Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shops at the Davao International Airport

I used to hate airports. There was a time it was just a transit point to and from places, but after several years of hopping from one to the next, I have learned to – at the very least – appreciate them, by finding out what they offer to the travel weary visitors. They somehow help you relax and shake off that sense of paranoia that innately accompanies visiting ports of entries and exits.

A few months ago, I received an email from someone who requested if I could list down some of the shops and restaurants available at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport, aka Davao International Airport located in southern Philippines in the island of Mindanao. After considering this request, finally here are the shops just immediately prior to proceeding to the Pre-departure area:

RecommendedSuka at Sili (Vinegar and Pepper) is the airport’s modest branch of a bigger fine-dine Filipino Restaurant found at the city center. Great tasting food though a bit on the upmarket side (pictured above). 

I recently caught myself with a three-hour delayed flight by PAL Express (formerly Airphil Express) so they "treated" their guests to a free dinner. What we got was the dullest fish fillet I have ever encountered in my life, paired with the miniscule cup of iced tea. I actually took two bites from my fish then left the whole piece altogether. There goes my recommendation! :)

R and R's Cuppa Lounge is found just before queuing for the security check to the pre-departure gates. They used to be Karl's Koffee Corner. It has been re-designed into a cozier cafe-style joint with a single waitress manning it. I tried their Tocino meal before: pricey at P150 and not palatable. I am not sure if it's still available now. But what's consistent about this place is their Durian shake. They serve one of the best at the airport. They seem to specialize with Durian coffee so I tried their Durian Frappe at P140 (July 2018). It's amazing how the "musty" flavor of Durian and coffee work pretty well together. Highly recommended.

Solomon’s Den is one of the airport’s pioneering “canteens” way before there were other food joints here. It used to serve fresh home cooked meals on simple canteen-style tables. I complained about stale food and their eternally smirking cafeteria servers but during recent visits (July 2018), the variety of food and service have improved. Meals usually cost P150. There's usually lechon kawali, chicken liver, adobo and monggo beans!


There are two shops at the pre-departure area: "A'den - Charles Daniel Cafe" which sells hand bags by Hermes, Nine West, Giordano, etc. - and Sky Go Cafe where you can order sandwiches, coffee or some drinks (no "real" food" and the ones available are at a higher price). The latter is styled like a lounge where techies could surf with their laptop, but the place is a bit low on space and gastronomic options are very limited. If you want to fill your stomach, this isn't the place. If you feel at home sitting on lounges with other keyboard denizens, you'd feel comfortable here. 

Meanwhile, A'den's serves rice toppings (the "silog" variety), spaghetti, etc. I've tried their Club Sandwich before. There's several entries in their menu but the last two instances I was there, they only had 2 or 3 items available, they might as well throw the menu to the bin. As stomach filler, they will serve cup noodles.

Sky Go Cafe (above and below) is located at the other end of the pre-departure area, away from the boarding gates.
Cheese and Egg sandwich (PhP100) at A'Den Cafe is mercilessly tasteless. And those are crackers/chips, not french fries. A'Den is a busy shop boasting of space at the Pre-departure Area; one of the only 2 cafes. Unfortunately, this relatively expensive shop is stuffy and hot. Their aircon spews warm air so if you're looking for a bit of coolness, this is not the place. Moreover, tables are hardly cleared because of the fast and hectic turnover with just 2 employees manning the counter. A'Den also sells crocodile leather products.

Sky Go Cafe has wifi service and a very limited food list.

Sky Go Cafe - browse and have a sandwich.

Islands Souvenirs is found at the 2nd level just before paying for the PhP200 terminal fee

R and R's Cuppa Lounge has been re-designed into a homier joint from its previous bar-style interiors. This used to be Karl's Koffee Korner. Please check the next 4 photos.

Durian Frappe for P140 at R and R's Cuppa Lounge

Karl's Koffee Corner. As of January 28, 2012, This joint has been renamed R&R Cuppa Lounge (photos above).
Air Can-Anan Express serves cafeteria food like Solomon's Den, though the crowd seems to prefer the latter. Located opposite R and R Cuppa Lounge, beside Suka at Sili.

Sip and Snack - another snack bar which also sells souvenir items.

Sip and Snack's Durian shake @ PhP115 is a must-try as well. They're also offering a Durian Frozen Cake @PhP35 a piece. Now isn't that interesting?

Sip and Snack's delicacies. A packet of Civet Coffee costs PhP1,200.

Durian Choco from the award-winning Minco brand.

Esther and Pet M.T.B. - Not a pet shop, they serve food and beverages.

Solomon's Den - The airport's pioneering food house, serving food a la cafeteria. Unfortunately, its servers have dispensed away with common courtesy and hospitality. Located beside the toilet. 

Shirts and batik polos being sold at Bienvenida's beside Solomon's Den.
Nenita pomelos are sold at PhP550 per box at Bienvenida's.

Datoedco Fishbay

Datoedco's unsweetened Chocolate from Malagos. What is an unsweet chocolate?

1231 Souvenirz To Go - This one has lots of souvenir items to offer and the "Golden" brand of pomelos. When looking for really sweet pomelos, "Golden" is almost a sure-thing! Other brands of pomelos include Menzi, Nenita's and Dizon Farm. A box of pomelo costs PhP550 to 600.

Dark chocolate bars from Kablon Farms. There's even a "spicy" chocolate. Hmmm. At P70 (almost $2) each, they should taste like heaven as they're more expensive than Toblerone.

Durian in Davao is even available in the form of chips (crackers).

Crisp wafer delicacy called "Galletas de Davao" sold at Karl's Koffee Korner.

The Souvenir Shop is located at the 2nd level near the escalator before the terminal fee counter. 

Nescafe Alegria is hidden at the back of "The Souvenir Shop".

Dream catchers at The Souvenir Shop.

Handicraft at The Souvenir Shop.
Airport Garden Cafe is flanked by The Souvenir Shop (right) and Pete's Cafe (left).

The Airport Garden Cafe has a canteen-style design. I think this used to be a shop before this was a dining place.

Unfortunately, I failed to take note of its name, but it's probably "Luzviminda".

On the way to the pre-departure area and boarding gates at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport.

Relaxing interior lights from the final security check going towards the pre-departure hall.


Ola said...

And I like duty free shops most at the aiports:)

eye in the sky said...

Me too, just to window shop. Unfortunately, Davao's Airport mostly hosts local flights and very few international flights, thus duty free shops aren't available (unless I mislooked).