First Time Flyer: How I Overcame My Fear Of Airports + Cebu Mini-Adventure

November 26, 2011

After years and years of thinking, weighing and waiting for the right opportunity to come, I was finally able to experience it -- to fly, that is.

After years and years of thinking, weighing, and waiting for the right opportunity to come, I was finally able to experience it -- to fly, that is. 

Clouds as viewed from inside the airplane during my first time to fly
First airplane ride

First Time Flyer: How I Overcame My Fear Of Airports + Cebu Mini-Adventure

    My first opportunity to fly

    The opportunity for my very first airplane ride came in the form of a business trip. That wasn't exactly how I wished it would be because I wanted it to be a leisurely trip or for a vacation. But since I was going to Cebu, I was all excited about my flight nonetheless.  

    Photo of an airplane during first time to fly
    Photo by

    I also wanted to have a companion during my first flight because I was a little apprehensive, or call it afraid, of airports. To say that I was nervous is an understatement.

    It was not fear out of phobia but I was wary of going through the whole check-in process alone for fear that I would miss a step and then be left behind by the plane. I was terrified of the thought of looking stupid and lost at the airport.

    How I overcame my fear of airports 

    I had to find a way to banish all my fears quick if I had to go through that flight by my lonesome. It was really not hard at all, I mean getting over that fear of airports. I just asked my colleagues about the entire check-in process and what to keep in mind at the airport. I was glad that they were nothing but helpful and reassuring.

    View from the airplane window during my first time to fly
    Photo by

    Here are the top things to remember at the airport when you are a nervous first-time flyer :

    1. Be at the airport in advance

    Always be at the airport well ahead of your flight. That would prevent panic or mix-up, which is usually the cause of forgetting to do a step or missing a flight.

    My very first flight was via Philippine Airlines at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 at around seven in the evening. Knowing the notoriously heavy traffic on the roads outside NAIA, I logged out of the office early and went to the airport right away. I was at NAIA two hours before my flight., more than adequate for me to settle fees and familiarize myself with the airport.

    2. Settle all fees as soon as you get to the airport

    As soon as I got to the airport, a colleague told me to settle the terminal fee immediately. One step down and all I have to do is just wait for my flight. That is exactly what I did. I was told that the queue at the terminal fee counter is usually long but I was fortunate when I saw that there were no lines. I paid the fee and exhaled a sigh of relief.

    3. Wind down when all payables have been settled 

    After paying the terminal fee, I still had around 1 hour and 45 minutes to kill before my boarding time. I decided to have a cup of hot café mocha at the airport coffee shop and drafted the invocation for our program. By this time, my fear has dissipated and I can relax. My excitement was building up.

    4. Be aware of your boarding time

    Always be conscious of the time at the airport, especially boarding time. Flight arrival is usually announced and airplane personnel would usually announce when it is time to board. Nonetheless, it would be helpful to be always mindful of your boarding time to avoid all possible hassles of missed flights.

    5. Stay at your designated boarding gate

    You can stay at your boarding gate a few minutes before your boarding time. That way, you could easily hear your boarding call. Sometimes, boarding gates get reassigned so be aware also if there would be announcements about that.

    First airplane ride

    Before boarding time came, I felt that as though I was almost running to the boarding gate. I fell in line, handed over my boarding pass, and was finally inside the plane.

    While I was inside the plane, it still felt like I was dreaming. I thought, "so this is how the interior of a plane looks like." Minutes after settling down, I couldn't wait for the plane to take off. I took an evening flight, by the way, so I guess it added more to the "adventure."

    As the plane taxied down the runway, my heart was racing like crazy. It was really happening! And then, suddenly, we were up. I was finally flying! I could see the bright city lights that looked like sprinkled sparkles on the ground. The feeling was all so surreal.

    First-time in Cebu

    My flight to Mactan International Airport was two hours. I thought of sleeping but decided not to as I wanted to relish the experience.

    Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino
    Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino

    When the announcement finally came that we were already at Mactan, I felt jolted once more. It was my first time traveling out of Luzon and I was fortunate that it was on the beautiful island of Cebu. I immediately headed for the airport's exit and took a cab. 

    I went straight to Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino in Lahug, rested a bit, and got down to work when I had settled all my things in our room. We were here for work so there was no chance to explore Cebu City, even if I wanted to. We were busy with the preparations as well as the actual event at the hotel.

    Port Restaurant at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino
    Port Restaurant

    Nevertheless, during our last night at Cebu, we went to Asiatown IT Park and had coffee. Since we were tired from our event, we went back to our room early.

    Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino

    Probably one of the best hotels in the province of Cebu is the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino. It was amazing and stunning with its high ceilings and big function rooms. We were awed to find out that there is a large theater inside the hotel, a popular concert venue.

    Facade of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino
    Façade of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino

    Although we just slept inside the room since we were outside most of the time, I still could not forget how comfortable the bed was. The room had all the standard amenities like an LCD TV, a personal refrigerator, a study, and free bottled water. The bathroom had the usual bath amenities, a tub, a toilet, a mirror, and a shower.

    Bedside lamp at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino
    Bedside Lamp

    As for the food, we loved the free breakfast buffet that came with our room at the Waterfront. As always, bacon was a big hit with us. Also for the first time, I had a taste of the famous Cebu Lechon during the event the previous night. The Lechon was indeed very good. The meat was tasty while the skin was crunchy, and had just the right amount of salt and seasonings. The crunch and taste of the skin were almost like chicharron.



    Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino marker
    Outside Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino

    Before our flight back to Manila, we bought pasalubong, such as otap, piaya, and Cebu Lechon. The flight back to Manila was nothing unusual. Well, at least I was not as nervous because I had companions this time. Even so, I still could never forget my very first time to fly. It's an experience that I would always look back to and laugh about.


    This post may contain affiliate links, including those from Amazon Associates, which means that if you book or purchase anything through one of those links, we may earn a small commission but at no extra cost to you. All opinions are ours and we only promote products that we use.

    Leave A Reply

    Feel free to share your thoughts! Relevant comments are welcome on this site. However, spam and promotional comments will not be published.


    1. I'm glad you were able to fly for the first time! The Waterfront Hotel you stayed at sounded really nice.

    2. It's always exciting when it's the first time! I'm glad you had a safe flight going to and from Cebu. It sounds like a lovely place and I'm sure despite this being a trip for work, you also had a great time!

    3. First fly in the plane will always be treasured. I miss Cebu and I am heading there by end of August! Yey!

    4. It's nice to read about the excitement of people that fly for the first time ever. It's good you had a good flight. I am terrified of flying and I have to board a plane almost every month. I wish there could be something that would make me sleep before the flight so that I can only wake up at the destination. :)

    5. It sounds like a very nice place. Yes, the first fly is very exciting!

    6. How exciting! Hopefully it is the first of many flying adventures that you will experience.

    7. Flying for the first time must be such an exciting and scary experience! If I were you, I would not have been able to sleep either!

    8. The first flight is always a memorable experience to cherish for life and the hotel looks amazing! I bet you would had so much fun during your trip!

    9. to be honest i barely remember the first time ive ever flown,its a love hate relationship for it but to paranoid to enjoy it 100%

    10. There is always a 1st time for everything. Well done and glad you had a safe trip. You also took the plunge and did it on your own. Pretty awesome hotel too :)

    11. Congratulations on flying for the first time, I hope there will be more to come. Nice hotel as well.

    12. great job facing your 'somewhat' fear for flying... love that you got to experience something new in life and that you had a good time, even if it was for work.

    13. Wow congrats on overcoming your fear! And Cebu seems like a really amazing place.

    14. Always remember your first flight lol. Glad you've done it. Cebu looks absolutely amazing I'd love to go.

    15. Kristel Yamzon-Oliva8 May 2022 at 03:09

      Thanks for sharing this tips. 😊
      Agree ako sa lahat lalo na dun sa agahan ang pagpunta para mas maraming time ayusin ag dapat ayusin lalo na ang mga babayaran, para wala kang ma-missed out na step. 😊

    16. Tala Martinez8 May 2022 at 03:09

      Waahh! Thank you for this article. Never pa ako nakasakay sà plane. Aside dun sa fear na di ko alam ang feeling inside it, ganun din po, di ko alam ang gagawin. Baka magkamali ako at mapagalitan 🤦