Top 3 Places You Need to Visit in Davao Oriental This Summer
Not so long ago, I got an invitation to visit Davao Oriental again which was a dream come true for me. You can read the first part of my story here.
Below you'll find what happened during the second day of our trip. Enjoy!
Dahican Beach in Mati City
Despite being here almost every month, I’ll never get tired of calling Dahican my happy place.
For once, I’ll call it fortunate that there weren’t any waves for surfing the day we arrived.
I left my surfboard in Davao City anyway so by default, I had no choice but to just chill by the beach. It wasn't such a bad idea anyway.
After spending quite an exhausting day traveling from Davao and around Mati City, we were grateful to spend a relaxing night by the beach in one of the exclusive resorts in Dahican.
If my memory serves me right, it was called Dahican Cove. I can't believe I forgot to take photos of the place (because I was quite busy socializing with the locals and fellow reporters). Next time, I won't forget!
Pusan Point in Caraga
I’ve been hearing about this place for quite some time now. People who’ve asked me if I’ve been here already are utterly surprised that I haven’t yet.
I know, I surf too much. Now that I’ve got the opportunity to go, I was so excited! I didn’t know what to expect. I intentionally did not google anything about Pusan Point because I wanted to have a pair of fresh unexpecting eyes when I arrive.
Being the most easternmost land point in the Philippines, you’ll be the first to see the sun rise. It’s not official but they say the sun rises around 3 minutes earlier here than other areas in the Philippines. Of course, the exact number of minutes would depend on where you are in the country.
On our second day, we packed up and said goodbye to Dahican Beach and traveled for a little over an hour and a half up north from Mati City. Passing by the provinces of Tarragona and Manay, we turned right just before Kuta Bridge in Brgy. Santiago in the municipality of Caraga, 82 kilometers away from Mati City.
It was quite a steep uphill drive passing through a barangay and finally reaching Pusan Point. The familiar fuschia and white theme welcomed me and I immediately noticed we were actually on a cliff overlooking the sea!
Running towards the 40-foot high rock formations that the Pacific Ocean waves were pounding on, I was ecstatic! This was amazing! I never imagined that I’d see something like this in the Davao region.
The last time I saw rock formations like this was in Laswitan in Cortes, Surigao del Sur way back in April 2015. Though in Laswitan, you couldn’t really climb up to the top of the rock formations because it was too dangerous.
In Pusan Point however, there is a viewing deck right beside the concrete Jubilee Cross which was built to add to the park’s attractions. There’s also another lighthouse inside Pusan Point which was built way back in the early 1900s.
I found myself staring at the older lighthouse and wondered if it could speak, what stories would it tell? I imagined crazy storms and capsized boats or ships that have hoped to live another day at sea. Or maybe the strongest waves that have ever existed around in the Pacific Ocean?
Maybe on my next visit, I could ask the locals around here in Brgy. Santiago. Aside from the two lighthouses here, there are meditation kiosks are also strategically built around the area as well as an amphitheater that can seat 100 people.
Other facilities here include a 200-square-meter swimming pool, a sundial and a two-story building that holds the Science Discovery Center featuring a planetarium and other science-themed interactive sections.
I went crazy with the Science Discovery Center! I loved that this was intentionally made to educate tourists about the natural world. Every inch of the displays inside the center was thoughtfully curated.
Aside from having the breaktaking Pusan Point, Caraga, is also home to pristine beaches and waterfalls, as well as one of Mindanao’s oldest churches, the San Salvador del Mundo parish church at the town center, which was built by the Spaniards during the late 19th century.
Entrance fees to the Pusan Point Discovery Center and Eco-Park are as follows:
Regular rate – PHP 100
Senior citizen – PHP 80 (20% discount with ID)
Children 6 years old to 12 years old – PHP50
Children 5 years old and below – FREE
Local residents of Brgy . Santiago – PHP 50 (50% discount)
The fastest way to reach Pusan Point is through Mati City.
If you're coming from Davao City like we did, you can get the commuter van ride (3 hours) to Mati City. Getting the bus from Davao City to Mati City is 5 hours because they stop at every town.
From the terminal, transfer to another van or bus (Bachelor Express) bound for Baganga or Cateel. Get down at the junction entering Pusan Point in Brgy. Santiago, Caraga. Travel time is 1 hour 30 minutes and fare is about Php 100/pax. But if you're commuting the best way to ensure a ride up to Pusan Point is to ask locals where to rent a motorbike from Caraga town.
Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel
From Pusan Point in Caraga, it took us almost 2 hours to get to Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel. We were quite up north that a few more municipalities and we would have reached Surigao del Sur already.
From poblacion Cateel, it took almost an hour to reach Aliwagwag Falls. From having seen pictures of Aliwagwag Falls so I was expecting to see gently sloping water across smooth limestone rocks. Behold when we got there, it wasn’t the usual picturesque Aliwagwag Falls that I’ve grown accustomed to.
Located in Brgy. Aliwagwag in Cateel, it’s a series of more than 130 cascading waterfalls. Aliwagwag Falls is such a unique sight dotted with different limestone rock formations of various shapes and heights. Each level different from another, ranging from six feet to 110 feet.
There is one measured at 72 feet and another is at 67. Overall, Aliwagwag Falls is 1,110 feet of cascading energy and 20 meters in width. When viewed from afar, Aliwagwag Falls would probably evoke the song “Stairway to Heaven”.
Still groggy from sleep, I rubbed my eyes at the raging whitewash that was Aliwagwag Falls! Unlike the calm and gentle one I hoped to bathe in, I was worried that we couldn’t swim because the waterfalls was raging.
I found out that if the waters were too strong, there were small rock pools you could swim in at the sides of the falls. Being used to the ocean, the fresh waters of Aliwagwag Falls was a welcome respite in the summer heat.
My other companions decided to try the Monkey Bridge which was perfect for adrenaline junkies. You’d subject yourself to a harness suspended a few feet above the surface of the raging waterfalls and cross the whole width from edge to edge.
On another day, I would have tried this but that day I was too tired from the previous day’s itinerary. The thought of climbing up a few hundred meters upwards to reach the bridge was too much so I opted to lounge in the cool waters of the rock pools beside the cascading waters.
It was a weekend and as expected, the rock pools were full. There was a smaller kid-friendly rock pool at the lower end. If you go upwards, there’s a bigger pool with more adults and teenagers having fun in the water. If the current isn’t strong, the zipline is open for those brave enough to glide through the falls for 47 seconds.
The staff at Aliwagwag Falls Eco-Park were so friendly and full of knowledge about their place. It was great that jobs were given to local folk and they themselves are their own ambassadors. They were also entertaining and shared a lot of what they know about other attractions in Cateel aside from what was in Aliwagwag Falls Eco-Park.
I thought that this trip would make me tick off Davao Oriental off my must-return-to list. I was wrong. This trip opened my eyes to a whole lot more attractions and natural wonders that I have yet to see and surf. I guess I’ll have to park ticking off Davao Oriental because there is still just so much to experience.
Adult – Php 50.
Children – Php 10
Table and Chair rental – Php 75
Monkey Bridge – Php 50
Zipline – Php 200
Monkey Bridge and Zipline – Php 225
I'm sure there a lot more places I have yet to see in Davao Oriental.
Which places have I missed out? Please let me know through the comments below! ❤