Mati: Davao’s hidden water playground

If you haven’t heard of ‘Davao’, then you’re missing the unkept beaches, private islands and really good durians that the city prides itself. With Cebu Pacific direct flights to Davao from Singapore on Thursday and Sunday, you can make full use of your weekend right in the Philippines and savour the natural offerings that await you.

3hours down from Davao by car/shuttle (250pesos), you’ll be greeted by gorgeous bays and beaches stretching along. Known as the city of Mati, it is the capital city of Davao slowly picking up from its tourism needs. Here, there’re a few beach resorts, homestays and hostels available to fit all budget. Don’t be perceived by the nick of ‘Sleeping Dinosaur‘ that you spotted on your way here, the city has its fun side waiting to be discovered.

For beach bums, the annual party EDM ‘Summerfrolic‘ is what keeps them returning. Held on one of the most beautiful beaches in Mindanao, the Dahican Beach transforms into a groove foam scene attended by flocks of international tourists at night.

In the day, sweep your feet through soft creamy sand. Hop on board a boat bound for Pujada island, some 30mins away from the jetty in Mati and get ready for pristine waters and untouched island, comparable to world’s famous Boracay Beach.

Put on your snorkeling gear and enjoy the comfortable glance of wildlife deep under. Corals and flock of fishes are just some samples of interesting sights that you’ll notice while being embraced in the undisturbed habitat.

Want to try a new sport? How about Skimboarding? The waves at Dahican beach is perfect for this addictive sport where you wait for the incoming waves and then skim along this long stretch of beach!

Be sure to rub shoulders with the “Amihan Boys”, a team of homegrown skimboarders and surfers who have garnered their local community of fans and traveled for competitions. If you prefer to stay dry, watch these professional skimmers performing their stunt along the beach is equally rewarding.

Experience the soft white sand yourself by forming a team and toss-catch. Watch a fierce showdown by international participants at the Ultimate Frisbee Challenge and hear yells showcasing their sportsmanship.

Pop-in a visit at the Subangan Museum. Be amazed by the size of the sperm whale fossil at the main hall which is the only one in Philippines. That’s not all, understand more about the heritage of aboriginals and also witness the damage of Typhoon Pablo in a corner of the museum.

UNESCO site? Where? Right here in Davao, Mt Hamiguitan is the latest UNESCO world heritage site added in the Philippines. At first sight, it might just look like another jungle canopy, but it isn’t as easy to explore as thought – One will need almost 8hours to climb to the peak with a harness and an experienced guide.

If you don’t have that much time to spare, take the easy route and visit the Mt. Hamiguitan Natural Science Museum. Here, you can peek at the wildlife habitat through these lens and have fun at the interactive games room for the little ones.

Go on the experienced trails to discover more. Stumble upon flora and fauna together with some endangered species along the way. There’re some quality photo spots on the track that might just end up in your collection.

Back in Davao city, visit the President residence in one of the streets of Davao city. Although heavily guarded, take the opportunity to take photo right in front of the modest house and add some of the souvenirs from street paddlers to your shopping bag.

Oh and don’t forget to sip the famous civet cat coffee right here in Davao! It’s the world’s most expensive coffee made from poop then processed thoroughly into beans. Davao is not just popular for civet cat coffee at cafes – it also produces good grade cheese and home to plantations of excellent durian and mangosteen.

Photo: Department of Tourism Philippines

Another good reason for you to return in August (besides feasting on durian and mangosteen) is to enjoy parade of the Kadayawan Festival. Dressed in colourful costumes, locals strut down the street with floats to mark their appreciation and thanksgiving.

With the Visit Davao Fun Sale happening now, you can redeem a range of deals from hotels to spa and shopping.

Cebu Pacific flies direct to Davao from Singapore from S$90/way (all-in) valid for travel till 31Dec’17. With flights departing in the evening, you can just take a day off and maximise your weekend getaway in Davao and Mati. Book your flights now!

Sy was a guest of Cebu Pacific Air and the Philippine Department of Tourism (Davao).

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