I was in Davao this weekend for a little R&R. Given the last minute trip arrangement, I booked the service of Kuya Joey Davao on the last minute. Surprisingly, he was able to book me a tour and also arranged for our airport transport to the hotel.
We arrived in Davao at 6am via Cebu Pacific. “Pickup is at the large durian,” Kuya Joey texted. To our surprise, the large durian looked like this:
Kuya Alex, our driver for the day picked us up on time.
He took us to our hotel at The Red Doorz for check-in.
Unfortunately, the Red Doorz did not offer any check-in till 2am. Which was why I slept at the hotel till 8:45am before starting my tour at 9am. Thank goodness that I brought an extra pillow!
Kuya Alex first took me to the famous durian shop, Lola Abon Durian Candy shop.
Now managed by Lola Abon’s grandchildren, the durian candy were delicious yet affordable.
Even I who was not an avid durian fan loved the candies especially the pastilles and yema.
Each candy pack was around php40-120, still reasonable versus prices in Manila. They were original and yummy and I could not help but buy a whole bag of pasalubong for the troops. See below for the receipt which includes the address to Lola Abon’s Original Durian Candy which is not to be missed.
Eden Nature Park
Our next stop was at Eden Nature Park.
The Eden Nature Park can be found 3,200 feet above sea level, spanning 80 hectares. It can be found at the foot of Mang Apo and is full of fresh air, beautiful scenery and greenery.
Check out how big this place is:
The park is managed by the local Ayala Davao and is beautiful. Here’s some obligatory photos on the “I Love Eden” sign.
You can even take a photo with Tatay Digong, former mayor of Davao and current Philippine president.
Prices, like many things in Davao were affordable. I booked the guided shuttle tour for php150 and availed of the plated snacks for php300 at the Skyview Cafe. The price for recreational activities are paid separately and can be availed on the site themselves.
We went to the Skyview Cafe for snacks.
There were a few choices to pick from. I chose the spaghetti. You can never remove the child on me. The snacks come with a glass of free soda.
You can view the different activities on the outside. The air is clean and crisp. The view amazing. From Skyview, you can see the Sky Swing, which is motorized and quite scary.
I hung out a bit at the Skyview until it was time for my guided tour at 12:45pm. Gerald was our tour guide and the tour usually takes 45 minutes to 1 hour with 3 stopovers.
To be honest, Eden is way better than Tagaytay’s Sonya’s Garden. It’s bigger, the air is fresher and the atmosphere was at a more comfortable cool temperature. Visitors can stay overnight at the rate of php4,400 per room for 2 pax and with free breakfast. There’s no aircon available but the air is cool and crisp, so airconditioning is not really a problem for the resort guests.
We passed through the various vegetable gardens like tomatoes, lettuce, mangosteen and durian trees.
Our first stop was the flower garden.
Gerald was kind enough to take our photos. He was a very good instructor. This was me on the rainbow wheel:
In summer, the flowers will grow on the rainbow wheel making it even more beautiful. A lot of people use Eden for their prenup shooting.
Obligatory shots of the beautiful flowers:
The property is privately owned by the local Ayala of Davao with 60 hectares already developed. 95% of the trees are man made and planted. Only 5% are naturally grown.
In 1974, they developed the land and planted the seeds. Eden Park was only open in 1997 after the trees developed. Until now, the park is still developing. Weekday visitors are around 300 pax, weekend visits is at least 3x more. Hopefully more people will visit Davao, which is one of the more impressive local cities I’ve ever been to to date.
The hike around the forest area is 2-3 hours away. There’s some Marang trees and pine ceilings which come from Baguio.
Our second stop: Tinugdan or Tribal Village
We then ventured to Lola’s Garden which features the spice garden and the famous carabao
The garden contained the Mayum Wishing Well — Mayum is one of the granddaughters. I dropped a coin and made a wish.
We then proceeded to the Japanese tunnel (Entrance Fee: php50 inclusive of tour).
On the outside is a hotel. The reception features beautiful geishas.
Hotel rates are
- Php1600 w breakfast for two
- Php3500 good for four with free breakfast
Beside the reception is the Japanese tunnel — 150 meters long even though the original was 7 kilometers. During Japanese era, they use it for hiding and passage road. Once discovered, the owners renovated the pathway by cementing it. The structure is still original though.
There’s a few rooms – this was the prayer room.
The meeting room.
Jail, which fits 5 to 6 people. Apparently, Filipino criminals then were very thin.
They used torches at that time. Check out the stalactites on the walls, which turned white:
Armory where artillery and guns were placed.
Office of the general Homo. Make a wish at the wishing well!
Guest numbers 50-100 pax depending on the day. Given the php50 price, the Japanese tunnel is a fun place to visit.
Davao Museum – Entrance: Free
The Davao Museum contained 50 articles to show guests what Davao is all about. It’s just one storey, so only go if you have nothing better to do:
Davao’s first people were indigenous.
Beautiful head piece made of woven and dyed cloth.
Davao was declared a city in 1936 after the Japanese in Davao invested in abaca plantation themselves and established an active community. However, the Japanese bombed Sta. Ana Pier in 1941. World War II put a stop to the city’s debelipment. From 1945, Davao rebuilt itself from the ashes.
An Ang Kiukok painting donated by Sonny and Joy Belmonte.
The first family is from Davao City. It is because of then Mayor Roa Duterte (center), who ruled with an iron hand that Davao became the flourishing city it is today. Despite being in the province, Davao reminds me of Singapore — the cleanliness, orderliness and politeness of its people — and we have this man to thank for it.
From the left is Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte, daughter Kitty, current President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and Rep. Paolo Duterte.
D’Bone Collector (Entrance Fee: php200 with guide)
D’Bone Collector is a must visit for anyone coming to Davao. It’s 3 storeys of bone goodness in an air conditioned museum.
Salt water crocodile with king cobra
Elephant skull. This one is female given her small tusks. Males have longer tusks.
Poised for the kill: African lion and zebra
Lions sleep 20 hours per day!
Philippine wildlife section
Philippine crocodile section. We only have crocodiles, no alligator, in the Philippines. Every 6 months, their teeth are replaced. Cool huh?
Different dog breeds – there’s even an askal in the selection.
Horn sections – the horns contain bone. Centerpiece is the water buffalo, or the Philippine carabao. The older the animal, the longer the horn.
Serial brown bear who killed their taker
The Cassowary, a flightless bird
Deep sea animals on the third floor:
Check out the little baby that was killed with the mother when speared by a fisherman.
The last pice was Lola’s bones with an insightful reminder that we are born with a certain amount of time and we should treasure it. The words were written by the owner of the museum.
The alligator and butterfly farms were all close together. Here’s some photos of the alligator farm:
I found the Alligator Farm a tad too small but still cool given the php350 entrance. The butterfly farm was pretty cool.
Our last stop was at Jack’s Ridge, which is on top a hill. It’s a small compound where you have a sky view of Davao.
We had coffee and cakes overlooking the ridge. The view is beautiful.
My uncle and auntie met me at Jack’s Ridge and took me for dinner. They have been in Davao since the 80s and have no plans of returning to Manila. They found it too dirty, unsafe, polluted and stressful. Having visited Davao, I agree!
I now return to our hotel in Red Doorz for a good night’s sleep. The aircon was cool and the water was hot. The price was also super reasonable.
Overall, a great choice!
It was a great first day to Davao. Actually, I don’t have a lot of time here. But thanks to Sir Joey’s arrangement and Sir Alex’s tour, I had an amazing time. I highly recommend everyone to visit Davao and book Sir Joey/Sir Alex for your touring needs in and out of the city.
Disclaimer: I 100% paid for the trip and Kuya Joey’s Services. None are sponsored. I am just writing this review because I’m happy of their service, and happy to promote their business.
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