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! Love 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? Here’s a quick snap of the sincere service that we’ve received from the crew!Here’s my first in flight meal to DAVAO – Asian Style Beef Stew!
1st Night in Davao
We took a chartered bus and headed to Park Inn by Radisson to rest for the next 2 nights! This is the lively looking room with that orange wall and splashes of colors! 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! I took this because:
1. Wow breathtaking view from my room.
2. WHAT. THIS IS 5.30 IN THE MORNING.
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
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! They’ve got a butterfly park. Here’s the exhibits of the butterflies and the lifecycle of the various bugs. 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! You can get up close and personal with the butterflies in the park!SO 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!
WHAT ABOUT FOOD?! Located at such high regions, would they have food for us?! Do we have to starve?! You 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! 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. Suspended 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)
Did 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! 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.
3rd stop: Marina Tuna
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!
After a long day challenging our limits, we set off to yet another day of adventure!
Today, right after checking out in the morning, we were whisked off in a van to the pier! We are taking the ferry to SAMAL ISLANDS, which is THE largest resort city in the Philippines! 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. 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!
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!
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.Hehe HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE.
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! 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!The 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.
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. Here 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!
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! 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!
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!
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!The 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!
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!
The 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!
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! 😀
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..
To… Ice cream??????! 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! 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.
Wow. Just wow. IT reminded me a lot of Lewin Terrace though, the colonial setting place in Singapore serving up Japanese italian fusion cuisine! 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!
You can find out more about them here!
We ended off the sumptuous dinner and headed for a much needed massage at Pressure Points!
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!
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!!
And 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!