How to Get In and Out of Davao International Airport On Tight Budget?

Davao International Airport Terminal Building, located near Barrio Pampanga in Buhangin District.

Davao International Airport (ICAO: RPMD / IATA: DVO), or officially known as Francisco Bangoy International Airport, is the busiest airport in the entire Mindanao island. It is the gateway of Davao region and south-central Mindanao. DVO is located in Buhangin District, some 15 kilometers away from the city center—but slowly being encroached by urban space. The airport has been serving Davaoeños for half a century already, from once an unpaved parcel of land donated by the Bangoy clan, into an international airport that serves Mindanao and the rest of BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines – East ASEAN Growth Area).

The old airport terminal at Sasa. It was said to have been designed by National Artist Leandro Locsin (Screenshot from Google Street View)

Since December 1, 2003, the operations of the passenger and cargo have been moved from the old terminal (designed by National Artist Leandro "Lindy" Locsin) in Sasa (just across the new terminal) to the new terminal in Buhangin District, which was funded by Asian Development Bank and European Investment Bank. The Moro-inspired white terminal has been both the domestic and international passenger terminal of Davao. Since then, it has been a bit challenging on how to get into Davao International Airport because of its distance. Yet unlike General Santos or Clark, Davao Airport is still very accessible to cheap public transportation. It’s just in the matter of where in Davao City would you like to be. Our point of reference would be Bajada since most Davaoeños can access any part of the city from this area.

How to Get In to Davao International Airport:

  • Jeepney services. Again, despite the big move in 2003, it hasn’t that drastically affected its accessibility to the common people. You may take a jeepney with a “Panacan via Buhangin” signboard if you’ll be coming from Bajada (Abreeza, Victoria Plaza, Landco, GMall area). Fare costs around P15 only from Abreeza. However, do consider yourself providing ample leeway due to moderate to heavy traffic in Buhangin Road and Bajada Avenue itself.

  • Taxi. It could have been way cheaper if the non-aircon taxis weren’t abolished in 2010. However, taxis still present as the most convenient yet most expensive option to take. Remember that Davao City has a sprawling urban area (being the largest in the entire country in terms of land area) and a trip from Matina Crossing to the airport may cost you more than P200 via Diversion Road.

How do you Get Out of Davao Airport?

Getting out of the airport requires walking towards the Diversion Road, since jeepneys and other modes of public transportation (except taxis) don’t pass by in front of the airport itself. Just a few meters from the airport is the Diversion Road which leads to downtown Davao City, Matina or Toril if southbound; or Panacan if heading north.
  • Jeepneys. Since the new terminal is located in the Diversion Road, you have either two choices depending on where in Davao City is your destination. If you are going downtown, take “Bangkerohan” or “G-Mall, Bajada, Buhangin” jeepneys or multicabs. They just pass by at the road, just cross it. If you are heading north or somewhere in Sasa, just take any “Panacan” jeepney passing by. Fare depends on where in Davao City will you go, but the first five kilometers costs only PhP8 (as of the moment of writing).

  • Buses and V-Hires. If you’re heading towards Tagum City, Panabo, northern Davao or even Caraga region, there are buses and shuttle vans that pass by the airport. Usually, during night time, the shuttle vans can load and unload here. However in daytime, it is highly advisable to take a van from the terminal itself. The buses aren’t likely to open up their doors as they only accept passengers coming from Ecoland Bus Terminal, nearly 20 kilometers southeast of the airport.
So if coming to Kadayawan on tight budget, or just don’t like to spend too much in your trip, just take a jeep and go. And remember, don’t be afraid to ask, Davaoeños are warm and accommodating. It’s time to Du-aw Davao!

To Davaoeños, I’m open for your suggestions. Thank you!