Recently, more international artists have been bringing their tours to the Philippines, and usually, the venue is just a toss up between Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena or Araneta Coliseum, with the occasional New Frontier Theater, Skydome, or Samsung Hall. However, most of these venues have limited capacity, with MOA Arena being the biggest at 15,000 pax. This is why artists expected to draw bigger crowds, such as soloist Harry Styles, Korean groups Seventeen and Blackpink, have been scheduled for shows in the Philippine Arena, which is said to be the world’s largest indoor arena at 55,000 seating capacity.
If the artist has limited time in the Philippines (e.g. Harry Styles, who has scheduled shows in other countries a couple of days before and after his PH show), one show with a big venue like Philippine Arena seems like the best option. But is it really the best venue for concerts and other music events? Here are reasons why many fans are complaining about events at the Philippine Arena.
Lack of transportation
Located in the towns of Bocaue and Santa Maria in Bulacan, the Philippine Arena is accessible through the dedicated exit of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). There are buses that stop by the venue, but the trips may not be enough to accommodate the thousands of concertgoers arriving all on the same day. To address this, fans have taken initiative to organize carpools as well as van and bus transfers for the concert day.
For those looking for a transpo going th PH Arena, we have one in Robinsons Magnolia.
We have 19 slots that have opened today.
Secure your spot now thru this form https://t.co/31vNk57gzE pic.twitter.com/i5Id8fa1pG
— Rhob⁷ saw +×+, seeing 💎 & The Vamps (@robbierhobs) November 6, 2022
Distant parking areas
Even if you can bring your own private vehicle, you will need to find a parking space in the surrounding area. Unfortunately, they’re not exactly walking distance from the arena itself, as illustrated in this map by Twitter user @BulaCARATs. The user added that there is a shuttle service roaming around the parking areas, but it may not be enough to accommodate thousands of concertgoers.
Hello. For those who are asking about parking spaces in Philippine Arena for #BeTSinBulacan.
These are the available parking spaces during BIG EVENTS sa PH Arena, this is base din sa pag-iikot namin during our last visits. And these are not short walks. Prepare yourselves po.— pic.twitter.com/D3NaqkDN0Q
— BulaCARATs (NOT SELLING TICKETS) (@BulaCARATs) November 13, 2022
You need to get there super early
Because of the parking situation and the fact that the road heading from NLEX into the arena is narrow (with only two lanes), a bottleneck is inevitable when many vehicles arrive at the same time. If you don’t want to be late to the show, previous concertgoers have advised that you need to go really early — probably even 5 hours earlier.
Heavy traffic leaving the venue
The same thing is likely to happen once the concert is over. Everyone is leaving the venue, so post-concert gridlock traffic is inevitable. Many previous concertgoers have shared anecdotes of their own experience, with most averaging 4 to 5 hours on the road just to get home after attending a concert in Philippine Arena.
attended a concert back in 2019 in PH Arena and got stuck in traffic for 4-5 hours. 4am na ata ako nakauwi partida may sasakyan pa yon
if you can, go to the singapore leg or idk. hassle ng ph arena promise hjfayuwe
— wartortoise (@paoloumpa) November 15, 2022
Lack of nearby accommodations
The Philippine Arena Complex used to be farmland that was eventually developed into what it is today. The vision is that the complex would have residential and office buildings. However, development is still underway, which means there are little to no available accommodations nearby the indoor arena itself.
So even if people would want to avoid the pre- and post-concert traffic by staying in the area, it isn’t really possible as there are no hotels or any sort of accommodation within walking distance to and from the arena. The nearest Airbnbs are still a drive away, and those can only house a small fraction of the arena’s capacity.
Lack of food establishments
Aside from residential structures, the complex is envisioned to include shopping, entertainment, leisure, education, business, and sports establishments. But as mentioned, development is still underway. Hence, there are not enough food establishments to accommodate the 55,000 or so concertgoers expected.
Lack of restrooms outside the arena proper
Comfort rooms are a necessity for any event. The arena itself is reported to have several restrooms across all levels, so going to the restroom during the concert proper isn’t a problem. However, a venue review on TripAdvisor said there were no comfort rooms in the parking area. While this may have already been addressed, fans have raised the necessity for portalets around the venue, given that upcoming shows are nearly sold out.
these are the views of lower box premium, lower box a/b, upper box a, & upper box b in philippine arena. gago parang langgam nalang mga k-idols if ever. 😭😭 pic.twitter.com/h8xCxAx2G1
— 🗯 (@yiscart) July 14, 2022
Fans have been sharing photos of the different views from certain sections in the indoor arena, and the general consensus is those in the upper tiers won’t be able to see anything anymore. Some joke it’ll be like a live jamming session or you would even need binoculars.
Yong naka mind set na pang gen add na ang mabibiling ticket @blackpink bornpink concert sa Philippine Arena…Maghanap na ng binoculars para kita kahit malayo…😁😁 pic.twitter.com/pxXFqOERTG
— LM&JRJK (@LmJrjk) October 29, 2022
This Philippine Arena Seat Plan is so funny 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/ROwYu4OIsA
— chunick (@ChunickTato) July 22, 2014
A few claim that similarly sized venues in other countries have more or less the same view (i.e. the artists look like ants from some spots), but the other drawbacks listed here don’t really make such an experience worth it.
Now that more artists are bringing their tours to the Philippines, fans can only hope that future events at the Philippine Arena will be more pleasant experiences.
What are your thoughts on Philippine Arena as a concert venue?