WORKING for six days a week is a sure burner, taking the time off from all this job-related stuff is a much appreciated thought.
So, I went searching for a good spot to relax for the weekend around and outside the metro. If we talk resorts, there are a ton in Davao area but resorts with the premise of making the guests experience an authentic provincial lifestyle, there is only a few. And among the few, there’s Hijo Resorts in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
Being someone from the north and an avid traveler who seeks for undiscovered gems, Hijo Resorts always rings a bell. Friends and colleagues from work have been mentioning this 760 hectare sprawling resort seated within a banana plantation and coconut farm in Barangay Madaum in the city of palms.
Traveling from Davao City, the ride is approximately about 45 minutes long but if we are to consider the traffic flow in Panacan area, it will at least be an hour. Anyway, once you arrive at the destination, all these traffic woes will go away just as it did to me.
The resort offers a long list of fun activities to enjoy and most of them are educational. It includes the Forest Tour where you could walk through a virgin forest in a suspended bridge that is estimated 10 feet from the ground, or you can take the Plantation Tour where the staff will guide you through its 177-hectare plantation of banana and coconut. You will learn about how these crops are grown and harvested and made ready for worldwide shipment.
But if you are looking for something serene and calm like me, you want to pick its River Cruise. The four kilometer stretch is part of the Madaum River that flows through the Davao Gulf and you know, surprises are always found in waters! ;)
First stop is at the “The Spot,” the resort’s very own Halal-certified restaurant that features unique dishes inspired from Kalagan Tribe’s cuisine.
Upon arrival, it can be noted that there are not too many staff seen roaming around the area - I have seen five at the welcoming desk and the lady staff who maintains The Spot. Personally, I think it is good because if you are really aiming for meditation-level kind of relaxing, then, you will not be in need of too many of them around.
Along with Miss Lani Sta. Maria, operations head of The Spot and Reymond Pepito, the resort’s consultant, we proceeded to the dock which is a two minute walk away from The Spot where we left our stuff.
The short stroll going to the river is the beginning of the provincial vibe experience: no rowdy jeepney horns and unhealthy smoke, just the birds chirping and leaves of tall trees brushing against the thin air. *Exhales* ahh, farm life it is!
When we reached the dock, we agreed that it is indeed the best time to go kayaking in the morning. We got there at 10 am, and the river is such a good sight- pristine and peaceful.
The first and only time I tried the sport was in BlueJazz with a small kayak where I tripped at least three times during the one-hour ride. This one in Hijo Resort’s is much bigger and easier to maneuver. Two uncles though, are side-by-side with me and Miss Lani as we paddled our way through the stretch, in case we get out of hand (Which, by the way, did not happen. Guess someone learned from all those trips! Hahaha).
Shortly, we began our adventure and it was such a scenic tour. That is all thanks to the calming colors of the river and the sight of mighty mangroves that has stood and served as habitats for fishes for more than a hundred years.
More talking led us through some fishnets arranged by the folks from the Kalagan Tribe residing within the property. The fish they got from here are sold to the resort to prepare any of the guests’ requests- talk about farm-to-table dining experience!
A little more paddling led us to the pool of spirited kids having fun by the shallows. They were playing the longest breath challenge and are eager to include you (if you insist). A little warning though, if you are not a swimmer, then most probably you will have a hard time beating them.
When I finally rode back, I remembered scheduling the cruise just for 10 minutes but as I had too much fun doing it, I noticed it has been over an hour (*phew*), so better be well-organized when you go there because apparently, the place will make you lose track of time.
After taking off, we headed for lunch at The Spot where sumptuous lunch was served which is another story. So, see you next week for my The Spot experience!
You may scan for other useful information through their website www.hijoresortsdavao.com. Or you may also reach them through these phone numbers: +63 917 633 7019; + 63 999 885 0031; and (082) 282-3662.
Joice C. Cudis is the Lifestyle Editor for SunStar Davao. If you wish to send feedbacks, you can email her through firstname.lastname@example.org