LOOK: Polished timber, bejewelled floors glisten in Cobonpue-designed Cebu airport

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 08 2018 02:14 AM

MACTAN, Cebu - Bejewelled floors shine beneath columns of polished wood and glass ceilings in the newly-inaugurated Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2, a gateway that seeks to remind travelers of the province's natural wonders and excellence in craftsmanship.

The 65,500-square meter resort-themed structure was conceptualized by multi-awarded Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue and has a price tag of about P17.5 billion.

Here's a look at the country's latest gateway that is expected to usher in some 12.5 million passengers every year.


The terminal's facade boasts of 6 dome-shaped structures with floor-to-ceiling glass panels. The arched gateways are connected by a tempered glass roof that traces the structure's curved ceilings.

"The silhouette of the new building actually looks like waves of the ocean," Cobonpue told ABS-CBN News.

"In the initial concept, it was a sail but we do not have sailing, it's not part of Cebuano culture so we wanted to mimic the ocean because Cebu is about the sea," he said.


Bended glulam wood columns give the the departure area a native feel. The 48 check-in counters are decorated with faux-rattan to enhance the warm ambience in the spacious hall.

"Part of the problem of airports is that they are very cold. They use steel, brass, granite. Everything looks very cold and sometimes clinical. We wanted to find a material that is very durable and warm," Cobonpue said.
Glulam timber or glue-laminated timber developed and tested in Austria was used for the columns and ceiling of terminal.

"It's as strong as steel if not stronger because wood, during an earthquake, just sways," Cobonpue said.
"This kind of wood is pressure-treated so it's termite-proof. It's also treated so that it can also be used outdoors," he said.


Cobonpue and his team decided to strategically place tempered glass on the walls and ceilings of the hub to allow passengers to have a more breathable and refreshing space.

"The challenge in every airport is to bring the light in without the heat that comes with it so that's why it's strategically placed. If you see the ceiling, it allows natural light to come in," he said.


The terminal's terrazo flooring tends to shine when hit by light as mother of pearl shards were inserted into the tiles.

The jewels were inserted to let the floor "sparkle like the white sand beaches of Cebu."

"Cebu is about the sea, about fishing. The pearl symbolizes that," Cobonpue said.


Restroom stalls divided using mahogany wood. Toilets are equipped with bidets and sensor-activated flush systems.

Moss installations were also placed on walls to stabilize humidity and improve air quality in restrooms.


Curved wood installations decorate the ceiling of the terminal's duty free and retail space. Food kiosks and counters are also wrapped in faux-ratan to make the native design consistent.


At least 10 immigration counters are available both in the departure and arrival halls. Four baggage carousels are placed in a spacious hall on the terminal's lower level.