Davao – My second best place in the Philippines

The first time I visited Davao, maybe in the early 1990’s when a friend/officemate attended a training sponsored by the Development Academy of the Philippines.   I immediately felt comfortable with the people, moving around is so easy and of course abundance of all the fruits that I love. We were able to go around the city, visit  famous sites, buy pasalubong. I think I have visited the City for seven times already and everytime it did not fail my expectation.  Added to this are presence of very good friends that are willing to take us around the City.

One time, I flew to Davao on vacation as my good friend Denden will soon migrate to Australia.  She is not available on the day I flew in but another good friend invited me to her home.  I was able to visit Abreeza mall and Victoria mall on my own as they still have to attend to officework.  I have heard so much about Victoria Mall from my late husband who attended a training in Davao.  So…I have to satisfy my curiosity.  Well, it is just like Gaisano…maybe it has deteriorated or not maintained since it was opened.  I was about to leave the place when rain started to pour…and it was really a heavy downpour!  It took me a long time to look for a taxi to bring me back to the Office as the area became flooded in such a short time.  I asked our taxi driver if there are still flooding during heavy rain…and was informed that the drainage i have all been repaired as so far they have not experienced flooding.

This last visit involves a Mobile Learning/Local Study Mission to the coffee plantation and processing plants in Davao City and Davao del Sur.  Coffee is one of the priority products that our Office is promoting ..specifically coffee for our local coffee shops.  Our flight to Davao City was early morning thus we arrived in our Inn several hours before lunch. All of us were a bit too tired from the our previous activities and we opted to rest and sleep after lunch before going our to explore the area.  In the afternoon, we walked to Magsaysay Fruit Stand to eat DURIAN.  I really love the fruit and I can eat a lot but has to restrain myself as a lot of people are saying that it can elevated blood pressure.  Since I am hypertensive…I have to limit myself!

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This is the first Durian we ate….oh it was so good!! I think this is the Puyat variety.  Since there are five of us…I though that we need to have another one so that it will not be bitin.  Atty. Grace, one of the SMEs engaged in coffee production was with us and she bought us Lola Abon’s Durian Ice Cream.

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The ice cream is good but I still prefer the fresh fruits :-D.

We had a welcome dinner and short introduction and briefing regarding our Mobile Learning.  I was so full of the durian I have eaten earlier that I ate only a little during dinner.  By the way, I brought back to the room one plastic container of what was left of the our second durian.  I wanted to eat everything but I am afraid that it might indeed elevate my blood pressure.  I just recovered from a bad bout of Vertigo…the first time I was attacked (due to a bum stomach..caused by Chowking Chao fan!!!)

We left Davao City for Davao Del Sur at around 8:00 in a convoy of five Toyota Grandias and one Trooper.

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We arrived at the Mt. Apo Higland Resort at around 10:30 to a waiting snacks of Pancit Bijon, bread, softdrinks and banana. After our snack we immediately went to our assigned cottages to rest before lunch (we were eating a lot!).

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We were billeted at the Mt. Apo Highland Resort in Digos City, Davao del Sur.  The cottages are okay but the restroom and bathroom are outside the cottage!  It was so peacefuland relaxing in the area, I can hear the rustle of the leaves and the pines when the wind blows.  The breeze is cool and I can sleep the whole day…but we were there on official travel.

Flora around the resort. I am not familiar with the common names of some of these flowers.

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I think this is Begonia, but it is so huge compared to those grown in the lowland.

 

After lunch we went to Tay Apol’s Arabica Coffee Farm.  Along the was we passed by Bgy. Kapatagan market with lots of fruits and vegetables sold in the market.  I was amazed by the many tarp advertising Globe LTE Home Internet. Wow is it true that the signal in the foothills of Mt. Apo is LTE?? Indeed I tired surfing using my fone when we came back after dinner….the internet is indeed so fast! I was able to watch a replay of the Kalyeserye without lag!  How I wish we have the same signal at home.

Our Vans can not handle the road up to Tay Apple’s farm thus we have to walk under  the heat of the sun…it was good thing the breeze is cool.  Our guide told us that it is just near…..where we can see bananas wrapped in blues plastic….but we can see bananas all around us wrapped in blue plastic!!  There were a lot of banana fruit rejects which are just dumped in a field and some are fed to horses.  There were several vegetable farms, lettuce, cabbage, radish, chayote, pepper but it is sad to note that they are still using conventional agriculture using lots of pesticides and inorganic fertilizer.

 

Before we left Tay Apol’s farm, one of the participant from Bansalan (other side of Mt. Apo) pointed to us that the peak can be seen. We can even see some sort of a steam coming from one of the lower peaks.  He told us that he has climed Mt. Apo five times already.  The area facing us is the most difficult approach to the peak as the mountain is covered with rocks.

As we approach Tay Apo’s farm, I saw huge Cardaba (saba) bananas…they are like giants compared to the saba grown in our place.  Then we saw lot of coffee trees full of big fruits!  The trees are trimmed and all branches are laden with fruits.  Tay Apol and his wife picks the ripe berries, dries them and sells the green beans to Dizon Farm where they process the beans.

We were supposed to visit Lake Mirror but were told that Mt. Apo can only be seen mirrored in the lake in the early morning. We proceeded to Kublai’s Garden…again our van cannot go up the area thus we have to trek again.  Imagine I never though we will be doing trekking thus the only footwear I have is a two-inch step-in.  It was a good thing it did not give up during the climb.  Kublai’s garden is full of artwork made of cement, wood and steel.  I am not really interested in this kind of art thus I only stayed in one area and waited for others to come back.  The breeze is so cool.  We went back to the resort for snack….banana and camote cue…ang tipid…we only have one banana cue each.  After dinner we had a lecture on the projects of Dizon Farm regarding coffee and another lecture on Good Agricultural Practice on Coffee by professor Val from Benguet State University.  By this time the temperature has significantly gone down and it is now cold.

We were worried about the bathroom arrangement as it is too cold outside our cottage…but we survived!  I woke up early to use the bathroom but there was no water! I waited until such time that we can see Mt Apo from our balcony.  It is so amazing to be around nature and to marvel at God’s creation.  Thank your Lord for giving me the opportunity to see these places at the same time doing my work.

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The Majestic Mount Apo.

Indeed we can see clearly Mt. Apo early in the morning from 6:00-7:00.

After breakfast we traveled back towards Davao City.  We passed by the Arabica Coffee Processing Shared Service Facility in Bgy. Rizal, Sta. Cruz Digos City.  A portion of the road going up the barangay is again impassable to our Grandias.  We again hiked up to reach the Bgy Rizal…where lots of durian, lanzones and marang awaits us…aside from suman with ginger and of course brewed coffee (product of JORIFA)

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Trekking up to JORIFA SSF

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A portion of the two crates of durian…one box of lanzones and marang not in the picture.

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We were also treated to suman (flavored with ginger) and of course their product brewed coffee (robusta).

We visited the Shared Service Facility where two equipment were given, forced draft electric dryer and dehuller.  It was so hot that day that we decided to go ahead of the group back to where our vehicles are.  While we were walking back (a much easier walk as it is now downhill), it started to drizzle…it was a good thing the rain did not pour heavily or else we will be drenched before we reach the vehicles.

Traveled to Davao City, direct to Crocodile Park where we had our lunch.  It was so hot and humid that I really did not enjoy our stay.  The food is just so so….nothing beats food in Iloilo.  Did not even attempt to see the roasting facility of Dizon farm for their Arabica Altura Coffee and the Mt Apo Civet Coffee.  We stayed here for quite some time as some members of the group went inside the crocodile farm.  I don’t like to see animals in captivity…never enjoyed the zoo..or maybe I am not an animal lover…except for dogs.

Next stop is an non government organization Coffee for Peace. They process arabica coffee from Bansalan.  We were able to taste their medium roast brew and I think I am starting to enjoy black brewed coffee.

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Barista of Coffee for Peace Preparing Medium Roast Brewed Arabica Coffee.

We also had snacks Tuna Paste (did not taste..I had my share of tuna dishes) but ate a lot of their freshly baked butter garlic wheat baguette.  It was so yummy….maybe I finished one baguette!

Then it was time to shop for pasalubong at Aldevinco Mall…bought only coin purses made of tinalak and one malong.  I was so tired, hot and dirty that upon check inn at the hotel I had a long hot shower and jumped on my bed.  Some of my companions went out to buy fruits at Magsaysay Fruit stand.  I requested for lanzones….oh it was so sweet and cheap @P30/kilogram.  If only I have unlimited baggage allowance, I will bring one box.  I have already one box of pomelo, Denden’s brother is giving me frozen durian aside from my luggage.

I was so excited that immediately upon reaching home, I opened the styrobox with durian and savored one plastic container (almost).  Thank you Norman and Eden for the yummy durian!! Shared one container of Arancillo durian with my officemates :-D.

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