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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Travel Guide: A Glimpse Into 3D/2N D-I-Y Itinerary In Davao For First Timer or an Old Pro!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda
3D2N (translated as three days and two nights) is that magical number-combination  tailored for travelers availing of trips on long weekends or during their short VLs. But other than the offerings in hotel -stay or tour packages (which comes in hefty,almost a rip - off arrangements), there seems to be a few accounts of the 3-days 2-nights itineraries by D-I-Y (Do It Yourself) travelers, and so you wonder if the magical duration actually works! 

Wonder no more. I will spill the beans for you! 3D2N works for me and my friend Nilo  while in Davao last August 21-23, 2011. It was Nilo's first trip while my umpteenth time in Davao but at least first time to attend the 26th Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival (where I met for the first time several Pinoy Travel Bloggers and wore the festival's media pass(for the first time!). So take a glimpse at our itinerary - the places and activities that did not disappoint both a first timer and an old pro (that's me!) and see if it works for you too!

DAY 1 - Detailed Itinerary and Highlights
If you are from Manila like us, maximizing the 3D2N in Davao (which is about 964km away by plane) means taking a morning flight for departure and an evening flight back to Manila. We took the Cebu Pacific Flight at 4am (slept on flight) and arrived at the Davao International Airport (Francisco Bangoy) at sunrise, just when everyone is waking up and starting their day. 
Before 7am we were already in Davao City, had breakfast at a fast food chain near the People's Park while peeking at people doing their morning exercise. Then we proceeded to Apo View Hotel (not to check in folks!) but to meet Pinoy Travel Blogger's contingent led by Olan Fernandez Emboscado to watch the  Pamulak (Floral Float) Parade, the culminating and one of the most awaited event of the 26th Kadayawan Sa Dabaw Festival. As Davao's annual harvest thanksgiving festival, the highlights of the Kadayawan Festival revolved around the third week of August so our arrival was anticipated at me joining several PTBs as "media" for the Pamulak Parade  on the last day of the festival. 
Our "media pass" allowed us a good view in front of Apo View Hotel and able to enjoy and photographed about 100 floats and thousands of people particpating in the colorful, festive Pamulak Parade. My fave float was the float of the cast of Amaya (my fave GMA tv program) and it felt good to see in person the beautiful Marian Rivera (oh, the jologs in me again! 
12NN - Lunch with PTBs and chit chats
2PM   - Checked - In at Hotel 
(Money Savings Tip: the best time to be in Davao is after the Kadayawan Festival, as most hotels offer 50% discount. We paid P1,500 for twin - bed occupancy at a four star business hotel!)
3PM   - Attend an LDS Church Service (and meet friends!)
At 4PM, Nilo's friend from Church and my colleague Atty. Bibiano Bustamante were in agreement that given the time, the best place to go was at the Davao Crocodile Park for that exciting Davao Wildlife Experience!
We availed of the Package (for P200) and visited the Davao Butterfly House, watched Davao Crocodile Park Show, and the Tribu K' Mindanawan Cultural and Fireshow. At 7PM, we dined at the Riverwalk Grill Exotic Restaurant for our first-ever Croco Meat! (well, I chickened out but tasted just a teeny tiny bit!) . At 8PM, we were back at hotel to doze off since we had an early morning trip to Cateel, Davao Oriental.
DAY 2 - Detailed Itinerary and Highlights.
For the detailed experiences, please check Love Affair With Cateel, Davao Oriental. (Note: Day 2 is for "old pros in Davao" who has the done-that, seen that and looking for new spot to explore. For first timer, I would suggest either a Samal Island Tour, Eden Nature Park, Gap Farm, City Tour, or Mount Apo adventures). 
(Travel and Money Savings Tips: Better call in to make reservations for bus travel to Cateel. We were just lucky to be given the front seat when we showed up!) at the Ecoland Bus Terminal. Be sure to couchsurf or stay at someone you know, and come home early so they don't worry where you are!)
DAY 3 Detailed Itinerary and Highlights
Returning in Davao from Cateel at 8AM, I chose to bring Nilo to the  Philippine Eagle's National Centre in Malagos, Calinan District (an hour away from the city by public transport). The Philippine Eagle National Center is a santuary of the world's largest eagles and home to the Philippine Eagle which is considered to be an endangered specie. We paid PHP 5 to go through the Malagos Garden Park and another PHP50  to gain access inside the Center. There is a small cafe so we had our breakfast there, while overlooking a large Koi pond. I believe Nilo enjoyed the Philippine Eagle which is said to be the second largest eagle in the world.But although it wasn't my first time there, I still enjoyed the visit of the so called "mega mall" and felt so close to nature, leaving it with a strong desire to take care of the environment!.
At lunch time, we were back in Davao City. After putting our bags at my colleague's office in front of Apo View Hotel, we walked to the nearby People's Park, a four-hectare park which was opened in December 2007. It is one of those places in Davao that I took for granted and skipped, so like Nilo it was my first time there! I was amazed at how beautiful the park is! I love the giant sculptures around the park esp. the Philippine Eagle, Durian and Davao's men and women. Towards the end of the park, there is mini-forest  with ponds and waterfalls. There is also an interactive fountains, but there was no water when we were there.
We spent the rest of the afternoon buying pasalubong at the Aldevinco Shopping Center and bought pomelo from the Ramon Magsaysay Fruit stands. At 5PM, we were already packing our bags, and ready to leave for the airport by 6PM, avoiding the traffic. We bid Davao goodbye at 8:40PM!  

This is my entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for January 2012 with the theme ‘3Day 2 Nights Challenge’ being hosted by Eileen Campos (hot momma) of Possibly .For previous Blog Carnival topics please visit Estan Cabigas' Langyaw.


Aleah | said...

I've been to Davao countless times (so I'm a pro) but can you believe I've never been to Samal Island? It's definitely on the list for my next travel there in April!

Mhe-anne Ojeda said...

Hello Aleah dear! You are going to love Samal Island and the Pearl Farm. It was the very first place I have been to in Davao but that was in 1998 (before Law School graduation!).Time to get back, so maybe we should both go. I will definitely love to get some learnings from the solitary wanderer!

Bella said...

Dear Mhe-anne Ojeda,

wow.. Your itinerary is so awesome.. I just thought if I go there alone.. Would it be nice or.. any idea.. ?

Marsella said...

Can you share what things which is interesting at Samal Island.. ?

darmayoga said...

Hi Anne.. It seems that I will go to Samal Island.. It sounds so interesting..

Mhe-anne Ojeda said...

Bella, yea Davao is exciting even for solo travelers. just stay avoid off the beaten tracks -if you know no one there. you will enjoy Crocodile Park, Peoples Park, Philippine Eagles National Center, Eden Nature Park and the likes..

Mhe-anne Ojeda said...

Marsella and Darmayoga, Samal is fun to go to. I particularly like Pearl Farm.But I haven't written about it yet. You've got good hotels websites!

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