Saturday, October 13, 2012

Discovering Davao: Ditching The Plan

Davao is one relatively expensive plane ride away from Manila. I have been unlucky scouting for cheap flights, since I started traveling in 2009. One of my bestfriends traveled to Davao in 2010, while I drooled with her stories about food.I'll have my own dose of Davao someday.

January 1, 2012, Airphilippines offered delectable seat sale prices. This is my chance. Armed with one solo travel experience, I decided to try out solo traveling in my own country. I booked a round trip MNL-DVO flight for Php 940.00 (that has a round trip base fare of Php 24.00). What a great way to start 2012!

The trip was scheduled two weeks after my two-week Indochina adventure. I was still on such a high from all the great pictures experience from all those countries. I had to free some space in my memory card. Time to discover Davao. Someday is here.

There’s a lot to do in Davao. A lot. Too many suggestions. There’s a lot of info in blogs and forums for a “standard” Davao first-timer trip. However, a lot of these are for groups. I had some difficulty crafting my own itinerary. And because I was traveling alone, I had to choose some activities that were more manageable to do alone. I ditched the white-water rafting suggestion.

The Plan
What Happened
Day 1
Early arrival in Davao. City/near city tours: museum, church, temple, park

Early arrival in Davao City. Waited for a room to be available in Sampaguita Inn, then slept until 4:30pm. Went to People’s Park and had dinner at Penong’s. Overnight Davao City.
Day 2
Day trip in Samal Island. Habal-habal to cave, falls. Back to Davao city

Check out Sampaguita Inn. Travel to Isla Reta. Beachbumming around Isla Reta. Habal-habal to Dayang beach. Overnight Isla Reta.
Day 3
Philippine Eagle and/or Eden Park
More beachbumming. Back to Davao City.
Day 4
Day trip in Pearl Farm Island and shopping
Davao Museums. Pasalubong-buying. Chill in Abreeza Mall.
Day X
Early flight back to Manila. Proceed to work.
Early flight back to Manila. Proceed to work.

As expected, I happily deviated from the original plan. Ha! The perks of solo travel. 

I was supposed to fly out at 8:30 pm of Day 0 but 2P moved my flight to 4:00am of Day 1. So I was at the airport at 11:30pm for a 4:00am flight. Better to be crazy early than the panicking late. I landed in Francisco Bangoy International Airport very very early. I got some shuteye in the plane ride but I was still woozy from lack of sleep.  
5:42 am arrival

There were porters outside but they were not pushy. I lined up the taxi stand for around 10 minutes. A very orderly line. “Sampaguita Inn po”. The taxi fare from Davao Airport to Sampaguita Inn costs Php 160.00. The ride was less than 30 minutes. No room available. I walked around with my backpack, guided by my printed out map and found the nearest open McDonald’s. Had breakfast. Walked back to the inn, and waited in the lobby until a room became available. Then slept the day away.

Not a lot of adventure in Day 1. Just pure, blissful sleep. A really wonderful way to start traveling. Felt really refreshed after a whole day “nap”. It was actually liberating to just sleep by choice. I think we are too concerned in hitting everything in one go dahil sayang sa oras. Travel becomes another "checklist" instead of one enriching experience.

By 6pm (yes, sunset time!), I dragged myself out of bed and explored the city.

Had a pretty basic dinner at Penong’s. Chicken was flavorful. I was studying my itinerary for the next day. The caves and waterfalls in Samal Island did not generate a lot of excitement for me. I decided to change my Day 2 plans. Something more to my liking.

Maps on the phone, dinner on the table

From this Penong branch, it was a short walk to Freedom Park.
It was free. It was dark. I didn't really get to appreciate the place.

Shadow camwhoring

There's fountain show at night.

I didn't really spend a lot of time in the place.  I headed to a supermarket then got some supplies for the next day. I spent the next hour browsing using my phone for my revised Day 2 plan. Now I'm excited.


  1. Hi! How much did you spend for the whole trip?

  2. Hi! How much did you spend for the whole trip?


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