Davao – to the land of fresh Durians and famous Philippine Eagles

Davao is also known as the ‘Crown Jewel of Mindanao. I had an amazing stay here. Don’t expect Davao night life to be as wild as in Manila. All bars & shops are strictly prohibited to operate beyond 2am. A local said to us that Policemen would roam around the city and will confiscate any alcoholic drinks. In Manila, I keep my gadgets in my bag where it is safe but in Davao you can just use it freely in public areas.

This is the last stop on our trip.

Since we were so tired from yesterday’s trip, we decided that today we will just enjoy Eden Nature Park. We were supposed to go to 3 different locations – Eden, Philippine Eagle Centre, Baywalk – but our bodies just can’t. Entrance fee is in Eden is Php250 with free snack.

What to do in Eden Nature Park:

  1. Skyride
  2. Skycycle
  3. Skyswing
  4. Wreckingball
  5. Fishing
  6. Trekking

If you will be travelling with your best friend, lover or family, please ride the Skyswing. This is highly recommended. You have to pay Php400 for 2. The Skycycle is also a must-try. It’ll cost you Php200 per person to cross the hills. The Skydive is a zipline that will cost you Php150. My best friend tried the Skydive and I tried the Skycycle then we both rode the Skyswing.

There are so many fun-filled activities that you can do here. It’s like a big playground for adults. After our exhausting rides and several attempts to copy Miley Cyrus’ Wreckingball pose, we decided to claim our snacks at the social hall. You have a choice whether you’ll get Spaghetti meal or Sandwich meal. We opt to take the Spaghetti meal because the sandwich looked like it lacks flavor.

After our Eden Nature Park experience, we went to NCCC mall just to buy some stuff. We had dinner at Penong’s along Matina. One of my closest girl friends, Guil, was there too and highly recommended Penong’s secret spicy sauce. I tried it and it was awesome! I like spicy foods (I lived in Bicol for 3 months and got addicted to spicy foods). I highly recommend Penong’s.

From Ateneo de Davao University, cross the street, ride a Jeepney to Toril. Travel time is roughly 2 hours. Ask the driver to drop you at Eden Nature Park route. Cross the street and ride the habal habal to Eden Nature Park. Take note: if both can fit in one habal habal, just rent 1 for Php100. We thought that it is Php50 per habal habal, so we were asked to pay Php100 each. WTH. Travel time is 1 hour. To go back to Matina, just take a habal habal from Eden to Toril (again Php50 each) then Jeepney to Matina.

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10:00 am to 12:00 pm – Travel time from Matina to Toril via Jeepney

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm – Travel time from Toril to Eden Nature Park via Habal Habal

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm – Pay entrance fee, register for the rides

2:00 pm to 4:00 pm – Enjoy Eden Nature Park

4:00 pm to 5:00 pm – Get your free snack, rest

5:00 pm to 6:00 pm – Travel time from Eden to Toril main road via Habal Habal

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Travel time Toril to Matina via Jeep

8:00 pm to 9:00 pm – Qanaq hotel. REST.

9:00 pm to 10:00 pm – Dinner at Penong’s

10:00 pm to 12:00 am – Cross the street. Enjoy Matina Town Square “night life”

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  • Php150 Buffet Lunch at Kamayan
  • Php8 Qanaq to Kamayan Quirino
  • Php20 Jeepney fare from Ateneo to Toril
  • Php100 Habal habal to Eden Nature Park
  • Php250 Entrance fee with free snack
  • Php200 Skycycle
  • Php200 each Partner SkySwing
  • Php30 VitaWater
  • Php50 Habal habal ride from Eden to Toril main road
  • Php20 Toril to NCCC Mall, Matina
  • Php125 Penong’s shared meal
  • Php99 2 bottles of beer at Matina Town Square

TOTAL is Php1,252. 

Day 2

We woke up late because we had a rough night and we were so tired. My best friend suggested that we visit the churches in Davao but I begged for us to see the Philippine Eagles and then go to the market to eat Durian & Pomelo. I won. Lol. It rained earlier this day so we started our journey to the Philippine Eagle Centre around 11:00 am. We were lucky that we met a local that offered to take us to Bankerohan Market.

AC Vans leave for Calinan from Bankerohan Market. Ask the driver to drop you off at the route to Philippine Eagle Center. This will cost you Php30. Take a habal habal for the remaining 5 kilometers from Calinan to Philippine Eagle Centre. We paid Php25 each for one habal habal.

You must pay Php5 for the environmental fee and Php150 for the donation. You can go around the park to see the eagles, monkeys, blue bird, a crocodile and a hog. I’m just really after the eagles since it’s what Davao is known for. We spent 45 minutes here then we headed back to Bankerohan Market to buy souvenirs.best girl friend

You can buy Durian candies & Durian yema 3 pcs for Php100. Php85/kilo for Pomelo. We were in a hurry because our flight was at 3pm and we made it back to town around 1pm. We hailed a cab from the market and we hurriedly got our things from Qanaq hotel. We arrived at the airport 2;45pm and got helped from one of the Cebu Pacific ground crew to let us check-in first since our flight was at 3pm.

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11:00 am to 12:20 pm Travel time from Bankerohan Market to Philippine Eagle Centre

12:20 pm to 1:00 pm – Enjoy Philippine Eagle Centre

1:00 pm to 2:10 pm – Travel time from Eagle Centre to Bankerohan Market

2:20 pm to 2:45 pm – Travel time from Bankerohan Market to Francisco Bangoy Airport

3:00 pm – Flight back to Manila

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  • Php30 Van fare from Bankerohan Market to Calinan
  • Php25 Habal habal fare to Philippine Eagle Centre
  • Php5 Environmental fee
  • Php150 Entrance Fee
  • Php20 Handmade Bracelet
  • Php25 Habal habal fare back to Calinan main road
  • Php30 Van fare from Calinan to Bankerohan
  • Php100 for 4 packs of Durian Yema & Durian Candies
  • Php180 2 kilos Pomelo
  • Php180 Taxi fare share from Bankerohan Market to Francisco Bangoy Airport
  • Php200 Terminal Fee

TOTAL is Php945. Total amount we spent during this trip is Php6,710. I exceeded Php710! Anyway, I had fun! Haha! My best friend and I became aware of our strengths and weaknesses. We made a perfect duo!

Samal Island – to the Island Garden City

I was really eyeing Davao because I heard how safe it is to travel there and how beautiful Samal island is. I want to experience how Duterte mans his territory. Hehe. Earlier this year, I saw a fare promo on the Cebu Pacific’s webpage. My best friend and I had discussed this trip for months now and we were just so excited that we booked right away.

We paid Php1,186 each for RT Manila to Davao via Cebu Pacific. This is a DIY trip for 2.

Accommodation: We stayed in Qanaq Hotel along Matina, Davao. We paid Php2,996 for 3 nights. We had the Double bed room. The hotel is like a dormitel with common kitchen. A great thing about this place is it is near NCCC Mall, fast food joints and Matina Town Center (bars and shops). The CR in the room is covered only by a glass sliding door – so if you’re travelling with someone you’re not comfortable with better ask for another room type.

After our check-in, we headed straight to Sta. Ana Wharf to catch the ferry to Maxima. Unfortunately, we arrived there past 9am and we had to take a RORO to Samal island. We rode a pedicab from Sta. Ana Wharf to Island City Express for Php15 each. We paid Php50 for RORO fare.It only took us 30-40 minutes getting to the island (including bus ride). We went down to Penaplata and rented a tricycle to Maxima Aquafun Resort for Php40 each.

We paid Php5 environmental fee and Php300 for entrance fee. A must-try here is the giant water slide. You can also dive, swim and snorkel. We had the whole balsa to ourselves since there were very few people visiting.

For Php300 you can enjoy all of the amenities except the rooms & snorkel gears. Unlimited use of the giant water slide, diving board, Johnny’s ride, water bed and much more. Be careful of stonefish. We were on our way back to the main area when my best friend almost stepped on a stonefish along the shore. Safety first!

Places to check out:

  • Pearl Farm Resort – Too expensive. Someone take me here. Day trip is Php2000
  • Kaputian Beach – Too far. From Maxima it is 1 hour away.
  • Maxima Aquafun
  • Hagimit Falls
  • Montfort Batcave – We don’t like the smell of bat caves but I heard it is a good site.

We went to Hagimit Falls after our exhausting activities in Maxima. We rented a habal habal for Php25, paid Php5 environmental plus Php40 entrance fee. Here you can relax and just float.Make sure to check the falls at the bottom part of the resort. It is wider than the one in the middle.

We stayed here til 5pm. We forgot to take lunch, luckily we had a big breakfast earlier that day. We also bought a big bottle of water and snacks to keep up energized for the whole trip. From Hagimit, we rented a habal habal to take us to Sasa Port. We paid Php40. It rained so we had to stop on a local ihaw ihaw and had isaw. We had dinner at BBQ Boss in Matina Town Square in Davao city. We were so tired and we didn’t have lunch so we had heavy dinner.

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4:00 am to 6:00 am – Travel time from Manila to Davao city

6:00 am to 7:00 am – Travel time from Francisco Bangoy Airport to Qanaq Hotel

7:00 am to 8:00 am – Check-in, Rest, Unpack

8:00 am to 9:00 am – Travel time from Qanaq hotel to Sta. Ana Wharf

9:00 am to 10:30 am – Travel time Davao city to Penaplata, Samal

10:30 am to 11:30 am – Penaplata to Maxima Aquafun

11:30 am to 2:00 pm – Enjoy Maxima Aquafun facilities

2:00 pm to 2:30 pm – Travel time Maxima to Hagimit falls

2:30 pm to 4:00 pm – Enjoy Hagimit Falls

4:00 pm to 6:30 pm – Travel time Hagimit Falls to Sasa Wharf to Sta. Ana Wharf

6:30 pm to 7:30 pm – Travel time Sta. Ana Wharf to Qanaq Hotel

7:30 pm to 9:00 pm – Rest

9:00 pm to 10:00 pm – Go to Matina Town Square/ late Dinner BBQ Boss/ Enjoy live bands

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  • Php190 each Taxi fare from Airport to Qanaq Hotel
  • Php1,498 each 3 nights accommodation Qanaq Hotel
  • Php168 Jolibee Ultimate Burger Steak with Pineapple juice
  • Php8 Jeepney fare (Malinta to Sta. Anna Wharf)
  • Php15 Pedicab fare to Island City Express Roro terminal
  • Php50 Roro fare to Penaplata, Samal

  • Php40 pesos Tricycle fare from Penaplata to Maxima Aquafun
  • Php26 bottled water
  • Php300 Maxima Entrance Fee
  • Php5 Environmental Fee

  • Php25 Habal Habal to Hagimit Falls
  • Php40 Entrance Fee
  • Php5 Environmental Fee
  • Php35 ihaw-ihaw
  • Php160 BBQ Boss at Matina Town Square
  • Php10 Ferry fare back to Davao city
  • Php40 habal habal from Hagimit Falls to Sasa Port
  • Php8 Jeep fare to Matina – Qanaq Hotel

Total is Php 2,623. I already included the hotel fee. Not bad for 1st day.

TO SURIGAO DEL SUR

Surigao del Sur – to the Hinatuan Enchanted River

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From Davao, ride a non-AC Bachelor Bus to Manganoy, Bislig at Ecoland Terminal. Fare is Php300. Earliest trip is 2am. We didn’t wake up on time so we took the 4am trip. You have to endure the 6 hour bus ride to Manganoy.

From Manganoy, there are 2 options on how to go to Enchanted River & Tinuy-an Falls:

A) Ride a bus to Hinatuan (travel time is 1 hour 30 minutes). Fare is Php55. Rent a habal habal for Php50 one-way to Enchanted River. Rent a habal habal at Enchanted River to go back to the bus terminal. Head back to Mangagoy and rent another habal habal to take you to Tinuy-an Falls.

B) From Manganoy, rent a habal habal for Php1,300 to take you to Tinuy-an and Enchanted River and will even drop you off at the terminal after the trip.

We didn’t know Option B would be a lot easier. We took a bus to Hinatuan (1 hour 30 minutes). On the bus, I spoke to a local and she recommended her cousin (a habal habal driver) to take us to Enchanted River & Tinuy-An Falls for Php1,000. We agreed since it is less of a hassle for us.

We arrived at the Hinatuan Enchanted River around 12:30pm and there were very few people visiting. That’s why my best friend was able to take this awesome shot:

We were in awe when we saw the river. TBH I had no idea why they called it ‘Enchanted’. My best friend explained to me that because no one has ever measured its exact depth plus it has an amazing underwater cave system. My best friend has been dreaming to go here since 2010 so he knows a LOT about it.

We had Paluto here since we only had coffee and brownies in Ecoland Terminal. The carinderia staff will deliver the meal right on your rented table. We finished swimming around 3pm. We were running out of time since we were trying to catch the 5pm last trip to Davao. It took us 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach Tinuy-an Falls.

Seriously, this is also beautiful and worth the trip. I stared at it for 5 minutes because it is just so beautiful.The water was freezing and the current was strong so I didn’t dare to swim since I was already tired.

A local offered to take us up the waterfalls for Php50. We didn’t accept because we were still thinking of catching the 5pm last trip to Davao. If you have time, make sure to check the upper part because I heard that there are natural pools there.

We left Tinuy-an Falls around 5:30pm and we had to take the Deadly habal habal ride back to town. The motorcycle has these planks attached to it where you’ll have to sit for the rest of the ride. I HAD FUN. My best friend was so scared that he didn’t speak to me the entire ride. Lol We had to pay extra Php100 but the driver gave us 50% discount since we are cute like that.

BE MINDFUL OF YOUR TIME: Last trip to Davao via Bachelor bus is 5pm. We were not able to ride that. We found a van that offered to take us to Davao for the same price (Php300) but the catch is we have to wait for 5 more passengers (he wanted 7 passengers). 2 hours had passed & there were only 4 of us. One of the bus conductors asked us to pay 1,500 so the 4 of us could go. WE DECLINED OF COURSE. That was just rude. The local passengers don’t even want to chip in so why choose the tourists?

We waited from ’til 1am and the van was filled with 10 passengers. Yep, we slept in the terminal – another one for the books. We don’t want to pay for a hostel anymore because we’re working with a tight budget.

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2:00 am to 8:00 am – Travel time Davao city to Mangagoy , Bislig

8:00 am to 10:00 – Travel time Mangagoy to Enchanted River

10:00 am to 11:30 pm – Enjoy Hinatuan Enchanted River/ Wash up

11:30 pm to 12:00 pm – Lunch

12:00 pm to 2:00 pm – Travel time Hinatuan to Tinuy-an Falls

2:00 pm to 3:30 pm – Enjoy Tinuy-an Falls/ Wash up

3:30 to 5:00 pm – Travel time from Tinuy-an Falls to Mangagoy bus station

5:00 pm to 12:00 am – Travel time from Mangagoy to Davao city

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  • Php55 Taxi fare from Qanaq to Ecoland Terminal
  • Php300 Bus fare Davao city to Mangagoy, Bislig
  • Php55 Bus fare Mangagoy to Hinatuan
  • Php1,000 Habal Habal rent for 2 pax (to Enchanted River to Tinuy-an Falls) / Php500 each
  • Php25 Entrance fee Hinatuan Enchanted River
  • Php150 Rent for table with umbrella
  • Php50 Entrance fee Tinuy-an Falls
  • Php250 for 2 – Paluto lunch (fish + rice) / Php125 each
  • Php100 Tinuy-an Falls deadly habal habal to Bus terminal
  • Php320 Da Venue dinner at Gaisano Mall, Bislig / Php160 each
  • Php300 Van fare to Davao city
  • Php70 Taxi fare from Victoria Mall to Qanaq

Total is Php1,890 per head. We arrived in Davao around 6am. It only took us 4 hours going back to Davao via van.

TO DAVAO CITY

Bukidnon, Philippines – To ride the longest zipline in Asia

This is a continuation of my Cagayan de Oro – Camiguin – Bukidnon trip.

Arrived in CdO from Manila at around 9am and we were just excited about things. Instead of just resting we headed to the public market and asked around if we could have a land transfer from CdO to Bukidnon. We’d like to ride the longest zipline in Asia at Dahilayan Adventure Park. It’s about 2 hours from CdO to get to Dahilayan Adventure Park.

Bukidnon is rich in culture, as it has the living heritage of seven indigenous tribes: the Manobo, the Higaonon, the Talaandig, the Matigsalug, the Tigwahanon, the Bukidnon, and the Umayamnon.

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  • Php200 shared for ac van transpo to Bukidnon
  • Php500 entrance fee for Dahilayan Park
  • Php300 zipline fee
  • Php100 lunch meal
  • Php230 tshirt souvenir
  • Php100 bought photo during the zipline
  • Php150 golf fee

Total is Php1580. Not bad for a day tour. Then we headed back to CdO to rest and go back to Manila. Expenses are Php2,490 from Cagayan de Oro. That’s Php2,074 from Camiguin and Php1580 from Bukidnon.

Total is Php6,144. This is the cheapest than I can go for. You won’t get to experience much if you cut down on expenses, right?

Camiguin, Philippines – To sink deep with the Sunken Cemetery

After our CDO experience we headed to Camiguin (yes, this is a continuation). We arrived at Benoni Port around 6:30am, travel time is 1 hr 30 minutes. We immediately asked around for tour packages since we will be here for just 1 day. We got a multicab that offered us Php700/person for a tour. We were able to see the following:

  • Ardent Hot springs (which is a must because it was raining when we got there)
  • Katibawasan Falls
  • Old church ruins
  • White Island

You must swim around the White Island.

You must try eating sea urchins in White Island. Fishermen will definitely push you into eating it. Tastes great!

Everyone would like to see the sunken cemetery here and it sucks because I was not able to see it. This is one of my adventures where I feel that I needed to go back. I was just disappointed because it’s one my bucket list. There was a heavy rain that time we went here so we were only able to see 4 spots. I will definitely go back here just to view the sunken cemetery.

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  • Php700 Camiguin island tour
  • Php130 souvenirs
  • Php600 for an overnight stay at an Inn
  • Php84 shared for boat ride to White Island
  • Php120 sea urchin 3 pieces
  • Php70 dinner meal
  • Php150 breakfast meal (because we bought it fresh from the wet market)
  • Php120 bottle of alcohol
  • Php100 shared for multicab to Benoni Port

Total expense here is Php2,074. Take note that Php700 tour is inclusive of entrance fees but not the boat to White Island. Then we headed back to CdO 4:30am. The road had no street lights so it was pitch black. Light was only from the multicab we rode going to Benoni Port. Off to Bukidnon!

Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental, Philippines – To try extreme White Water River Rafting

This is a budget itinerary during my Region 10 trip. We went to three different provinces namely Cagayan de Oro – Bukidnon – Camiguin then back to CDO. This trip is extra memorable because It’s where I experienced backpacking for the first time. Flight is via Cebu Pacific and we got it during their piso-fare promo. I’ll try my best to recall the expenses during this trip. There were 5 of us so we shared expenses.

Day 1 and 2

We arrived Lagundingan airport CDO late afternoon and rode a taxi to go to the main city which took us 30 minutes. I remember sharing just Php60. From there we searched for a cheap hostel where we can stay for the night. We stayed in a crampy hostel but with really affordable price of Php550/night without breakfast. There were 5 of us and we did not mind sharing twin beds since we’re family. You can eat dinner at any local carinderia for Php50-60 depending on serving. Early morning we checked-out and went to the White Water Rafting area just 30 minutes outside the town proper. We paid Php700/person for an easy trail because of course we don’t want to risk our lives. I remember there were 4 rafts that launched with us during the trail. 1 raft turned over after a strong current causing an injury to one of the tourists on board. Whew! Luckily our tour guide was great at controlling.

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  • Php60 share taxi fare
  • Php60 dinner meal at a local carinderia
  • Php700 white water rafting easy trail
  • Php150 arm warmers (they recommend it)
  • Php45 bottled water
  • Php60 lunch
  • Php550 cheap hostel stay per night
  • Php30 entrance fee for eco park

So far total is Php1655. Not bad for half day. Again this is without airfare. We went to an eco-park after our rafting via tricycle (that i did not pay for, thanks sis!) but there’s nothing here except for the hanging bridge and animals. So if you’re not into this just skip it. Next we headed to Agora Market to rent a van going to Balingoan terminal where we can ride a ferry going to Camiguin island. Make sure to look for Php100/person for the van fare because drivers might trick you into paying Php1000 for 2 persons. Yes, it’s the Philippines. We arrived at the port late, around 6pm, so we were not able to cross on time. We rented a room at a house besides the port. I remember there was no electricity so we were not able to charge our phones. We ate dinner at some carinderia here. We woke up 4am to get on the first ferry to Camiguin and trust me there were a lot of people already.

  • Php100 CDO to Balingoan port
  • Php60 dinner meal at a local carinderia
  • Php500 overnight stay in a room
  • Php175 port fee to Benoni port, Camiguin

Total is Php2,490. It was our fault since we got at the port late so we had to pay extra. Off to Camiguin!