Filed under: WOK in MINDANAO | Tags: asia, davao, malipano island, mindanao, pearl farm beach resort, philippines, samal island
Last July, WOK is off to another adventure in the southern part of the Philippines. Thanks to Cebu Pacific’s seat sale because discovering the Philippines has become more affordable. (This is not a paid promo plugging..haha)
Dubbed as the Land of Promise, truly Davao is a promising island with a lot to offer. The City of Davao is one of the busiest urban metropolis in the country and serves as a gateway to island of Mindanao. A melting pot of various culture and ethnic tribes such as the Bagobos, Mandayas, and the Manobos it’s no surprise why Davao is known for its colorful festivity – the Kadayawan Festival. But aside from its vivid and diverse culture, Davao is also blessed with rich and bountiful natural resources.
The pungent-smelling yet delicious fruit – the Durian is one of Davao’s pride. Durian is all over the place – from gigantic representation of the infamous fruit, to oval domes and sweets indeed the Durian is a staple in Davao. Aside from the Durian, Davao is also known for its wide variety of flaura and fauna – the Philippine Eagle and the Waling-Waling, the alluring orchid native to the Philippines. Another great thing about Davao City is its “Smoke-Free” campaign wherein smoking in public areas is strictly prohibited, a successful campaign which hopefully can be done in other cities in the Philippines. The People’s Park of Davao which lies in the heart of the city boasts its Durian Dome (see Footprints), an amphi-theatre like structure which resembles the Durian. Trees and ginormous statues depicting the culture of Davao welcome park dwellers who can enjoy the serene atmosphere inside the park.
Just accross the island of Davao is the Samal island, a boat ride for about an hour will lead you to the Pearl Farm Beach Resort, dubbed as the dream vacation destination in the Philippines. Pearl Farm is a world-class hotel and resort facility run and managed by Fuego Hotel and Properties. The iconic Parola is the destination point for the guests of the resort. What’s interesting about this place is that ethnic influences of the Samal and Maranao culture can be seen in the structure and interiors of the rooms and villas. A good example would be the Balay rooms perched on a hilltop and the Samal Houses, which are houses built on stilts submerged in the sea. A lot of water activities can be done in the resort such as snorkeling, kayaking, diving and a lot more. An afternoon swim in the infinity pool which faces the Samal sea would also be the great time to watch the majestic sunset. Here are more photos taken at Pearl Farm:
Just accross the Pearl Farm Beach Resort is the Malipano beach. With its fine white sand, towering coconut trees, and clear blue waters, undeniably it is a place you can call paradise. Below are some photos taken at Malipano beach.
The San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish
Situated right across the Davao City hall in Talomo is the San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish, which is also the seat of the Archdiocese of Davao.
The Gigantic Durian
Because Davao has been known for it’s edible Durian, various landmarks have been made in honor of the popular fruit.
The People’s Park of Davao
Known to be the lung center at the heart of Davao City. I was quite curious why it was called the ‘lung center’ until I finally entered the park. The park is breather from all the pollution and noise around the city. A No-Smoking policy is strictly implemented around the park, cigarettes and lighters are confiscated upon entering the park premises. Simply, the park offers a breeze of fresh air and a serene atmosphere perfect for an afternoon walk or a place to rest. I also learned that the park also serves as a learning sanctuary for students because rare species of plants and trees are grown in the park which serves as a live exhibit for learning. By the way there is no entrance fee to enter the park. How I wish there’s a park as clean and as informative as this in Metro Manila.
Davao International Airport (Francisco Bangoy International Airport)
It was my first time to enter an International Airport outside Manila and Davao’s International airport did not fail me. Though it is the busiest airport in Minadanao, the airport is clean and the interior is modern-looking compared to Manila’s domestic airport. I’ve read somewhere that the interiors are patterned from Malay architecture, I wonder why it wasn’t patterned from the Durian? Oh well, don’t be surprised if the airport smells like one.
Pearl Farm’s Piyesta ng Pinoy presentation
Too bad we weren’t able to watch the whole presentation and only got the chance to see the last two stints, but it was all worth it! The group performed very well and it feels like you’re in an actual fiesta. The chants, the dance moves, the music are all very Pinoy and makes you want to join the merry-making. Piyesta ng Pinoy is a cultural show performed every Friday night at the Pearl Farm Beach Resort.
Don’t leave Davao City without bringing home their famous Batik-printed pasalubongs. Best gift items for women are bags, wallets and malongs. While guys can have their own batik back pack. Visit Aldevinco Shopping Center in Davao City to buy various souvenir items.
Shades of Green and Orange
I took this photo before boarding. I was looking over the window when passengers started to disembark from the plane. It was a sunny day and the personnel from the airline started to hand-over green and orange colored umbrellas to passengers. I find the colors and pattern interesting as umbrellas started to mushroom from the ground, so I took a shot.
With the richness of its culture and its people, the famous Durian, and its blissful white sand beaches and picturesque scenes, indeed Davao has fulfilled its promise. Till then, Davao.
Filed under: WOK in MINDANAO | Tags: asia, cagayan de oro, cdo, philippines, travels
September 19, 2008 – this date marks the first year anniversary of our Cagayan de Oro adventure together with my HTGmates. And what a great way to pay tribute to our wild adventure down south is to blog about it here on WOK.
Cagayan de Oro, which known as the City of Golden Friendship is also the gateway to Northern Mindanao and not to mention a destination for those seeking a wet and wild adventure. The Lumbia Airport perched on the mountainous area of CDO is the starting point for those who plan to visit. Taxis and Jeepneys are available all-day to transport you to the downtown proper. Cagayan de Oro City is one of the busiest urban metropolis in the country, but has this rural feel in its surrounding areas.
Our visit in CDO wouldn’t be complete, as our main purpose is to try out the famous White Water Rafting Adventure in the CDO River. The Cagayan de Oro River is known for its powerful rapids cascading over rocks and boulders, perfect for a bumpy and heart-pumping ride. As beginners we took the 14-rapids adventure which took us almost 3-hours to complete and we were asking for more. The whole experience gave us an adrenaline rush as we traversed the wild and breathtaking obstacles of the river. After successfully passing through a wild rapid, we would raise our paddles and shout “High Five” – a sigh of relief and accomplishment. We would occasionally stop our raft at the calm part of the river – a perfect spot to jump from the raft and swim and enjoy the picturesque view of rock formations and if lucky giddy monkeys swinging from one tree to another. Unfortunately, during our visit the water is not “white” because it was the rainy season when we visited but still the whole breathtaking and adrenaline-filled ride is all worth it!
Unfortunately, during our last year’s visit in CDO we weren’t able to visit Divisoria by night, so I made it a point that during my recent visit in CDO I would stop-over and check-out the place. Divisoria, also known as the Golden Friendship Park is a normal park during the day where you can check-out various landmarks and statues of famous people who made a major contribution in Cagayan de Oro. But during Friday and Saturday nights, Divisoria is a bustling gimmick place known as the Night Café and Market where beer is cheap and local grilled foods is a must-try. Ihaw-Ihaw or grilled food stalls line-up the park and definitely their BBQ is a must-try. But aside from being a weekend hang-out place, Divisoria also transforms into an open shopping area or tiangges where great bargains can be found in ukay-ukays and pirated DVDs is amass.
St. Augustine Cathedral
Built by the Augustinian Friars in 1845 and is the seat of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro. St Augustine is the city’s patron saint and every August CDO celebrates the Kagay-an festival in honor of the saint.
Andres Bonifacio Park@Divisoria Park
A monument dedicated to the leader of the Katipunan, Andres Bonifacio. I found out that remains of Philippine soldiers who fought during the Philippine-Spanish war lie beneath Andres Bonifacio’s monument.
CDO Municipal Hall
Nothing special actually…just a municipal hall.
Located near the Lumbia International Airport, the Macahambus cave is known to be the site where the Kagayanons fought over American soldiers.
The Lapu-Lapu coin
This big Lapu-Lapu coin reminded me of my childhood days, when this coin is still in circulation and has monetary value. Now, it’s just a monument in Rodolfo N Pelaez Ave., CDO. Below the humongous coin is an engraved note saying “A symbol of respect to the common tao.”
Bigby’s (located at the Rosario Arcade, beside Limketkai Mall)
Don’t be deceived by its western interiors similar to TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) because Bigbys is a homegrown brand from Cagayan de Oro. The restaurant’s interiors resemble a museum of sort with maps as wall decals and various memorabilia from different countries are installed in their walls. As a first timer, I tried out their famous Baby Back Ribs. I must admit that I am not a foodie and I would eat anything grilled, so I’ll give the meal 4 out 5 stars. I was surprised that the serving was quite huge and can be actually shared by two, and I found out why Bigby’s was called as such, because they really offer BIG servings of delicious meals. For a generous serving and an affordable price of P200+ it was all worth it. By the way, Bigby’s now has a branch in SM Megamall.
Another food that I can eat over and over again is Chicken, so I tried out Sunburst Chicken located at the Rosario Arcade beside the Limketkai Mall. The restaurant boasts its country style chicken obvious with its homey country-style interiors. Their chicken tastes like Pan Cake House Country-style chicken but the price is really affordable compared to the previous. Best eaten with Worcester sauce and catsup, can’t wait to eat in Sunburst again!
Buthcher’s Best BBQ (located near Xavier University, CDO)
A haven for BBQ lovers like me. I learned that the idea behind the business of Butcher’s Best BBQ started out as a thesis of Business Management students in Xavier University in CDO, it became successful and their staple BBQs instantly became a hit with Xavier students. They opened a branch near Xavier University and other branches scattered in CDO so everyone can enjoy their tasty grilled BBQs.
I took this photo after visiting the St. Augustine Cathedral. I was struck by this old lady sitting outside the chapel, she asked for some coins and after I dropped a few in her trusty plastic cup I asked if I can take a photo of her. She immediately agreed with glee and I was surprised that she even striked a pose raising her cup and smiled. After I reviewed the photo, I realized that it resembled a picture of Mother Mary with the sun-burst metal grills behind the woman.
Travelling around downtown CDO is easy after all. Just ride the motorella, a six-seater tricycle, pay P5.00 (way cheaper than tricycle fares in Manila) and enjoy the ride. Don’t forget to say “lugar lang” which means “para or stop” when you’ve reached your destination.
If there’s one thing I would like to try when I next visit CDO, it’s the 24-rapids course of the White River Rafting and the zipline at the Macahambus park. For now, I will be just nostalgic with the adrenaline-filled adventure we had last year and the gastronomic adventure I had during my recent trip. Till then, Cagayan.