Manila Helicopter Tour: PhilJets Lets You Experience Metro Manila from the Sky

Taking To The Skies For a Helicopter Tour of Metro Manila. Can You Spot Your House From Here?

Metro Manila, with all of its different cities and millions of inhabitants, takes up over 600 square kilometers of space on Luzon. That sort of size can make it difficult to get a real sense of scale when you look at the nation’s capital with both feet on the ground. To get a better idea of how big the place really is, the best option is to take to the sky. Follow WhenInManila as we go on a helicopter tour of the Metro.

If you can’t see the above video, click here to watch it on YouTube

Our route led us from the PhilJets heliport near the airport past the nearly finished City of Dreams Manila and Mall of Asia. From there, we did a right turn and headed towards Makati, crossing the skyway and flying along EDSA before turning left and over Rockwell towards Century City and the tallest structure in the country, Gramercy Residences.

Metro-Manila-Helicopter-Tour-PhilJets-Frank-Schuengel (1)Forbes Park with BGC in the background

After a quick lap of the area, we flew over Makati CBD and passed PBcom Tower, the tallest office tower in the country, before heading out along Manila Bay for a good look at the absolutely vast area taken up by the Port of Manila. The route was partially dictated by angry looking storm clouds on the horizon, and our desire to avoid a fly-by helicopter wash of the stormy kind.  

Metro-Manila-Helicopter-Tour-PhilJets-Frank-Schuengel (2)Flying along EDSA. No traffic problems up here

The helicopter of choice for our tour was an Airbus Helicopters EC130 T2, which not only comfortably seats up to six passengers, but also provides a super smooth ride and easy onboard communication thanks to Bose noise cancelling aviation headphones. I’m pretty sure there are cars that are less comfortable and noisier than this sophisticated flying machine.

Metro-Manila-Helicopter-Tour-PhilJets-Frank-Schuengel (3)The way high flying CEOs see Makati’s central business district. Probably. 

This EC130 T2 is currently the only one available for charter in the Philippines and next to a 3.5 million dollar price tag also features a cruise speed of 236km/h, a maximum range of 606 kilometers, and a maximum takeoff weight of 2500kg. Expertly piloted on the day by Chief Pilot Captain Bong Delvo, this European-built state of the art aircraft makes use of a 632 kW engine and has proven popular the world over.  

Metro-Manila-Helicopter-Tour-PhilJets-Frank-Schuengel (8)Captain Bong Delvo and his office

As the country continues to prosper in the current economic boom, the number of people with disposable income increases, and with it the demand for more unusual and some might say extravagant services such as helicopter flights. This doesn’t mean it’s only for the rich and famous, though. While still somewhat of an expensive thing to do, there are means and ways to get the cost down to a more manageable figure.

Metro-Manila-Helicopter-Tour-PhilJets-Frank-Schuengel (4)Flying along Manila Yacht Club and Roxas Boulevard

Prices depend on what service or package is booked, and also on what aircraft is being used. When I set up our flight as a birthday surprise for my better half (and I’m neither rich nor famous), I knew it wouldn’t be exactly cheap, but it worked out ok in the end. Especially if you book the larger EC130 T2, which seats six passengers plus pilot, costs can be reduced by splitting the amount between the individual passengers. As a rough guide, flights start at around PHP 12,000 per person and you can book as little as 30 minutes of flight time to make things more affordable.

Metro-Manila-Helicopter-Tour-PhilJets-Frank-Schuengel (5)Barangay 649 / Manila Port Area

Whizzing around Metro Manila is by no means the only thing you can do when booking the hovering high life, with Mount Pinatubo or Taal Volcano Helicopter Tours, or flights to places like the Banaue Rice Terraces, Nasugbu, Puerto Galera or Baler all being options. If the helicopter can reach it, and if your pockets are deep enough to pay for it, then chances are you can book the journey.

Metro-Manila-Helicopter-Tour-PhilJets-Frank-Schuengel (6)Century City and Gramercy Residences, the tallest building in the country at the moment

In a rush to make it to your business meeting? Then book the Airport-to-Makati Helicopter Drop Off, which comes with a CEO-sized price tag but means you won’t sit in traffic or have to put up with dodgy airport cab drivers. The helicopter picks you up straight after your plane lands at NAIA, and will drop you off at the Peninsula in Makati barely ten minutes later. That really is how the other half lives and we opted for the free pick up and drop off service by car instead. 

Metro-Manila-Helicopter-Tour-PhilJets-Frank-Schuengel (7)Sunset along Manila Bay

Sadly, for us the helicopter lifestyle only lasted a short while, but it was definitely worth it to see this huge city from above and to experience flying across an area that we usually only ever cross by car or bicycle. If you have a special occasion coming up, or are looking for an unusual gift or experience, then taking to the air in a helicopter is definitely something worth considering. The EC130 we used even comes with a GoPro camera and iPad app to remotely take pictures and video of your flight, and you can also snap away with your own camera while on-board as well, so you can take the memories home with you and be the envy of your Facebook friends for some time to come. 



Taking To The Skies For a Helicopter Tour of Metro Manila. Can You Spot Your House From Here?