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Monday, June 20, 2011

Conquering Davao City On My Own

I had plans to go on a solo trip someday.  I didn't expect it to be right now.  Well, technically, this trip should be a business trip.  I just included a little leisure side trip.  My boss sent me to Davao to do some training.  Of course I get excited because I will be back to Davao again, one of my favorite destination.  Although I know I will only be spending very little time in this trip, I try to make the most out of it.  My flight was 4am to Davao and I will be back to Manila by 7pm the following day.  I only have about evening of Friday and whole day of Saturday to enjoy Davao.

The meeting was at the Abreeza mall.  I also get excited to visit this new mall in Davao.  It was still closed when I arrived since my training is at 8am.  Attendees on my session were nice and accommodating.  They even offered me to tour around the mall and suggested places to visit in the city.

The mall was quite big and looks a bit different as compared to other Ayala Malls, although it somehow have a resemblance with Trinoma mall.  There are separate areas for high end store (tagged as "Greenbelt 6") and commoner store.  What I noticed was there's not much "nature facade" in the mall which was common to Ayala Malls.  Well, maybe it's still under construction.  I saw their fish pond that is still yet to be improved.  Abreeza is proud to have the first Starbucks, Italiani's and Friday's in Davao.

I had my lunch at Cafe Laguna inside the mall.  This restaurant originated in Cebu and now with branches in Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo and Davao.  Typical Filipino dish is offered, not so spectacular but edible.  We had seafood kare-kare, crispy pata and chopsuey.  I would still recommend this restaurant since the ambiance is cool and relaxing.

The activity center with Rivermaya
After eating, they tour me further around the mall.  The food choices was located in an open area, just beside the cinema.  This open area at the 3rd floor of the mall also has restaurants at the sides.  It seem like Greenbelt 3 (3rd floor too) when there was still food choices there.  Before we parted, they bought me oatmeal thin from Margie's Bakeshop, a small kiosk selling homemade goodies.  Maybe it was their token for me.  It was good and unique.  I recommend this as an alternative way to give as pasalubong.

Come late afternoon, I headed back to Marco Polo Hotel.  But before I take a rest at the hotel, I bought pomelo at Aldevinco.  People from Abreeza already have "suki" in the pomelo stand so I also bought there.  It only cost me Php 900 for 14kgs of pomelo (1 big and 1 small box).  Do you think its cheap?  I think so.  But later on I realized, I may have an excess baggage because of this. Oh well.

By dinner time, I was already alone.  I decided to take my dinner at Abreeza.  The person from Abreeza that was suppose to accompany me at dinner already went home since I arrived at the mall at past 7:30pm already.  But that's ok, at least I'll get to tour again the mall and this time visit each store.  By the time I arrived, Rivermaya was playing.  I did get the chance to listen and watch them but I was quite far from them.  Anyway, I tried eating at the open area at the food choices.  The choices were not much.  I think there were only 6 stalls open.  Most of them were unfamiliar to me, except for The Savory Chicken.  I ordered my food at Sizzling Chef.  Sizzling sirloin for Php 85.  I wasn't very happy with my order.  The gravy dried out after it "sizzles".  The meat was tender though.  The rice was supposed to be java but they informed me its no longer available so they replaced it with plain rice but the price remains the same.  I no longer debated about it I just sarcastically asked if the price can be lowered because of plain rice.  Well, I guess that's business.

My bedroom at Marco Polo Hotel ... why 2 beds??

shower room
I left Abreeza at around 9.30pm.  There's a designated taxi stand for passengers to wait and fall in line.  Unfortunately, there's not much taxi at that time and people are not lining up.  They're all hurrying to get a taxi.  There's even this lady who surpassed me as I get a cab.  Didn't she saw me hail the cab first but she's the one who ride on it?  *sigh* Another reason why the Philippines is underdeveloped.  I thought I could only see these scenario in Manila.

Ateneo de Davao University as seen in my window

Day 2 is my Me time.  I enjoyed my hefty breakfast at the Continental Club of Marco Polo hotel.  I had full meal from appetizer to dessert.  I seated beside the window.  I love eating while looking at the busy street of Davao.  After breakfast, I rested for a while and planned to go swimming at the hotel's pool.  I planned to roam around the city after I checked out in the hotel and wait for my flight.

Their swimming pool isn't infinity and isn't that big.  The level of the water is up to 5 feet.  There's not much people in the pool area but there were quite plenty of people around as a photo shoot was taking place.  I took pictures here and there but again without me on it.  After dipping into the pool, I had the courage to approach one of the pool's staff to take a picture of me, at two locations.  I still wanted more pictures but I already got shy.  Well, at least I have a souvenir picture at the pool.

The check out time is 12 noon.  I decided to visit People's Park first before having my lunch.  Besides I'm still full from the buffet breakfast I had in the morning.  I planned to take my lunch in Penong's.  Checking the map, there's a near Penong's restaurant within the Marco Polo hotel vicinity.  I'm sure the taxi driver knows that.  When I instructed the taxi driver to take me to People's Park, I was surprised of how near it was from Marco Polo hotel.  I think this can be reached by foot.  Oh well.  Another thing that surprised me was that the Penong's restaurant was just across the park!  Hitting two birds in one!  Since I'm still full, I decided to walk around first in the park before I have my lunch.  The park opens at 1pm everyday except on Sundays where it is closed.  I arrived 5 minutes earlier so I just waited outside until the gate opens.  People's Park is just in front of Casa Leticia Hotel and a few minutes walk away from Apo View Hotel.

The park is full of green scenery.  The area is clean and they are proud to make this park smoke-free.  You will be obliged to leave your cigarettes and lighters in the entrance if you are fond of smoking.  It is quite big with benches, children's playground, children's library, a small pond and doves.  I think you can have small picnic here.  There were areas like waterfalls and fountains but it wasn't operational at that time.  Maybe it's only available at night? I'm not so sure.  It could have been a better tourist attraction if the waterfalls and fountains were operational.  There were various areas featuring different trees, flowers and gardens from different countries.  Some of these areas are somewhat secluded and so I found lovers snuggling there, haha!  If you're a nature lover and you wanted to see various trees, then it is ok to visit this place.  It's also nice to take pictures here.  There was again a photo shoot when I was there.  It will take you about less than 30 minutes to tour the place.

Greeny park with Marco Polo Hotel at the background

This should have waters underneath that's why there's a bridge, right?

It was about past 2pm when I decided to leave the park.  I'm already hungry and thirsty at that time.  I was getting excited to have my lunch at Penong's.  I've read positive feedback about this place.  Delicious yet very affordable dishes.  I was walking through Penong's, I saw a big signage that says: "Sorry we're closed".  Aaarrrgghh!!!  How can they be closed?  I even saw people eating there at around 1pm when I was at the People's Park!  I walk further and I saw other establishments closed at well.  Then I thought, maybe they are really close in the afternoon and will resume by dinner time.  *Sigh*  I'm already getting hungry.  I walk further and saw a big M sign.  Well, I guess I'll just eat there than suffer from hunger.  It may not be a Davao original but definitely it can make my tummy full.  But then I passed by a big building before crossing to Mc Donald's.  I decided to enter that building and it was Gaisano South City Mall.  Well, at least it was an original Davao area.  So I tour the mall for a while then finally had my lunch at Cafe Ilustrado at past 3pm.  The food I order was a quarter roast chicken meal with veggies, rice and softdrinks for Php 129.  Not so spectacular but edible.  I spent the rest of the afternoon at the cafe with free wifi.

I arranged a transport service from Marco Polo Hotel to take me to the airport.  My schedule is at 5pm.  I didn't know that it will only be me who will ride the service.  I like the bellboy and other staff of the hotel, they're friendly.  They even bid goodbye to me as I rode the service.  I had a little chit-chat with the driver.  That's when I learned that most restaurants in Davao are closed after lunch time (until 2pm) and it will open again at around 5pm.  That explains why I wasn't able to eat at Penong's.  Oh well, maybe next time.

If I have a budget, I would love to stay at Marco Polo again.  Or maybe I should also try Apo View Hotel.  At its ground floor lies the Casino Filipino, hehe.  Well, I don't frequent casinos but I'm sure some of my friends will want to check that out.

I conquered my solo trip in Davao.  It was exciting and new experience for me but at the same time, it's quite sad because I wasn't able to take pictures of me around the places I have been.  I would love to try travelling again alone and this time in a much longer vacation.  Where could be the next?


  1. I haven't tried traveling alone sis! Makes me wanna plan it! Haha! Discovering things on your own sure makes it thrilling!

  2. congratulations! cheers to solo pinay travelers!
    next is uhmmm - vietnam! =)

  3. @gian - it's exciting din traveling on your own, talking to people and asking around. you should try it! :)

    @chyng - haha! solo abroad agad? hk maybe, just to shop, haha!

  4. wow! be back in Davao sis. You haven't seen the best yet...Outland adventure, Pearl Farm, we even have Penongs by the sea... But we envy you coz your trip is all for free:-) *sigh*..

  5. @elaine - Hi sis! this is my second time in Davao. i've been to Pearl Farm, Outland Adventure, White Water Rafting, and Samal Island (Hagimit Falls) before. But definitely I will go back. I haven't done island hopping in Samal Island, haven't been to Philippine Eagle, Eden Park, Camp Sabros, etc. Yeah, my trip is kinda free but "bitin" :) I love Davao!


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