For most people, Davao may appear to be the exotic getaway of the southern part of the Philippines. Or Davao may be the melting pot of cheap but absolutely good fruits and vegetables. But for me, Davao is simply home.
My hometown is not the sleepy kind where everything moves in a languid motion and its not also a fuzzy buzzing city, it has its own movement of beat that most visitors love to inhibit when they leave the city. The Davao beat is simply unique like the city itself.
Let me tell you more about my home. Davao is the biggest city in the Philippines in terms of land area. It boasts of a buzzing city surrounded by lush greenery and white sand beaches. Davao is the home of the Philippine's National Bird - the Monkey-Eating Eagle. These beautiful birds can only be found at their natural habitat at the foot of Mt. Apo the highest mountain in the Philippines. This is what I am particularly proud of, our city holds a lot of 'est' after each adjective. Friendliest City. Cleanest water. Cheapest city to live in. The list could go on.
A quick tour. If I have some guests, coming over I usually take them to these spots and do touristy activities. And I try to fill the day with activities to make their visit worth the plane ticket.
If my guests are particular eaters, plenty of restaurants and bars are scattered in the city to hang out. Buffet restaurants are a big hit in the city because unlike Metro Manila the price range here are affordable. There are buffets for formal occasion and semi formal occasion. Price ranges from Php 300 to Php 1000. All of which are good eats. You don't have to look for hotels to find good buffet eating, because from breakfast, to lunch and dinner the city can plate in all in for all heavy eaters. The list of restaurants with my reviews is on the next page.
Another good thing about Davao is that typhoon can not enter the city. Unlike the rest of the country, the city only gets wet during heavy rains, but that's all. Lucky though because we don't have to worry about flash floods and other tragedies that go with typhoons. So since its typhoon free, the vegetation is in tact. For guests who are a big fan of nature and finding relaxation in its environs visit Eden Nature Park, Malagos Garden Resort and Seagull Mountain Resort.
Eden Nature Park is located in Bayabas, Toril. It is an hour drive from the city proper. You would need your own car to drive there. Or you can opt to renting a van if you are going there as a group. Some even contract taxi cabs for the trip. Most of the traxi cabs in the city are willing to strike a deal with any passengers who want to visit the place. Eden is quite far, so taxi cabs don't frequent the place to pick up passengers. Enjoy the beautiful view of Eden and the fresh breeze while staying overnight at their cabins. Plenty of activities for the whole family. Take a 45-minute tour in their resort for only Php175. Horse back riding, zipline and swimming are among their offered facilities. Cabins and cottages vary to accommodate the number of people and suit anyone's budget. Buffet lunch is also serve both for the overnight guests and daytime guests. For the health consciou, their buffet food is prepared using organic vegetables from their garden.
The Malagos Garden resort is somewhat similar to Eden except that the temperature here is similar with the temp of the city. Eden is located on a higher elevation. Malagos is also an hour drive from the city proper, however this is more accessible. Tricycles passed by along the road. The resort is also near the Philippine Eagle Sanctuary. If you feel like taking a forest adventure visit the sanctuary which is 15-20 minutes drive from the resort. The resort also has cottages and 2 restaurants to keep you relax and well fed while staying there. On Sundays, they have bird show which is very informative and perfect for kids. They also have pools where you can frolic while the sun is up and about.
Last mountain or nature theme resort in Davao is the Seagull Mountain Resort. Now this resort is way far from the city. The drive could stretch into two hours depending on your speed. But basically, it is more than an hour drive. This resort also has cottages for overnight guests. A beautiful falls is located at the heart of the area. The walk going there would be a bit tedious but its worth the walk. This resort is already at the boundary of Davao and Bukidnon or known to the locals as Buda. The climate here is more colder than the two previous resort I have mentioned. Again, you would need your own car to visit this place. Or you can take the bus going to Cagayan de Oro. Just tell the driver to drop off at Seagull resort or you get off on the first stop and take a short motorcycle ride going to the resort.
If you are those travelers who like to constantly refresh their tan, Davao city can still cater to that need. A few minutes of boat ride and you are already whisk away to another hideaway. The Samal island is home to the perfect getaway for families and honeymooners. Resorts may vary depending to your budget and needs. I'll make another list on another page for all the resorts and how to get there. But for some who prefer to be under the water than being above the water, many diving shops are also available if you want to check out the natural undersea view. The Carabao diving shop offers diving class, diving session and even island hopping so you can check all the beautiful spots in the island in one day.
For the thrill seekers, ziplines are almost everywhere here in the city. The first zipline is 2 hours away from the city in the province of Davao del Sur. Camp Sabros is the first park/resort (I'm not entirely sure what the place is really about) that has zipline. If you like the idea of flying with the feeling of being hanged this is your place. Outland Adventure is also an outdoor activity resort. Perfect for team building activities. Trekking is also part of the package. Another new activity being featured in Samal is the All-terrain Vehicle adventure. Though I still have to inquire about the whole package but I'm sure it is already gaining popularity in the city. The shop is located in Bajada, right in front of the Main MM Marble Building.
Night life or Nightcap:
When the sun sets, the party still continues in the city. If you belong to the nocturnal crowd, the city can still offer you a refuge. A famous area is the Torres St., strip. This street is lined with bars and restaurants that could cater to everything you need from ice cold beers of Bakbak, a spa massage at K1 and night cap at Blugre which features Davao's exotic fruit Durian and blending into a steaming and delicious coffee or latte. Another area where nightlife is blazing with fun is the Rizal Promenade and Matina Town Square in Matina.
Alas, the day is through. 24 hours is not enough to have a fill of the Davao beat. You need a week or a lifetime to fully understand and inhale the lifestyle of the Dabawenyos, but if you vacation leave only allows you a week, well, before that week is over might as well, schedule another one. The city will always welcome you just make sure to leave the cigarette butt on its proper place.