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Davao, Philippines – A Unique Getaway Destination With Cebu Pacific Air

Photo Apr 19, 11 16 43

Davao, what?

That was my first reaction when I heard that we are heading there for our Blogger Familiarization Trip hosted by Cebu Pacific Air and the Philippine Department of Tourism – Davao.

Seriously. In case you guys aren’t aware, here’s an interesting fact – THERE ARE 7,107 ISLANDS IN THE PHILIPPINES and Davao is just ONE of the cities in them! Yes, we all haven’t quite heard of Davao before and this is why I have to share this place with all of you because I have quite fallen in love with that place.

If you’re looking for a secret kinda getaway or are trying to do things off the norm, Davao is definitely one place you can explore, ON A BUDGET!  Thrill seekers would be thrilled (punny) to learn that Davao is THE eco-adventure destination to go with activities like SKY CYCLING and WHITE WATER RAFTING, which I’ll be sharing later! You will also find yourselves enjoying the clear blue seas as you can have access to Samal Island from Davao where you could enjoy snorkeling, as well as massive slides from the MaxiAqua Fun park! OMG TALKING ABOUT THESE JUST MAKES ME SUPER EXCITED!

How to get there though?

What makes things better is that CEBU PACIFIC AIR, the Philippines’ largest airline carrier NOW flies DIRECT to Davao, besides the other 4 destinations in Philippines – Clark, Cebu, Manila and lloilo . SHIOK, making it more accessible than ever! If you’ve never taken Cebu Pacific Air before, you may be in for a surprise as this carrier runs on the culture of providing a FUN and VIBRANT environment for its passengers. You’ll definitely spot this when you go on board because the attendants are all dressed in their SPANKING YELLOW AND BLUE UNIFORMS, super vibrant and happy! LOOK AT THIS! Photo 18-4-16, 02 20 30Love the hat though!

To add on to their cheeriness, you know what? THEY EVEN HAVE A “GAME SHOW” on flight, where they ask passengers to answer some questions about The Philippines and they get to win prizes. WHEN DO YOU EVER GET SUCH AN OPPORTUNITY? Photo Apr 17, 22 51 55 Here’s a quick snap of the sincere service that we’ve received from the crew!Photo Apr 17, 22 57 21Here’s my first in flight meal to DAVAO – Asian Style Beef Stew!

After 4 hours, we are finally at Davao! And the travelogue begins! Photo Apr 18, 02 24 13

1st Night in Davao

We took a chartered bus and headed to Park Inn by Radisson to rest for the next 2 nights!Photo Apr 18, 02 56 27 This is the lively looking room with that orange wall and splashes of colors!Photo Apr 18, 05 48 15 The best part? It is located just a 10-minute drive away from the airport AND is just OPPOSITE a mall – SM Lanang Premier! They have a connecting bridge in the hotel that leads you right to the mall, and we were all super excited to find the mall having international brands, as well as a HUGE HUGE SUPERMARKET! I could spend half a day in there!Photo Apr 18, 05 48 36 I took this because:
1. Wow breathtaking view from my room.
2. WHAT. THIS IS 5.30 IN THE MORNING.

The hotel also has the option of a buffet breakfast!Photo Apr 18, 08 56 24Other facilities include their very own bar/grill, outdoor pool, gym and meeting rooms!

We had an early start to the day leaving for Eden Nature Park! I was honestly freaking out inside because I know we were going to do those scary things like Sky Cycling and what not.

“NOOOOOO..” I screamed in my head for like the past week and the morning prior to Eden Nature Park. I’m seriously a scaredy cat. I don’t like taking roller coasters cause I scared I will die kind of cat.

It took us about 2 hours to get to the park as it was a mountain resort located 3000 feet above the sea level. *GASP*

1st stop: EDEN NATURE PARK

Photo Apr 18, 11 13 34 WE ARE FINALLY HERE AT EDEN NATURE PARK! Look at my nice hair. HEHE!

I was surprised to find out that Eden had a lot more to offer than JUST sky cycling. They also had a variety of activities to do, and you could spend up to half a day there and even ONE ENTIRE DAY if you decide to explore the entire place! Photo Apr 18, 11 27 50 They’ve got a butterfly park. Here’s the exhibits of the butterflies and the lifecycle of the various bugs.Photo Apr 18, 11 28 47 What amazed us was it seemed like it was so sunny and hot, however, as Eden is located 3000feet from the river, the air there was SO fresh and it was NOT hot and humid AT ALL. In fact you do get to enjoy the breeze and slightly lowered temperature due to the altitude!Photo Apr 18, 11 33 33 You can get up close and personal with the butterflies in the park!Photo Apr 18, 11 37 47SO PRETTY!

If any of you are into photography, this is the place just for YOU. There are plenty of places for you to get the super instaworthy shot. The skies are clear and beautiful, the scenery is amazing. Seriously, I’ve never felt so peaceful and at ease being at a particular place before. You could get these amazing views with the guided tour shuttle at just PHP 120 (~S$3.50) PER PAX! Totally worth it!

Below are just SOME of the snippets of what you can expect at Eden Nature Park:Photo Apr 18, 13 24 05 Photo Apr 18, 13 27 06 Photo Apr 18, 13 37 21 Photo Apr 18, 13 11 00

WHAT ABOUT FOOD?! Located at such high regions, would they have food for us?! Do we have to starve?! Photo Apr 18, 12 43 02You could actually opt for the buffet lunch at PHP 550 (~S$16)! If that’s a little too steep, you could always cool down with a dessert from the well-loved Philippines dessert stand – HALO HALO. It’s basically our ice kachang!

I’d definitely recommend the tour since you’ve already spent the effort and time to get to Eden Nature Park. Of course, you SHOULDN’T LEAVE Eden without experiencing the high elements and challenging yourselves!

For PHP 200 (~S$6), you get to experience cycling in mid air, 60ft off the ground for 200m!Photo Apr 18, 14 08 12 S$6 to earn your bragging rights. #worthit. Don’t worry although it looks incredibly unsafe, it is very very safe and stable. You can even ride with NO HANDS and you won’t fall off as you are well harnessed and the bicycle is securely attached to the string. Even a scaredy cat like me dare to take one hand off to video okay!

The view is AMAZING guys. You HAVE GOT TO try this.

The sky rider looks absolutely scary but here’s the guarantee of the scaredy cat – IT IS NOT AS BAD AS IT LOOKS. Photo Apr 18, 13 57 43Suspended 20m in the air and traveling down the steel cables for 200m, that is possibly THE best way to enjoy the view of Davao city and Davao gulf. Really. I enjoyed myself thoroughly despite the initial freaking out before arriving at Eden Nature Park. It’s definitely an experience I’ll never forget!

There is also a Sky Swing which would drop you from a whooping height of 95 feet. OMG. I didn’t take that because NO.

2nd stop: Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC)

Photo Apr 18, 16 33 18Did you know? Davao is the FOURTH SAFEST  city in the WORLD! This can only be achieved by their stringent safety measures and amazing coordination amongst the different forces to combat threats and deal with the likes of Crime, Terrorism, Traffic Issues, Disasters and many more!

We witnessed FIRST HAND of how they keep the city safe with the 130 surveillance cameras ALL AROUND THE CITY, where the officers keep an eye for suspicious activities, and deploy the relevant forces to deal with these threats or problems they discover. LIKE THEY CAN REALLY ZOOM IN TO YOUR FACE HAHA!Photo Apr 18, 16 33 53  It’s also entirely free to call 911 for emergencies! So, if you’re worried about the safety in Davao, that could probably be the LEAST of your worries. I don’t even think I’d carry my bag in front because I know that the police would nab the thief before I shout thief. HEH HEH.

This is Jason's "too much hongkong drama" influence

This is Jason’s “too much hongkong drama” influence

3rd stop: Marina Tuna

Can you come up with 5 different ways to eat a single tuna fish? Now, what about 10?Photo Apr 18, 17 49 19 From sashimi to tuna belly to collar bone to tail… Photo Apr 18, 18 04 42SPERM SACS any one?

A truly gastronomic adventure for all of us here in Davao. I doubt you can find such an experience anywhere else! WHAT A BLAST I HAD!

DAY 2

After a long day challenging our limits, we set off to yet another day of adventure!

PROPS TO BILLABONG SG FOR THE BEACH GEAR!

PROPS TO BILLABONG SG FOR THE BEACH GEAR!

Today, right after checking out in the morning, we were whisked off in a van to the pier!Photo Apr 19, 08 22 02 We are taking the ferry to SAMAL ISLANDS, which is THE largest resort city in the Philippines!Photo Apr 19, 08 22 05 Here’s the scary looking board we had to cross, okay but it’s not very scary ahahaha! And we are off to our first activity!

1st stop: Taklobo Giant Clams tour!

This was part of the hour long trip to the giant clams tour, i.e. SNORKELING! Don’t worry the ride was relatively smooth, incredibly breezy and the view was amazing, amazing. I wish we didn’t have to leave that place. Photo Apr 19, 09 28 44 This was one of the islands we encountered along the way! It’s a private resort and I think this is the perfect kind of getaway place I’d love to go on a honey moon or something!

This amazing view greeted us when we arrived at our destination. WOW. JUST WOW.Photo Apr 19, 09 44 48 The prices were as follows:

Entrance fee (PHP 100, ~S$3)
Rental of snorkel gear (PHP 100)
Rental of rash guard (the long sleeves thingy) – PHP 100
Boat rental (1-12pax) – PHP 500, S$15

Pretty darn worth it in my opinion!

TADA ALL GEARED UP AND READY FOR MY FIRST EVER SNORKELING EXPERIENCE!

TADA ALL GEARED UP AND READY FOR MY FIRST EVER SNORKELING EXPERIENCE! (Photo by Cebu Pacific Air)

Oh my gosh it was indeed a super thrilling experience for me! From learning how to breathe to swimming with the fishes and even trying to touch them with my hands. HAHA! I never knew how beautiful it was under the sea and I could finally see why my friends are all so crazy over snorkeling and diving.Photo Apr 19, 10 09 22Hehe HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE.

This was how amazing the Taklobo were - they can reach up to 50m and weigh up to 500kg! Sounds as heavy as me! (Photo by Cebu Pacific Air)

This was how amazing the Taklobo were – they can reach up to 50m and weigh up to 500kg! Sounds as heavy as me! This is the result of the ongoing conservation process of the Davao del Norte State College Marine Reserve Park and Multipurpose Hatchery!
(Photo by Cebu Pacific Air)

Photo Apr 22, 16 19 12Look ma, starfish! HAHA!

After a glorious morning of swimming and snorkeling, we were famished and we were greeted with a wide array of freshly grilled and cooked filipino dishes on board!Photo Apr 19, 11 16 43

We also had an array of fruits because DAVAO is also best known for its tropical fruits, like bananas, durians, guavas and many many more!Photo Apr 19, 11 19 02 I had a follower on instagram who messaged me and asked if I have tried this particular fruit called the Marang. Curious, I asked our guide about it and we actually found it within the basket of fruits!Photo Apr 19, 14 21 04The marang was probably the most intriguing fruit I’ve ever had. It looks like this, and these are many many small fruits within. The flesh of the fruit had a creamy durian like texture, while taste wise, it was a mix of guava and jackfruit. Really interesting mouthfeel, and we all liked it! Wonder why it isn’t in Singapore though!

2nd stop: Maxima Aquafun

After our sumptuous lunch, we set off for the next water activity – MAXIMA AQUAFUN! That 40 metres giant slide was one of its signature item and you can spot it miles away because it’s huge. SO HUGE. I WAS LITERALLY SCARED THAT I WILL DIE.

Here it is! LOOK AT THAT HUGE DROP INTO THE WATERS.

Here it is! LOOK AT THAT HUGE DROP INTO THE WATERS. T.T < this one is crying face right? (Photo by Cebu Pacific Air)

The other highlights of the theme park are the canopy walk, scuba diving spots, and a water blob activity. They also have planks for you to jump off into the waters. UHHH no thanks ah. HAHA! Okay I’m just really really scared of these intense nonsense. My heart… Cannot take it. IMG_0953Here I am, looking real scared for my impending doom as I hear the waters rushing down the slides and looking down… It was a neverending road. DON’T GET ME STARTED ON THE DAMN DROP AT THE END.

But hey okay, I did it and I survived and the sudden drop gave me a HUGE wedgie as I went into the water. There was a split second that I went OMG WHERE AM I?! HAHA! Tip of the day is, pinch your nose before falling into the water. You have more than enough time to do that cause the slide is horrendously LONG.

Check us out on this slide! I HELD ON TO A GOPRO HOR. #Swag. HAHAHA!

3rd stop: Seda Abreeza Hotel

After the super thrilling day with the sun beating upon our faces and the sea water ruining my hair, we headed to our next hotel – Seda Abreeza!

This is my amazing room for the next 2 nights! Ah, I DONT WANNA GO OUT ANYMORE!

This is my amazing room for the next 2 nights! Ah, I DONT WANNA GO OUT ANYMORE!

It is only 20 minutes away from the Davao airport, and boy, the room was super comfy! They also have a huge mall located oppostire the hotel! SUPER AWESOME! Photo Apr 19, 16 07 26

After a quick wash up, we were brought to Waterfront Insular Hotel – Lanang, where it was like a resort hotel, with its own beachfront. We were brought there for a FEAST and were graced by the Kalumon Performing Group!Photo Apr 19, 18 30 41 Kalumon means a close knit of kin, family or clan! So we got to watch how these talented people modernized the otherwise traditional Mindanao dance! Very entertaining and what an eye opener!

We were also served an array of food, not missing out on their fruits of course!Photo Apr 19, 18 58 29 Photo Apr 19, 18 59 03 DURIAN CAKE!Photo Apr 19, 19 00 52And these skewered meat were the crowd favorites of the night!

We were all stuffed and felt incredibly looked after by the hotel and the Philippine Department of Tourism - Davao!

We were all stuffed and felt incredibly looked after by the hotel and the Philippine Department of Tourism – Davao! (photo by Cebu Pacific Air)

4th stop: Pub Crawl

Besides the exciting activities that Davao has to offer, they also have a pretty vibrant nightlife! Even though I’m not so much of a night life person, I enjoy a drink or 2 regularly and I definitely wasn’t expecting Davao to be able to give me that!

We stopped first at Eagles Bar, Marco Polo Hotel!

This place was GORGEOUS and it’s opened from 5pm to 1am with live soccer screening! Their tapas were incredible like this localized tuna sashimi with caviar..
Photo Apr 19, 21 39 11

AND THE BEST. HANDS DOWN THE BEST chocolate truffles I’ve ever eaten. SO RICH. SO GOOD. WOW. Photo Apr 19, 21 35 41

We also had a few concocted drinks from here and their signatures include the Davao Punch and Sapphire Road!

Our next stop was at Huckleberry Southern Kitchen and Bar!

They are a restaurant in the day serving up delicious food, and serving up spirits when night falls!Photo Apr 19, 22 37 53The bar serves unique infused rum made from the fruits found in Davao! The chili one was a definitely eye opener. SO SPICY yet you feel the burning sensation down your throat as well. I AM CONFUSED!

We retired early on that night because we were all trying to get ourselves psyched for Day 3!

DAY 3

We are headed for an entire DAY of white water rafting today!

I have previously done white water rafting in Malaysia, but this time around, it’s slightly different because this route is a whooping 13km long! We had to take a transport for a good 1.5h up to the starting point!

Photo Apr 20, 08 48 56The Davao Wildwater Adventure provided us with super friendly and entertaining guides for this activity and they were super responsible as they went through the safety procedures and instructions thoroughly with us before setting off!

DCIM100GOPROG0421898.

Off we go, the rocky slope! (Photo by Cebu Pacific Air)

Hehehe we were all excited and raring to go! Okay I was quite nervous because I heard that there were more than TWENTY rapids!

Hehehe we were all excited and raring to go! Okay I was quite nervous because I heard that there were more than TWENTY rapids! (Photo by Cebu Pacific Air)

Well like you guys know, I’m humji one. HAHAHA! 20 rapids okay! It will definitely be an exciting ride and your adrenaline levels would be kept HIGH all through the 13km of paddling!

They also provided lunch at the mid way mark! Boy, it was FUN FUN FUN! Even though I was freaking out a little at every rapid because of the rushing waters and rocks, all we had to do was listen to our instructor and everything was GOOD! 😀

YAY! Almost there!.

YAY! Almost there! (Photo by Cebu Pacific Air)

The view was absolutely breathtaking by the way. Seriously, THE BEST waterrafting experience I’ve had as compared to my previous 2 experiences! We were done in about a couple of hours, maybe 4 or 5? Then we headed back to where we came from – the crocodile farm cum where the Davao Wildwater Adventure “HQ” was. HAHA!

We were all rewarded with our choice of ice cream when we got back! A MUCH NEEDED reward hor for all that screaming and rowing! And the crocodile farm is called a crocodile farm because..

1. There were REALLY crocodiles in enclosures.
Photo Apr 20, 16 24 29

2. They sell everything crocodile from meats…
Photo Apr 20, 16 35 06

To… Ice cream??????!Photo Apr 20, 16 34 11 YES ice cream. These ice creams are called crocodile ice cream because instead of the usual eggs you use in your ice creams, they use crocodile eggs, and also specks of crocodile meat!Photo Apr 20, 16 38 49 I chose PANDAN CROCODILE! It doesn’t taste weird at all! It’s basically just pandan flavored, with a little chewy bits of crocodile which was really unique and it just melts faster than usual!! Nothing too exotic about this but a good refreshing dessert! (:

Before we know it, it was DINNER TIME!

Dinner was at White House Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge! A classic setting within the European house which have been built since 1920’s! We were told that nothing has been changed since, except for slight renewal works to make the place more sturdy, of course.

(Photo by Cebu Pacific Air)

(Photo by Cebu Pacific Air)

Wow. Just wow. IT reminded me a lot of Lewin Terrace though, the colonial setting place in Singapore serving up Japanese italian fusion cuisine! Photo Apr 20, 18 36 28 The White house serves up French Japanese fusion cuisine and we were super honored to have the opportunity to try out some of their signature dishes! I’ll do a complete review on another post so for now, here’s an insight of how our night went down!

The grand interior of White House!

The grand interior of White House!

The incredibly talented lady behind White house and its comprehensive menu - Cathy! She even hand made some of the structures you see within white house!

The incredibly talented lady behind White house and its comprehensive menu – Cathy!
She even hand made some of the structures you see within white house! (Photo by Cebu Pacific Air)

What a creative take on their FISH AND CHIPS. It was yummy too!

What a creative take on their FISH AND CHIPS. It was yummy too!

This durian mousse dessert blew us away. I don't think I've had anything like this before. Oh so flavorful yet light and not overwhelming. Wow. Just WOW.

This durian mousse dessert blew us away. I don’t think I’ve had anything like this before. Oh so flavorful yet light and not overwhelming. Wow. Just WOW.

You can find out more about them here!

Here's us being satisfied with our dinners and really really thankful for the hospitality the Davao tourism board and the team serving us at White House! (Photo by Cebu Pacific Air!)

Here’s us being satisfied with our dinners and really really thankful for the hospitality the Davao tourism board and the team serving us at White House!
(Photo by Cebu Pacific Air!)

We ended off the sumptuous dinner and headed for a much needed massage at Pressure Points!

Hehe! No photos in here because we were all enjoying our massages!

Hehe! No photos in here because we were all enjoying our massages!

We all had differing opinions in this place because some of us had a good massage while some did not! I guess it is really dependent on the masseuse we get! Mine was not too good and no, she didn’t get the right points. Hahaha! It’s okay though, because we were all so drained after the 3 days packed full of activities, we just needed to lie down some where and do nothing. HAHA!

DAY 4 – HOME SWEET HOME

What’s going home without some shopping for some souvenirs! If you’re looking to buy some souvenirs back for your loved ones, like products made in Davao, you might want to check out Aldevinco Shopping Centre – the open air bazaar!

They've got everything from pearls, to key chains, to products. All you can find except for FOOD. So if you're looking to bring back food products, you stand a better chance in the malls! (Photo by Cebu Pacific Air)

They’ve got everything from pearls, to key chains, to products. All you can find except for FOOD. So if you’re looking to bring back food products, you stand a better chance in the malls!
(Photo by Cebu Pacific Air)

After we got our shopping done, the pearls here are really affordable by the way, we headed back to the hotel to have a lunch with our hosts!!

Oh by the way, let me digress, Seda Abreeza also serves up Davao's most finest Malagos cheese in their breakfast buffet line! It is really.. Quite good. Yes Davao is a producer of cheese too!

Oh by the way, let me digress, Seda Abreeza also serves up Davao’s most finest Malagos cheese in their breakfast buffet line! It is really.. Quite good.
Yes Davao is a producer of cheese too!

In Seda, they also serve up a mean DURIAN MOCHA. Durian flesh within the mocha. Very interesting but hehe good to be shared because it was TOO RICH FOR ME.

In Seda, they also serve up a mean DURIAN MOCHA. Durian flesh within the mocha. Very interesting but hehe good to be shared because it was TOO RICH FOR ME.

This ain't sashimi, this is a grapefruit salad with miso dressing, it was so refreshing I CANNOT. And wow what a plot twist because all of us thought it was sashimi! HAHA!

This ain’t sashimi, this is a grapefruit salad with miso dressing, it was so refreshing I CANNOT. And wow what a plot twist because all of us thought it was sashimi! HAHA!

Crackling pork belly will always have a place in our hearts.

Crackling pork belly will always have a place in our hearts.

And we ended off with a nice little brownie! The food here is really pretty good! I wasn't quite expecting such a delicate plating and good taste, but they delivered! Thank you Seda Abreeza! P.S. Remember Cathy? This is HER hotel as well.

And we ended off with a nice little brownie! The food here is really pretty good! I wasn’t quite expecting such a delicate plating and good taste, but they delivered!
Thank you Seda Abreeza! P.S. Remember Cathy? This is HER hotel as well.

 

 

IMG_2196And then, we are off to the airport and back home, feeling like we’ve gained so much more than we expected within this 4 days. It was a truly eye opening trip to Davao because it was some where we all haven’t heard of before and were not expecting much, yet this island brought us so much more than we could ever imagined. From sky cycling to massive slides to eating crocodile ice cream, there is so much more that this place has to offer us, but we had too little time!

This is definitely a place for me to return for a short trips to visit its malls, food, and do some crazy stuff to push myself to my limits! Haha! I was also super surprised to find out that Davao is SO self-sufficient with its produces! They head the production in tropical fruits, CHOCOLATES, cheeses and even German sausages. It’s amazing, I tell you!

If you have read all the way to the end, I thank you for your patience and I hope I’ve given you an insight of how amazing this place can be! If you are already enticed and excited to pay this part of Philippines a visit, Cebu Pacific Air flies DIRECTLY to Davao now with the lowest prices starting from SGD $182! For bookings and promos, do visit HERE or call +65-315-80808!

Thank you Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Department of Tourism – Region 11 (Davao) for having us and of course, NUFFNANG SINGAPORE for this incredible opportunity!

We are also having a giveaway and you might stand a chance to win a pair of air tickets to Davao! Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram (@explodingbelly) for more details on the giveaway!