I flew back today from the new airport located in the middle of no where. This airport has taken years to be delivered and as always it was delivered a year in advance because the President said so!
Result is that the infrastructure to support a speedy transfer to CDO or Illigan is somewhat missing.
I took a shuttle bus from Magnum transport located 100 meters past the new centrio Ayala mall along the highway in CDO. You stroll past Magnum radio station first, so do not get confused! The cost is very good at 199pesos including luggage on a brand new coaster bus with room to stand. The cost is similar for a taxi from downtown to the old Lumbia airport about 20 minutes ride.
Getting out of CDO was always slow because of traffic volumes. Once out of the city area the drive was then interrupted by several road widening projects that were to be completed in time for the scheduled opening in 2014. So lots of back up and contra flows, not aided by a funeral procession taking up one lane of the national highway and a long line it was as well, the dead guy must have been popular.
The journey time from CDO to the airport was longer then the flight to Manila, which departed and arrived on time.
The shuttle service turns around for arriving passengers so it is a complete sevice.
DO NOT BE LATE they do keep to the schedule for departures which is to leave on the hour every hour. No booking in advance
The airport as it is new looks impressive until you get inside....small is just not the word, it is tiny. Because they been ordered to open a year ahead of schedule, the soft opening had predictable teething issues. Scanners at entry not funtioning so a body wand scanner used. Line up to the check in was very busy until I realized the space they operate in is miniscule, so even if empty it looks cluttered. Far smaller than the Lumbia check in area.
Up stairs to departure area to join a long line of air terminal fee payers cost 200p against 30 pesos at Lumbia, well it is new and has to be paid for somehow. Because they open early I suspect the plan to include the fee in the ticket will evolve.They certainly do not need those people hanging around.
The departure lounge looks big and clean but it is not any bigger than Lumbia, it just looks impressive because its new. They have two proper places for eats, Seattle coffee house and Kennys , both busy, they share the same entrance the line up was just stupid. The small area for shops is empty as I expect they got caught flat footed by being ordered to open so far ahead of schedule. Personally I think two small shops are a waste, they need more food and beverages outlets based upon what I could see.
Bearing in mind this is meant to be an International gateway they are going to have to think expansion!! it is already too small. Good news is that there is plenty of room for another Terminal.
Nice sea views, led me to seeing that the military were also in town.The Hercules was on the runway and off. This was a surprise as the intention is to make Lumbia the military gateway as it often receives Hercules flights and has rotary wing craft based there.
Ok now a quick update on CDO night life or death, depends which way you look at it.
I was out Friday and Night cafe was like a morgue. I walked into Cruz Tall the first street beind the Night Cafe and started my bar hop at Oro love.... a portent of things to come.
No air con, 4 ladies in an area of 200sqm with 8 empty ktv rooms surrounding the main seating area. Dirty sweaty, grubby, seats unfit for even my dirty rear end. I did not order I just slunk out the door.
Down to the bottom of the same street and have a choice of either Blush(the old Bada Bing) on my left or De ja Vu (the old Ontic bar) on my right
I signalled left and went up the stairs of Blush. Air con was on and I counted 7 ladies 5 dancers and two GRO, very plump all round. I was about to order a beer when the girl on the stage yelled something at one of the ladies waiting who yelled back and promptly lit a cigarette. I near rolled back down the stairs.
Crossed over to De Ja vue
Air con off, big noisy Iwata fan blowing and maybe 15 plus girls. One medium sized exhaust fan, so if someone lights up it is a smokey den. I had a look around and saw some ladies who I first met 12 years ago!!! I did stop for one drink as was near to dropping for thirst. Show was pinoy style one girl at a time and pretty dull. Finished my beer and went off to search out new pastures.
Gentlemans club On Borja was one I did not venture into last time because of their cover charge of 100 pesos so I decided to swallow that and go peep. 7 ladies working, air con barley suficient and of the seven all looked scary I did not stop, did not pay a cover charge as I did not order.
After my Kissmania experience on my last visit I did not bother even trying that one again. Off to Lighthouse on Capistarno, once again, head in the door and 3 ladies only, no customers, so head out of the door and off to Guijon, opposite.
Guijon caters for Japanese and Koreans and is regarded as a lounge style club.more for high end. 50 pesos cover charge and 85 pesos for a beer, had about 15 ladies a lot younger and prettier than anything I seen so far. In fact too young . If I have to ask my self the question, how old is she?. then I am pretty sure I know the answer and its not good, I finished my beer paid up and left, just did not sit comfortable with me.
Over to "Ohmybeertime" bad enough when it was Mic & Mugs now try it after a couple of brewskis!! this was another wash out, 5 over the hill and over plump ladies , no customers and music so loud it seemed to fracture every bone. I turned back down the stairs. By now it was after 11:30pm so i strolled over the road into Syrens the old Spooks bar.
Music levels not bad and by far the busiest place in town must have been 50 plus pinoys and sprinkling of foreigners. I arrived just in time for their parade or modelling where the girls are all lined up on stage I counted 22 some short, some tall, some slim and some not so. After the modelling they all stayed on stage and did their version of Gangam style which was really quiet funny and earned some whistles and applause.
I bumped into a guy I knew from there from years back, he speaks the local dialect fluent and been there for over 20 years. I asked him about why the city is so poor for night life , he just shrugged and says he knows not why but this was his regular bar as they always made the effort to do things and the food was good. The air con was also on and it felt ambient and great fun atmosphere. I ordered a Coors light which slipped down well. My friend form yester year said he was just popping up stairs to chat with the ops manager who has been his friend and former employee of many years. i asked what was up there other than VIP rooms he said ah well you have been away then, come and have a look.
So up the carpeted stairs into a huge lounge bar with stage, far bigger than Guijon and far more comfortable. Billiards(pool) table and darts. Some vip rooms being used so I suspect the ladies I saw were those still available.
Upstairs is twice the size of downstairs but no action . I was shocked, my friend told me that back in the Spooks days, all seats would have been taken down stairs by 11:30pm and the overflow would have taken over the upstairs where the ladies would rotate up and down on every Friday and Saturday but no more. Just not enough people coming in and this was a bar without a cover charge, just straight forward 75 pesos a beer. I went back down stairs to my place at the bar and watched a comley young thing strut her stuff in the shower show HOLY SUDS!!
I did not see huge amounts of ladies drinks being bought but the ladies all seemed to have company or working on getting it lol
My friend came back down and we chatted and watched the show for the rest of the evening until throwing out time at 2am, we went to Mc do, which is 24 hours for a coffee and a chat.
Over all, my impression is, that a once vibrant city lies dormant. Perhaps when the airport fiasco is over it may improve the outlook.
Now back in Manila
Edited by samurai, 17 June 2013 - 12:30 PM.