As mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m shortly departing Melbourne to go to Davao City in the Philippines for a week or so. More specifically, to visit the Mindanao Saga Flying Club (MSFC) to help them re-assemble the two identical new A22LS Foxbats they have acquired.
Getting to Davao wasn’t quite as simple as I had hoped. There are no direct flights from Melbourne, some going via Singapore and other far flung places. Only Philippine Airways has reasonable flights, but via Manila. Which means passing over Davao on the way to Manila and then flying back on an internal connecting flight. The whole journey takes about 16 hours, including waiting for the connection.
A precautionary visit to my local GP resulted in inoculations against typhoid and hepatitis, as well as a box full of malaria prevention tablets. And don’t look too closely at the Australia travel advisory website, as they are not very complimentary about the island of Mindanao, where I’m headed…
However, my contacts at MSFC couldn’t have been more helpful and reassuring, including advice on the arrival and departure terminals at Manila, as well as organising to meet me on arrival in Davao Airport and a hotel for the first night. The following day, we are going to their airfield and they have arranged a night accommodation at their club during the rest of my stay.
Their airfield – Mati National Airport – is about a 150 kilometre drive south east from Davao. My first look at Mati on google earth suggested a very small airfield with only a couple of hangars. However, on closer inspection, the satellite image was taken in 2002 and a lot has happened since then – as evidenced by the pictures on the MSFC Facebook pages.
Interesting facts: in terms of land area, Davao City is the largest in the Philippines, with a population between 1.5 and 2 million, which (for Australian readers) puts it roughly on a par with the Perth metropolitan area.
I’ll aim to post more information as I go along but I’m not sure how certain my internet connections will be – although MSFC has wifi in the club rooms. And we all know about NOT activating international roaming with Telstra!