Today, we have a guest article which was submitted by UpawPhil through our new “Submit an Article” form. If you would like to have your own article published on LiP, please send in an article and watch for it to be published here on LiP! Thank you for your submission, Phil!
Last year December I flew form L.A. to Davao to meet my (not then) girlfriend, Joy. It was my first time in the Phils, I thought I was prepared! I had spend much time researching, especially the LiP site for this occasion. Sufficed to say, only the real thing can truly prepare you for it. As the saying goes “The devil is in the details.”
I had visited Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand many years before so I was prepared for the heat and long, cramped flights. Here’s were my story starts landing in Manila about 4:30 am. Unbeknownst to me, I had to exit the airport building, then re-enter to get to my connecting flight. Exhausted, I panicked a little but the palpable spirit of Christmas was in the air and when I saw the giant decorated Christmas tree outside the terminal, it gave me pause, and despite everything I smiled to myself.
A very helpful airport worker greeted me and when asked, I explained my predicament. He smiled and nodded “First time eh?” while walking me to the correct entrance. I thanked him, tipped him with some poorly converted currency from a bank here in the states (I wish I had found fearless leader Bobs podcast before that!) But he was more concerned about getting his picture taken!
I was pleasantly surprised at the individual gate services and amenities. Couches, chairs, wifi, bars with multiple tvs shows news and sports along with tables with which to use and recharge devices! The airport is easy to navigate once you see a kiosk of its topical layout, so fear not future visitors and aspiring expats! Get comfy as most intl’ flights stop here first, plus you can get some great duty-free gifts and keepsakes before meeting loved ones.
Our flights passengers were taken to slew of buses that ferried us out on the tarmac. It was both alarming and exciting to watch our buses dodge and weave other planes and luggage trucks, and it was awkward to see our airbus parked. It was almost haphazardly parked behind 2 other planes blocking their exit. And yes, I did hear some *ahem* “charged” conversation between the flight crew and airport officers.
It’s about 1.5 hrs flight from Manila to Davao and despite my lack of sleep and familiarity of pics of Davao, I was surprised just how *green* it is. From my planes angle I saw Samal island and it barely looked populated as most building were hidden behind thick copse of trees. On approach I looked down at the airport and I sensed that my future girlfriend was there, watching my planes decent. 22.5 hours later I was exhausted but this new sensation lit body up like an elixir of the gods!
It was now 9:30 am and the airport was barely humming along, getting my luggage from the closed intl’ counter took some time. Despite Joy’s warning, I wasn’t prepared for workers insisting and clamoring to help me with my 1 suitcase. No matter where you live, money will always be sought after and I knew they were looking for a tip. I happily tipped them and hurriedly met my Joy, I was too tired and impatient to beg them off.
Fellow future travelers to Davao, its airport is easy to get to and far easier to navigate. Like Manila it has more than enough place to rest, eat and relax and very clean! Also, the exit tax is less than half as much as Manila (220 Php to be precise). Bet you didn’t know that, did ya? I can’t wait to return again very shortly!!!