The great Easter exodus is here: Travel tips from airlines, highway authorities

Authorities and experts have measures in place to make flying and driving safer, more comfortable, and even more enjoyable. 

Holy Week or Semana Santa in the Philippines sees what is quite literally an exodus of biblical proportions. Throngs of people, especially from Metro Manila, stream out into provinces or to destinations abroad for a well deserved break. 

But with the exodus of holidaygoers also comes inconveniences. There’s the inevitable heavy traffic, cars breaking down, long queues at bus and airport terminals , and delayed flights or trips. 

While you can’t avoid some of these annoyances, authorities and experts have measures in place and a few tips to make travel safer, more comfortable, and even more enjoyable. 

Be at the airport at least three to four hours before your flight, and get ready for long queues and delays.

Cebu Pacific’s peak travel reminders

Last week, Cebu Pacific released a few reminders to make air travel more seamless. 

First is to be at the airport on time. Passengers must be at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 or 4 at least three hours before departure for domestic flights, and four hours for international flights. Passengers traveling to Dubai are allowed to check in as early as seven hours before departure.  

Don’t forget to check in online. Long lines may be avoided at the airport by checking in via the official CEB mobile app or via the Manage Booking section of the CEB website. Both options are available from 48 hours up to one hour before your scheduled time of departure for domestic flights, and up to four hours for international fliers. 

If you’ve checked in online and do not have any baggage to check in, you may enter through NAIA Terminal 3 Gate 1 and go straight to the boarding gates. You only need to show you digital boarding pass to enter. 

Don’t also forget to accomplish the eTravel form for a smoother experience at the immigration counter. Register or update your eTravel form within 72 hours or three days before departure from and arrival to the Philippines. Save the QR code generated at the end of the form.

Cebu Pacific recently released a few reminders to make air travel more seamless. Photo from Cebu Pacific’s Instagram account

For roundtrip international flights, passengers are required to accomplish the eTravel form twice—once for the departure flight and again for the arrival flight. After generating the eTravel QR code, complete the Customs Declaration Form before arrival.

eTravel forms can be accomplished by accessing

Take time to properly pack your bags. If you’re flying Cebu Pacific, you may board your flight with one carry-on bag that fits in the overhead bin and one personal item like a purse, small backpack, or laptop bag that fits under the seat in front. 

Remember! Both bags must not exceed 7kg in weight. Bags that are not within the allowable size or weight will be intercepted and charged at the boarding gate.  

Check Cebu Pacific’s checked baggage policy to know how many prepaid baggage you can purchase among other things. Pro-tip: You can save on baggage fees if your purchase online!

If you’re flying domestic, do self-tag your luggage at the designated kiosks at the airport prior to proceeding to counters for bag drops.  

Check your flight information, boarding gate, and closing times. Updated flight information may be viewed at   

Airasia’s #AlwaysREADY campaign

In anticipation of the travel surge during Holy Week, Airasia Philippines is all set to safely welcome an estimated 100,000 guests traveling to destinations outside Metro Manila through its “#AlwaysREADY ngayong Semana Santa” campaign.

Airasia conducts fire drill training among its flight crew every year to ensure their competency and preparedness. It also has a set of guidelines to help prevent incidents involving unauthorized electronic devices.

Airasia has dedicated customer help desk to provide additional assistance to travelers with rebooking and flight change concerns. Photo from Airasia PH’s Instagram account

Airasia Philippines CEO Ricky Isla has also personally inspected check-in counters to ensure operational efficiency and readiness. He emphasized that all counters are fully operational, with additional manpower and a standby team deployed to accommodate the expected influx of tourists during this period.

Beyond safety, the airline is also focused on enhancing customer experience by partnering with Locally PH. Hundreds of Locally products have been handed out to guests, adding a refreshing touch to their journeys.

In addition, a dedicated customer help desk has been put up to provide additional assistance to travelers with rebooking and flight change concerns.

Toll Regulatory Board’s nine-point measures

The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) has advised that peak vehicle volume during the Holy Week travel rush is expected to begin today, Wednesday, March 27.  

To help prepare for the surge of vehicles on expressways, the TRB announced that it will implement a nine-point Semana Santa travel guide to ensure the safety and convenience of travelers.

The Toll Regulatory Board highly encourages motorists to check the condition of their vehicles, as well as the physical and mental condition of the person who will drive the vehicle. 
Photo from

TRB’s nine-point measures for the Holy Week break are as follows:

1. Opening of all toll lanes;

2. Implementation of counterflow at pre-identified congested areas, if necessary;

3. Free towing of Class 1 vehicles in identified expressways;

4. Continuous posting of traffic updates through social media and traditional media;

5. Suspension of all roadworks and other activities that may impede the flow of traffic;

6. Establishment of Motorists Assistance Stations at Toll Service Facilities to address motorists in distress;

7. Prevent access of pedestrians, ambulant vendors, stray animals, and unauthorized vehicles from the “Limited Access Facilities” (Toll Road);

8. Round-the-clock monitoring through CCTV cameras, backed with radio communication; and

9. Coordinate with local government units to ensure a smooth flow of traffic at the expressways’ entries and exits.

The TRB also encourages motorists to check the condition of their vehicles, as well as the physical and mental condition of the person who will drive the vehicle. 

Always follow and comply with traffic laws, rules, and regulations; observe road courtesy; and ensure sufficient load in your RFIDs.

Stronger police presence

For the public’s peace of mind and for citizens to better observe this year’s Holy Week and Ramadan, 180,000 security personnel from various law enforcement agencies have been deployed nationwide to ensure public safety, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said in an article on the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Of the 180,000 security personnel, the PNP said 52,000 police officers will patrol key locations such as highways, ports, terminals, churches, and tourist destinations.

180,000 security personnel from various law enforcement agencies have been deployed nationwide to ensure public safety. Photo by Ernie Penaredondo of The Philippine Star

Meanwhile, 17,499 of the 52,000 police officers will be deployed to “places of convergence” like malls and transport terminals, while 12,640 will be assigned to secure places of worship.

Major thoroughfares will be secured by 9,789 police officers and 3,854 will be stationed at ports. 8,491 will serve as standby support force at the PNP headquarters in Quezon City.

The PNP added that 427 police dogs will serve as reinforcements to inspect transport terminals in response to bomb threats received by various government agencies last month.

Associate Editor

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