Words by: Mick Conrad G. Tan

The Manila North Harbor is the largest and leading domestic port in the Philippines and is recognized as a key hub for domestic commerce in the country.

The Manila North Harbor is the largest and leading domestic port in the Philippines and is recognized as a key hub for domestic commerce in the country.

From an unappealing and rundown looking terminal to a topnotch modern seaport terminal that can serve two to three million passengers annually, the new North Port Passenger Terminal is up and running.

It was way back in November 19, 2009 that the history of the project began. The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) entitled the Manila North Harbor Port Inc. (MNHPI) with the responsibility to improve one of the four main ports of Manila namely, the Manila North Harbor (MNH). Despite comprising the Harbor Centre Port Terminal and Petron Corporation, the MNHPI signed a 25-year contract of accountability to the port. Needless to say, they are in-charge of all operations, maintenance, and development which is no easy task. MNHPI CEO Richard D. Barclay even said, “It’s a big commitment to service at the same time keep the modernization program going. Our challenge is to deliver that…”

Nonetheless, progress can clearly be seen from the opening of the new passenger terminal. MNHPI chairman Michael Romero wasn’t kidding when he said that they designed the terminal thinking about the passengers.

“The complex is designed to provide passengers with an unforgettable and unparalleled experience and is the first of its kind in the Philippines.”

The new passenger terminal can be found at Pier 4 of the Manila North Harbor in Tondo, Manila. It takes up an area of 11,600 square meters and is equipped with the latest facilities to ensure the passengers’ comfort. Moreover, it also offers other amenities like sufficient parking space, comfortable waiting areas and abundant food selections. Several functional rooms are also provided such as a playroom, a prayer room, and nursing room. What’s even more praise-worthy is that it was designed not just for any passenger, but for Filipino passengers to be exact. Having a natural caring culture, Filipinos often accompany departing loved ones in huge numbers. Furthermore, all these services can be enjoyed without having to worry about their safety. Highly trained security personnel are present and are aided by reliable detection devices. Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya confidently invites elementary students and high school children to have their field trips there.

“… They’ll get a very good impression of North Harbor and see it in a different light,” says Abaya. If that is not enough, they even made the terminal fee very affordable! In comparison to the airport terminal fees, which ranges from 200Php to 500Php, passengers will be charged with a considerably lower rate of 35Php to 50Php. The terminal is even said to positively increase port traffic by 10 percent.

“Before we took over the Manila North Harbor in 2010, the daily production levels were just 1 to 2 container movements per hour. With the brand new cranes and equipment, there will be 18 to 25 container movements per hour or about 18,000 to 25,000 efficient improvements in production, which will now be felt by the country’s major port hub,” said Michael Romero.

One can clearly see the effort the MNHPI put into this project.

“Building this new facility of international standards is a distinct honor for us at MNHPI. It is a much-awaited port infrastructure our countrymen truly deserve. We were most inspired to realize for our nation this dream terminal,” said Michael Romero.

The project ends with the successful construction of the new passenger terminal. The 14.5 billion pesos contract is mainly allotted for the construction of terminals, facilities, and heavy machinery. Chairman Michael Romero expounds even further to the media that 5 billion pesos is still allocated to fund additional projects to improve the port terminal. He even reassures reporters that investments are right on schedule if not ahead.

The building of the new passenger port simply represents a huge milestone not just for the MNHPI but for the Philippines as well. Not only will it serve the Philippines economically, but will also help increase the moral and pride of the Filipinos.

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