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Davao and Samal Island DIY

Updated on December 28, 2011
the Monkey-Eating eagle at the Philippine Eagle Center
the Monkey-Eating eagle at the Philippine Eagle Center | Source

Do-It-Yourself Travel to Davao and Samal Islands, Philippines

Three months before our trip to Davao we were already researching about the place. One thing that stands out is the fact that they have a 24 hour (working) emergency response system. The safety of the people is the primary concern in the city and they even have the military working with the policemen to make sure of it.

I was also impressed that Davao has an 'order' a cab anywhere without an additional charge. Often in the trip we just dial the number of a cab line and they come pick us up wherever we are in the city. And the best part of the place for me is the policy of no smoking at public or open areas - yey for asthmatic people!

Below is a list of the places we went to in Davao and in the nearby island of Samal during our four day trip.

DAY 1:

Durian Sculpture - A must not miss just outside the airport. This beautiful sculpture was done by Kublai Millan a known sculpture in Mindanao.

Eden Nature Park - The place has a large area full of flowers perfect for picture taking. They also have a zoo with different animals such as the Philippine deer. I've put a map of the different things you can see inside the park.

Philippine Eagle Foundation - I was delighted to see 'Pag-asa', the 19 year old Philippine eagle who was bred (human-induced embryo) and raised in the Philippine Eagle Foundation.

Jack's Ridge - a restaurant known for their wonderful view of Davao City. The serving was a bit small but they do have a great view. We passed by their from Philippine Eagle Center on our way back to Marco Polo Hotel.

DAY 2:

Marco Polo Hotel breakfast - The place was beautiful and accessible. Their breakfast buffet had lots of choices.

White Water Rafting - it was scary but fun! We reserved the trip via Davao Wild Water Adventure. Price for the white water rafting tour includes free tickets to zipline, cultural show, and butterfly house. It also includes lunch, a shirt, and a copy of all your pictures and videos in a CD.

Note: Don't forget to bring a hanky to cover your face during the van ride to the river since it is dusty. Their website is:

Crocodile Park Animal Show - after the white water rafting we went back to the Crocodile Park just in time for their animal show. It was an educational program wherein the host explains about each animal in their zoo.

Crocodile Park River Walk Grill - first taste of crocodile meat, my second for ostrich meat since they serve one here at Makati (fine-dining at Zuni's Greenbelt 5)

Aldevinco - is one of the known shopping areas in Davao and is just a street across Marco Polo Hotel. I got myself a good quality malong or traditional tube skirt of Mindanao for 800P. You would need to bargain for the price you want.

Big Apple Hotel - We got left by our boat going to Paradise Island at Samal that's why we had to look for a decent place to stay in near the boat dock. The cab driver we hired brought us to Big Apple Hotel. The place was clean and had everything necessary, it just gets noisy at night since there is a bar at the side of the hotel.

DAY 3:

Mother of Perpetual Help - The nearest Catholic Church from Big Apple Hotel. We were planning to go to San Pedro Cathedral which is the oldest church in Davao but it was too far. Mass schedules for Mother of Perpetual Help at:

Marina Tuna - The restaurant had 10 ways to eat tuna. It was a filling lunch and it is probably the largest tuna jaw I've ever had.

Paradise Island Resort at Samal Island - Ranked as the number 1 resort in Trip Advisor for Samal Island and is just a couple of minutes away from Davao City port.

Monfort Bat Cave - Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of fruit bats.

Hagimit Waterfalls - There are huts in the area. The main waterfalls is a bit crowded so we just took pictures at the small waterfalls. Be ready to walk a lot of steps to get to the waterfalls.

White House/ General Mongcado's House - the old house of General Mongcado who was the leader of a religious cult. The place had a good view, for me even better than in Jack's Ridge. Although other than the view there is nothing else to do. If there was still a lot of time on our third day, we would have skipped this and instead proceeded to Maxima Aqua Fun which is near Hagimit Waterfalls.

DAY 4:

Maxima - There are lots one can do at Maxima, but half a day would be enough already. Our Activities at Maxima for half a day:1) Zorb ball on water, 2) Seesaw on water, 3) 10 minute of snorkeling at the clear water. We saw huge clams and did fish feeding, 4) Had two tries at 'The Abyss' - slide at a huge slide and fall into 100m of ocean water.

Lachi's - My main goal at the place was to taste their Durian Sans Rival which I read at a local newspaper as one of the top 25 desserts of 2010.

Xcelerator Zipline - Xcelerator is the longest zipline in Davao. They will take a picture of you so don't forget to smile at the 'almost' end after screaming halfway through ;)

Gaisano Mall - We got some souvenirs and fruits to take home from the mall. It is fairly priced in Gaisano; almost the same as the market. Just note that fruits should be checked-in and packed properly to be able to take them in the airport.

Davao Tour Do-It-Yourself (Day 1)

Day and Time
Budget for 2 people (in Phil Peso)
Day1 - 5:45AM
Arrival at Davao Airport
130P from the airport to the hotel via a cab. There is no free pick-up at Marco Polo Hotel
Durian Sculpture
Check-in at Marco Polo Hotel
Eden Nature Park
We hired a cab for the day for 2500P. This is for a trip to Eden Nature Park then back to hotel. We added 300P so that Philippine Eagle would be included. The tram tour schedule is at 8:30AM, 10:45AM, 1PM. It is a 1hr 30min tour of the huge place. There was a required snack meal that was at 180P per person and shuttle tour cost 85P per person. We no longer got in the fishing village which has a separate payment of 55P per person
Philippine Eagle Foundation
The trip is included in the whole day cab rent. The 50P is for the entrance fee to the park. It closes at 5PM
Jack's Ridge
An order of tuna belly was at 700P and 1 order of durian coffee at 120P
A summary of the prices and locations on our first day in Davao

Day 1 Pictures

Eden Nature Park map
Eden Nature Park map | Source
the view of Jack's Ridge
the view of Jack's Ridge | Source

Davao Tour Do-It-Yourself (Day 2)

Day and Time
Budget for 2 people (in Phil peso)
Day 2 - 7AM
Marco Polo Hotel breakfast
Room Rate is 3658P for two with buffet breakfast
White Water Rafting, meet-up at Crocodile Park
Crocodile Park is 15mins from Davao City Downtown via cab through Maa road or diversion road. The trip is 2000P per person
Crocodile Park Animal Show
Show happens at the middle of the crocodile park and starts at 4:30PM
Crocodile Park River Walk Grill
The grill is just outside Crocodile Park. We ordered Croco Ribs and Ostrich Steak both at 390P each
Shopping at Aldevinco
Not included in the budget
Overnight stay at Big Apple Hotel
1500P for a room for two with plated breakfast

Day 2 Pictures

The open aired ride to the river for our  white water rafting. Our rafts are on top, lifevests are inside.
The open aired ride to the river for our white water rafting. Our rafts are on top, lifevests are inside. | Source
Pangil 'was' the largest croc in captivity before Lolong came along. Pangil is actually a fat crocodile, and he seemed happy at the crocodile farm in Davao
Pangil 'was' the largest croc in captivity before Lolong came along. Pangil is actually a fat crocodile, and he seemed happy at the crocodile farm in Davao | Source

Davao Tour Do-It-Yourself (Day 3)

Day and Time
Budget for 2 people (in Phil peso)
Day 3 - 9AM
Mother of Perpetual Help
Right infront of the Davao City Hall and bordered by San Pedro St. , Bolton St. and C.M. Recto Ave.
Lunch at Marina Tuna
We had a large order of tuna panga/jaw, clam soup, and durian shake all for 600P. We went there via a cab.
Samal Island check-in at Paradise Island
Boat ride to Paradise Island is at Kilometer 9, Sasa. Boat Ride is 15P per person and takes less than 15 minutes
4 hour tour of Samal
Van arranged by Paradise Island.
Monfort Bat Colony
Included in the Van Tour. Entrance fee of 30P
Hagimit Waterfalls
Included in the Van Tour. Entrance fee of 40P. Restroom to change clothes after a dip 5P
White House/ General Mongcado's House
Included in the Van Tour. No payment, just donations
Dinner at Paradise Island
Seafood Platter at 300P was a good order. No corkage for eating the fresh Marang fruit we got from the market.

Day 3 Pictures

crowded bats at the monfort bat colony
crowded bats at the monfort bat colony | Source
huts on top of Hagimit Waterfalls
huts on top of Hagimit Waterfalls | Source
the view at White House
the view at White House | Source

Davao Tour Do-It-Yourself (Day 4)

Day and Time
Price per person (in Phil peso)
Day 4 - 8AM
Trip to Maxima
Habal-habal arranged by Paradise Island (small motorcycle). 300P for the habal-habal driver to wait for us. Maxima had a free entrance since we exchanged our free tickets from the White Water Raft to the zipline for Maxima (yes, that's possible)
Checkout at Paradise Island
Boat back to Davao from Samal is just in front of Paradise Island. We hired the whole boat for 100P since we didn't want to wait for other passengers - minimum of 7 people before the boat leaves.
Lunch at Lachi's
Cab to Lachi at Ruby Street, Marfori Heights. Not all drivers know the place, tell them it's near Value Grade School. hey only sell said Sans Rival whole so we bought it at 360P. Their grilled pork ribs were actually yummy as well - price is 165P.
Xcelerator Zipline
Ride a cab to Ma-a near Crocodile Park. 500P for one ride. Got my photo souvenir at 100P
Gaisano Mall
Souvenirs and gifts not included in total budget
Flight Departure
Cab from Gaisano Mall to the airport
Total: 10, 219P
NOTE: Calculation does not include cab rides to and from certain places except for major cab trips. Also, no price for the airfare since it was taken from our credit card points :)

Day 4 Pictures

the big clams at Maxima while snorkelling
the big clams at Maxima while snorkelling | Source
Lachi's Durian Sansrival - layers of cake with nuts
Lachi's Durian Sansrival - layers of cake with nuts | Source
ziping at Xcelerator
ziping at Xcelerator | Source
Davao Tour Google map by munchwaffle
Davao Tour Google map by munchwaffle | Source


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