For the First-Time Solo Backpacker: A Weekend Stroll Around Davao City

Due to the nature of my work, I get to travel to different places especially if I get assigned to clients from out of town. Just last December 1-10, 2016, I was able to stay in a banana plantation in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte.


Banana plantations line up the road of Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte

Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte is rural and quite far from Davao City. Thus, during the weekdays of my stay in the client’s premises, I was not able to explore much around the area. Since we are also staying there for a short time, we had to maximize our time and make sure that all deliverables will be accomplished before we head back to Manila.


Since my client is a banana plantation, I am situated in the middle of hectares of agricultural land . This bridge connects the client’s premises to the compound exit.

Lucky me to have one weekend there (December 3-4) to go to the city and have a taste of what Davao has to offer. Equipped with a few hours of sleep from working overtime the previous day, I bravely took the bus alone to head downtown. Having in mind that Davao is a safe haven for tourists because of Tatay Digong’s strict implementations, I navigated through Google maps all throughout my three (or more) hour ride to Davao City.


My first time in Mindanao!

Since I was alone exploring an unfamiliar city, not to mention that it is in Mindanao where the dialect is Bisaya and it was my first time solo backpacking, I decided to make use of taxi or tricycle whenever I go to a tourist spot so it would be more convenient. Not all people there know how to speak Tagalog well, making me feel like a foreigner in my own country.


First stop – Chinatown Davao


Magsaysay Park


People’s Park


A statue of a Philippine eagle at the center of People’s Park

As you have noticed, most of the attractions in Davao City are parks. There is also a famous white sand beach there – the Samal Group of Islands. However, since I was alone in this trip and it wasn’t purely for travel purposes but for work, I skipped Samal Island. Maybe I’ll just save it for next time when my purpose is purely for leisure.

I have also visited the Philippine Eagle Center where a lot of endangered Philippine eagles are held captive and bred.



This doesn’t look as easy as you think. Eagles are wild animals and if you’re not careful, they might feel threatened with your arm and attack you. Don’t forget they’re carnivores. Good thing the zookeeper behind me knows how to play the game.


There are other animals housed in the Philippine Eagle Center – for instance, this snake. For the first time ever, I have gathered the courage to carry one hell of a snake! And on my own! Woooo!!! Achievement unlocked!

After strolling in the Philippine Eagle Center, I headed to a nearby nature-inspired park – Malagos Garden Resort.



Reception area



Buffet meal for lunch in the middle of greens. Yey!



I was too tired to walk around this 12-hectare nature themed park, so I opted for a horseback ride.


Feeling haciendera for a day


Feeding some lovebirds

I called it a day after touring Malagos Garden Resort. The next day, I went to visit the Philippine Crocodile Park.



This dried crocodile skin costs thousands!


This is a replica of Lolong – the world’s largest crocodile. Too bad it died already.


Meanwhile, this massive crocodile is the largest among its folks here.


Nope, I didn’t try these very peculiar combinations. Haha!

These are some other animals which can be found in the Philippine Crocodile Park.

It looks like most of my weekend stroll in Davao consists of animals and nature – a refreshing way to take a break from my usual beach hopping and mountain climbing activities.

Since I was not able to commute well during my weekend stay in Davao and instead rode taxis and tricycles, I have not properly documented the expenses I have incurred. Besides, I consider this weekend tour a freebie since I was provided with a reasonable amount of per-diem allowance during my 10-day stay in my client’s premises. Now, that’s what I love most about out-of-town engagements.

Will I travel to Davao again? Definitely!

There are a lot more to explore in Davao. Samal Island, Monfort Bat Cave, and a lot of picturesque falls, among others, are yet to be seen. There are also a lot of tourist spots in Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur, which I’d willingly explore given another chance to visit Davao despite its proximity from my hometown, Batangas.

Daghang salamat, Davao!




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