So thank God for Google Maps and its creators. Armed with a sucky Internet connection (hello there, PLDT) and an undying passion to just get the fuckin' planning phase over with and move on with the more exciting step a.k.a. shopping for beach clothes, I plotted all the popular tourist spots in Davao to help me see which places are near each other and which ones need a speedboat or a jet plane to go to (because again, Davao is large!). So after reading a few more travel blogs and deciding on what tourist spots to remove from our places-to-visit list (God knows how much we wanted to go to ALL of them), our itinerary was finalized. Yay!
Due to the distance of the tourist spots from one another, hiring a taxi, as far as I'm concerned, is a MUST. It almost always guarantees a hassle-free city tour since you don't have to worry about how to go to a certain place and your taxi driver also serves as your tour guide! Isn't it lovely? So even though the Davao thread in PinoyExchange has left me more confused than a confused person could ever be, one thing was clear - Kuya Joey is the guy to call for a convenient Davao city tour. Kuya Joey (09206954333) was already in the vicinity when we arrived in Davao, though we had to wait for him because the taxi line was already long.
Kuya Joey's taxi is a modest sedan that isn't exactly the newest in its class. But it is well-maintained and has a perfectly working A/C. It also didn't take us too long to be chums with Kuya Joey. I mean the dude is as hospitable as bananas can be yellow, it's like second nature to him! So after dropping our bags in Court View Inn and grabbing some breakfast along the way, we were off to the first pit stop - Eden Nature Park.
It took us approximately 45 minutes to reach Eden Nature Park from the city proper. Thankfully the ride wasn't a bore because unlike in Metro Manila where we can get stuck in one place for hours (not exaggerating, have personally experienced this), we were greeted with acres and acres of the wildest and weirdest plant species in this planet. And man they have poinsettias in every single corner it's so crazy! It's being sold in Manila for hundreds of bucks and in Davao it's just like grass. o_O
So anyways, we arrived in Eden Nature Park at just the right time because the guided tour was about to start. We paid P960 to the cashier (P120/each for the tour and P200/each for the snacks) and boarded the shuttle at 9:45am. We were accompanied by a less-than-enthusiastic tour guide who talked like she was about to pee any second. If she wanted to get over with this tour as quickly as possible she should have just considered other jobs? But to be fair to her, the job can be quite repetitive...scripted lines, playing the voice over, describing the place, etc.
The tour consisted of stopping by three different gardens - St. Augustine's garden, Welcome garden and Lola's Garden - where we were given ten minutes per place to camwhore. St. Augustine's garden is what I'd like to describe as something akin to your normal neighborhood garden. It has colorful flower beds and ornamental plants. Welcome Garden, on the other hand, is the most interesting. It gives you a glimpse of the local tribe's daily life. I heard that they even host cultural shows during the evening and invite guests over. Then there's Lola's Garden, which is a place where grandma grows her most useful plants (e.g. basil leaves).
After finishing the guided tour we quickly went to their restaurant to claim our snacks. We got ourselves tuna sandwich, carrot muffin, crackers and a can of soda each. The food was okay. We immediately left after finishing the food because we only had about 2 hours left before our time with Kuya Joey was up. We were planning on squeezing in as much tourist spots as possible in our 6am-1pm, P1700 deal with Kuya Joey.
We had not even been away from Eden for five minutes when Kuya Joey asked us if we wanted to try marang, a fruit grown locally in Davao. Of course we said yes! Opportunities like this shouldn't be wasted! We stopped by a nipa hut along the road and bought a piece of this fruit that looks like a hybrid of durian and langka.
Eden Nature Park is already 80 hectares but we haven't even explored 1/5 of Davao! Gahd it's so difficult to write about Davao and its wonderfulness in just one post. Next up is our death-defying stunt at Outland Adventure ;)