Colton's Asia Experience

In the Eye of the Storm: Iloilo City, Philippines

By Colton Powell

When you travel around South East Asia you are always on the hunt for the best deal.

Whether it's bargaining in markets or picking the cheapest hostel, saving money is always on your mind. This means that flying budget airlines is a must. However, with budget airlines comes obscure flight times often in middle of the night.

The next stop on our trip has us headed to visit a friend Bryan and I had gone to University with who currently lives in Iloilo City, Philippines.

Given our choice of a cheap $100 flight we were scheduled to leave Hong Kong at 2:30 a.m. Departure times seem to be a guideline rather than set in stone so the plane was delayed until 3:30a.m.

Iloilo City, Philippines
Colton and Bryan head to the airport
We made the mistake of falling asleep in the airport only to be awoken by "Final Boarding Call for Iloilo."
We quickly gather our things and were the last ones on the plane. The plane was nearly empty and we both managed to get exit rows to ourselves. After takeoff we tried to get a some sleep as it was almost 4:00a.m.

We were abruptly jostled awake about an hour later as the turbulence began.

If there is one thing I have learned it is that flying during monsoon season is a not a fun time.

As we began our descent I don't really know how the plane stayed in the sky. With shaking, random drops and heavy turbulence we came through the thick clouds to land. As we came through the bottom of the clouds we were only about 500ft off the ground and swaying back and forth through the heavy winds.

Iloilo City, Philippines
The view outside the airplane window
The runway was in sight and we were moving all over the place then all of a sudden just as we were about to touch down the pilot gunned the plane and we took off back into the storm.
The turbulence got worse and faint whimpers could be heard from other passengers. I looked over to Bryan and he had a white knuckle grip on the armrest. Even though we had no idea if it was really that bad or if we were just exhausted we decided this was the end and we should prepare for the worst.

We said our blessings and decided what funeral arrangements our families would hopefully make. We circled in the rough skies for what seemed like hours which in reality was maybe ten minutes and made another approach to the runway.

My palms hadn't been this sweaty since square-dancing in high school.

I closed my eyes and held my breath as we swayed, rocked and got pushed around like clothes in a washing machine.

Our wheels finally touched the ground and the plane erupted in applause as we were finally safe.>

As we stepped out of the airport the wind could practically blow you over and it was still pouring rain. Most of the roads were flooded from the storm but it didn't seem to matter as long as we were alive and on the ground.

Flooded Iloilo City Philippines Colton Powell
The flooded streets of Iloilo city
I'm glad we have ten days here as getting on a plane is going to take some courage.
If there is one thing I have learned it is at least with budget airlines you don't get a budget pilot.

Click next to continue to Part 9 of Colton's Asia Experience

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