Manila to Busuanga PR2963

Apologies, this review is slightly late as recently the internet has been super patchy and I have not been able to upload this. This route was flown on the 21st of January 2023 and was on the Philippine Airlines Dash-8 Q400. The flight time was roughly 50 minutes and I was located in seat 15A.

I got to bus gate 16A after my overnight layover in Manila (the hotel shower was very much needed!), filled on my Jollibee corned beef breakfast and ready to see the islands of Palawan!

I boarded my flight after a 30-45 minute delay as there was apparently an electrical malfunction that required maintenance before we could board, I wish they could have told us this before packing us all into a bus with no air conditioning in 29 degree Celsius weather. But we waited there patiently. You can see I was located right behind the engine (prime seating I found out on the Dash-8 to watch the wheels at landing!)

I was then treated to a daytime view of Manila, showing me where all the lights came from the night before as we rocketed into the sky.

For a short 40 - 60 minute domestic flight I was not expected a drop of water or a crumb of food, but I was nicely surprised when I got offered (and given) countless glasses of water and a bag of Raisin Oatmeal Cookies (these were actually unreal, no idea how they tasted the way they did). I was also massively impressed by the fact they clearly highlighted all known allergens contained in the cookies on the packet!

We then waved goodbye to the island of Luzon as we headed out over the Verde Island Passage and then over the island of Mindoro.

After 30 minutes we started our descent into Francisco B. Reyes Airport with a view of our first island. Busuanga Island is surrounded by 50 islands and this is one of the many. I was amazed at how clear the water was and the amount of coral that could be seen.

The wheels then came down as we approached Busuanga Island.

Mainland Busuanga in sight!

Approach into Busuanga is very unique, this is because Busuanga is an island with an insane amount of hills and mountains, so when we were coming into land we had to do a 90 degree turn around a mountain into short final at very low altitude, was actually really cool!

As I stepped away from the aircraft on the apron I managed to get a picture, but I had to be quick as they were ushering us off the apron quickly as there was a Cebu Pacific ATR72 waiting to start its engines next to us.

I was shocked to find you were not allowed to leave Francisco B. Reyes Airport without paying a 200 PHP (Philippine Peso) fee per person for environmental reasons. This then turned into a joke when they gave each person a small piece of paper which was quickly thrown in the bin next to the counter upon payment.


Seat Comfort: 3 out of 5
Like the A321 the day before this seat was very average, I had my rucksack under the seat in front which decreased my legroom a little and my knees were in the seat in front, but I am still giving it a midway rating as this was to be expected in such a small aircraft.

Food: 5 out of 5
This might seem a ridiculously high rating for cookies and a glass of water, but let me explain to you why I have given this high rating. Firstly, those cookies were to die for, if I knew where to buy those in the shops, my gym partner would be a very very lonely man! Secondly, I was not expecting any food or drink at all on such a short flight. And finally, even after I was shocked to receive a nice treat and a drink, I was shocked even further that even though it was a flight with only 30 minutes of the seatbelt sign being off, I was offered a glass of water every 5 minutes basically. I was pleased with this as I had not had much to drink all day.

Staff Service: 5 out of 5
Once again the staff greeted us with a beautiful smile and were very helpful with any questions. I also enjoyed the multiple water cups.

Efficiency: 4 out of 5
I nearly gave a 5, however, the overbooking and continuous requests for people to come forward at the gate to be bumped to the next flight or check in their carry on baggage just grew annoying as we were sat at the gate. It was also poor in my opinion they made us wait that 30-45 minutes on the bus while we were all sweating like pigs and pressed up against each other. But I was impressed however, by the attempt to make deplaning more organised, they requested that only certain rows at a time, which they announced, would stand and collect overhead baggage before disembarking. Unfortunately this was not followed, but I can not blame them for this.

I will not be reviewing the return flights as they are going to be basically the same. However, if you want to track the flights I am on, I post all my flights with info in the “Track Other Members Flights” thread. I leave Busuanga on the 29th of January.

I will be taking my next flights on March 31st when I travel to Chuuk (Truk) for another scuba diving trip. Now that I have gotten used to using my underwater camera, hopefully I will get some good shots there. But getting to Chuuk requires 3 flights each way, should I review each one separately, released slowly over the following days? Or should I compile them all into 1 review?

  • Review Separately
  • Compile into One

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If anyone would like to discuss none flight stuff such as scuba diving, views of the island on the ground, scuba diving pictures and so on, feel free to PM me, more than happy to share!


These pictures are really great. But if it’s these vs Nemo, I gotta chose Nemo.

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I do agree, nemo for life!

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