Davao’s upcoming tour destinations

Davao Region

Davao Region

Thanks to the Department of Tourism-Region 11 (DOT-11), led by energetic and forward-thinking regional director Art Boncato, I was able to see and experience several upcoming tourist destinations in the province of Davao del Sur recently. Davao del Sur lies directly south of Davao City and its capital is Digos City. (There are four places with the name “Davao”: Davao City, which is not part of any province; Davao del Norte; Davao del Sur; and, Davao Oriental.)

Last week, DOT-11 brought a group of local, national and international media people to the municipality of Sta. Cruz to witness the kick-off of the town’s 1st International Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge. This race has been held four times since 2008, but this year saw international participants from Indonesia and Australia.

Teams of two racers had to mountain-bike almost to the peak of Mt. Apo, climb to the top, proceed to a river and ride rubber tubes down the mountain (a.k.a. white-water tubing), then run all the way back to Sta. Cruz — all within 24 hours in order to finish. I forgot! The teams also had to plant a tree at a tribal village along the way. The first prize, awarded to the team from Carmen, Davao del Norte, was ₱150,000 cash. The second prize was a hundred grand, and the third seventy-five thousand pesos. Not bad, eh? However, I think the purse has to be made more attractive, if we are to expect more foreign participants next year.

Mt. Apo

Mt. Apo's boulder face

According to Sta. Cruz municipal mayor Joel Ray Lopez, eco-adventure is one of the thrusts of his administration’s tourism master plan. To accomplish this, the town is working closely with DOT-11 to design exciting tour packages and more activities such as the Mt. Apo challenge.

It should be worthy to note that Davao del Sur is also working closely with the Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) in order to maintain the ecological balance of the province. Mt. Apo is a protected site, and tourism should promote awareness of nature conservation, rather than cause its destruction.

The view of Mt. Apo in the picture above can be seen from Camp Sabros, a mountain getaway with one of the longest zip lines in the country. The group had a chance to talk with the owner, Edwin Sacdalan, who has installed several zip lines all over the country. The sprawling camp used to be a private resort but has since been developed by the Sacdalan brothers (hence “Sabros”) for the adventurous public. There are two lines, one being 820 meters long!

See more information about Camp Sabros on Multiply or on Facebook. They may also be contacted on the following numbers: +63(920)875-0015, (927)331-5844, (82)301-8056, (82)303-6091.

Businessman Sonny Dizon, the self-proclaimed environmentalist who gave Dabawenyos the crocodile park and white-water rafting (among other things), is building an inland resort in Kapatagan, Digos, called Camp@Tagan. The resort is still being completed as I write this, but there are some cottages and Coleman® tents (with mattresses and pillows!) that can already be used. The DOT-11 group spent a nippy night there, but warmed by a couple of bonfires.

Camp@Tagan also has man-made ponds and a lake, fed by spring water, and a mirror pool that reflects Mt. Apo. I can’t wait to see the place again when it’s finally finished!

Mangrove forest

Mangrove forest

There are a number of other tourist spots in Davao del Sur that adventurers, backpackers and nature-lovers will surely appreciate. There’s an islet called Passig, a 5-minute banca ride away from Digos, where families can go for a day trip. One of the places I got to like very much was the mangrove forest in Digos City. The provincial government, in cooperation with the Digos City government, is doing its best to protect the mangrove trees and its surrounding habitat. I do hope they continue the effort, and provide the local residents with enough information to apprise them of the urgency in preserving these trees, which are the ecological basis for the survival of the region’s marine life.

To culminate the media tour of the province, Gov. Douglas Cagas and his wife — after welcoming us with a sumptuous feast at the Digos baywalk restaurant — brought us to their pride and joy: the Davao del Sur Astrodome. What a sight it was! In the middle of rural Davao, there it is, an impressive and high-tech arena for sports and entertainment. The main structure, which will have a seating capacity of 5,000, is nearly finished, and is expected to host national (and why not international?) sporting events this year. There will also be more basketball courts in the adjacent area, plus an Olympic-size swimming pool. Truly, the astrodome is a major accomplishment in the Davao Region. I sure wish we had something like that in Davao City!

Sports, eco-adventure, leisure-tripping… all to be had in Davao del Sur. And with its proximity to Davao City for the latter’s more modern accommodations, this southern province is indeed a great destination for nature lovers!

For more information, please contact:

Department of Tourism

Department of Tourism – Region 11
Room 512, 5th floor, Landco Corporate Centre
J.P. Laurel Avenue, Davao City
T: +63(82)221-0070, 221-6955
F: +63(82)225-1940
W: www.discoverdavao.com

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10 Responses to “Davao’s upcoming tour destinations”

  1. becky says:

    felling dabawenyo na ako! so proud of this place talaga…hopefully pag nag retire dito na kami talaga mag stay…

  2. becky says:

    ay sorry wrong spelling tuloy…feeling dabawenyo

  3. Winston says:

    looking forward for the completion of Camp@Tagan. Miss ko na rin ang Camp Sabros. big grin

    • Blogie says:

      Yeah, Camp@Tagan is showing a lot of promise. It was my first time at Camp Sabros, and I loved it there! Very cool, surrounded by pine and other trees, relaxing and thrilling at the same time!

  4. Art Boncato, Jr. says:

    thank you for your help in sharing the good news about davao! kudos!

  5. I’m writing this Blog to Promote my Beloved Digos City to show and to shout in the window of world that their is a city in the Philippines that have a great tourist spots like hotels, shopping malls, beaches, restaurants, Ziplines and etc….

    • Blogie says:

      Good luck on your blog, Tata! I hope you won’t stop promoting Digos and the Davao Region. :)

    • Robert says:

      @Tata Bustamante:
      Please enumerate the name of the nice tourist spots in Digos (or Davao del Sur as a whole) like the name of the beaches and ecotourism sites to help travellers and vacation seekers find more information when they “google” these.

      I am from Davao City (born and raised) but now I am base in Manila.

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