For so many years now, nothing much has changed. It is still predictably orderly! One of the few airports in this country where you don’t encounter so much hassle during arrivals. And the tourism folks in this place must be real serious about that green kiosk. I have yet to arrive in Davao where that kiosk is unmanned. And the folks there are not just ‘whoever’ but real tourism employees in the know. If you are a visitor, your fantastic visit of Davao starts with them. Always helpful.
Ah that big and wide row of hotel and car service desks? Still the same too. The folks there respect their rules. Number one of that is they must stay inside their counters and not milling around nor standing in the way where passengers pass. Unlike in Cebu where the reps of those big hotels have started standing right where you pass, right? Well, in Davao, even if these hotel reps expect a guest, they do have placards too to get attention of their expected guests, yet they still stay within the confines of their counters. I call it discipline.
(Tacloban Airport remember this) Outside, you still take that walk some meters towards the parking areas to catch a taxi. And it is still orderly. I remember years ago when I walked this portion and there was no covered walk yet. The ideal was to arrive either early or late in the day to avoid baking in the sun. But soon they erected that covered walkway. They obviously know how to think of the general commuting public, unlike the dumb way it is at Tacloban airport!
But like Tacloban (okay Tacloban CAAP Manager, you may now rejoice) there are still these assholes who scout the area for prey. These hoodlums are ever on the lookout for victims to make easy money from. Take the case of the video below. I caught that idiot persistently following the dear lady (and her Caucasian husband) trying to convince her that they take his colorum transport to the city. His lowest offer was P450 but good for him, the dear lady still said no! Notice that in the beginning of the video (left edge of the frame), there is another man in uniform and airport ID also following them. He is a cohort of that hoodlum!
P450? That would be almost 3X the regular taxi fare from this airport to the city! Good that the dear lady said no. And when that asshole left, I asked her how much was that again. She said it started at P700! Gosh! And as if it were not enough, while we talked, another mugger-looking guy (to our right, not caught by my camera) offered them a similar ride for P1,500. Even the porter laughed at how ridiculous that price was. See the collage below, it does not even fetch P170 on a regular taxicab between the airport and G-Mall (Gaisano)!
Well, if you want to go a bit extreme, below is a picture I caught of a passenger walking from arrival area to the highway so he could catch a bus or jeep from there! I think I saw about 5 of them doing so. And now our dear Tacloban CAAP might say “eh mas malayo pa nga ang lakad na yun”! Excuse me Mr. CAAP, there is no real legitimate and law-abiding fare-regulated public transport at your Tacloban airport, while here in Davao, there are thousands of real metered taxis just a few meters from arrival, so walking to the highway IS AN OPTION and not the only way!
Lastly and by the way, as your cab exits the airport vicinity just a few meters from the highway, there is some kind of a big guardhouse (looks like a toll gate) and the guards there holler at your cab driver saying “apelyedo”! I really thought they wanted to get the surname of the driver. But I was surprised that my driver asked for my surname and hollered it back to them. Well, yeah okay, I still would like to think that is fine (for now). My driver told me those guards write the cab number, the time of exit and the surname of the passenger! I wonder what they’d do when there is a whole busload hahaha! At least we know they’re serious about ensuring safety and security of passengers – even if executed in a weird manner!
Other than the hoodlums with their colorum rides, I like arriving at this airport!