Saturday, September 15, 2012

Davao Trips Highlights

I've been to Davao City recently, one of many I made for work. For this post, rather than blog on that episode, I'll write about the highlights of all my trips to the southern city. I hope this post helps you plan your trip to Queen City of the South.

Davao City is the largest city in terms of land size in the island of Mindanao and in the entire country.  It is also the trade and commercial center of Mindanao, as well as the second largest city in the Philippines. A plane trip from Manila takes less than two hours.

1. Fruits Galore. When I think of Davao I think of fruits. This is not surprising since the city is a leading producer of durian, mangoes, pomelos, and mangosteen.  Durian and mangosteen season starts at July or August. Pomelos are available all year round, but the better buys are from August to December.
I used to hate durian, until I came across the right variety. Now I love them all.
This is the D24 variant, sold at D Farmers Market Cafe.  
Hotels don't allow durian in their premises, but they usually go easy with frozen durian.
When in doubt, always check with your hotel.
Durian candy is a safe bet for those who can't stand
the smell of fresh durian. I prefer products from Linda's 
There are many pomelo brands. My friends swear by Golden and Nenita's.
Most stalls  allow you to sample their merchandise, so do so before buying.
I go by one rule: the heavier the fruit, the juicier it is.
I prefer mangosteen over durian. Can't get enough of its sweet-sour taste. 
2. Hotels. I'm partial to big hotels, and I love Marco Polo. For more of my last stay there, read here.

Apo View Hotel is also a good bet, at friendlier price points. Like many old hotels though, its look is on the dark side.  

Both hotels are near Aldevinco Shopping Center, where you can shop to your heart's content for pearls and ethnic products, like malong, batik-wear, bags and scarves. 

3. Ukay-ukay shopping. For things pre-owned, American Surplus is our go-to place. Aside from clothes, bags, and shoes, they offer books, toys, and kitchenware. Dress comfortably, and keep on haggling. 

Scored this pair of rubber shoes, versatile for work , the gym, and the flood-prone streets of Manila. 
4. Eating Out. Jack's Ridge Resort on Matina Hills provides quite the view of Davao City and Davao Gulf. Try Blugre Cafe's durian coffee and the Taklobo Restaurant's fried tuna bihod (fish roe). While researching for this post, I came across a post on bagaybay, or tuna testicles. Hopefully I'll get to write about it on my next visit. 

Chika-an sa Cebu at Abreeza serves home-cooked Filipino food staples at affordable prices. I fell in love with its spicy grilled longganisa. 

For fans of buffet restaurants, Nanay Bebeng's is a good choice. There's quite a lot of fish dishes on deck, as well as variants of kare-kare. Displayed separately were vegetables, oxtail and other offal, pork knuckles and beef cuts. The accompanying shrimp paste was salty, the way I like it.

5. Riding the Air in a Zipline. In my trips, I don't eat all the time (smile). I also find time for the the occasional zipline or two. I do this to face my fear of heights.

That's me on the right with an office-mate. Really. 
My first zipline ride was at the Camp Sabros Zipline Adbenture Parks. It is located in Digos City, about two hours by car from Davao City.
For my second ride, I went solo. 
For the trip back to base, we rode via cable car.
I found this scarier than the zipline. The cable car rocked with every gust of the wind. 
On our way down the camp, we had grilled banana. For P10 a stick, it was delicious and filling. 

One last note. The city frowns on smoking. If you have to take a light, do it outside, and make sure it's not roofed.

Happy trip! 

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