August 22, 2013

Davao City - My Lifestyle Destination

When we think about local travel, we often think of white sand beaches, nature parks, adrenaline nature adventures, festivities, or historical sites. But what if you need more than what a local travel brochure could offer? They say, to each of his own, but where would you go if you’re some sort of a bipolar traveler like me who wants nature and beach for a moment then suddenly shifts to mall hopping and enjoying the busy citylife? Well, that is what a "lifestyle destination" is for me. A place wherein you’re not restricted to what its branding has to offer but somehow suits to what your lifestyle needs. 

I haven’t resided in Davao since 2004 and I have been tossed between Metro Manila and Cebu since then. As of this writing, Im currently stuck and waiting for my flight here at Davao International Airport on my way back to Metro Manila where Im (for now) residing (but then again that’s another story - flight cancellations due the heavy rains in Metro Manila). It’s Kadayawan season and for the past few years, I’ve been making it a point to visit my hometown to celebrate the festivities.

My yearly visits never fail to surprise me. There’s more to Davao than her beaches, her nature parks, her flora and fauna, the fruits, or the urban offerings. There’s more to Davao than being an adventure destination or a site for cultural tourism.

I remember last 2012, when I went here in Davao – the activities I had were more into visiting nature parks and trying out some outdoor adventures. I went to the Island Garden City of Samal and spent a day at Maxima Aquafun and Hagimit Falls. I slid through the giant slide called the abyss and was dropped straight to the open ocean. I also visited Davao Crocodile Park and had tried rolling down a hill inside a zorb. The next day I found myself in one of the zipline parks in the city and zipped through two lines with lengths of around 600 meters long for the first zipline and followed by another 500 meters long zip with a speed of between 70 to 100 kilometers per hour at a height of 200 feet above the ground.

But this year’s visit calls for a different adventure. I didn’t want to enjoy the outdoors but preferred to enjoy the city life away from the hustle and bustle of a bigger and more complicated metropolis that is Metro Manila. I wanted to enjoy what I always love doing in the big city minus the heavy and slow flow of traffic. I wanted to enjoy the city rush minus the irritating honking of buses. It may seem impossible but Davao was able to offer it.

On my first night, Jong and I went to SM Lanang Premier. This mall reminds me of SM North Edsa and SM Aura in BGC. It has a skygarden but minus the noise of the buses that ply along EDSA and the absence of that scene where u can see people being restless, rushing to and fro the skygarden. It’s very relaxing, people are not in a hurry, indeed it’s a skygarden which name speaks for itself….a quiet and serene place to hangout and dine with friends. Then we went to the fountain area of the mall located at its rear portion and fronting Park Inn Hotel by Radisson. It’s a wide open space with an area that features colorful water fountains with some lightshows – as of now, it is the longest row of dancing water fountains in the Philippines. This water feature is a view to a row of popular restaurants such as Vikings, Murray’s New Orleans, just to name a few. Since it’s Kadayawan Festival, it’s also a venue for the ongoing Durian Fest. Before heading to our hotel, we visited Backyard Burger along Quirino – a roadside burger joint and bar showcasing gourmet tasting home made grilled burgers. I find it good however Jong told me that Gino’s burgers are way better. That’s something worth checking next time.

The next night, another friend of mine (Christian) brought me to Karl’s Koffee Korner in Dacudao. It’s where one can enjoy live music at its al fresco area or savor private moments inside their cafe that offers a homey ambiance. That night, I was blessed enough to have watched Popong Landero’s live performance. To those who dont know him, he is a Dabawenyo artist who brought us songs such as Bahaghari Tayo and Rastamindanaw. Inspite of the live performances and good food, the price is quite affordable. If you want to jam with the artists, u can do so too. After, Karls', we ended the night through dropping by Metro Avenue located at the back of Gmall (just a few mins drive from Dacudao), an arcade of watering holes for younger Dabawenyos.

I love to run, so on the next day, I decided to start my day through running around the city. In Metro Manila, I usually run from Mother Ignacia St to QC Circle (complete atleast three rounds) then head straight to UP Diliman’s Runners’ Loop. In Davao, I had the chance to run north bound from my hotel located along Roxas Avenue to Victoria Plaza’s grounds and up to Abreeza (an Ayala Business Park ). Abreeza is where one can find an Ayala mall, an urban lifestyle hotel, several condominium projects, a BPO facility and a corporate center.

That night, a friend of mine (Raymund) invited me to join him and his friends at Hybrid. In my teenage years (late 90s and early 2ks), Hybrid was more popularly known as Wheels and More Drive - a place where I used to hangout and party with friends in bars such as AutoShop. Today, Wheels and More's signage can still be seen outside but most people refer to it as Hybrid. It's also the site for another bar called Starr.

In the succeeding days, Jong and I had been to the extremes (as far as food tripping is concerned), tried the very affordable and practical Sinangag Express along F.Torres St. and tasted the a bit pricey Yamomomo Cheesecake at White House @ Northpoint. We’ve enjoyed the barbecues along Bonifacio Extension and the Blueberry Ensaymada topped with melted cheese at Green Coffee.

In the past 7 days that Ive been in Davao – Ive enjoyed her other side. If in 2012, she was able to quench my thirst for outdoor adventures, this time Iv enjoyed her urban offerings - food trips, dining, and the city life. And if u want both, one doesn’t need to travel that far to enjoy both worlds, in fact, u just need to stay in the city and here u can enjoy the rustic rural life that serves a good setting for outdoor adventures or her city streets and lifestyle enclaves where one can enjoy an exciting but stress free urban living. Davao, for me, is indeed a lifestyle destination. It’s a city that can accommodate whatever what one needs. Do u need an adrenaline rush? Or a walk through memory lane? Do you want to experience our indigenous culture and tradition? Or get lost in the midst of a shopper’s paradise? Do you want to walk along our whitesand beaches? Or simply go white water rafting? Whatever your lifestyle needs – Davao is an awesome destination that can offer these. With that in mind, Im very excited for my next Kadayawan trip this coming 2014. Davao....surprise me up!


That was tons of fun when we had a conversation at Chicco di Caffe! Sa uulitin! :D

That was an awesome conversation we had at Chicco di Caffe! Sa uulitin! :D

If you are going to Davao City try to check-in the best and budgeted in the city the Apo View Hotel. Try their excellent hotel accommodation and friendly/hospitable staffs. You will experience there a relaxing and peaceful vacation.

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