Secluded in Samal Island and away from Davao City is the famous Pearl Farm Beach Resort. From the airport, I was greeted by the shuttle service I pre-arranged and was brought to Marina Wharf, where I waited for my boat ride to Pearl Farm.
It was a 45-minute boat ride to Samal island. Together with the other guests who were with me on the ride, I was greeted by Pearl Farm’s staff at the famous parola. Dressed in their beautiful Maranao design uniforms, they served us our welcome drinks and briefed us about the property.
I have halfway downed my drink when the resort’s golf cart arrived to pick us up to be brought to our accommodations. It’s a 14-hectare property, if I’m not mistaken, so the golfcart saved me from the long walk. I picked the Samal house when I booked via Agoda. Being a 5-star resort, I had half expected that Pearl Farm’s price per night would be way up there. A friend who has been to Pearl Farm has advised that the resort’s promos could be availed through flyers distributed at the malls in Davao. There was no way for me to go that route as I was dependent on the route of the shuttle service I pre-arranged. Luckily, aside from being lean season in June, I also earned some points in my Agoda account which I was able to use when I booked the Samal house. It somehow saved me a few bucks. Approximately 6K per night at Pearl Farm was definitely not bad.
The Samal houses rest on concrete stilts. While these bahay kubo inspired rooms look native from the outside, the interior is quite modern.
Booking the Samal house came with free buffet breakfast at the Maranao restaurant. There was your typical dried fish, longganisa, tapa, kesong puti, fresh fruits in season as items in the buffet. A friend has warned that the food at the restaurant was just so-so. I’m typically just a coffee person in the morning and not really into heavy breakfast but I did appreciate the heads up.
The fruits were a delight. I mean, I know I can have a fruit anytime in Manila, but not as fresh as the ones who locally produce it.
Sadly, there was no pomelo in the fruit table. I knew it was an all-year-round fruit for Davao and thought it would be included in the choices of fruits.
It was compensated though for the sweet watermelon and mangoes.
And yes, there’s kesong puti ^_^
And who says cheese and fruit don’t mix? 😉
After a 2-night stay at the Pearl Farm, it was time to discover what Davao City has to offer. I had pre-booked a hotel in Lanang area but have been given a heads up that Davao City is a smoke-free zone. Hopefully, the hotel has designated a smoking area. Not that I smoke a lot, but I must admit I still haven’t quit the habit but slowly getting there.
Penong’s was a good distraction for smoking. Just a few meters away from the hotel, I finally had the chance to discover local flavors at just a fraction of the cost.
These crispy tawilis remind me of the ones I eat in Tagaytay. I’m fine dipping it in soy sauce and calamansi or eating it on its own as long as it’s fresh and crispy (Yes, I can have the whole plate without eating rice) but Penong’s has its own signature mayo-based dressing. A little on the sweet side but I prefer dipping it in something sour, goes well with its salty flavor.
If Manila has Banang’s, Davao has Penong’s. It’s your typical carinderia with its own branding. Quite the ideal food place for the average middle class who’s always on the go but can’t go through the day without the intake of carbs from rice.
And oh, they also serve sisig and other signature beer partners.
Just a few meters away from Penong’s is SM Lanang Premiere. I must say the traffic here is quite like Manila. Apparently, it’s also slow moving even during lunchtime.
After going through the traffic in Lanang area and checking out the shops in SM, it grub time again. Hukad is a little more on the fancy side but still affordable for the middle class.
I had 5 out of 8 of these baked scallops. What can I say, I can’t resist anything that has butter and cheese!
If you’re a fan of dinuguan, this crispy dinuguan from Hukad won’t disappoint. I’m adventurous not only when it comes to taste but the texture that goes along with the dish as well. The mix of crispy and nougat-y texture of the pork combined with the classic sour taste of dinuguan was a savory delight. And of course, if you’re a ricer eater, expect to eat this dish with more than 1 cup 😉
Marina Seafood Restaurant in Davao is also a must-try.
It’s Day 4 and it’s time to check out other touristy spots in Davao. I decided to hire a cab to take me around. First stop was Jack’s Ridge.
Next stop was Eden’s Nature Park. I finally had my pomelo fix in a big bowl of salad. It was already almost 3pm when I arrived at Eden Park’s resto and all that was left from their lunch buffet were a few pastries, pastas and salad. I wasn’t in for a sweets and carbs so I chose the latter.
My takeaways for this trip:
- What they say about Davao is true. Any tourist from Manila who visits Davao can only wish that the same can be done for their city. Despite being a smoker, I don’t mind the smoke-free campaign they’ve been implementing. I’ve experienced the same when I was in Singapore and have seen the benefits that it has done to the environment. Again, I can only wish the same for Manila.
- I guess traffic is inevitable in a street within a highly commercial city.
- A province’s airport can only be as good as its tourism. While Davao’s airport is smaller than the airports in Manila, it cannot be denied that