SNEAK PEEK: A Photo Tour of Mactan-Cebu Airport’s Terminal 2
We got to take a look inside the world's first resort-themed airport ahead of its inauguration.
(SPOT.ph) It feels like Cebu has been waiting with bated breath for about three years now while the construction of Terminal 2 of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport was underway. And who could blame them, really—there now stands a unique wood and glass structure on what used to be an open field with an array of concrete columns and heavy equipment.
As it enters its finishing stages, though, the rest of the country is taking notice.
The glass façade allows natural light into the space, making for a brighter and more airy feel inside the airport.
Touted as the country’s first resort airport, Terminal 2 veers away from the straight lines and boxy structures that we have come to expect when we fly. Instead, it features a series of arches that curve gracefully into each other, and a glass façade that reflects the sunny blue skies.
Of course, the airport we see now has been some years in the making. GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation won the bid to take over the airport’s operations and construct a second terminal in 2014. Since then, they have made significant changes to optimize the existing terminal—streamlining the check-in process, improving current facilities, and installing electronic boarding pass readers for more efficient passenger flow.
In coming up with the concept for Terminal 2, GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) envisioned a structure that represented the experiences that Cebu has to offer, while signifying its position as a rising global destination. The design team echoes that sentiment—well-known names in the industry like interior designer Budji Layug, architect Royal Pineda, and furniture designer and Cebuano Kenneth Cobonpue, collaborated with Hong Kong-based firm Integrated Design Associates Ltd. for the project.
Upon entering Terminal 2, travelers are greeted with an arch that stretches through the entire length of the structure, making it look even more massive than it already is.
A truly distinctive feature of Terminal 2 is its curved roof. Representing the waves of the pristine blue waters surrounding Mactan Island, the large arches are made from glued laminated timber and were imported by the firm Rubner Holzbau, who brought in each massive piece from Austria.
During a recent tour of Terminal 2, SPOT.ph took a peek at how those arches look from the inside—trust us, it’s even more breathtaking in real life. Lined up precisely through the length of each wing, they draw the eyes upward and make an already large space feel even more massive. A skylight runs through the length of each curve, flooding the interiors with daylight.
Also inside the terminal are hundreds of construction and cleaning staff, an almost frenzied buzz in the air as they carry out their duties to make sure all the finishing touches are in place for its big opening. As GMCAC’s Assistant for Corporate Affairs Dil Maribojoc says with a laugh, things have been getting a little crazy.
In the midst of it all, she points out the check-in counters, which are considerably lower than the standard. “It’s because we also want to be the friendliest airport,” Maribojoc explains, adding that being able to see the airport staff will make checking in feel like a more personal interaction. They’re also accented with colored lighting and traditional weaving details, done by Dedon.
Echoing the passenger pathways through Duty Free are curved wooden beams on the ceiling.
From the check-in area, we move into pre-departure and the Duty Free section, where the curved lines continue in the ceiling details. “This is going to be the largest Duty Free in the country,” she tells us. Alongside well-known international brands are some local names—delicacies and souvenir items, and even designer accessories from the likes of Cebuana Mia Arcenas.
The resort theme is evident even in the smallest details—the airport's floors "glimmer" like sand, thanks to the addition of glossy tiles adorned with crushed mother-of-pearl.
It was here, while the group continued to be mesmerized by the ceiling, that Maribojoc pointed out the floors. “It’s made with crushed mother-of-pearl,” she shares. This detail was done to replicate the look of sand, when sunlight reflects on the floor.
The ceiling of the baggage claim area is made with metal beams that mimic wood. They’re very lightweight—in case repairs have to be made, the beams can be easily pushed out of the way.
A number of other dining and retail establishments will also be opening in different areas of the terminal, including a lechon outlet where travelers can enjoy Cebu’s famous roast pig.
Continuing on the tour, it’s clear that there’s still more about the airport that GMCAC is keeping under wraps. Many of our questions about the facilities were met with smiles and the line, “It’s still a surprise,” which somehow fuels our excitement for the opening even more.
The developers put a lot of thought into the restrooms of Terminal 2—they've decided to add a moss wall for both restrooms, a striking design element against the wooden palette. Above is the men's restroom.
Aside from being a decorative element, the moss wall also helps purify the air in the room. Above is the women's restroom.
What’s no longer a secret are the bathrooms. “We really gave a lot of thought to the bathrooms,” she says, adding that they’re an important comfort to the travel experience. Both bathrooms feature a moss wall, a striking block of green against the wooden elements, the wall panel is made with real moss, purifying the air in the bathrooms while adding a very Instagrammable touch. We’re already counting the number of bathroom OOTDs we’ll see when Terminal 2 opens.
Scattered across the terminal are snapshots of Cebu’s iconic spots and festivals by photographers George Tapan and Bien S. Bautista. Maribojoc adds that they will also be showcasing artwork from local artists once the Terminal is complete.
The date for said completion is July 1—from that point on, all international flights from Cebu will be serviced by Terminal 2. And although there are already a number of carriers that fly direct to Cebu, GMCAC expects to bring in many additional flights after the launch. As of now, they are already plotting flights to the U.S., as well as preparing for the return of Qatar Airways to Cebu. Once the terminal launches, GMCAC will work on refurbishing Terminal 1.
Traveling will always be a welcome respite to the everyday routine, and the opening of Terminal 2 just makes the experience an even more exciting one. Whether you’re arriving in Cebu from elsewhere in the world, or leaving it to explore exotic locales, Terminal 2 of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport seems like the best place to start your journey.