A CITY THAT
STRADDLES TWO WORLDS
It is the hub of commerce and industry in the Southern Mindanao
region. Yet, to this day, Davao City continues to straddle two worlds
- the new and the old.
Part of it is a flourishing metropolis of business districts, mechanized
farms and cosmopolitan villages where "instant millionaires"
live. And the other part is a rural landscape of hills that roll
down into fertile valleys, dominated by the 2,954-meter-high Mount
Apo, the grandfather of all Philippine mountains, and peopled by
the Bagobo, Manobo, Mandaya, Bilaan and other ancestral tribes.
LAND OF PLENTY
"Kadayawan sa Dabaw" is Davao Citys premier festival
and showcases the natural and cultural bounty of the land.
A movable feast in August, the week-long merrymaking highlights
the manifold tribal cultures of the region which are vividly expressed
in traditional songs, dances, games and crafts. It is also on this
occasion when a lively trade fair, capped by a flower-and-fruit
float parade, takes place. Street dancing and popular entertainment
complete the celebration.
Agriculture-based industries thrive in the Davao region. A major
exporter of bananas, citrus, mangosteen and other tropical fruits,
it is also the biggest producer of cultured flowers in the country.
Its surrounding waters are rich sources for commercial fishing.
The worlds largest city in terms of land area, Davao covers
all of 244,000 hectares.
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KING OF HEAVENS
The Philippine Eagle has the countenance of regal majesty - snowy
white plumes dappled with gray, a distinct crested head matched
with a pair of sharp eyes and strong curved beak, a powerful eight-foot
wingspan, and lethal preying claws. An endangered species, the worlds
largest eagle has found refuge at the Philippine Eagle Research
and Nature Center in the Malagos rainforest in Calinan, 45 minutes
away from downtown Davao.
It was here where the first ever Philippine Eagle was born in captivity.
Aptly named Pag-asa (Hope), she is testament to how seriously Davao
protects its environmental heritage. To this day, more eaglets are
bred and nurtured at the sanctuary.
Only too soon, the Philippine Eagle will take its rightful place
in the sky. Soaring proud and unafraid as King of the Heavens.
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On the slopes of Mount Apo was discovered the waling-waling, an
orchid of exceptional attributes - with full, velvety petals tinged
in royal colors of purple, red and yellow.
So delicate is this stunning bloom that it can only thrive on fresh
and balmy air. The waling-waling (Vanda sanderiana) has since been
successfully transplanted from its natural environment and cultivated
in many of Davaos flower farms. Retailing at several hundred
dollars a plant, the Queen of the Rainforest has become an attractive
Davaos claim to culinary fame is grilled "bariles"
(tuna) jaw dipped in soy sauce and "kalamansi" (native
lemon). The marketplace, abundant with seafoods, meats and fresh
tropical fruits, is the best place to savor local flavors.
At the Sta. Ana Wharf, Luz Kinilaw Place is famous for its local
version of the Japanese sashimi - bite-size chunks of raw fish marinated
in vinegar, chili pepper and other spices. For more gustatory experiences,
drop by the restaurant row along F. Torres St. and Magsaysay Park.
Also check out Fiesta Dabaw and Zugba Restaurant at Apo View Hotel
and Yellow Fin Restaurant at Ecoland.
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One simply does not get bored in Davao. There are just so many
options for a pleasurable stay. Try cultural immersion. Or farm
visit. Or golf. Or trek. Or scuba dive. Or shop. Or simply laze
around the islands and watch the world go by. The possibilities
just go on and on
At the Tboli Weaving Center, watch
the colorful tribe of bola women as they handloom the intricate
tinalak fabric. More tribal art and material culture can be gleaned
at the nearby Davao Museum.
Brassware, ethnic trinkets and shellcraft make great souvenirs.
Splurge and indulge at the Aldevinco Shopping Center on CM Recto
Street, Nievas Arts and Crafts in Lanang, Precys Creation
and Handicrafts in Bajada, and Handmade Treasures at Gaisano Mall.
Orchids, whether cut or potted, are also good buys. Check out the
Mindanao Flower Market (Minflo Mart) in Barangay Pampanga. For more
farm visits, go to the Bago Oshiro Experimental Station in Mintal,
Derling Worldwide Orchid Corporation in Buhangin, Greenhills Orchid
Farm in Catalunan Pequeño, Puentespina Orchid Garden in Agdao,
or the Malagos Garden Resort (Orchid Farm) at the Baguio district
in Calinan. At the Gap Fruit Farm, one can gorge on Davaos
famous sweet pomelos and oranges.
Two of the countrys most popular 18-hole golf courses are
found in Davao. Lanang Golf and Country Club has its fairways laid
out in an estate lush with tropical fruits while Apo Golf and Country
Club in Dumoy is set on a vast coconut plantation with natural hazards.
For those with less time to fore, the 9-hole New Davao City Golf
Club in Matina fits the tee. Nightlife entertainment is provided
by music bars, discotheques and the casino, which also serves good
food and offers live musical performances.
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Filipinos do not simply provide the guest with a place to rest
or park their luggage, they also share the best of what they have.
This warm, effusive brand of hospitality is what distinguishes Philippine
hotels from the others.
PLANNING YOUR TRIP
Davao City can be reached by air, sea and land travel from Manila,
the country's main international gateway. It can also be reached
by regular flights from Manado in Indonesia and Singapore.
Air travel from Manila to Davao is 90 minutes, with the domestic
source: Department of Tourism
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