This is What You'll See Traveling to Davao Oriental
I remembered wishing to explore Davao Oriental more. After being able to breeze through the other municipalities in Davao Oriental last month, I knew I barely scratched the surface of all its natural wonders.
I know I needed to go back but I didn’t know how or when. Listing all the places that I need to visit again, Davao Oriental topped the list. Maybe because it was nearest to Davao City and maybe because it’s on the east side of Mindanao which had a higher chance of me getting to surf. Whatever those reasons were, all I know is that I have to go back.
As if on cue, I was invited by the Visit Davao Fun Sale (VDSF) team and Department of Tourism (DOT) to visit Davao Oriental together with other local Davao media. Specifically visiting Pusan Point in Caraga and Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel, I instantly said yes. No need to check the itinerary again.
Even if I’m always found in Dahican, I’ve never had the opportunity to visit these tourist attractions in the other municipalities of Davao Oriental. I’m always ‘too busy surfing’ as my friends would tell me when they would urge to try other places.
That’s why when this invitation came, it felt heaven-sent. I knew that unless it was a group trip, I’d never be able to visit these places. Perfect timing too because the waves weren’t around in our usual spot in Dahican last weekend.
The two-day trip included the following places: Mati City and the municipalities of Baganga and Cateel. Visiting Mati City on the first day and the other two municipalities on the second day. The schedule was packed with activities but I didn't mind as long as I got to visit Pusan Point and Aliwagwag Falls.
The first municipality of Davao Oriental to welcome us was Banaybanay.
Café Pintatagan is found inside the Davao Oriental Welcome Park. It’s along the arch that welcomes you to Davao Oriental. The area on the curve where huge pink letters that read Davao Oriental are found to the left side of the road if you’re coming from Davao City.
Stopping by Café Pintatagan in Banaybanay for breakfast, my co-millennials Joice Cudis from Sunstar Davao and EdgeDavao’s own Maine Dela Cruz found out that this roadside café holds secret Instagram-worthy nooks.
If you’ve got the eye, you’ll see amazing patterns all over the park for potential photo backdrops. Call us hipsters or what but we really tried posing with flowers, concrete coconuts, Anahaw-like leaves and even the café’s bamboo walls just for photography’s sake.
It was fun and we all didn’t expect to find these here. Since Joice and I really took a lot, I dedicated a separate post about finding Instagram-worthy nooks in touristy places like this park in Banaybanay.
I’ve always seen this place but never really went inside because (again) I’m always in a hurry to arrive in Dahican to surf. The Davao Oriental Welcome Park has a decent comfort room, no tissues though but it’s clean, has a huge mirror to freshen up and great food.
We were supposed to visit Mt. Hamiguitan too but unfortunately, a landslide happened the night before due to the strong rains. It was still being cleared when we arrived in Banaybanay. I think it may be a good thing so that I’ll have more reasons to go back.
The Sleeping Dinosaur
You know you’re near Mati City if you’re on the zigzag roads in the hilly Brgy. Badas. This is also where you can find the iconic set of hills positioned like a Sleeping Dinosaur.
There is a little stopover that has a shed and concrete slabs where you can take photos with the Dino behind you.
Despite passing by this more times than I can count, I always take a photo whenever I bring first timers to the area.
Like a wave, each photo I take is always different.
Sometimes the Dino is brown when it’s summer season but since it’s been raining, the Dino is well-watered so it’s bright green.
It was almost noontime when we arrived so the light was shining perfectly on the ocean. The bright blue hues could clearly be seen from where we were. Always such a beautiful sight for me.
Since our company was quite large (two vans!) and I've taken more photos of the Sleeping Dino more than I can count, I decided to look around for more photogenic places - err, Instagram-worthy ones.
It was my second time to be here. I love visiting museums because there’s just so much to learn about every place. You can never stop learning and it’s always refreshingly fun to do so.
There’s a saying that you never learn the same things from reading a book twice. I thought I won’t learn anything new in the museum because I’ve been here. I learned that Subangan actually means east in Mandaya (this is a rough translation, I hope I heard it right).
Turns out that there were a few new additions to the place, like the Typhoon Pablo display where you could see photos from different places in Davao Oriental that were hit by the typhoon.
There was also a video inside this room where a compilation of all that had happened can be watched. This display is found at the ground floor just beside the entrance. The doors to the Typhoon Pablo display is quite noticeable because of its intricate wooden design.
Actually, all of the museum is designed so thoughtfully. A beautiful combination of art and great taste in design, I must say. I’m no architect but my sister is so maybe that gives me a little eye for design.
We also got to try on Davao Oriental native tribal outfits. The museum had an assortment of outfits with different sizes so each person can get a feel of wearing tribal clothing.
Subangan Museum is located along the highway leading to Dahican if you’re coming from Mati city. The entrance fees are P100 for foreign nationals, P50 for locals, P30 for residents, P20 for senior citizens and students outside Davao Oriental and P10 for students and children within Davao Oriental.
Cheap, delicious food – these are things that I make me go back to Mati City. They have the best tasting rice coffee and homemade cakes in Ciangi’s. Located a few stores away from Paseo, Ciangi’s is a quaint carinderia with ready meals at Php 50/60. There are also short orders you can asked to be prepared if you have time to wait.
I love their carrot cake and chocolate caramel cake which only cost around PHP50 per slice. That’s super cheap for delicious homemade desserts! Me and my friends always go back to Ciangi’s when we crave for cakes and coffee.
Also, a trip to Mati City will never be complete without a taste of Seaside Restaurant’s empanadas. It’s amusing how pasalubong from Mati City always translates to a box of freshly cooked emapanadas.
Located conveniently on Quezon Street (a few meters away from the city’s bay walk) where I fondly call Mati’s food capital because this is the street where almost all the must-try food establishments are located. You can buy PHP 10 a piece or PHP 160 for 15 pieces
A few notable stops aside from Seaside Restaurant is Ciangi’s, Chika Deli and Paseo where lot of little food stalls to choose from: great desserts like homemade mango float for PHP 25, fruit shakes at PHP 35 and more. I’ll have to dedicate another separate story about food in Mati City because there’s just a lot of delicious cheap thrills you can find in just one area.
After visiting the top of mind attractions in Mati City, we settled in Dahican Cove, a cozy semi-private resort at the edge of Dahican beach. On my next post, it's going to be all about Pusan Point in Caraga and the beautiful Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel. ❤