Davao's top tourist attraction-A A +A
Monday, March 12, 2012
"ENDOWED with a variety of picturesque landscapes, its topography dazzles: Fruit plantations and orchid farms mantle volcano-fed hills and valleys. Virgin forests nurture rare wildlife. Coral islands lie on mirror flat water. And the country’s highest peak magnificently lords over the hinterland."
That's how the Department of Tourism describes Davao City, one of the country’s largest in terms of land area. With a total land area of 2,443.61 square kilometers, Davao City is 7.8 times the size of Cebu and three times that of the entire Metro Manila. Puerto Princesa, with a total land area of 2,381 square kilometers, comes second.
Davao City evokes in one's mind delectable fruits (the pungent durian, antioxidants-laden mangosteen, sweet seedless pomelo, and tasty banana), fine beaches (Samal Island is just five minutes away by boat), and religious sites (historic San Pedro Cathedral and the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague).
But Davao is also known for its natural attractions in its countryside. Beautifully landscaped resorts, botanical gardens and weekend retreats attract not only locals but as well as tourists who want to experience the natural wonders of Davao.
Here are some you should not miss:
Davao Crocodile Park
With about 700 crocodiles, the park is making waves as one of popular tourist spots in the city.
"The park is an establishment that showcases a state-of-the-art crocodile farming system in the Philippines," said Philip "Sonny" Dizon, president of PSD Group of Companies, the mother company of Davao Crocodile Park.
"It has the most recent crocodile farm design equipped with modern facilities and equipment."
Actually, the park is more than just a crocodile farm; it also houses other kinds of animals and plants. As soon as you enter, you would be greeted by colorful birds of all kinds: eagles, parrots, and lovebirds.
It is located at the Riverfront Corporate City along Carlos P. Garcia Highway, Ma-a. Visit its website: http://psdgroupph.com/index.php.
D'Bone Collector Museum
Bones, skulls and skeletons of animals and fishes are what you will see inside the D’Bone Collector Museum Inc. But what is enthralling is the fact that the collections come not only from the Philippines but all over the world. Some of them are bones of endangered species; others are what you see only in Discovery Channel or National Geographic.
"I have bones and skeletons of animals not only from tropical rainforests but also those coming from the oceans," says Darrell D. Blatchley, the museum's president and founder. "I have almost everything, from armadillos to zebras."
His collections come from the United States, Canada, some parts of Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Eden Nature Park and Resort
You can find the real Eden only in the Holy Bible. But in Davao, there is such a place called Eden Nature Park, a beautiful man-made resort nestled in the foothills of Mount Talomo in Toril.
At 2,650 feet above sea level, Eden Nature Park offers a breath-taking bird's-eye view of the city and the Davao Gulf in the distance.
Discovered sometime in 1971, the resort used to be a logged-over area covered only by a blanket of wild grass. For further details, visit its website: http://www.edennature.park.com.ph.
GAP Farming Resort
"GAP Farm is definitely my top favorite weekend outing destination for my family. I can no longer recall the countless times my family and I went to this beautiful resort where several fond, mostly unforgettable, memories transpired."
The statement came from a Manila visitor. He was referring to GAP Farming Resort, Davao City’s original tourist destination. About 30 to 40 minutes from the city proper via the Buhangin-Panacan Diversion Road and through the Ma-a Diversion Road.
To know more, visit its website: www.gapfarmingresort.webs.com.
Malagos Garden Resort
Not far from the Philippine Eagle Center is Malagos Garden Resort, a 12-hectare inland nature theme resort. Originally part of an orchid farm that grows the world renowned waling-waling orchid and other exotic plants, the site was later redeveloped to become an ecological center as well as a getaway place for urban dwellers.
Today, Malagos Garden Resort offers visitors a myriad of orchid varieties, exotic plants and tropical fruit trees which may be available for picking, and a bird park that houses several endemic species.
A bonus: Malagos Gardens Amazing Bird Show and sculptures of Philippine National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva. For further details: http://www.malagos.com.
Relics from the past, yellowed photographs, eye-catching sculptures, thought-provoking paintings, creative diorama, list of former governors of undivided Davao, replica of controversial Datu Bago, and the ten tribes inhabiting the city.
These are just some of the things you will see once you visit the Museo Dabawenyo, located at Pichon Street (formerly known as Magallanes Street). Not far away are the Andres Bonifacio Rotunda and the Osmena Park.
The two-storey building is one of most often-visited museums in Davao. In fact, there is no entrance fee.
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and then 1 p.m. till 6 p.m. -- Monday to Saturday. Visit its website: http://www.davaocity.gov.ph/museo/default.aspx.
"This will become a landmark of Davao City in the future," said Engineer Elisa P. Madrazo during the opening of the People’s Park on December 16, 2007. Those prophetic words became a reality. Normally, on weekdays, about 7,000 people drop in on the park. On weekends and holidays, the figure surges to 100,000.
The expansive and beautiful People's Park features many delightful treats for its beholders to discover. Grand landscaped waterfall, strategically scenic benches, a small but fun playground, amazingly breathtaking gardens, arranged multipurpose trees, lovely traditional cottages and sophisticated sculptures created by Kublai Milan (the Dabawenyo artist who created the Freedom statue in front of the Sangguniang Panglungsod building).
Philippine Eagle Center
Located in Malagos, Baguio District, the center has been doing its best to educate the Filipino people on the importance of the country’s bird icon and its habitat. Its facility was actually opened to the public in 1988 to raise awareness among those who visit the center. Majority of its visitors are children on school-sponsored field trips.
"Many of these children come from all over Mindanao," said Dennis Salvador, the center's executive director. "We use the opportunity to tell them the importance of wildlife conservation. Our mode of dissemination ranges from providing lectures, slide and film presentations, to guided tours."
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 13, 2012.