Below, check out how our 3 days in Davao went.
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1.) Checked In at The MANORArriving early, we hailed a taxi cab from the airport and headed to the city center where our accommodation is located. The Manor is a decent budget place, strategically located near places of interests and became our home base while exploring Davao. Once settled, we asked for directions from the reception and walked our way to our first stop, The People's Park.
2.) Leisurely Walk At The PEOPLE'S PARKIt's refreshing to see a clean and green park at the heart of a busy metro. A perfect spot to cool off while sitting or taking a short leisurely walk checking the thousand species of plants and trees that came from as far as Africa and South America and posing side by side with the life size sculptures of indigenous people of Mindanao made by the artist Kublai Millan.
3.) Overlooking Davao City From The JACK's RIDGEAfter our stroll at the People's Park, we took a cab and headed straight to Jack's Ridge Resort and Restaurant to get the best view of the city while enjoying our dinner. It's located at the Shrine Hills, Matina and offers a stunning view of Davao City. Among the restos, we choose TAKLOBO for the nice setting of providing a superb view of the cityscape while having dinner. The seafood meal I ordered isn't something to rave about, but the awesome view from there more than make up for it. For our nightcap, you shouldn't miss Karlo's Gourmet and Coffee and try the different exotic flavors (durian, mangoosteen, marang, guyabano, langka) of their coffee and cakes. I had durian frappucino and I loved it.
4.) Day Trip To The Island Garden City of SAMALOn our second day, we scheduled a tour of the Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte to escape the busy metropolis and experience the countryside vibe. It's great that you can actually do that just less than an hour away from Davao City. How to get there is easy and cheap. We took a jeep bound for SASA Wharf (always ask the driver to drop you off to your destination) and then a 10 minute RORO ride for 10 pesos to reach the Island Garden City of Samal. From there, habal habal rides are waiting to bring you to your destination. Be sure to have agreed with your habal habal driver the price and the places you'll visit before proceeding on your journey.
5.) Motorbike Ride Around The City of SamalRiding a motorbike is an awesome way to go around the Island Garden City of Samal. Just hop in at the back of your driver, savor the fresh breeze and enjoy the scenery around. Traffic is almost nil and the major roads are well paved.
|our habal habal driver and dispatcher on the left photo|
6.) Tour of The Monfort BAT SanctuaryThis place holds the 2010 Guinness World Record for holding the largest colony (close to 2 Millions or more) of Old World Fruit Bat called Geoffroy's Rousettes. Entrance fee is 100 pesos for adults and 80 pesos for children/ senior citizens. It's an educational trip and an interesting one at that. There are five sinkhole caves in the 23 hectare protected area, each with a colony of fruit bats that you can view near the entrance. Interestingly, our guide Ana mentioned that the bats grouped themselves according to gender or age, and they will find their way to which cave they belong. These fruit bats are responsible for the abundance of durian trees around Davao and important to the general health and existence of their rainforest.
7.) Day Tour Of SECDEA Beach ResortAfter our Monfort Bat Tour, we decided to chill out at this new beach resort in SAMAL Island named Secdea Beach Resort per recommendation of our bike driver. A day tour costs 650 pesos per pax with consumable food. The property is huge, the facilities and amenities are quite impressive. Ongoing constructions were happening during our visit for their expansion. We lounged at the infinity pool, took a dip, marvel at the beautiful setting while indulging in our food. A day tour is definitely not enough to explore the place, but we had a lovely time during our short stint and definitely will consider going back for an overnight stay.
8.) Try Davao's Chicken Barbeque at PENONG'sLike the usual open air grilled restaurant, the place is packed with diners of all ages even during the late hour we ate there. I had a feeling that half of the diners that time were also first time visitors of Davao with the manner they hold their Penong's chicken while snapping selfie shots. Well, the taste is like the usual Chicken Inasal, price is very affordable and they have many branches around Davao City. It's worth a try for the experience.
9.) Souvenir Shopping at ALDEVINCOALDEVINCO Shopping Center is the best place for souvenir shopping. They've been around since 1965 and you'll find here mostly products of Mindanaon heritage, like batik wears, tribal ornaments and accessories, musical instruments, ethnic fashion accessories, antique products, durian candies and etc. To get the best deal, try to scour the whole place for better prices. We were in a hurry to buy souvenir products and bought a lot of our stuff from the first shop we saw only to find out that other stores inside the complex are selling the same items at almost half the price.
10.) FRUIT TRIP at BANGKEROHAN MarketBangkerohan Public Market is just walking distance away from our accommodation. Our last hours in Davao were spent roaming around Bangkerohan and feasting on Davao's tropical fruits like mangosteen, marang, pomelo and of course durian. Everything is fresh and cheap. Some vendors also sell exotic fruit flavored candies and durian pies that you can bring home as pasalubong.
Above list is how we experienced Davao while on a limited time and limited budget. I'm sure there are several other ways to enjoy Davao and I will definitely figure that out, once I embark on a more extensive food trip, the next time I visit the place.