Philippines Scores Another First: NAIA Now Officially the Worst Airport in the World

Hard on the heels of a thoroughly uncomplimentary review of Manila (interesting fact: it’s a dump) by regular visitor Geoffrey James on, Filipinos have a new reason to feel persecuted with the announcement that NAIA was rated the Worst Airport in the World by the Guide to Sleeping in Airports website. The rating is based on votes of visitors to the website, traveler’s reviews submitted over the previous year, and information provided by airports about their facilities and services. Technically the ranking only applies to Terminal 1, but considering that nearly all foreign visitors are forced to arrive and depart the country through this hellish choke point the assessment and the scathing accompanying comments might as well apply to the whole airport. The Guide does point out that Terminal 3 is much newer, but also links to a recent news story of an engineering report which deemed that building to be ‘structurally flawed’.

If you don’t wish to wade through page after page of comments (and there are A LOT of comments) from visitors to the airport, the Guide summarizes the main points made by most of them:

  • Unfriendly, corrupt staff.
  • Bathrooms are a mess
  • Corruption, bribery, scams run rampant here.
  • Keep your bags close and always have your eyes on them. Don’t get distracted!
  • Terminal 1 is in BAD shape. Crowded — Dirty — Limited seating — Toilets are a disaster!

Although there are a few compliments from people who have traveled through Terminal 2 (or found that secret hidden lounge upstairs in Terminal 1, which is pretty nice), the majority of the visitor comments typically sound like this one:

“…It has to be experienced to be believed. Think of a bombed out ruin and you’ll get some idea. It’s like a cattle yard only worse. Toilets filthy. No seating once you get thru customs (maybe 40 seats for a thousand passengers)….This airport is a joke. Filthy, smelly with virtually no facilities whatsoever. With everyone who leaves the joint being ripped off for 750 pesos local bucks departure tax (around 20 Australian), we deserve better. Shame on the government there. A place to be avoided.”

Of course, none of this is news to anyone who has had the misfortune of passing through NAIA, and not even the local propaganda machines could avoid reporting the substance of the story. But in a completely predictable, passive-aggressive way they still managed to make the point that the criticism is unjustified, sometimes tripping over each other in the process – a few hours after the Inquirer quoted NAIA-1 Manager Dante Basanta explaining that several rest rooms had already been renovated and that “We’re also improving water services; the replacement of old pipes is ongoing,” ABS-CBN posted a story following an interview with MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado and reported:

“Honrado admitted that lack of space constrain authorities from giving the airport toilets a modern look. ‘The challenge is space eh,’ he said.

He, however, denied complaints that the rest rooms have no toilet paper and no running water.

‘I have to deny the report na walang water at toilet paper dyan. Yung water, we have high water pressure,’ he stressed.”

And just as an aside, one has to wonder who Honrado and ABS-CBN were trying to convince, exactly, since his comments were quoted in untranslated Tagalog.

Just as with the public reaction to the stinging rebuke from Geoffrey James, the Philippines is once again demonstrating its awesome talent for missing the point of outsiders’ criticism. These are not abstract and debatable insults like, “Filipinas are easy,” or “All Filipinos are scam artists.” No matter who you are, your self-image is only relevant to you; it does not become the default image that the rest of the world should be presumed to have. Printing a rebuttal in Tagalog to a poor review of the country’s only INTERNATIONAL gateway of any consequence is the most sublime example of this willful refusal to be judged by any standards other than the ankle-high ones Filipinos set for themselves that I think I’ve ever seen. And no matter how many toilets they fix or how many ill-mannered thieves they ferret out at NAIA, as long as that attitude persists that airport, this city, and large parts of this entire country are going to be continued to be regarded as a dump and an experience best avoided at all costs.


About BenK

I write a column for The Manila Times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Most of the energy sector and the heads of several government agencies probably wish I didn't.

Post Author: BenK

I write a column for The Manila Times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Most of the energy sector and the heads of several government agencies probably wish I didn't.

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134 Comments on "Philippines Scores Another First: NAIA Now Officially the Worst Airport in the World"

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Vincenzo B. Arellano



[…] NAIA Now Officially the Worst Airport in the World | Get Real Post. Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInMorePrintEmailRedditDiggStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Development, Media and tagged development, economy, Guide to Sleeping in Airports, hell on earth, Manila Bus Massacre, NAIA, Philippines, World's Worst Airports by Ben Kritz. Bookmark the permalink. […]


Denying that something is wrong is the usual reaction of people who wanna cover something up.

Pan Doe

kaya nakakatakot umuwi ng pilipinas ngayung peak season eh…sa airport pa lang, ubos na ang iyong [insert any foreign currency here]. pustahan hindi ito nakabalita sa local stations tapos, mag-susugarcoat na naman ang gobyerno. Sorry, panis na ang sugar nyo, mga tsong :p

holy shape shift sh*t is happening to our home country right now!


the worlds worst airport
manila a cess pit
the worlds worst president
hustlers and hookers everywhere

as easy to sell as chickenjoy!


Well, maybe we can package it as a tourist destination in itself. World’s Worst International Airport isn’t something you can’t (and don’t) want to claim.


The only airport that charges airport fee has been named the worse airport in the world. There is a lot to be said about that.

I posted this in another Pinoy online forum and I think this needs to be reiterated… “What needs to be done NOW is to refurbish and rehabilitate the airport by different stages/phases similar to what have been done to London Heathrow, so as to have a more modern efficient airport. But personally, I would not rather go with this route and prefer to have a new airport outside Metro Manila (heck, technically outside Luzon) so as to adopt to the future development. An airport in a densely populated and developed area will be an aviation transportation & security nightmare waiting… Read more »
I once took a crap in NAIA, it was one of my most horrible experiences. First off I had to go really bad. Second all the toilets were filled with poo poo already, so i randomly chose one to poo on. Theres no running water and no toilet paper and they had a lil bucket and tabo to wash your ass with. Since there is no running water no one can flush their poo, and the whole bathroom is just disgusting. I hovered my puwet over the toilet because there are no toilet seats (YUK!). It was very uncomfortable, i… Read more »
Vincenzo B. Arellano

Binay? Well, i think he could do what he did in Makati to the Philippines.

Vincenzo B. Arellano



The worlds worst..
Corrupt president – marcos
Narcissistic president – arroyo
Laziest president – aquino
Dumbest future president – pacquaio.

A pattern here

The worlds most stupid electorate – phillipines


I think all of the things said to describe the current state of NAIA could just as well describe the country as a whole: “Unfriendly, corrupt staff. Bathrooms are a mess. Corruption, bribery, scams run rampant here. Keep your bags close and always have your eyes on them. Don’t get distracted! The Philippines is in BAD shape. Crowded — Dirty — Limited seating — Toilets are a disaster!”.

It’s just a reflection of the Philippines really.

Hyden Toro

The new Tourism Dept. Chief, recently announced: ” We deserve a visit.” I replied: ” My Ass.” Who will visit a country, with :filty toilets; no toilet papers on toilets; child prostitutes and their “bugaws”, soliciting you; Necklace snatchers abound, ” alaga ng mga Pulis”…
Maybe, the Tourism Chief is already desensithized. He saw these things are just normal…


I’ve had this notion that the reason that GMA didn’t do anything about it after the Terminal 3 fiasco was because she knew that given how long shit actually takes to get done, it was better building her own airport in Clark anyway so she didn’t have to deal with the stuff already in place apart from the old American hangars.


you exemplify why the country is in a mess and provide a practical example to readers of the filipino mentality and how they would vote for any personality as though it is pilipinas got talent but politicians dont need brains. good man. keep it up.

and i have met pacquaio on a couple of occasions.
any topic regarding economics, social issues are met with a grin, a bad joke and an attempt to move the subject to cars! no speechwriter was present.

I was led to this article from SkyscraperCity, and it’s been a while since I’ve posted in GRP or AP, so hi guys! 😛 Inasmuch as I agree that NAIA is a bad airport, I disagree that it’s the worst airport. In all my years of travel, I can certainly say that there are airports worse than NAIA: I for one did not appreciate the hassle of having to transit through Bucharest, or the small, dated size of Berlin-Tegel. To me, NAIA is better in those regards. Plus, with the renovations going on, it feels much better than before: I… Read more »

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On top of that we lost another major European foreign airlines that regularly land at NAIA. This could create a domino effect from the hotel accommodation, to the restaurants etc.

AIR FRANCE-KLM, the only European carrier operating in the Philippines, will be phasing out direct Manila-Amsterdam flights due to issues with the country’s taxes.


Some say we have become negligent, indifferent because we are like a wounded animal, really hurt by all that has happened to us. This country used to be great, and now it’s a piece of shit. Abandonment of environs and such explains our suicidal tendencies as a society and a people.