Nothing beats going back to Davao not for business this time but for pure leisure and total enjoyment. This time around, I got to appreciate the place and experience what one must do once in Davao.
Our very generous boss treated her staff to a five-day Davao outing. Initially, it was a very long vacation for me, letting me miss my boys for five long days. It turned out to be a blessing instead– giving me the opportunity to mingle with office mates and bosses, leave behind the rat race of city life and feel the sea, stars and sand in the next five days, and allow my husband to look after the boys for quite a long period (I mean, do the laundry, cooking, cleaning the house, etc).
Though delayed by half an hour, we’ve managed to reach Davao in full smiles and hopes that the next four days would be all fun.
And fun started upon seeing and finally tasting the crisp, golden-brown skin of the lechon. Its taste was so satisfying — the same gratification I felt every time I bend to pieces the pork skin and would hear that crisp sound.
We had our sumptuous lunch at our boss’s farm. She allowed us to even tour around her farm and oriented us of the various plants, trees, and shrubs found within. Her farm was a perfect place for any bird habitation and from our seats we could enjoy a front-row view of nature’s wonders and blessings.
After the lavish all-you-can-eat buffet, we headed to Microtel Davao to check-in our bags. At Microtel Davao, we’ve experienced each staff’s personalized hospitality where truly we felt the home-away-from-home treat. Though not luxuriously dressed like other five-star hotels, Microtel Davao offered us a homey retreat and fast connection to other places of interest as it is conveniently located within the city’s commercial hub.
Our almost perfect night needed a serving of a perfect dinner — one that would engage our senses and create a perfect mood– thus we opted for an Italian restaurant.
We were all so full yet still fully recharged. We looked for a coffee shop within Abrezza Mall to have a cup of tea but our feet drew us at the far far away BluGrey’s.
Was in bed by 11pm, too excited to get plenty of rest for the night because for sure, tomorrow’s activities would need us to walk more, eat more, and swim some more.
Supposedly, we’ll be having our breakfast at the Microtel but our boss would want us to experience her morning routine every time she’s in Davao. She told us that she would have her breakfast at Samal Island — bringing her to the island for a 15-peso boat ride — then would go straight to her farm.
And so, we had our boat ride going to Samal Island that morning and had our breakfast at the Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort.
After our heavy breakfast, we headed back to the city to visit Pag-asa at the Philippine Eagle Center. A research and breeding facility of the Philippine Eagle Foundation, the Philippine Eagle Center is also home to many other species of birds, mammals, and reptiles. Over 30 Philippine eagles, the biggest collection in the world, are found inside the center.
Located at the edge of the Malagos Watershed, the eight-hectare property offered us a glimpse of the Philippines’ forest ecosystem. Mainly surrounded with huge trees and lots of greeneries and blooms, the center is vast and cool.
Then we met Pag-asa, the famous Philippine eagle to have been bred in captivity. It was announced in the news as well that Pag-asa has now become a father with an eagle chick hatched last February 2013.
The center aims to educate people about conservation and to save the critically endangered Philippine eagle. And though my boys haven’t seen the center yet or Pag-asa, I may do my share of educating them about the diverse wildlife creatures and the importance of taking care of their habitat. It might be just proper to help the center raise interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife.
Just a few minutes from the Philippine Eagle Center is the Malagos Garden Resort, a nature retreat located in the cool highlands of Malagos Calinan. Home to many exotic flowers and fruit trees, the vast 12-hectare garden resort also houses a large collection of birds and of other wildlife species.
At Malagos Garden Resort, we were able to feed exotic birds right from our own hands. The birds are just as cute that i even joked around that they could fit inside my big bag.
Our tour around Malagos Garden Resort and the Philippine Eagle Center left us all wanting to eat. Good thing our lunch was booked at Chippens.
Though they say our eyes are not literally bigger than our stomach, my eyes went bigger than my stomach as I looked at the buffet table. It was too tempting to to take a heaping portion of all the yummy food lined up in front of me. I have managed though to take a few in moderation, always reminding myself that I am on diet since I gained 20 lbs after a miscarriage.
For dinner, we went to Jack’s Ridge, one of the most popular dining destinations in Davao. It sits on top of a high and very steep mountain slope, overlooking the scenic expanse of the city.
After dinner, we went to the market to buy some pasalubongs for our families and friends in Manila. Daring as she sometimes can be, our jolly boss dared us to eat durian fruit, more popularly known in Davao for its distinctive odor and uniquely thorn-covered husk. It emits a rather strong and penetrating odor — sometimes described as too overpowering — but most would say that it tastes great.
I had my first Durian taste and I find it creamy, much like a custard than any other fruit. We consumed the whole fruit and most of my office buddies enjoyed the fresh fruit with an ice-cold coke. For me, I would still prefer the Durian candies, polvoron, and yema tower.
While some of my office mates preferred to cap the night with some huge servings of ice giants, I however, opted to take a good night shower and call it a night. The soothing feeling of the air conditioning system inside our room had brought a cold night, allowing me to sleep well that evening. Our tomorrow will be another fun-filled day so I need that rest.
After our buffet breakfast, we all gathered at the Microtel lobby to discuss a few do’s and dont’s for our next itinerary. We are going to The Pearl Farm!
Nestled in the islands of Samal and Malipano, the Pearl Farm Beach Resort is one of the high-end resorts in Davao owned and operated by the Floirendos. Once a cultivation farm for luxurious south sea pearls, the Pearl Farm is still today’s most regal beach resort in the city.
From Sasa wharf, we took the roro to reach what they describe as the best attraction in Davao city.
Pearl Farm with its beautiful, deep and calm sea… Pearl Farm and its stunning views perfect for pictorials…. Pearl Farm is definitely less crowded with a terrific line up of buffet lunch. — some of the how I’ve imagined Pearl Farm from the stories I’ve read and relayed to me by my friends.
The Pearl Farm that I’ve seen, felt and experienced-
The lunch buffet at Pearl Farm had mostly average-tasting dishes, but the options were so wide. They even had beef or chicken shawarma which I found not too common in most buffet set ups.
It was already dark when we went back to the city. We headed to Waterfront Insular Hotel for our dinner.
During the day as well, we visited the Monfort Bat Colony, known for being home to the largest colony of fruit bats in the world and having been recognized and awarded by the Guinness book of world records.
Estimated to have some 1.8 million bat residents, the Monfort Bat Colony has such a highly suitable habitation for these nocturnal birds. And I could readily feel the unnaturally huge presence of these bats within the area because of the high-pitched shrills echoing within.
There are five entrances within the secluded compound. And as we get closer to the entrance, I was overwhelmed with the uncountable black masses covering the cave entrances.
We had our usual breakfast at Microtel Davao. After which, we had our boat ride again, but this time going to a secluded place called Hof Gorei Beach Resort.
Indeed very quite, Hof Gorei is a perfect place to relax and leave all worries behind. We had the entire resort all by ourselves that I decided right away to try its pool and enjoy lounging in the sun.
We arrived from Hof Gorei to the city by 5 pm, still have an hour to do our shopping for pasalubongs at Aldevinco. I bought my mother butterfly dusters. And for my boys – all kinds of durian and mangosteen candies.
For dinner, we had something light yet filling- Japanese food. I am not a fan of sushi rolls so I had a hard time deciding what to eat for dinner. After a few push from companions, I tried a few rolls and much to my delight, I enjoyed them. Those sushi rolls sans rice, fish and living nutrients were in fact very beautiful to look at, very refreshing, and light yet filling.
After our filling breakfast at Microtel Davao, we were chartered to the Davao airport in time for our 11:00 am flight back to Manila. Since we still had plenty of time, we did a few last-minute shopping. I bought a few kilos of mangosteen and pomelo which were cheaper than buying it at the malls and were slightly more expensive if bought in the city proper.
Our five-day Davao stay was indeed a healthy vacation for me. I have managed to make the most of my time off, more ready to return to Manila refreshed and recharged. Also, it was a needed vacation after having that unfortunate missed abortion.
US. Travels and vacations wouldn’t be complete without taking jump shots. A jump shot becomes a signature thing to almost all travelers as it would always catch the action at its peak.
And yes, I do love Davao.
* This visit was last May 2013, a few months after my missed abortion. I hope to return to Davao, again with my boys.