Planning to Visit the Philippines Soon?

There are hundreds of tourists attractions in the Philippines. But as a lover of the Island of Marinduque (Home of the Morions and Heart of the Philippines), I am indeed partial to its beauty, charm and its friendly and hospitable residents. Therefore, help me achieve my dream of seeing this island becomes a world tourist destination, by telling all your friends and relatives about this site. Welcome, to you all, new readers and faithful followers of this site! The photo above is Poctoy White Beach in Torrijos, Marinduque with beautiful and majestic Mt Malindig in the background. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing your copyrights. Please do not forget to read the latest National and International news in the right side bar of this blog!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Davao-The Royal City of the South-Really?

In this site, I plan on posting articles from the web about tourists spots and cities in the Philippines. This article was published in the Manila Bulletin and written by HENRYLITO D. TACIO dated May 19, 2010.

I have been to several cities and tourist spots in the Philippines ( Baguio, Iloilo, Bacolod, Naga, Manila, Makati, Quezon City, Tagaytay, Aklan, Dagupan City and Boracay) but I have never been to Davao. However, my sister-in-law lives there. I have several on-line friends who also live in Davao. One of my American on-line friend publishes a magazine "Live in the Philippines". He loves Davao very much. If you read his magazine, you will know what I mean when I say he loves Davao. Some day, Macrine and I will visit Davao, perhaps through our vacation time-exchange program via International Interval and also visit my sister-in-law. Here is the article for your reading pleasure:

"If there is one city I would like to visit again and again, it’s Davao. Next to New York, Davao is the most enchanting and beautiful city you will ever see. Melbourne is a distant third while Bangkok is a far fourth.

Davao is probably the least exposed of the country’s urban areas,” observed an American tourist who came to the country to marry his girlfriend. “It’s a great holiday hideaway, what with its lush greenery and exotic wild flora and fauna that contribute to its picturesque attractions.

Because this tropical paradise possesses more of everything there is in a country – from enchanting scenery to natural resources – Davao is often considered “instant Philippines.” As the Davao City website puts it: “The air is fresh. The city is clean and green. There is real abundance of the freshest harvests from the land and sea. To top it all, the quality of potable water is among the best in the world.”

The awards the city received through the years speak for themself: Most competitive metro city, most livable city in the country, destination of the year, the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines (highly urbanized category), and the most peaceful city in East and Southeast Asia. Recently, the Foreign Direct Investment Magazine named Davao as the 10th “Asian City of the Future.”

Davao is touted to be “The Royal City,” because of the presence of the kings and queens of nature present in Davao. Consider this formidable list: Waling-waling (the queen of Philippine orchids), durian (the king of exotic fruits), Mount Apo (the king of all Philippine mountains), and the Philippine eagle (the king of Philippine skies). The city is a king in itself in terms of land area (244,000 hectares, approximately 7.8 times the size of Cebu and three times that of the entire Metro Manila).

If you visit Davao, what can you see? From the past, there’s the Battle Memorial, a historical marker of the longest-fought battle between thetroops of the American and Filipino forces and of the Japanese Imperial Army which took place in Mintal, Tugbok.

While in Mintal, visit the site of old Japanese homes, warehouses and abaca processing and drying plants before and during World War II. At the Mintal Elementary School, you will find a memorial obelisk built in honor of Otha Kyosaburu who invoked the Public Land Act No. 926 of 1903. During the so-called “Ubon Yasumi” in August, Japanese war veterans and their kin take an annual pilgrimage to visit the Japanese Peace Memorial Shrine.

In Calinan, there is a museum that features historical accounts of the Japanese community residing in Davao before and during the war. You can see various artifacts, including tools which they used in the abaca plantations, currencies, and publications.

At the Governor Generoso Bridge, you will find a memorial marker that was built in recognition of the gallantry of Armando Generoso, who died in the very site of the bridge while defending it from the Japanese invaders during World War ll.

Along San Pedro Street, you can visit Camp Domingo Leonor, which happened to be the quarters of the Spanish and later American soldiers inthe 1920s. At the junction of Washington Street and Quimpo Boulevard, you can catch a glimpse of site of the bastion of the Muslim hero Datu Bago who lorded over the Tagloc River (the old name of Davao River). At the Talomo Beach, you will see sunken warships during the Second World War, just 200 meters from the shore.

Those interested in anything related to Catholic religion should first go to the San Pedro Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in Mindanao. The original structure of the church was built in 1847 in honor of St. Peter, the city’s patron saint. The old altar is preserved at the right wing of the cathedral.

At the Shrine Hill in Matina, there’s the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague, a local mecca for the city’s Roman Catholic devotees. At the Buhangin District, you can say your prayers at the Saint Mary of Perpetual Rosary. This is a shrine built in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary which features a series of steps which leads to the main chapel.

If you’re environment conscious, visit the Philippine Eagle Center, located in Malagos, about 45 minutes drive from the city center. Aside from being a temporary home for the country’s national bird, it also hosts some other exotic animals native to Davao’s forests.

Not far from the eagle center is Malagos Garden Resort, which hosts a rich collection of rare indigenous Philippine flora and wide assortment of orchids. Several species of butterflies also thrive in its enclosed sanctuary. Within its area, a bird park has been built to shelter rescued and rehabilitated birds.

Another must-see is the Eden Nature Park, a popular mountain resort. It is situated 3,000 feet above sea level, giving it a cool and moderate climate. It is 95% man-made with pine trees dotting the landscape. It covers 40 hectares worth of developed land.

People’s Park, at the heart of the city, is fast becoming a favorite of visitors to the city. Opened last December 15, 2007, the R72-million park features a mini-forest and large sculptures representing indigenous groups in Southern Mindanao.

Davao also has a number of beaches to offer. Times Beach, two kilometers from the city center, bustles with picnickers on Sundays and holidays. Historic Talomo Beach is best remembered as a landing site for Japanese and American forces during World War II.

Across the strait due east from the mainland is Samal, an unspoiled island ringed with secluded coves of white sand. Ten minutes away via pumpboat from the Waterfront Insular Hotel is a white expanse of beach dotted with resorts such as Paradise Island and Beach Resort, which welcome visitors under the shade of talisay trees. Aside from its unspoiled waters, it also has a zoo as an added attraction.

For diving aficionados, Davao Gulf teems with underwater vistas. Some of the more popular sites are found at Ligid Island, Talicud Island, Mushroom Rock, Limao/Sunken Island, Pearl Farm, and Isla Malipano.

A trip to Davao is not complete if you do not experience the city at night. Latest records at the Davao City Investment and Promotion Center show the city now has more than 50 entertainment establishments, including those in shopping malls and hotels in the city.

How do you get to Davao? Davao is the third most important Philippine city after Manila and Cebu. As such, most domestic airlines fly multiple times per day to Davao from Manila, Cebu and other major cities in Visayas and Mindanao. Silk Air also flies direct to Davao from Singapore. Davao is served by the Davao International Airport (more properly named as the Francisco Bangoy International Airport), which is about 15 minutes ride from the city center.

For a more scenic route, visitors can take the two-day trip over land along the Pan Philippine Highway from Manila to Davao via Philtranco Bus Lines. Many shipping lines also service sea routes to Davao from Manila and other neighboring island provinces.

There is no shortage of accommodations in Davao, ranging from the four-star accommodations of the Marco Polo Davao on Claveria, the Royal Mandaya Hotel on Ponciano, the Grand Regal Hotel and the Waterfront Insular Hotel on Lanang, and the Apo View Hotel in Bonifacio, to lodges and inns, all around the city.

Maayong pag-abot!"

Note: I do not speak Cebuano, but it means "welcome" or literally translated "Happy Arrival". Is this correct all you Cebuano speaking readers of this blog?

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