Davao is one of the hidden gems of the Philippines. It offers just about everything that you could want in a tight little package: lots of beaches, mountains, nightlife, friendly locals, a safe atmosphere, and not too much traffic. And, 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 very reasonable 600 pesos (US $11). For the international lounge, it will run you 800 php.
In this review we’ll be writing about the domestic lounge. If you’re flying internationally, you’ll want to visit our other review located here. On the domestic side, here we don’t want you to get too excited, for the PAGSS Premium Lounge – Davao (DVO) is nothing to write home about.
The Facts – PAGSS Premium Lounge – Davao (DVO)
First, the hard truth: amenities in the Philippines are cheap, so this lounge may not actually be your best choice. If you’re looking for a decent meal or some quality coffee, you’ll definitely want to visit one of the many restaurants nearby before stopping by the lounge. On the other hand, your plan is to doublefist San Migs and see how long you can go before breaking the seal, then you’re set. Otherwise, what the lounge does offer is that sweet, sweet sense of exclusivity – you, my elite friend, are chowing down on cold penne pasta, rubbing shoulders the the crème. And no matter how poor the lounge’s offerings may be, no one can take that away from you.
The lounge is easy to reach. Once you’ve cleared domestic security, take a left and walk down until you nearly run into a glass door. Then look to your left and you’ll see the lounge entrance, which is not otherwise marked. You’ll need to ignore the signs directing you to the lounges, which actually point in the other direction. But that’s why you read this blog, right? Check in is speedy and friendly – you’ll be given a wifi code (that never seems to change!) and your flight details will be written out on a whiteboard. You will be summoned personally when its time to board.
The Space – PAGSS Premium Lounge – Davao (DVO)
The lounge is fairly small, which is alright, since there are rarely many guests in it at any given time. A narrow but long room extends back, and is filled with relatively comfy chairs. The back part of the room is kept dark and is ideal for napping; the front part of the lounge features a TV playing movies or news. The buffet area is spread out along the seating area. There is also a proper work station with outlets; its a great place to get some work done, or to write an overdue lounge review should that be your line of work.
The space is comfortable enough, but the major downside is that the room is an echo chamber, which is a terrible thing anywhere, but particularly bad in a country where speaking very loudly into a phone and using the speakerphone is the norm. If there is even a single other guest in the lounge with you, you can expect that you will be privy to some deafeningly loud conversations at some point during your stay. Bring headphones or earplugs if this is at all bothersome for you.
The food – PAGSS Premium Lounge – Davao (DVO)
As we always say, any lounge that actually has food is to be commended. But we won’t commend this lounge too much, since the offerings are repetitive and, err, uninspiring. On our last two visits, there was a decent pot of Chicken arrozado that actually hit the spot, even though the chicken itself was cold until it hit the hot, stew-like arroz. It will do the job, though. The menu never changes, so you’ll be guaranteed some chicken arrozado.
There’s also a “pasta station” and this does vary. During our first visit, this offered cold macaroni with no sauce. Yum. On the following visit, the sauce was back, though still not particularly appetizing. On our third visit, the fettuccine alfredo wasn’t half bad. There are also a couple different hors d’ouvres, such as “sloppy chef sandwiches,” cold quiches, “chicken balls buns.” One or two desserts may make an appearance, along with some chilled vegetables and fruits in the fridge.
The drinks – PAGSS Premium Lounge – Davao (DVO)
There’s beer, so drink that. Its a couple of varieties of San Miguel in cans. That mostly it in the alcohol department, though on one of our visits they did have a little collection of the hard stuff – one bottle each of gin, rum and vodka. As for beer, they seem to only stock a few in the fridge at a time, though, so if you’re a lush you’ll need to do a walk of shame over to the front desk to ask for me (we didn’t, but, we can empathize.) Sometimes the liquor isn’t out, so you’ll have to ask.
Beyond that, there are some juices, some lukewarm coffee, soda and water. Again, if you want anything nice or special, buy it before you come in. We could grumble, or just be glad that the lounge exists at all.
The internet works, and works consistently. The speeds aren’t blazing, but based on our multiple visits, we can assert confidently that you’ll be able to get connected and get your work done without much of a hassle. Unless your work is being a torrent pirate, in which case, you’re out of luck.
There is one restroom each for men and women. This could lead to a wait if the lounge is populated, but since it probably own’t be, its alright. There are definitely no howers.
Final Thoughts – PAGSS Premium Lounge – Davao (DVO)
All in all, this lounge isn’t the best, and it isn’t the worst. You won’t need to hang out in the Davao airport for long anyways, and the lounge won’t compel you to show up early to bask in hedonistic pleasures. For your best experience, eat up before you come, keep your expectations moderate, and you’ll have a fine time. Until the guy next to you decides to make a phone call.