Davao – Adventure All In One

I planned my vacation in Davao. I knew for myself that it will be a long time again before I will be able to come back in this place. After four days climbing of Mount Apo, I spent another three days touring around Davao. I wanted to see more and experience this place at the South. On my 4Th day in Davao (Digos City to be exact), the day we just completed the climb, we went to the city from Digos City to Davao City and we looked for a cheap hotel. I had a hotel booking but I never showed up to that hotel because my mountaineering group made me realized to spend more with the adventure instead on hotel, they also told me that the hotel was just a place wherein I will just sleep at night and will be gone most of the day.

Day 4 – February 28 , 2009 (Saturday)

We are thirty mountaineers who successfully conquered Mount Apo. Five out of thirty had been left at the jump-off area (and I was one of them) to wait for another van that will bring us to the city. We were atDigos City that time and we are going to Davao City. We waited for an hour. And to our surprise, the vehicle that will bring us to the city that arrived was not a van but a huge track that used to transport vegetables. Since we do not like to wait longer, we never bothered even it is a truck because we were all eager to go down to Davao City. The travel time from Baruring (jump-off area) to Davao City took us more than two hours. Since this was my first time in Davao, I never slept during the travel time, I enjoyed lots of scenery (most of the scenery photos I saw during the travel time to Davao City were posted in my blog “Mount Apo And The Boulder Challenge”). But one thing that I really like in that travel, I experienced the fresh and cold air of Davao because the truck was open, two of us were sitting at the front beside the driver because we were the only females left at the jump-off area, the other three gentlemen were at the back of the truck enjoying the sun rays, but I knew they were luckier than us because they have a wide scenic view of all places that we pass by while we were on our way to Davao City.

We arrived at Davao almost 1PM that day. We went directly to the mall (SM Davao) to have our lunch. That was the first time we will be having a nice and good meal. Living in the mountain for almost four days were not that easy. We had our lunch at Mang Inasal restaurant. And this was also the last place where half of the group parting each other before flying back to Manila.

The hotel/dormitory where I stayed for 4 nights
Photos above are copyrighted by my co-mountaineer named Matt

After lunch, we went to the recommended hotel given to us by one of our Mount Apo guide. Well the hotel named is D’Counter. It is a fast food and executive dormitory. We were seven who stayed at D’Counter. The dormitory or hotel are located at the downtown of Davao City near at People’s Park. I rested for a while because both of my feet were aching and I felt tired, I just wanted to lay in the bed that time. Before we ended that night, all of us who stayed in D’Counter went out for dinner and we had a great time talking about the experiences we had while climbing Mount Apo.

Day 5 – March 1, 2009 (Sunday)

I spent my day in the morning to a special event, then I went out to buy souvenirs for family and friends back in Manila.

At 2PM, one of the mountaineers who also stayed in Davao, called me if I wanted to join them for the zip line. When I got his message, I immediately agreed with him. I took a cab and went to Outland Adventure which located at Ma-a Davao City. I thought, I was the first to arrived at the place but I made mistake because my co-mountaineer and his friends were already at the location where zip line starts.

I never got a chance to take picture here…
The river that I need to cross before
I will be able to go to the zip line (above and below) …

The stairs quite long that I need to take…
My co-mountaineer and his friends
Photos above are copyrighted by Carl Jovy

While on my way to the zip line, I discovered that I need to cross a river. Outland Adventure provided a small flat wood used to carry people to be able to cross the river. After crossing the river I have to trek a hill-side and this somewhat surprised me because I haven’t had enough time to rest from Mount Apo climb, but I was able to deal with the challenge. I arrived at the location. I saw my co-mountaineers and his friends. He introduced me to his friends and started to talk about zip line. While waiting for our turn, I was wondering that time, what it feels like when flying in zip line, I was excited though I was nervous. And the view of the river adds some spice to the nervousness that I have that time. We were five and I was second to the last in the group to fly in the zip line. The guide helped me to prepare my harness and my safety tools because my survival depends on these kind of stuff.

Some photo memories with zip lines

Time came and I ready myself. It was my first time and to be honest I was skeptical about flying in the zip line and because of that I chose the sitting position, it is not really sitting – it was called sitting because of the style of the gear that I will be wearing during the fly. I was actually in standing position. The guide loosen up holding of me and I started flying. The feelings I had that time were mixed. The apprehension was still with me. I was holding with the rope and I tried to focus in the surroundings. I saw the place in its 360 degree view. And after seeing the nature’s beauty, I felt so relax and appreciate the beauty of Outland Adventure. I forgot few minutes that I was flying and I was being hold only by harness. I was flying so fast. The experience was so great. When I arrived at the end, that was the only time I reminded myself I was flying in zip line.

Some scenic views I found inside the Outland Adventure

After zip line adventure, we decided to go to Crocodile Park. We had great a time in this place. There are lots of animals that can be seen here aside from crocodiles itself. There were birds, snakes, tiger, monkeys and more. There are shows inside the park which displays special animals and we were able to watch a special presentation wherein a man walking and dancing in a rope. And the exciting part, at the ground, there are lots of crocodiles. Is that not amazing? One mistake of that performer could lead to a tragedy because he might harm by those crocodiles. And I had fun watching it. People who also watch the shows used to scream if they thought that the performer might fall.

Some photos of crocodiles

Few photos of parrot

Some of the animals that I saw inside the Crocodile Park
(I forgot some of the names of the other animals)

One of the old crocodile which now displayed inside Crocodile Park

Myself with the special animals

Day 6 – March 2, 2009 (Monday)

I booked a one day tour in Davao. The itinerary are the following: Davao City Downtown, Philippine Eagle Center, Eden Nature Park, Jack’s Ridge and Crocodile Park. Well, like I said Crocodile Park again.

For the Davao City downtown, I don’t have so much photos because we never went out during the tour. The tourist guide just point each one of the place and explain the history inside the van. I was never really bothered because it is just around the corner of downtown. What I really wanted to see are Eden Nature Park, Philippine Eagle and Jack’s Ridge.

These three places are quite far away from downtown of Davao City. First destination, Philippine Eagle Center which located in Malagos, Calinan Davao City. I was really excited to go to this place. Why? I wanted to see lots of Philippine Eagles. I have this great admiration to my country’s own eagle. I used to see them only in TV and photos. But before we arrived in Philippine Eagle Center, I had a problem. My digital camera’s battery were empty. Before the van picked me up that day, I tried to find a nearest store for the battery of my camera but I was not lucky. And because of that I have few photos I got inside the Philippine Eagle Center. Anyway, the photos were just bonus in my tour, the experience was the note worthy.


Some of the Philippine Eagles

The tourist guide I have in this tour knew someone inside the Philippine Eagle Center. He requested if one of the eagle can be taken out from the cage so that I can see it up close and personal. At first, I was hesitant to be near with the eagle but few minutes I enjoyed it since there was a guide who knows how to handle an eagle. I like the eagle the most when they are flying and their wings are spread wide open. They are so huge and I can not stop myself to admire them. For me, they are the most beautiful raptor in the world. For what I know they are one of the largest eagle in the world too. Before I totally leave the center, I bought shirt and cup as my souvenir from this place.

Souvenir with Durian Tree

After Philippine Eagle Center, we went to Eden Nature Park at Toril, Davao City. Eden Nature Park is located at the foot of Mount Talomo, the mountain beside Mount Apo. Before we ended up to Eden Nature Park, we stopped by in one of the house because we saw “Durian” tree, the Davao fruit (with unpleasant smell but with great taste). Due to my curiosity, I tried to taste Durian and for me it taste good while I was in Philippine Eagle Center.

After taking a couple of pictures with Durian tree, we continue our travel to Eden Nature Park. Since I really like nature. I did enjoy my short visit in this park. I was able to see the beauty inside this nature park. Before I started my tour inside the nature park, myself and the tourist guide had our lunch at Vista Restaurant. After lunch, while waiting for the shuttle, we visit the Aviary wherein you can find some specifies of birds.

Birds I found at Aviary inside Eden Nature Park

We waited for the shuttle tour at Day Tour Center and the tour will start at 1PM. The shuttle tour came and I rode at the front of the shuttle beside the driver. The following places we saw inside the Eden Nature Park are: Fishing Village, Hydrophonic Vegetable Garden, Mangosteen Orchard, Flower Garden, Amphitheater Garden, Matinlo Pond, Tree Nursery, Ornamental Nursery, Organic Vegetable and Herb Garden, Lola’s Garden, Fruit Collection, Pinoy Games center, Swimming Pool and the lodge, rooms, villas where the visitors can stay if they want to spend few days in the park. During the tour, I wish I just trek the place so that I can appreciate it more. But I knew I don’t have enough time to do that. And because of the situation I was contended to see the places from a far especially the places where the shuttle did not stop.

Souvenir Shop inside Eden Nature Park
Day Tour Center
Eden Nature Park Map
Lettuce Vegetable Garden
Mangosteen Farm

Amphitheater Garden
Lookout view from Amphitheater Garden

The Garden near Amphitheater Garden
Nipa Hut (small house I saw while touring Eden Nature Park)

Flowers found at Lola’s (grandmother’s) Garden

Mayumi’s (means beautiful) Well
The Carabao (sculpture) – Philippine National Animal

Organic Vegetable and Herb Garden
(medicinal farming)

Scenic Views from Eden Nature Park zip line

Next destination after Eden Nature Park, we went directly to Jack’s Ridge which located at Shrine Hill in Matina, Davao City. Jack’s Ridge was the last stand of Japanese in Davao during their invasion time in Philippines and American soldier successfully won over Japanese and retreat on this place after they lost the fight.

Myself with Japanese Soldier Structure
Lumad means a group of indigenous peoples of the southern Philippines
Text on the walls are Jack’s Ridge history

I like the place because there are lots of restaurants around it and the place is great for Davao Gulf lookout view. While looking around, I saw a pool which called as Kool’s Kat Pool. One interesting thing that caught my attention is an old Japanese crashed plane at the top hill-side of the pool. And based from my tourist guide, it was a real Japanese plane during Japanese regime. The locals made it permanent on its place as a historical signature of Jack’s Ridge.

Kool Kat’s Pool inside Jack’s Ridge
Crashed Japanese Plane during World War II
(or during Japanese Invasion)

Day 7 – March 3, 2009 (Tuesday)

My last day in Davao came. Before I left the dormitory, I packed all my stuff so that I will just pick it up at night for my flight to Manila. My co-mountaineers and I with his group planned to go for water tubing and snorkeling in Sta.Cruz, Davao Del Sur. The adventure had been arranged together with one of our Mount Apo guide. Early in the morning, we started rolling the wheels to Sta.Cruz. We went to Sibuyan River for water tubing. Water tubing is similar to water rafting, but instead of using raft and paddle to enjoy the river, water tubing used inflated tires.

Some Sibuyan River views

We started from the basic, a short distance tubing. The distance like 10 to 15 meters. We played one by one. Since this was my first time to do this, there was part of me being scared but I was also excited. Well that kind of feeling sometimes unexplainable. After the first round, we did it again twice. I enjoyed the tubing, the feeling playing with the fast flowing of water was different, especially in the part of the river where I was going to fall along the flow of the water.

Preparing our gear….

The White Water Tubing Adventure moments
Photos copyrighted by Sir Gabo (our Mount Apo Climb Guide)

After the basics, we took another round. This time, we tried the longer part of tubing. This means that we experienced a long distance of the river estimating 30 to 40 meters long. We experience the different levels of water flowing because of the unique leveling of beds of the river. After the first round, we tried the group tubing wherein we are look like of a caterpillar while enjoying the river. The group had so much fun on this adventure.

More White Water Tubing Adventure moments
Photos copyrighted by Sir Gabo (our Mount Apo Climb Guide)

The last adventure that I had after water tubing was snorkeling. We went to the beach which is also located in Sta.Cruz in Davao Del Sur. The life vest we used in tubing were also brought in snorkeling activity. When I saw the beach and the color of the sea I felt good. Well nature makes me happy whether its mountains, rivers and seas just to name a few. We rented two small boats and we headed at the middle of the sea.

The Snorkling Adventure moments
Photos copyrighted by Sir Gabo (our Mount Apo Climb Guide)

When we arrived at the middle, I saw mountains from a far in Sta.Cruz and the scenery was amazing. After the short time viewing of scenery around Sta. Cruz we started getting out of the boat and started swimming. This was the first time I experienced swimming very far from the beach. It seems like we are in the middle of nowhere. Then, I wore goggles and started enjoying the under water view. But I was not really a good swimmer but I did enjoy the snorkeling adventure. We were at the middle of the sea under the sun for within two hours, but I did not care about sun rays, I wanted to enjoy every minute at the middle of the sea. This kind of adventure does not always happened everyday. At the last part, all of us did enjoy this snorkeling thing and I myself had a great time.

More snorkeling Adventure moments
Photos copyrighted by Sir Gabo (our Mount Apo Climb Guide)
I went back to the D’Counter hotel where I stayed my few nights vacation in Davao City downtown to pick my luggage. Then I arranged the taxi cab that will drive me to the airport because that night I went back to Manila that ends my vacation and let myself back to the real world again of my life.