Despite the declaration of an extended year-long Martial Law in Mindanao, where Davao Region is, Davaoenos themselves claim their motherland is safer than ever. The progressive region, free from crime and unlawful activities, continue to impress the rest of the country with some of the best spots that are capturing the hearts of the curious visitors.
From Davao City to Samal Island and Mati City to the rest of Davao Oriental, embark on a getaway to discover the charm and experience the highlights of this side of the country.
Monfort Bat Sanctuary
The Monfort Bat Sanctuary is a habitat of the major fruit pollinators and a bigtime contributor of keeping the balance of the island’s ecosystem, the Rousette Fruit Bats. The population was said to be rapidly growing and is becoming a popular tourist destination after drawing the attention of the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010, earning the title of the “Largest Colony of Geoffrey’s Rousette Fruit Bat”.
Bluebird View Deck
Bluebird View Deck is an observatory in Samal overlooking the Pearl Farm Beach Resort that reside in an island called Malipano – a high-end, exclusive resort with a golf course, villas, and pools. From the deck, the Wishing Island, Taklobo Giant Clam Sanctuary, and the South Malipano island are within sight.
A not-for-faint-hearted cliff diving experience awaits at Sabang Cliff, just a few minutes of motorcycle (locally known as habal-habal) ride from the view deck. This 30 ft. rocky edged cliff invites brave hearts to plunge into the sapphire waters of Davao Gulf.
Located at the southwest, facing the northern tip of Talikud Island, Kaputian Beach consider itself the most popular beach in Samal. A welcoming preserved remains of a Dugong (Manatee) at the entrance gate reminds visitors how abundant the waters of this island used to be. Look for a space under the shade of trees and start beach bumming.
Dip into the cold cascades of Hagimit Falls, an alternative swimming spot for those who want to get rid of the scorching hot beaches of Samal. A multitude of locals and tourists hang out here during afternoon so better to visit early to enjoy its magnificent beauty.
Dahican Surf Resort
What a best way to experience the captivating beauty of Dahican beach but to stay in a surf resort named after it. Dahican Surf Shack is a budget-friendly option for accommodation with a laidback living vibe that attract guests who wanted to unwind and disconnect from the mad crowd. More than the basic need for stay, it is equipped with a cocktail bar, surf boards accompanied by surfing instructors, and enough space to pitch a tent for a camping-by-the-beach experience.
Pangyan Falls and Mainit Hot Spring
With its remote location that is only accessible via habal-habal, Pangyan Falls has to be one of the most underrated, secret spot in Mati City. The flow of freezing water coming from the behind forest was just perfect to freshen up.
Afterwards, bathe into the soothing pool of Mainit Hot Spring. A natural lukewarm water are slowly gathered in a man-made pool that is said to heal some of the body and skin ailments of the visitors.
Sleeping Dinosaur View Deck
The Sleeping Dinosaur Viewing Deck is a not to miss iconic site as it is becoming an attraction to the land travelers passing by the highway, from and going to Mati City. From afar, it resembles a dinosaur in a cute sleeping position with its backbone covered with a lush greenery. This sleepy head is actually a small hill that can be hiked through a short trail route. Dare not to wake this one up.
Mindanao Saga Flying Club
One has never been to Mati City, Davao Oriental without catching a flight from the Mindanao Saga Flying Club. Witness the ever splendid Dahican beach and the rest of Mati City on a bird’s eye view through an ultralight plane – an open plane aircraft that can fly hundreds of feet above sea level. Conquering the fear of height is not an easy thing but one can guarantee a safe and worry-free crazy flying experience there is only in Mindanao.
San Victor Island
San Victor Island located at the town of Baganga is one of the hidden gem of Davao Oriental and simply deserves a drop by when visiting Cateel. The island beach, complete with basic amenities, is becoming an ideal getaway for those who want to break free from the city hustle.
Aliwagwag Falls Eco Park
Despite the tremendous disaster that almost torn this enthralling work of nature a couple of years ago, Aliwagwag Falls came back as an established Eco Park to retain and maintain its breathtaking beauty. The cataract was surrounded with teeming vegetation that is a source of fresh water of Cateel, the town where it reside.
To maximize the experience, take a few steps uphill where the Monkey Bridge lies or try their newest zip line attraction that hovers above the waterfall. Swimming at the basins while staring at its mighty, endless current is definitely a sight to behold. Truly is a stairway to heaven.
The House of the President
The humble abode of the current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte resides in the middle of the city of Davao. It is noticeable how admirably old and simple the looks from the outside considering the political standing of those who once lived there. Nevertheless, security measures are strictly implemented when visiting the area.
Hills View Mountain Villa
The rough roads and freezing-cold breeze of the mountainous border of Bukindon-Davao will greet anyone who dare to go find this secret destination. Hiding behind the consciousness of the city dwellers, Hills View Mountain Villa can only be reached by a 4-5 hour intense habal-habal ride. The reward after a tiring trip is an exceptional landscape view of the sea of clouds and gracefully glimpsing sunrise on the mountain range of BuDa. The elegant villa sitting on top of a ridge was privately owned but still underdeveloped, making it exclusive to those who know how to hit the jackpot.
Day 1 – Samal Island
📍Montfort Bat Sanctuary
📍Bluebird View Deck
Day 2 – Mati City, Davao Oriental
📍Pangyan Falls and Mainit Hot spring
📍Sleeping Dinosaur View Deck
Day 3 – Mati City to Cateel
📍Mindanao Flying Saga – Mati City
📍San Victor Island – Baganga
📍Aliwagwag Falls Eco Park – Cateel
Day 4 – Davao City
📍Hills View Mountain Villa – BuDa
📍Duterte House – Davao City
Dahican Surf Resort – Mati City, Davao Oriental
Green Windows Dormitel – Davao City
Talking about expenses, spending need varies for everyone when traveling. It pays to bring an extra cash just in case everything doesn’t fall into place. Also, be mindful of the fares, accommodation, and tour rates before visiting Davao especially on solitary travels.
There you have it! Of all these places of interest and worthy adventures that is only in Davao, know that there’s more to explore and definitely more to discover what the rest of Mindanao has to offer. So ditch those desk and pack those backpacks because now is the best time to go! Happy travels!