One of Davao’s most personable travel agents is a very close friend of mine, Alex Divinagracia of Pacific Royal Wings. I used to be in the travel industry a lo-o-ong time ago, before I discovered the Internet and ultimately the then-fledgling IT industry of Davao. Anyway, Alex had just come back from Manado, Indonesia, and he was telling me about his trip. They were hosted by Sriwijaya Air, the newest foreign airline to fly in and out of Davao. Read about that familiarization tour at Sun*Star Davao.
This is good for Davao. The very first time that we had Davao-Manado flights was back in the 90s, and it was serviced by Bouraq Air. After that, it was Merpati. Well, at least they’re trying to keep the air route alive!
The article in Sun*Star says that the flights are Mondays & Thursdays, but Alex tells me that it’s Mondays & Fridays. Better check for sure if you plan on going to that scuba diving destination. According to my friend, Manado is a very affordable travel destination, but a little dry when it comes to partying. But for scuba and other water sports, I hear that it’s a wonderful alternative to, say, Boracay (which might even come out more expensive!).
And great news! Since Manado (North Sulawesi) is part of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA for super short), travelers from Davao to Manado won’t have to pay the P1,620 travel tax. Alex says that you’ll only have to pay for a P200 processing fee for the the tax exemption certificate, which you can get at the Philippine Tourism Authority desk right in our airport. Roundtrip airfare via Sriwijaya is around US$225. The contact details of the main agent in Davao are listed in that newspaper article.
Speaking of travel, it’s almost summer!!