When in Davao, you might think of having a selfie with Chief Duterte and co-exist with your countrymen from the safest city, or prey on a durian fruit that is hell in smell but heaven in taste. Davao is more than what meets the naked eye.
Davao is clean. I did not find a single person smoking and even their pawnshops are so much open that anybody can relax with all the jewelries displayed. Definitely, a model city. Progressive but peaceful and environment-friendly.
Together with our Provincial Tourism Officers, we attended the 16th ATOP-DOT National Convention and the Awarding Ceremony of the Pearl Awards 2015 in which our dear island, the Province of Guimaras bagged both 1st runners up in the Best Tourism Event and Best Community-Based Responsible Tourism categories.
The convention occupied three halls and one of which had a bazaar for the delegates to get a taste of what Davao can offer, from the tour packages to local delicacies, from souvenir items to their native fruits.
One fun thing is that the Convention Center where we had the lecture and activities is just one glass door away from the mall. If you get bored, you will have a great time window-shopping.
DURIAN: The King of its Class
We had so much of durian all over the city. The smell was so powerful it gets into the core of your nostrils. It is all over the place, sold to tourists and the locals. They make delicacies out of this fruit such as candies, yema bars, ice cream, ice candies, fruit jam and jelly. You can have one of the best pasalubong from Apo Ni Lola.
MT. APO: The Tallest Mountain in the Philippines
At the base of Mt. Apo is the Philippine Eagle Center. Volunteers and caretakers of the different species converge to help protect their natural resources.
With an elevation of 2,954 metres (9,692 ft) above sea level, Mt. Apo in Davao, according to our tour guide serves as the breaker of the storm. It cuts the surges and splits the wind thus saving Davao from the deluge of catastrophes.
WALING-WALING: Queen of All Orchids
Davao also prouds of the orchid called waling-waling, the queen of all orchids. With so much of the royalty treatment, growing a waling-waling is expensive but seeing the beautiful outcomes is priceless.
SUL is an acronym for Salvacion Uy Leuenberger, the owner of SUL Orchids. Started as an accountant of an orchid grower, she started growing orchids as a hobby until she fell in love with it. It grew to becoming one of the best destinations in Davao for travel, bench-marking and knowledge exchange.
PHILIPPINE EAGLE: King of the Skies
The Philippine Eagle is the king. Soaring in the skies and spreading its two-meter wings when fully grown, the resembling physical and traditional simile of Filipino culture and ways of life to how the Philippine Eagle continues to endure survival and the chain is really congruent.
Learning so much about our national bird is learning depth how we should be. Monogamous. Pakipot. #SaTamangPanahon. #AlDub values. #MayForever
While education and advocacy campaign are the main thrusts of the institution, the Malagos Philippine Eagle Center breeds not just the mighty regal eagles and other wildlings but also volunteers and even livelihood to locals and our Lumad sibs specifically the T’boli tribe, a very clear manifestation that culture and heritage should always form part of the tourism value chain.
SIDE TRIP in the Garden City of Samal
During our last day in Davao, the group decided to explore Samal Island which is 15-minute away from the port with 10-peso fare only.
Maxima Aquafun is the only World Tarpaulin slide that drops you into the sea. Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and fishing and island hopping. Hagimit Falls clusters high, deep, minute and giant water forms to an arresting beauty to dip and splash. One unique feature of one of the largest falls they have is the human size chink behind the waterfall that cylinders down where you can glide through and squeeze your beer belly to fit in and submerge five seconds underwater and find yourself at the bottom of the falls.
Topping it all, we brought home these trophies for our dear island province, the Province of Guimaras. The courtesy call was sublime. And for a first timer in Davao, I am definitely going back there to observe their 911 operations and of course, their Kadayawan Festival.