Good Times + Crazy Friends = Amazing Memories

“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.ย 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, I’d like to meet James, her man who makes her so happy than I’ve never seen her before ๐Ÿ™‚

So next thing I knew I was booking the earliest flight toย Davaoย City on Friday midnight to catch up with them. Carrying my work with me, I was so eager to get away from the busyManilaย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

This what greets me at the waiting lounge of ย NAIA Terminal 3, it’s like Dawn of the Dead haha ๐Ÿ™‚

The lone traveler ๐Ÿ™‚

Iโ€™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.

Abi and I taking over Davao! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 donโ€™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.

This is the very cute and polite Zach enjoying his red velvet cupcake ๐Ÿ™‚

The lovely couple Abigail and James ๐Ÿ™‚

One of our bffs, Reina is already in Davao few days earlier than I did along with Abigailโ€™s parents, Tito Sam and Tita Annabelle and her brother Patrick. After fetching me at the airport, we went to Jamesโ€™ 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!

I feel sorry I forgot to ask for his name, this is our very good-humored tour guide.

Despite the rain, the gang and I still took photos during some stops ๐Ÿ™‚ Abi, James, baby Zach, me and Reina.

The gang plus Patrick posing with this great statue of Davauenos ancestor.

All beams after eating a hearty meal! ๐Ÿ™‚

Eden Garden also offers safe trails for visitors who wish to camp and hike.

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 didnโ€™t heed the mud nor the rain and took photos on every stop available! Hahaha

This heart-shaped flowers is giving me post-valentine blues. haha kidding ๐Ÿ™‚

Reina making fun with the Eden statue ๐Ÿ™‚

I can only imagine myself living in this kubo, this should be fun ๐Ÿ™‚

This trip wouldn’t be complete without our trio selfie! ๐Ÿ™‚

The mangroves!

The beautiful flowers of Eden Park! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s impossible not to fall in love with all these ๐Ÿ™‚

Our take on the beautiful handcrafted hats of Eden park ๐Ÿ™‚

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 Jamesโ€™ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ We were not able toย 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

A very delicious dish from Mesa Davao at SM Lanang; River shrimp on the rocks

CrunchyTinapa roll wrapped with lettuce and oyster baked in butter. Yum!!!

Saucy Beef Kare-kare! ๐Ÿ™‚

Sinfully tasty Pata-tim

The classic fried chicken!ย 

This great meal is best topped with fresh buko juice.

The best crispy boneless pata!ย 

Sisig in a pouch ๐Ÿ™‚

Durian flavored cassava cake.

And my favorite dish : Pinaputok na Tilapia with tomato and onions.

ย 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. ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

I have no idea what the dishes are called but they sure taste real good ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

Theย magnificentย hues of greens and blues of Samal Island.ย 

To reach theย Samalย 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.

We are so excited to get to Samal Island!

I think this is Zachy’s first time to ride the ferry so I try to make it fun for him ๐Ÿ™‚ You know me, always the dorky one haha

One nice ferry ride to Samal Island on a sunny day ๐Ÿ™‚

The island boasts of sparkling waters, white sand beaches, private islets and caves. A perfect paradise indeed.ย 

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.

The gorgeous pools of Azalea Playa Resort.

I’m nowhere near a good photographer, but I’m glad I took photography classes back in college. This view is just breathtaking that I needed to capture it.

I couldn’t wait to reach the shore! Look at how beautiful the private docks of the resort is!ย 

Oh.My.God. – Those were my exact words when I saw this view.

The best way to start our day, have breakfast along the beach ๐Ÿ™‚

I will definitely be back here!

The magical white sands of Samal. Ugh! Seeing all these photos makes me wish I was back here! Haaaaaaayyyyyyyyy

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 Obozaย 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!

The Cellar de Oboza, located at Oboza Compound, J. Rizal Street, corner Ponciano Street, 8000 Davao City

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

The traditional Pancit Palabok but with a superb twist: The Cellar way ๐Ÿ™‚

The Cellar Pancit is a must-try! ย 

My favorite dish : Carbonara topped with Longganisa! I am literally drooling while writing this blog haha

Hello there Gambas ๐Ÿ™‚

One of the best appetizers I’ve ever tasted in my life : Tropical Shrimp Ceviche

We couldn’t get enough of the Mango Bagoong Salad, it’s just pure joy ๐Ÿ™‚

Beef Tenderloin!

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! ๐Ÿ™‚ hahaha After lunch, Marie gave us a tour around their ancestral house and we visited upstairs where one ofย finest restaurants in Davao is located, the Claude’s Cafe de Ville.

I love everything old and new, welcome to the beautiful Claude’s Cafe de Ville ๐Ÿ™‚

Wittingly accentuated with vintage furniture, this restaurant surely brings a lot of memories and takes you back to many years ago ๐Ÿ™‚

This place truly marks history. Marie’s ancestors with the most important people back then ๐Ÿ™‚ Can you spot the important faces here in the photo? Hint : the faces of our deceased political leaders.

After a couple flight of steps, the wedding photo of the previous owners of the house is hanged on the landing. Eerily beautiful, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

The original architecture of the house.ย 

Marie and I posing at Claude’s patio ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_1678

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ the lattice works are nicely preserved as ceiling supporters. I’m so lovin’ the creativity in this place!

I have this fetish about clean and interesting comfort rooms, and this one didn’t fail me. Decorated with nice plants, this comfort room is like nature’s escape ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanksย to Marie and her family for the wonderful lunch and tour around Cellar and Claude’s, we’ll definitely be back and experience it all over again! ๐Ÿ™‚

Of course, I wouldn’t leave Davao without buying some gifts for my colleagues, friends and families back home.ย 

Experiencing Davao is such a thrill and so bitin!ย ย From it’s safe streets, hospitable citizens, mouth-watering foods and beaches which are to die for,ย I can honestly say that Davao is love ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers to more adventure!

Xoxo,

Kc

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