Monday, April 4, 2016

Holy Week 2016 in Davao

Known as the "Land of Durian" and of Duterte, Davao is the largest city in the country located in the Southern part of Mindanao. I've always heard such great things about this place and so I was really happy when my parents decided that we were gonna spend Holy Week in Davao. It was a spontaneous trip that my mom booked our tickets just two days before! She surprised us and at that moment we couldn't contain our excitement. Little did we realize we were super unprepared (Okay, what are we going to do when we get there? Where do we go first? Which nice places to visit and which restaurants should we try?) It was our first time to go there and we realized we have no idea about Davao's tourist spots. (lol!) Luckily, my friend Kat who's based in Davao was kind enough to make our itinerary. Read more as I share with you guys my Davao experience. (Warning: Long post ahead!) 


DAY 1: Eden Nature Park

With only an hour and a half flight from Manila, we arrived in Davao International Airport at around 8:30 in the morning. From there we rode a shuttle bus going to Marco Polo Hotel, where we stayed for three days and two nights. Our bus driver was exceptionally friendly. He kept telling us stories about Davao. While on our way to the hotel, we noticed three things: 1) There's this speed limit ordinance in Davao wherein you can only drive a maximum of 30kph downtown and 40kph within the city. We were moving so slooooow.. - a reason why albeit our hotel is not too far from the airport, it took us about 30 minutes to get there. 2) We also noticed how clean it is there in Davao compared to any other city in the country. Our driver told us that Mayor Duterte usually checks the city very early or late at night to see if the surroundings are kept clean. 3) Smoking is banned in the city and breaking this policy carries with it a severe financial penalty. So if you happen to be a chain-smoker, I'm not exactly sure how you're gonna deal with life there? lol!

After settling in to our rooms, we headed down to meet my friend Kat at the lobby of the hotel and went out for lunch. For our transportation, we rented a van with a driver that costs P3,500 per day. Nope, that's not a typo. Like you, I was also shocked to know how expensive it is to rent a van there, but I guess it's more practical and convenient for us since we're travelling in a big group. Good thing, we were able to negotiate a lower price from the owner. For our first meal in Davao, we tried a jungle-themed restaurant with a tail of a crashed plane on its roof. It wasn't really our first choice, but then most of the restaurants were closed at that time since it was Holy Thursday. Sadly, we had limited options for restaurants during our whole trip.. :( As the name suggests, Outback Grill specializes in barbecue, ribs, and seafood. Among all the dishes we ordered, our favourites were Chuck Wagon (barbecue ribs) and Zoofari Bounty (seafood platter that includes tiger prawns, squid, bangus, and liempo). Yuuum!

Outback Grill
Pork Barbecue
Zoofari Bounty
Meet my friend, Kat <3
Yaya Vergie, Me, Kaki, Trina, & Cassy
After eating our lunch, we were ready for an adventure-filled afternoon at Eden Nature Park. Interestingly, we learned that this 80-hectare mountain resort is 95% man-made! How cool is that? Also, there were a lot of outdoor activities you can try in there like the Indiana Jones, Skycyling, Zip-line, Horse-back Riding, Fishing, and a lot more. 

Indiana Jones
Look at my brave siblings who conquered the sky with their bicycles! Uhm, I know how to ride a bicycle, but I just can't ride a bicycle 60 feet above the ground! It's just plain crazy & scaryyy! But maybe I'd have the guts to try it when we come back next time? haha! :)

SkyCycle
Meanwhile, my dad and I just went to Eden's Fishing Village...

caught a tilapia!
Hey, I didn't know fishing was so much fun! It was my first time and I really enjoyed it! For some reason, it became so addictive to the point that I could actually stay there for hours. ~ I'm not kidding!  

live fishes my dad & I caught from the pond
Voila! So my dad decided to have the fishes deep fried and we ate them for dinner. That was the best-tasting tilapia ever!!! 

dinner's ready!!! c/o Daddy & I
After dinner, we went back to Marco Polo Hotel to get some rest for tomorrow's activities. 


DAY 2: Pearl Farm Beach Resort in Samal Island

Top of the morning! We had our sumptuous breakfast buffet at the hotel and then rode the van going to Pearl Farm Marina Wharf, where we boarded the boat to Samal Island. 

Bluer Than Blue
After a 45-minute boat ride, we finally arrived at Pearl Farm Beach Resort!

welcome drink from kuya

Pearly white sand, crystal clear ocean, refreshing swimming pool, fresh air, swaying coconut palms - everything I've dreamt about a perfect beach resort.. I never thought such beautiful place exists. This place is simply amazing! <3


The resort was really huge that we didn't know what to do first. We strolled around and took lots of pictures amidst the beautiful scenery. Because the pool area was so inviting, we went for a swim. After lunch, we then decided to go Island Hopping. I'll let the pictures do the talking now. ;)

Snorkeling

DAY 3: Crocodile Park

For our last day, we visited Davao’s Crocodile Park and then we just brought home fruits like durian and pomelo. It was a very special and memorable trip; and I’m really grateful to have spent it with my family. :)


Davao, the "Land of Durian"? Nah, I would call it my 3-day paradise. Cross out that summer bucket list and see for yourself. ;)

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