Upon touchdown, around 2:30 pm, I hailed a jeepney that would take me to the downtown area (thanks to habagatcentral’s directions on how to get in and out of Davao Int’l Airport) for just P14. I had a prior reservation at the Royal House Inn and Suites in C.M. Recto, formerly known as Claveria and still called by that name by the locals. I must have missed my stop because the jeepney was already dropping off the last remaining passengers at Illustre St., which was perhaps the last stop before the driver begins the next route cycle. Oh well, I thought, might as well have lunch first before figuring out how to get to the hotel (which I realized hours after was just within walking distance from Mang Inasal in Illustre as the taxi meter read P55 pesos only).
Yes, disappointed with myself for breaking my public commute vow on my first day of travel, I paid 55pesos to the taxi driver who took me to my hotel. He very willingly provided the change. This is what distinguishes Davao (and Baguio too!) taxi drivers from the rest of the country: they charge exactly as what the meter tells. Not like in Metro Manila where you give P100 for a P75-meter reading and where the driver demands an additional P50 “dahil traffic sa EDSA”.
The Royal House Inn has a very welcoming lobby with walls adorned with paintings and a high ceiling decked out with chandeliers. When morning comes, I wake up to the sounds of birds merrily chirping by the hotel mini-aviary smacked in the center of the building where the ceiling opens up to the sky and rain pours down at night ensuring the guests of a good night’s sleep.
I originally booked the room with company in mind but my friend backed out because of work commitments so I had the double economy room all to myself. With 850pesos per night, this is pretty affordable by all standards. Air-conditioned, equipped with cable TV and a shower heater, the large room is well worth the pay. There’s also Wifi connection by the lobby which I very much abused with FB and twitter on my nightly itinerary. Haha
Jeepneys plying all major city routes pass by Claveria so public commute was easy peasy for me. From my hotel, I went to the Annil Bus terminal in San Pedro Extension corner Quirino Avenue in two jeepney rides, to the Sasa Wharf (en route to Samal) in one ride, and to the Ponce Suites and Art Gallery also in a single ride from my hotel.
The verdict: Great location. Large and clean rooms. Awesome amenities.