One of the wonderful things about Davao City is that it has enough international connections to allow you to get where you need to go without having to transit the hell that is Manila (though MNL does have a few good lounges). If your routing takes you via Doha, Singapore, Manado or Hong Kong, you may just find yourself with the opportunity to use the nice little PAGSS Lounge in the small international terminal.
This lounge is a few steps up from its companion lounge in the domestic terminal. If you’re flying domestic, be sure to hop on over to our review of the PAGSS Domestic Lounge at Davao. But if you’re flying international, read on for our PAGSS Lounge (International) Review – Davao (DVO).
Our Trip – PAGSS Lounge (International) Review- Davao (DVO)
When we visited the lounge, we were on our way from Davao to Doha, taking advantage of Qatar’s once-a-week Friday flight that passes through the city after a stop in Clark-Angeles. The international terminal will never have more than one flight going out at once, so your experience here is sure to be exclusive. Despite a relatively full business class cabin, we were the only passengers to visit the lounge, at all. In fact, we weren’t summoned for boarding until the entire international terminal had been cleared of passengers. So exclusive.
The Facts – PAGSS Lounge (International) Review- Davao (DVO)
The lounge is easy to reach, and you’ll see it even before you’ve gotten through immigration. As you get your fingerprints taken, look to the right and you’ll see the lounge beckoning to you. Once you’re passport’s been stamped, you can proceed immediately to the lounge, by walking forward a few steps and then turning to the right. As in the domestic lounge, the check-in process is quick and easy.
Of course, lounge access in both the international and domestic terminals, both of which are accessible with your Priority Pass and Dragon Pass. You can also enter the lounge by paying a fee in cash of 800 pesos. All airlines use this lounge, so you may also have access through them with your status.
As one of the only guests in this lounge, you’ll likely have a peaceful stay, especially if you arrive some time before the departure of your flight. Unfortunately, the announcements from the domestic terminal are so deafeningly loud that you’ll hear them even as you sit in your quiet corner of the lounge. Nevertheless, this isn’t a terrible place to get some work done, or to unwind, before a flight. For our recent flight to Doha, we were the only passengers in the lounge right up until boarding time.
The Space – PAGSS Lounge (International) Review – Davao (DVO)
This is a delightful little space, with comforatble chairs and a few different types of surfaces, so you’ll probably find someone good to sit, no matter what you’re trying to do. Those who are good at fetal curling may even manage to take a nap in the wide chairs. The lounge isn’t large, though, so if someone else shows up, it could get a little noisy. But otherwise, you’ll likely have your pick of the chairs.
The food – PAGSS Premium Lounge Review – Davao (DVO)
The food is largely identical to the spread at the domestic lounge. You’ve got an acceptable range of crunchy snacks, popcorn (oversalted tbh), some vegetable cuts, a sad looking carby dessert or two, and some fruit. There are also little finger sandwiches with various meats, including chicken, tuna and beef. The meat isn’t bad, either, though the bread is lacking.
In the entrees category there is always the same thing: a pasta dish, and a chicken arrozado (sometimes described as arroz caldo.) It isn’t bad, especially if you’re looking for something healthy-ish, but it certainly something to rush to the airport for. In terms of the pasta, during our visit it was “florentine linguine,” but I’m not sure that anyone from Florence would be aching to claim that pasta. It isn’t exactly a knock-out.
The drinks – PAGSS Lounge (International) Review – Davao (DVO)
Hey, hey, a lounge with booze! This one covers all the bases, if only just barely. You’ve got your San Mig, your San Mig lite, a bottle of white, a bottle of red (in the refrigerator lord knows why), and then a little selection of gin (Gilbey’s), rum (Bacardi) , vodka (Smirnoff), and whiskey (black label). For the teetotalers, there is water, coffee, Coke, Sprite and juice. Again, not a thrilling selection, but not entirely lacking either. We’ve seen worse.
Dear god on high, in your infinite wisdom and mercy, please bless this lounge with better internet. The internet connection was tragicomic-ly slow. So bad, indeed, that the staff suggested I switch over to the free airport wifi sponsored by Google. This is surprising, given that the internet in the domestic lounge 25 feet away was not nearly so offensively bad. In fact, the Google-sponsored internet wasn’t bad at all. YMMV?
The restrooms and showers
Restrooms are in the lounge, and can accommodate three men doing their business at once; or two women. If you want to shower, good news, there is one! It wasn’t clean when we visited so there is no picture, but it wasn’t half bad, and also had a hair dryer. If you want to come to the lounge straight from Samal or something, this isn’t a bad place to clean up.
The staff here is delightful and accommodating. They’ll make sure you get to your flight at the right time, and they’ll probably even remember you from your previous visit. Its nice to be in a lounge where everybody knows your name, and they’re obviously always glad you came.
Final Thoughts – PAGSS Lounge (International) Review – Davao (DVO)
Not bad! This lounge isn’t at the top of the heap, but for a provincial airport, it certainly doesn’t leave a bad taste in one’s mouth. And, like any respectable lounge in the Philippines, there are more than enough copies of My Pope magazine to go around.