Mactan Cebu Int. Airport Spotting Guide

Mactan Cebu International Airport (IATA: CEB, ICAO: RPVM) is located on Mactan Island in Metro Cebu which belongs to the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. Cebu is the second busiest airport of the Philippines with 52.000 flights and 6,5M passengers in 2015.
All the Philippine carriers are serving Cebu (PAL Express, Air Asia Zest/Air Asia Philippines, Air Swift, Seair) and it is home of Cebu Pacific Air (ATR-72, A320). Foreign carriers during daytime are Cathay Pacific (Hongkong), Silkair (Singapore) and Tigerair (Singapore). During the nighttime, the Korean carriers are coming with Korean Air, Asiana, Air Busan, Jejuair and Jinair. There is one Seair B737-200 still in service, leaving CEB to Clark every evening with cargo for UPS and returning the next morning around 8/9am from Clark – during the day, the 737 is parked on the ramp.
New routes during daytime are announced for March 2016 with Xiamen Airlines, Eva Air and Emirates. Also Philippine Airlines will start a new route with direct flights from Cebu to Los Angeles in March, using A340 and from the third quarter B777.
The airport developing is in progress and a new apron and terminal-building is under construction.
Cebu has a single runway that was built by the USA in 1956 and a full-length taxiway that it shares with the current Mactan Air Base of the Philippine Air Force.
From Cebu it is easy to reach all the beautiful islands around like Boracay (Caticlan Airport), Bohol, Bantayan, Malapascua, Siquijor, Camotes and many more of the 7,107 islands in the Philippines.

Written by Dirk Grothe – last visited December 2015

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Airport Informations Runways 04/22
3.300 m (9,320 ft)
Terminals One Terminal for International and Domestic flights
Spotting Informations Ladder no ladder necessary
Car no car necessary and not recommended due to chaotic traffic, taxis or trikes (kind of sidecar motorcycle) are very cheap or rent a small motorbike/scooter to move between the spots (beware of the traffic!)
Restrooms only at the terminal
Drinks/Food small stores (Sari-Sari stores) are everywhere near by, but it is recommended to bring your own drinks to be independent (very hot temperatures, you need plenty of water)
Hotels lots of hotels in Lapu-Lapu City near the airport (e.g. Goldberry, Dulcenia, Waterfront Hotel) – search at
Season best season is December until March (avoid Easter – holy week), June until November is rain-season incl. typhoons, the hottest time is April/May (holiday season in the Philippines)
Runway Usage  04/22 04 during the dry north-east trade winds (Nov-May)
22 during the humid south-west monsoon (Jun-Oct)

Spot #1 – General Aviation Road (04 morning)
WHERE The spot is located at the General Aviation Road. Best spot for the morning arrivals 04. The aircrafts fit perfect between the fence and the landlines.
WHAT Morning approach 04.
TIME From sunrise until noon.
MISC. Less shadow, there is a wooden shelter you can use and the owners are friendly and will bring you a chair. It’s a very poor environment, so leave a 50 or 100 Peso bill (1 or 2 Euro) after using – that would be a complete dinner for the family.
FOCAL LENGTH 145mm (A320), 85mm (A330)


Spot #2 – Cebu Light Industrial Park (04 afternoon)

At Basak Road, main road between Lapu-Lapu and Basak. It is the entrance area to the Cebu Light Industrial Park. Stay at the right where the parking area for the motorbikes is located.

WHAT Afternoon approach 04.
TIME From around 3pm until sunset.
MISC. Busy road with a lot of chaotic traffic, Sari-Sari stores with food/beverage on the other side of the road. Shadow place to sit at this time of the day.
FOCAL LENGTH 90mm (A320)
Spot #3 – Firestation
WHERE Once again this spot is at the General Aviation Road,  next to the Fire Station. You can easily shot over the fence from here as the runway is on a higher level.
WHAT 04 arrivals and departure, 22 arrival and departure
TIME From sunrise until noon.
MISC. Heat haze starting around 9am for the aircrafts on the runway, better for 04 arrivals go to spot No. 1 and for 22 arrivals go to spot No. 4. It’s the best spot for 04 departure in the morning. No shadow, wear cap and use sun-lotion (SPF 30-50).
FOCAL LENGTH 130-160mm (A320), depending on the position runway, taxiway or airborne


Spot #4 – Line-up 22
WHERE General Aviation Road, opposite of the taxiway for line-up 22 near the threshold. There is a little hill of small stones from where you can shot over the fence without ladder.
WHAT Line-up for take-off 22 and 22 approaches.
TIME From sunrise until noon.
MISC. Sari-Sari store with food/beverage and a place to sit in the shadow.
FOCAL LENGTH 130mm (A320), 80mm (A330)
Spot #5 – Lapu Lapu City College, afternoon arrival 04, line up 04
WHERE The Lapu Lapu City College is located at the Basak Road, opposite of Spot #2. Ask the guard at the gate to enter the courtyard of the college for taking photos (5a). If denied, go to the big empty lot right hand side of the College (5b).
WHAT Arrival 04 possible at 5a and 5b. The line-up for 04 only at 5a!
TIME From around 14.00 until sunset for arrivals, for the line-up light is good from noon.
MISC. Busy road with a lot of chaotic traffic, Sari-Sari stores with food/beverage on the other side of the road. Shadow place to sit at this time of the day.
FOCAL LENGTH 100mm (A320)

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4 thoughts on “Mactan Cebu Int. Airport Spotting Guide

    1. Dirk

      Hi Kate,
      sorry for late reply, never saw your comment.
      Yes, there is a FB group called “Mactan-Cebu International Airport Planespotters”.
      Join the group (272 members), helpful and friendly people.

  1. Dirk Grothe

    update April 2016:
    due to new landline wires, the spot #2 (entrance Cebu Light Industrial Park) is not working anymore – there will always be landline wires in the picture…
    there is a big empty lot on the opposite site of the road, beside the Lapu Lapu City College – perfect place for the afternoon shots!

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