The Airbus A340 aircraft was airborne for 10 minutes when its pilot declared an emergency and requested to land back in Manila, said Eric Apolonio of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
The plane landed safely and there were no injuries among the 254 people aboard, Apolonio said. After the passengers disembarked, Manila airport firefighters began checking the aircraft.
It was not immediately clear what went wrong with Flight PR 1857, which had 13 crew members and 241 passengers and was bound for central Cebu province, about an hour by air from Manila.
A Filipino journalist onboard, Nestor Abrematea, said he and other passengers smelled smoke after takeoff but did not see any in the cabin, adding that many got scared but did not panic when the pilot announced that the plane would head back to the Manila airport for safety reasons.