A few years ago, we had booked a trip to Davao City, the second-largest city in the Philippines. I decided to list the top tourist spots in Davao for anyone interested to visit the city.
Tourist Spots in Davao: Philippine GAP Farm
The first tourist spot is at the GAP Farm in Barangay Ma-a, Davao. This place is visited mainly by students who are having their field trips. I’ve been there twice, and all I can see are picnic tables, an Olympic-size swimming pool, statues of different witches believed to inhabit the Philippines, a man-made cave and the biggest carabao (domesticated subspecies of the water buffalo) statue near the entrance of the farm. Despite its artificial attractions, many people frequented the place because of its garden filled with exotic flowers and tropical fruits. It also has a horseback riding facility. The entrance fee to the site is P20.
Tourist Spots in Davao: Crocodile Park
A few metres away from the Gap Farm is the Davao Crocodile Park. As the name implies, the place is home to a hundred crocodiles. But don’t worry, they can’t roam around freely. They’re inside their cages at all times except for a baby crocodile bound in the mouth used for photo ops. The entrance fee is P150 for an adult and P75 for a kid.
Please note that you have to wait four days to avoid disease transmission if you plan to go to the Philippine Eagle Center after the crocodile park. So if your travel time is lesser than that, please choose only one of the two. Or you can go first to the eagle centre before going to the crocodile park.
Tourist Spots in Davao: Jack’s Ridge
The third and last stop for the day was at Jack’s Ridge. It is located at the Shrine Hills, Matina, Davao City. It gives a panoramic view of the city and Davao Gulf. It is best to go there when twilight approaches. You can see the mesmerising city lights below. You have the option to dine here. Various Filipino, Italian, French, and Mexican restaurants are in the area. The prices of the food start at P200. If you can’t have enough of the place, cottages for overnight stay are available for P950.
Tourist Spots in Davao: Philippine Eagle Center
The Philippine Eagle, declared as the country’s national bird is one of the rarest, largest, and most powerful birds globally. However, it is gravely endangered. That’s why the Philippine Eagle Foundation simulated a tropical rainforest environment.
The place is called the Philippine Eagle Center (PEC). It is home to 36 Philippine eagles or Monkey-eating eagles, 10 birds, 4 species of mammals and 2 species of reptiles. PEC is located at Malagos, Davao, about an hour drive from the city. A public utility bus departs every 15 minutes from Annil Terminal located at corner Quirino and San Pedro Extension. The bus fare is P30. Upon arrival at Calinan, take a pedicab to PEC for P6. Or you can rent a van for P2000 in Davao City to take you there and to Eden Nature Park. The entrance fee at the PEC is P50 for adults and P30 for 18 years old and below. Another P5 will be collected by the Davao Water District before entering the premises of PEC.
We had a packed lunch with us. We ate at one of the kiosks in the centre free of charge. If you don’t want to have a picnic there, you have the option to leave before lunchtime and eat at one of the food chains in Calinan, Davao, or you can go straight to Eden Nature Park for lunch.
Tourist Spots in Davao: Eden Nature Park and Resort
This 80-hectare mountain resort situated 3,000 feet above sea level is home to over 100,000 pine trees, gardens of herbs and organic vegetables, exotic flowers and tropical plants, and various fruit trees. Barangay Eden, Toril in Davao, about an hour and a half away from the city proper, was popular among tourists and locals alike when Eden Nature Park and Resort opened to the public.
Eden is accessible by hiring a van for P2000 or a taxi for P1700, including a trip to the Philippine Eagle Center. Or you can avail of their shuttle service to the park with pick-up point and drop-off point at Matina Town Square (MTS) on weekends at 8:30am and 11am (with return trips at 1:30pm and 4pm, respectively) at the cost of P200 per person. But be sure to book the shuttle service beforehand to avoid inconvenience.
Day Tour Packages are available depending on your budget or preference. For example, a buffet lunch package for P450 for adults and P280 for 4 to 10 years old kids. Or a plated snack for P180 for adults and P150 for the kids. Both packages include an entrance to the resort, a meal or a plated snack, complimentary admission to the fishing village, swimming pool, or horseback riding.
Upon our arrival at the park, we immediately went to the reception area to book the guided shuttle tour, which costs P100 per person. We waited for our turn since it’s a first-come, first-served basis. The tour consisted of exploring the various parts of the park. We were given at least 5 minutes for taking pictures. My favourite place was at Lola’s Garden, particularly at Mayumi’s wishing well. After the tour, we claimed our snacks at the restaurant. While we ate, we discussed where to use our complimentary ticket. Two of our companions opted for horseback riding, and the rest of us went to the fishing village. It was my first time fishing. I did not realise until then that it felt exhilarating when a fish tugged at my rod. I excitedly pulled it off the water only to realise that I had to unhook the fish myself! We each got a tilapia (freshwater fish) and paid P60 per kilo, which includes cooking. They stuffed some spices, wrapped it with banana leaves, and grilled it. Half of our catch was deep-fried in butter. After that, we ordered rice and ate our supper at one of the huts before leaving the park.
Our trip to Davao City was not complete until we tasted their famous delicacy, durian. We entered one of the stores selling assorted durian products, and my eye was fixed on the durian yema. The creamy, fragrant, tasteful candy was the perfect dessert for me.