“Twenty years from now, you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
EXPLORE. DREAM. DISCOVER.
There will come a point in your life that no matter how you enjoyed your work, one day you’d be fed up and find yourself day dreaming about a wonderful vacation with families and friends. Sooner or later, you’d be longing for that cool breeze of fresh air against your face and hoping you’d get away one point or another. Well, I’ve been longing for that day for an entire month since one of best friends told me she’d be coming home from Canada for a while with her boyfriend and his son. I was ecstatic coz it’s been a while since I’ve seen her and I need a pretty good laugh every now and then 🙂 Also, I’d like to meet James, her man who makes her so happy than I’ve never seen her before 🙂
So next thing I knew I was booking the earliest flight to Davao City on Friday midnight to catch up with them. Carrying my work with me, I was so eager to get away from the busyManila and hoping that I won’t receive phone calls over the next few days! Of course that didn’t happen, phone calls followed me everywhere I go, but nonetheless, I was able to run away from the work shenanigans for a while. That’s good enough for me 🙂
I’ve never been to Davao city and I was soooo excited to be there. The two-hour flight just swept by unexpectedly, I think mainly because I was asleep the whole trip and I only woke when I felt the plane touched down the Francisco Bangoy International Airport. Davao city is located at Mindanao region, south of Philippine archipelago. With more than 2 thousand square kilometre, Davao City is the largest land area in the country, also one of the most populated.
It’s not your normal city province; the people are very hospitable and very civilized, one would honestly think that you’re in Makati City! But what I don’t like about Davao, the speed limit with a maximum of 40 kph along city proper! Why?? Why would they do that?! Hahaha I reached Davao around 5am and my sweet friend Abigail, James and baby Zachy fetched me! My exhaustion from work and straight flight travel to get here has vanished instantly! I really missed her and our crazy laughs together. There are moments where we would just look at each other without words spoken, then we would know instantly what the other one is thinking about and we would start laughing hysterically! Yeah, people thought of us as crazy bitches lol
If you guys happen to be in Davao, you must visit the beautiful park of Eden.
One of our bffs, Reina is already in Davao few days earlier than I did along with Abigail’s parents, Tito Sam and Tita Annabelle and her brother Patrick. After fetching me at the airport, we went to James’ ancestral house to relax a little bit and headed to our hotel at Park-Inn to fetch Reina and the rest of the gang.
No time to lose so we instantly arranged a tour to Eden Garden Nature Park. It was paradise! You know how much I love garden and nature so I really enjoyed the trip! We rode this mini open van and drove around the 80 hectare garden full of beautiful flowers, thousands of pine trees, mangroves, exotic mouse deer, and a lot of gorgeous views!
They offer buffet made from abundant flavors and fresh, raw ingredients which the facility harvest themselves. So healthy and so fresh at the same time! They also offer rooms and villas for families who would like to spend a few days on the park grounds. We didn’t heed the mud nor the rain and took photos on every stop available! Hahaha
A few of the many souvenir items from Eden Garden gift shop.
After a tiring but happy day at the park, we went back to the hotel and get ready as we were also invited by James’ close family friends to their place for dinner. It was a fun night filled with great food, unlimited wine and scotch, and music! Yes, their family is composed of really good singers and musicians, I really enjoyed singing with them the entire night 🙂 The next day, we visited a church but unfortunately we missed hearing the mass. I was surprised that some of my friends would let me know that they are also in Davao or that they have friends and families there, if only I had a lot of time to spare I’d visit each and everyone of them 😦 We were not able to visit much tourist spots as James and Abigail have a tight schedule meeting some friends and family but boy, did we ate a lot! Hahaha I must warn you that the next photos will only make you starve and crave for more! 🙂
Aside from it’s beautiful landscapes and colorful festivals, Davao is best known as the home of the very popular Durian fruit (Photo from net). If you haven’t heard of Durian before let me give you some insights about this majestic fruit. I’ve heard a lot about it but it was actually my first time to see a Durian fruit up close. The Southeast Asian pips call it ‘King of fruits’ because of it’s large size and thorny husk. But the quality of this fruit that distinguishes itself from other family of flowering plants, is its strong odor. Oh man, you should smell it and be the judge yourself. I honestly have no words to describe how horrible the smell is! It’s like, rotten fish or something, I swear. Surprisingly, some people find its smell very pleasant and kind of sweet fragrance, while others find it revolting and uhmm… and what’s the word, disgusting, yikes! Our hosts really encourages us to eat the fruit cause according to them, it tastes good. But I dunno, I just don’t have the courage to even come near it! hahaha sorry 🙂
The festive pig out didn’t stopped after lunch. By dinner, we met up with some important Korean people and had our meal where else but at a Korean restaurant 🙂
The next day, we had breakfast at the most beautiful, and when I say beautiful, I mean God-must-have-spent-a-little-more-time-on-you-beautiful shores I’ve ever laid eyes on. Literally. Of course I’m talking about the Island Garden of Samal.
To reach the Samal Island, you need to ride the ferry or small passenger boats along the wharf. I must say that visiting this island has been the highlight of my trip here in Davao. It’s one of the top tourist destinations here in the country, and as much as I’m proud that we have this nature’s-given gift, I also hope that this place won’t be as populated and commercialized like any other tourist spot beaches we have because it’s just so beautiful.
Samal Island is also the home of the famous Pearl Farm Beach Resort but we don’t have enough time to visit the place so we stayed here at Playa Azalea Resort. The resort is not yet fully developed but surely is one of the best resorts in Samal; the beach front is breathtaking, and the pool amenities are like heaven.
Clumsy me, I got pricked by some shell or something. This small thing inside my foot caused so much pain but it doesn’t stop me from having fun along the beach 🙂
Being in the resort makes you want to laze around all day, and be captivated by the wonderful nature around you. The stretch of the shore with corals and shells around it is so inviting, you’d wanna swim despite the hot sun. Everything about it is so enchanting that I felt sorry I hadn’t experienced this place at night, I’m sure it looks as beautiful as it is during the day. Unfortunately, the dreading time for us to leave has come. Leaving this place is like experiencing break up once more! hahaha I can only hope that I’d be back here as soon as I can 🙂 I miss you already Samal Island!
After visiting Samal Island, we head back to the city to meet with my friend Marie who happens to be residing here in Davao. Her family manages their ancestral house in Rizal Street and is currently being leased by famous restaurants namely Cellar de Oboza which offers exquisite Spanish/Filipino dishes and Claude’s Cafe de Ville, an authentic French restaurant. It was a pleasure seeing Marie in Davao, the last time we saw each other was when she’s still studying in Manila. If you guys haven’t tried the dishes in Cellar de Oboza, damn, you are missing on a lot!
Again, I must warn you that the following photos does not even gave justice to how delicious the dishes were. So ladies and gents, expect a mouth-watering sight! haha 🙂
When we got to the restaurant, we are so famished that at some point I forgot to take photos of the other dishes because I was too busy digging in! The lunch at Cellar was heart-warming and full of laughter, that I swear to god, there are a couple of times that the shake I was drinking almost come out of my nose! 🙂 hahaha After lunch, Marie gave us a tour around their ancestral house and we visited upstairs where one of finest restaurants in Davao is located, the Claude’s Cafe de Ville.
Lots of antique furniture have been beautifully restored to finish the look of Claude’s, just like this secretaire turned into cutlery cabinet, the old wine racks accentuates the bar, and the previous main door is now used as a decorative wine rack as well 🙂 the lattice works are nicely preserved as ceiling supporters. I’m so lovin’ the creativity in this place!
Experiencing Davao is such a thrill and so bitin! From it’s safe streets, hospitable citizens, mouth-watering foods and beaches which are to die for, I can honestly say that Davao is love 🙂
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my friends James and Abi for the wonderful getaway and invitation. It’s definitely a trip that I will never forget. Please extend my gratitude to the Merced family for accommodating us during our stay there and making sure that we are at our most convenient state. Can’t wait to experience Davao again with you guys 🙂
Thanks to Marie Oboza and her family for the warm welcome and joyous lunch date with you! Touring around your ancestral house is like witnessing history and it makes me proud of our heritage and beauty of our crafts. I look forward to seeing more of you soon 🙂
I hope you had fun reading this entry as much as I had fun sharing the experience with you. So if you guys are within Davao area and have no idea which tourist spots to visit, try these places that I’ve been to, and I’m sure you’re gonna love every bit of it 🙂
Cheers to more adventure!