This year, I stepped out of the comforts of Manila, thirsty for adventures and full of optimism. I never expected that an impulsive booking to Davao City for my birthday would lead to a new-found addiction to everything Mindanao. It’s a joy to finally put her on the limelight and showcase some underrated cities!

September 2016: I landed in Davao City at noon, met with friends, and planned a trip to Mati City the next day. However, news broke out in the evening that Roxas Night Market was bombed. I could never fathom how much hatred it took for the terrorists to carry out such violence. Condolences to the victims’ families. For safety reasons, we cancelled our supposed trip to Mati.

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I’d like to thank these friends who ensured that I’d have a wonderful time in Davao amidst the untoward incident. Your resilience, warmth, and smiles were reassuring. I went back to Manila but my heart stayed in this spectacular city with all of you.

Bringing back the positive energy…. I returned to Davao City after 3 weeks!
Here’s our ITINERARY:

SATURDAY

  • 6am: Drove from Davao City to Banana Beach Resort in Tagum. It’s an hour drive.
  • 7am: Availed a day tour package at Banana Beach Resort.
  • 5pm: Left Banana Beach Resort. We Drive drove to Mati City. It’s a 2-hour drive.
  • 7pm: Checked-in at Dahican Surf Resort in Mati City

SUNDAY

  • 5am: Woke up early to ride a habal-habal from the resort to Mati airport.
  • 5:30-6:30am: Explored the facilities of Mindanao Saga Flying Club and flew in an ultralight plane!
  • 6:30am: Rode a habal-habal from the airport back to Dahican Surf Resort. Swim/skim/surf at the beach!
  • 3pm: Check-out.
  • 4pm: Drove to “The Sleeping Dinosaur” in Mati City.
  • 5pm: Returned to Davao City


WELCOME TO TAGUM CITY!!!
 

Tagum City is only an hour drive from Davao City. The drive going there was nothing short of fun! Look at this street lined with palm trees!

“What can we do in Tagum City?”

Go to BANANA BEACH RESORT. It’s the topmost recommended spot in Tagum. Owned by Hijo Estate Resorts, it’s the only beach resort located in a banana plantation around the globe. 🌏

It was surprisingly tranquil for a Saturday. The minute I stepped out of the car, my eyes glazed and my heart thumped faster, knowing what beauty Mother Nature has prepared as a nourishment for my soul that weekend.

They even welcomed us with fresh bananas from their plantation! 🍌

While waiting for our friends who were still working that Saturday, the 4 of us took a DAY TOUR. Consumables can be used on their activities, food, and drinks. Options:

  • Php 500 / person (fully consumable for groups of 10 and above)
  • Php 650 / person (fully consumable for groups of 4-9)
  • Php 750 / person (fully consumable regular day tour price)

Here’s the caveat on this trip: There was an earthquake that morning, and Mati was the epicenter. Bam. We pushed through with the trip but avoided the sea as a precaution. No worries, we’re all safe!

I’m not fond of swimming pools (don’t get me started with my hatred for chlorine), but I enjoyed this resort’s poolside amenities. Got to hand it to B.B.R. for their well-maintained pools!

Food was not extraordinary, but it was value for money.

Pool bar for margaritas and pizza chow!

If you’re not as unfortunate, maybe you could try their ocean adventures (especially the water trampoline, tell me about it).

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Pick your poison.

And here goes the second leg of this getaway! In the afternoon, we drove to Mati City. I still get giddy just by thinking about it. 😳

MAAYONG BUNTAG MATI CITY!

There are buses/vans going to Mati from Davao City for those who don’t have cars. You can explore Mati when you get there by negotiating with habal-habal drivers.

We checked-in at Dahican Surf Resort where the welcoming sign stayed true to its words. Let gooooo. Be one with the locals. Get a hammock. Sleep in huts. Surf all day. Skim. Drink. Laugh!

The next day, I took a habal-habal and went to Mati airport. I wanted to catch the sunrise riding an ultralight plane. ✈️🌅

Habal-habal is a popular mode of transportation in provinces, wherein you get to hitch a ride on the motorcycles of the locals. It costs Php60 for a one-way trip to the airport from Dahican beach.

I was too sleepy (and a bit tipsy) to realize I wasn’t wearing a helmet during the habal-habal ride. I also forgot to change my slippers to shoes! 😅

The Mindanao Saga Flying Club is a sports aviation facility in Mati City that offers leisure flying and lessons from 5:30am-5:30pm.

A 15-minute ride on their ultralight plane costs Php2,500. The staff and pilots were accommodating and they entertained all my questions with enthusiasm (including my 1st question: “Malalaglag po ba slippers ko?” 😂).

Go early! I was the first one at the airport and I got to open the skies. Remember to bring your own GoPro/action camera. The plane’s right wing has a mount for your camera. Set the video on superview/widest angle.

My habal-habal ride waited for me and brought me back to the resort.

Dahican Surf Resort also offers meals to their guests. We ordered breakfast and lunch, making sure to try their native chicken.

The beach was breathtakingly pristine and blue that I had to pinch my skin as a reminder that everything I was seeing, as surreal as they are, were real.

Satisfaction in simplicity.
Morning silhouettes featuring the most genuine friends you could get.

Before going back to Davao City, we stopped over at Mati’s Sleeping Dinosaur. What a lucky dinosaur, he gets to sleep in the sea!

Can you see it?

This trip was all sorts of amazing. Mindanao is a gem full of welcoming people and beautiful sights yet to be discovered. I encourage everyone to give this golden land a chance to steal your heart and leave you wanting for more. I reconnected with friends who captured my heart with their genuine kindness, I was reminded of how vast this country is, and that there is a lot more to see and experience. Say yes more often. Thrive. Travel.

For rates and other concerns, visit their websites:
Banana Beach Resort
Mindanao Saga Flying Club
Dahican Surf Resort can also be contacted at 0942 403 8586