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Manila - Ninoy Aquino International
- Noodle bar serving a freshly-prepared dish of the day
- An underwhelming lounge, especially considering its 'flagship' status
- The only airport lounge in the terminal, so it's this or the boarding gate...
At its home hub of Manila and Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Philippine Airlines operates an international business class lounge for passengers jetting abroad. However, unless you're playing it safe and allowing plenty of time for the unpredictable Manila traffic, this is not a lounge to arrive early for.
Location & Impressions
After clearing passport control and security screening at Terminal 2, I was hoping to spot signage pointing towards the Mabuhay Lounge, but despite being Philippine Airlines’ home port, there was nothing.
Instead, I started wandering through the terminal, past each gate looking for what could be the lounge, and eventually noticed a small “Mabuhay Lounge” arrow down the far end:
Stepping inside revealed a relatively basic space with casual seating…
… as well as dining zone, aside more seating:
Just beyond reception is a TV room, but which proved to be the most popular part of the lounge. Looking to relax before a long overnight flight, I was instead content with the quieter zone towards the far corner of the space.
To keep the lounge enjoyable for all, guests are asked to minimise the volume of their conversations and phone calls, which is a nice touch.
This lounge caters for all Philippine Airlines international flights from Terminal 2, including to destinations across Asia, as well as those in Australia, North America and further afield.
The following travellers can access this lounge when flying with Philippine Airlines from Terminal 2 here in Manila:
- Business class passengers
- Mabuhay Miles Million Miler cardholders, plus two guests
- Mabuhay Miles Premier Elite members, plus one guest
- Mabuhay Miles Elite travellers (no guest)
- ANA Mileage Club Platinum, Diamond and Super Flyers Card members travelling on an ANA (NH) codeshare flight operated by Philippine Airlines, plus one guest
- Etihad Guest Gold, Platinum and Exclusive frequent flyers when booked on a PR or EY codeshare flight number, plus one guest
Other airport lounge membership cards, such as Priority Pass, are not accepted here.
For a pre-flight bite, you’ll find tables and chairs adjacent to the lounge’s buffet zone…
… serving up hot food like dumplings and siomai…
… joined by other dishes that didn't have the same visual appeal, like the boneless bangus belly bistek:
Not far away, there's soup, bread and sandwiches too, including vegetable focaccia with cheese, tomato and tuna, and bacon and egg.
Further along, ingredients for assembling a basic salad, along with bananas, and pork buns (stored hot)...
... but for something more substantial, head to the noodle bar, where staff prepare the dish of the day to order:
You can spot the plastic-wrapped 'sample' bowl above, but here's what the real dish looks like, before I added toppings.
This visit came ahead of an overnight business class flight to Brisbane, on which I wanted to maximise my rest, so I was pleased that if nothing else, there was something substantial (and fresh) to tuck into before that flight.
For a quick bite, you'll also find light refreshments over by the coffee machine...
... and speaking of beverages, your best bet is something self-served from the fridge nearby...
... where this (dented) can of Asahi was the choice pick:
Separately, there's a staffed coffee and cocktail bar, although I'm certain this is the first lounge I've ever visited that went to the trouble of creating a manned coffee station but didn't bother installing a barista machine.
Hoping the cocktail list would prove a little more impressive, I went for the first mix on the board, a Long Island Iced Tea. It wasn't one I would go back for.
Finally, you can help yourself to hot or cold water via the dispenser on the left...
... and of course, nothing says 'business class' like being reminded that your use of said water tap is under close supervision via CCTV, so don't be tempted to run off with any H2O.
When there's work to do, you'll find several computer terminals...
... with some of the seats – but certainly not all – offering AC power, although USB charging is absent:
Wireless Internet access is available, but there were no clear instructions to connect. I tried a network named "@PAL_MabuhayLounge", which seemed the most obvious choice, but the system wouldn't jump online without providing a phone number via the WiFi portal.
I'm not in the habit of handing over personal information to unknown WiFi hotspots, so tried another network, "PAL-MABUHAY", which connected without issue, and offered average download speeds of 14Mbps, with uploads being just a tad faster at 15Mbps.
Of course, still not knowing for sure whether this was the lounge's legitimate WiFi network, I reverted back to mobile data as soon as those speed tests were complete.
With time to spare before your flight, choose a place to sit back and relax...
... perhaps with some reading material...
... or, have a cocktail at one of these awkwardly-placed high tables, pushed right up against a concertina door:
All things considered, there's not a great deal to get excited about with this lounge, and unfortunately, there are no alternatives in this terminal even for members of programs like Priority Pass, so it's this or the departure gate.
Frankly, being Philippine Airlines' flagship international business class lounge at its home hub airport – catering to passengers taking long flights to Australia or even longer voyages to North America – this lounge really misses the mark.
While Philippine Airlines has a very respectable business class seat and service aboard its newer aircraft like the Airbus A321neo, the airport lounge experience here in Manila is almost comical by comparison, and simply isn't up to scratch in 2019.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Manila as a guest of Philippine Airlines.