Monday, November 06, 2006

Davao Tourist Spots: Davao Crocodile Farm, Ponce Suites, Davao Museum, Waterfront Insular Resort and Matina Hills

We took an early flight to Davao, 4:20 am. We almost didn't sleep last Wednesday so we could leave by 2am Thursday and be at the airport for early check-in. I know I was thinking about this phenomenon called mercury retrograde and it didn't help that Peter and I were watching crashing planes on Discovery Channel before leaving the house that we almost decided not to push through with this trip due to mixed fear, tension and anxiety (What were we thinking?!!!) . Thank God we're safely back home!

Watching PRISON BREAK while waiting for our flight
So what about Davao did we like? Well... almost everything! Let me share with you one by one the places we've visited and what I think about each of them.

Arriving at Davao International Airport
Arriving at Davao International Airport, I noticed how huge, posh and organized their terminal was. It has the same quality and ambience as that of Mactan International Airport, truly world-class. As soon as we stepped out of the terminal, I could already smell the scent of Durian in the air. I'm not sure if it was just my imagination, but this scent was definitely in the air almost everywhere we went. As usual, cabs were lining up and because my Visayan dialect isn't that good anymore, the cab drivers took advantage and tried to persuade us that the ride to our hotel cost around P200. Yeah right! It was my first time in Davao, yes, but I'm not stupid! Based on my research, our hotel is just a few minutes away from the airport and it won't cost us a hundred. So I looked for another cab driver and not too long we found one. True enough, I only spent P80 and that's already with tip.

Arriving at Ponce Suites was breathtaking. No, it's not a five-star or even a three-star hotel, but it's like going home to an art museum! There were huge art structures everywhere and A LOT of paintings of varied media. It was so amazing! The owner's son, Kublai, is a prolific artist and very well-known in Davao. In fact, as soon as you step outside the airport, you'll see this huge Durian structure made by Kublai himself. Wow!

Ponce Suites' Reception Area

More of their wall to ceiling art works

Of course, it took us a while to reach our room coz we just had to see all the art works from wall to wall, from ceiling to the floor. Finally, we reached our room, unpacked and slept until 8am. By 9am, we were off to our first destination, the famous Crocodile Farm.

Their 2nd floor hall way still full of artworks
The Crocodile Farm housed A LOT of crocodiles. But that's not all! They also breed other animals like snakes, birds, iguana, pigs, monkeys, ostriches, etc.

Tired and hungry from all the walking that early morning, we went to Riverwalk Grille just outside the Crocodile Farm. It was like being back along Loboc River in Bohol. We even saw tarsiers hanging in the trees!!!
Lunch at Riverwalk Grille
Anyway, we ordered two huge chicken inasal, a large serving of chopsuey, mango shake, durian shake, plain rice, veggy rice and bottled mineral water all for P366 only! Not bad! We can really get used to this! Hehehe!

Next on our itinerary was Davao Museum where we learned a bit more about Davao's history and culture. They also have amazing antiques and handicrafts and I was able to buy a few affordable trinkets made of horses' hair. Cool!

Afterwards, we headed to Waterfront Insular Resort where the T'boli weaving center is located. We traveled on foot since it was just a few kilometers walk under the blazing sun which we really didn't mind.

walking to Waterfront Insular Resort and looking for cheap trinkets

Waterfront Insular Beach
The resort was located by the beach and as soon as we set foot inside, Peter was taking photos while I bargained at a nearby tiangge for cheap native finds. I was even able to dress up as a T'boli which Peter found amusing! Hahaha!

The Sexy Nomad goes tribal!!!

A native T'boli from Cotabato weaving Tinalak
We were both so tired afterwards that by 4pm, we decided to head back to the hotel first, freshen up and rest a bit before heading to Jack's Ridge over at Matina Hills for some romantic dinner.

Exploring more of Jack's Ridge
Indeed, Jack's Ridge was quite romantic. it has a Tagaytay feel to it and the food was great! It was also here that I tasted the most delicious leche flan ever!!! Yumyum! After dinner, we transfered to Karlo's Coffee shop where we ordered Durian coffee shake and Durian cake.

The yummiest Leche Flan ever!!!

Durian Coffee Shake with Bailey's and Durian Cake
That night, after spending some more time in Ponce Suites' cafe, we just rested inside our room while watching Prison Break. We needed to reserve our energy and strength for more adventures the next two days....

View of their resto/bar upstairs

Caged like a bird in their Rafflesia petal-like structure

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