Davao del Norte

After landing at Davao airport, my first trip to Mindanao in August 2016 started with a short ferry ride from Sasa Wharf to Samal Island in the province of Davao del Norte. Trish, my wife’s niece, was kind enough to join me in this 4-day Davao Region adventure to share in the sight-seeing, food and alcohol consumption, as well as the fun and laughter.

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Hopping on the back of a motorcyclist, commonly referred to as habal-habal, is the most common form of transport in Samal Island. Trish, who was fluent in both Cebuano and Tagalog, was able to deal with this guy easily for a very cheap price. He ended up being our tour guide and caddie, on top of providing us with transport.

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From Babak Ferry Terminal, where we disembarked on Samal Island, he took us for a 20-minute ride to Hagimit Falls. We went down a long set of stairs to a picnic area next to the pool at the bottom of the falls.

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I went for a dip in its refreshingly cool waters before Trish and I enjoyed sipping through a freshly opened coconut.

We then went back to Davao City to pick up our rental car for the next four days exploring Davao Region. I was really impressed with the peace and order situation in Davao City as well as in Davao del Norte’s capital Tagum City.

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Their emergency 911 service seemed be very efficient…

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The speed limit was strictly enforced… a very slow 30 kph in most areas.

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…and the smoking regulations were also strictly enforced.

No smoking Tagum

We traversed two other provinces of the Davao Region, namely, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental over the next two days. Then on our return trip to DavNor, we visited the Provincial Capitol as I always do for every province I explore.

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We also visited Trish’s friend back in Manila who now lives in Tagum City with her husband who is a seaman working in the Netherlands who was fortunately on vacation in the Philippines at that time.

Upon returning our rental car, the husband and wife owners were very generous to drive us to President Rodrigo Duterte’s humble abode in the heart of Davao City before taking us to SM Lanang Premier where we asked to be dropped off for dinner. Thanks very much Abel and Elvie of AJ Davao Car Rental

We then spent the rest of the evening sampling Davao City’s night life. We found a live band venue called V-Place with amazing singers and musicians. Filipino talent is indeed everywhere in the archipelago. Here is where I also saw another big sign reminding everyone about the strict no-smoking policy in Davao.

And a trip to Davao is not complete without sampling its famous durian fruit… very intense odour, smells quite bad for some people, but delicious and healthy nevertheless.

I included Davao City in this DavNor post, even though the city is geographically in Davao del Sur, which I have not visited… but then again Davao City is an independent city not subject to any province. Three provinces out of 5 in the Davao Region explored in 2016. The other two, namely Davao del Sur and Davao Occidental… are next.

CoachConto – Athlete, Warrior, Statesman, Spirit

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