounge!
Located at the 4th level of the international departure area are airport lounges for Business Class passengers and Lounge Key members. I have a free lounge access because of the latter. So, when there was nowhere left to go, the airport lounge came to the rescue! Wifi is free. Food and drinks are provided. And airport lounges usually provide a good escape from the busy transit.

sky view lounge at manila airport terminal 3
Made my layover productive by drafting blogposts at the Sky View Lounge 

Sky View Lounge in Manila
Sweets and fresh flowers! Oh how I love airport lounges! 

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How about you?
  • Have you experienced a long layover in Manila airport?
  • What did you do to keep you busy while waiting for your flight?

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