Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Faces of Davao 03 - Here, There and Cheap Hospitality

Davao City doesn't have eye popping sites, although the beaches of Samal Island are picturesque. But Samal Island isn't part of the city, but of the province of Davao del Norte. But what it lacks in spectacle is compensated by character, less expensive cost of living and the warmth of the people.


In terms of accommodations, it has plenty to offer. If you check out Agoda, you'd be offered several choices, many of them I've never even heard of. But through the years, and I am talking 20 years or so, an easy choice would be Roadway Inn located along JP Laurel Avenue.

Even before there were Gaisano Mall of Davao, Abreeza Ayala Mall or the new SM Mall (all along the same road), this "inn" was already in place. It's a no-frills place, and I've stayed there countless times. However, the last time I was there, the ladies manning the counter were rather unwelcoming (well, there's one particular older lady) which is odd. Everytime I ask for or turn in the room key, she would hardly even look at you. With not a hint of a smile, she would plod through the motion of getting the key as though it was the most arduous thing she had to do in her miserable life. What gives? This really underlines the fact that cheap things (like cheap accommodations) can only offer cheap service and even cheaper hospitality.

I do not expect red carpets rolled out before me, but something has to be said about being polite to guests. If you're at work, and it's your duty to receive guests, even if you've a raging toothache and your jaw's about to fall - or you're about to have an explosive bowel movement for that matter, you are tasked to smile. That is part of your job description. People don't merely pay for hotel amenities. Patronage includes good will. And good will doesn't merit a transfixed grimace on the face of a person whose job is to receive paying guests. What has Davao become?

Now this observation is a far cry when we transferred to the swanky Marco Polo Hotel a few days later which we will feature here in a succeeding post. But then there's hardly comparison to be made between an inn and a classy hotel. After all, you pay oodles of money for the latter. And as I've mentioned before, cheap accommodation is probably equivalent to cheap service and hospitality.

On a lighter note, below are photos of several places we've stumbled upon in Davao. There's this nice set of statues right in front of Davao's Hall of Justice. Across this is Davao Cathedral. Guests should visit Merco, a restaurant/bakeshop/fast food joint with several branches scattered all over the city. They have the best hamburgers and luglug (palabok) - and their Durian shake is to die for. They even have the fluffiest, tastiest chiffon cakes for take out.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Hall of Justice

Museo Dabawenyo. Photography not allowed inside.

Davao Cathedral


Andres Bonifacio Rotonda

Gaisano Mall of Davao, the biggest Gaisano Mall in the city. Its cinema is one of my favorite cineplexes in the city. Unfortunately, there's no way of knowing which films are showing. You'd have to go there to find out - which is rather inconvenient since this is a very busy area. Haven't they heard of newspapers or websites?

Affordable accommodation with unwelcoming, grimacing staff. It doesn't cost much to smile, my dears.

At Roadway Inn, service is a begrudging welcome. This is where smiles are scarce and painful.

Public transport. They call this "multicab" which is a smaller version of the fiera style commuter service, i.e. a smaller "jeepney". Rates start at P8. The city also has jeepneys and taxis.


Ramakrishnan said...

Nice pictures. The "Roadway Inn" kind of hospitality is universally omnipresent. There are several in every city & town of India where the receptionists are not merely indifferent, sometimes even downright rude !

eye in the sky said...

R. Ramakrishnan:

Isn't it sad that the people who are supposed to welcome visitors are the ones who don't deserve to stay in the business? :(