Although Davao is one of the prime destinations in the country; it was just last month that I had able to visit it. Since I started going to different places in the country, I’ve been skipping Davao without any plausible reason. I don’t know maybe it’s not yet time for me to visit it or haven’t found someone to accompany me or maybe I always discover something much better or maybe because it is in Mindanao, as you know airline fuel surcharge for flights to provinces in Mindanao is exorbitant. Oh my goodness, thank you to airline seat sale. With more or less PHP 500 round trip ticket per person for Davao during a seat sale few months back, I grabbed the chance and booked a ticket right away.
Davao is very famous in so many ways. Think of Samal island, durian, Philippine Eagle, crocodile park and so many other things – and that’s Davao. Oh how can I forget, a disciplined city as well.
Coming from my work without any good sleep yet, seeing the aerial view of Davao as we approached its international airport made me so excited. I was already thinking of the activities we will be doing during the weekend jaunt.
Getting out of Davao International Airport.
We were able to reach the Davao International Airport terminal at around 10:00 AM.
From the airport, there are different options to get out and reach your next destination. For a more convenient but expensive transfer, you may ask your hotel for a pick up or hire a taxi to get to your destination. For a cheap way to get out of the airport, one can take a multi-cab going to main road or National highway. The multi-cab terminal is situated at the left side as you get out of the airport building. Fare is around PHP 10 wherein the ride only takes about 5 minutes or less. From the main road, there are already public buses and jeepneys which can take you to your destination of choice. Since we’ll be heading to Davao City we then crossed the street, and there we took a non air-conditioned bus bound to the city proper.
Glen of Escape Manila, a fellow travel blogger, who I’ve only known for like 2 days before our Davao trip offered his humble abode to be our home in Davao. Thank you Glen for your kindness and hospitality. 🙂
We arrived at Glen’s house at lunch time already. We then had our lunch prepared by our generous host before getting to our planned activity that day. I haven’t prepared any itinerary print out for this as I would like this trip to be something spontaneous and not relying to the details of the activity. Also, we have our host to help us with our inquiries regarding the destinations we’ll be going to, so there’s nothing to worry.
It was already 2:30 PM when we started to move and start getting to different tourist spots in Davao.
Philippine Eagle Center
The Philippine Eagle Center which is also known as Philippine Eagle Camp is located at Barangay Malagos within Baguio District of Davao City. The center is said to be the home to 36 Philippine Eagles, 18 of which are captive-bred.
The center is about an hour drive from the city and can be reached either by private or public transport. From NCCC Mall, we rode a jeepney bound to Calinan. Fare is PHP 40 per person. There are also buses that departs to Calinan from Annil Terminal located at corner Quirino and San Pedro Extension. Buses departs every 15 minutes.
We reached Calinan passed 4:00 PM already. A passenger in the same jeepney that we rode to helped us to get into the tricycle that goes to the Philippine Eagle Center since she’s also bound to the same way as we were. From Calinan, the tricycle ride going to the Philippine Eagle Center took us 10 minutes. Tricycle fare per person costs PHP 6.
It was like 4:30 PM when we reached the eagle center.
Before we entered the premises, a PHP 5 fee should be paid for the Davao City Water District. We were then told that we have to move faster as the center will be closing at 5:00 PM.
When we reached the main area, we then paid the PHP 50 entrance fee.
After paying our dues, we moved quickly and started to roam the area.
I’m not really a fan of zoos and parks but what I like about such places are the different trees and its green and calm surrounding.
The Philippine Eagle which is also known as the Monkey-eating Eagle is considered the largest of the extant eagles in the world in terms of length. Due to rarest and most powerful bird in the world, this type of eagle has been declared as our Philippine national bird.
I don’t know if I have seen a Philippine Eagle before but we were eager to see one in Davao. Well, we were welcomed with not only one but too many eagles that I had already lost count of.
Most of the eagles are caged but there are also few placed in an open area wherein you can get closer but not too closed that you can touch the species.
I still want to see these animals fly freely in our forests.
The center isn’t only home to Philippine Eagles but also a home to different species like monkeys, other species of birds, some species of mammals and reptiles.
We finished roaming the center at around 5:30 PM. We were supposed to meet Chyng at 6:00 PM in Davao Crocodile Park for a cultural show but that I think is already impossible as the travel time going back to the city proper is 1 hour. So I just asked her to have a meet up at dinner time.
Me and my companion left the center. We road a habal-habal to get to the town proper, and from there we rode an air-conditioned L300 going back to the city. Our travel time took longer this time, maybe because of the traffic which I haven’t noticed as I got dozed off during the entire land travel.
You can also actually visit Malagos Garden Park when in the area since it’s just around 5 minutes drive away from Philippine Eagle Center.
Monfort Bat Sanctuary
Our second day was spent discovering selected tourist spots in Samal island. One of these is the home of the largest bat colony in the world as declared by the Guiness World of Records with 1.8 million Rousette fruit bats since recorded history, the Monfort Bat Sanctuary.
Getting to Samal island from Davao city means we have to take a RoRo bus. From Magsaysay Park which is situated in the downtown area, we rode an ordinary bus known as the “Island City Express” that will take you to Samal island. We asked the conductor to drop us off at Babak. The bus fare costs PHP 30 each with travel time of about an hour or less.
From Babak, we rode a habal-habal to get to the bat sanctuary. The ride costs PHP 25 each with travel time of 15 minutes. When we reached the area, we asked the driver if he could take us to the port where there are boats that goes to Vanishing island. He told us that there are also boat from the sanctuary. So we asked one of the staff in the premises but unfortunately the boat isn’t available that time as it has already been hired by other group. Well, we’ve just decided to ditch the plan and focus on the other places we’ll be visiting that day.
The entrance fee to the bat sanctuary is PHP 50 per person.
According to wikipedia, fruit bats are extremely popular type of bat that can also be called megabats which originate from tropical regions of the Old World. Fruit bats diet includes fruit and nectar.
With the abundance of fruit bats, visitors can get an up close look from outside in any of the five entrances where the last entrance is dedicated to senior bats. We were told that only experts can enter the cave because any disturbance can cause panic to the bats. It is said that the suggested time to visit is late afternoon because of the daily Circadian flight. The Circadian flight occurs right after sunset, when millions of bats fly out of the cave to find food.
Our tour in the premises of the bat sanctuary was guided by a tour staff where she discussed on facts and in-depth information about the sanctuary.
This tourist spot is open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily. Night viewing is also allowed but have to be reserved or notified in advance.
It was already like 11:00 AM when we finished the informational tour. There are no public vehicles available outside so we walked to reach the main road. There we waited for a passing habal-habal to take us to our next destination, Hagimit Falls.
Hagimit Falls and Natures Park
Hagimit Falls and Natures Park is one of Samal Island’s attraction. It is said that if you want to be one with nature, then you should visit this place. We rode a habal-habal for about 45 minutes to get to the natures park. We then asked our driver to wait for us as we will just be spending like half an hour in the premises. But don’t worry about the public transportation when you’re in the area as there are available habal-habal waiting outside which can take you to your next destination of choice.
Since I’ve read that Hagimit Falls isn’t the falls as big as the other falls that I’ve been to, I didn’t expect anything high about the place. But when we reached the main area where there are natural swimming pools and rock formation, I got surprised of how the entire place looks like. Its refreshing to the eye that it came to a point that we regretted that we only spent a few minutes and just took pictures.
It would have been better if we spent a little more time and had a dip in one of its natural swimming pools. Sigh. 🙁 Entrance fee per person costs PHP 40. There are also cottages that you can rent during the day. After taking a few snapshots, we’ve decided to leave and moved on to our next spot that day.
Our habal habal driver then drove us to our last stop in Samal island. We were charged PHP 400 for the entire ride. I felt its kind of expensive for the entire transfer service but we didn’t argue with the driver anymore. I don’t feel like bargaining or some sort because I set my mind that Davaoeño drivers our honest. Well Glenn just told us that Samal is not part of the disciplined city anymore. Oh, well! Davao Crocodile Park Since we missed visiting the crocodile park on our first day, me and my companion decided to visit it on our extra day in Davao. Flights from and to Davao were cancelled on the day of our departure because of a mishap happened at the airport runway caused by a Cebu Pacific plane. I’ve been to a numerous zoos already but never been to an animal park specialized for crocodiles. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m not a fan of zoos and parks but crocodiles make me excited to see the place. I don’t know I just like how they move outrageously, very wild. I know these are dangerous type of animals and should be avoided. One must be cautious in getting closer with them.
The Davao Crocodile Park is a complex showcases a modernized crocodile farming system in the Philippines, equipped with modern facilities and equipment. The entrance fee for the crocodile park is only PHP 150 for adults and PHP 75 for children. The ticket includes a free visit to Butterfly Sanctuary and Tribu K’ Mindanawan Village. The ticket that we bought also included with an entrance fee discount to Maxima Aqua Fun.
Be brave and be prepared as this big crocodile welcomes you to the park.
Our time of visit was just in time for a crocodile encounter show where a park staff gets a close encounter and feeds the numerous young crocodiles inside the cage.
The crocodile park is literally surrounded with numerous crocodiles from small to big ones. Just be alert with their movements and ensure not to have one of these crawl in your feet.
The park isn’t just a home for crocodiles but also has the presence of other exotic animal species like raptors, monkeys, bear cats, snakes, birds, and other reptiles which makes it as one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Davao City.
There are also other activities inside the complex that you can choose from aside from seeing the animals. There are zorb park, waterball and paintball.
Or better yet just have a relaxing afternoon in a real Farmville situated across the main crocodile park.
We finished roaming the park at around 4:00 PM. At first we’ve decided to visit the two spots included in the ticket that we bought but eventually we felt tired of visiting another place in the area. But certainly our trip to Davao City is well spent with nature trips. Well this is what Davao is known for, its nature.
********** Philippine Eagle Center Baranggay Malagos, Baguio District Davao City www.philippineeagle.org Monfort Bat Cave Samal Island, Davao Facebook Page Hagimit Falls and Natures Park Poblacion Peñaplata, Island Garden City of Samal 8119 Samal, Davao, Philippines Facebook Page Davao Crocodile Park Riverfront, Corporate City, Diversion Highway Ma-a, Davao City 8000 Philippines www.psdgroupph.com