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I just contributed the following at on What to do in Davao:

24 hours in my city

Boat rides to Paradise Island in Samal from Davao City open at 6 a.m. It’s the best time to take a trip to the white-sand beach resort. And have the beach almost to yourself.

After the chilly crossing to the island, one can have a multiple choice of morning delights. Take a brisk walk around, including at its mini-zoo; take a dip at the cool blue water; sample the aquabikes or snorkel and play with the fishes.

Breakfast awaits you after this bevy of activities. The resort offers both continental and Filipino cuisine. Try to down fresh coconut juice to end your trip.

On your way back downtown, drop by the Davao Museum at Insular Village, It opens at 9. The visit should give you a glimpse of the colorful lumad culture of the city. Davao is home to many cultural tribes. And in spite of progress, they have retained many of their local practices like celebrating the bountiful harvest during the Kadayawan festival (August).

To have some of those lumad crinckets, make a stop next at Aldevinco Shopping Center, just across Marco Polo Hotel and Ateneo de Davao University. Its fun to discover this place as a shopping paradise cum museum.

By 11, you should be heading south for Davao’s eco-tourism wonders at the foot of Mt Apo … Eden Nature Park in Toril District or Malagos Garden at Baguio District. At Eden one can have a panoramic view of the Davao Gulf. In Malagos, sample the local red wine made from bignay, local small red berries. In both places, lunch on organically-grown fresh vegetables and fruits amidst a lush setting of rich flora.

Take a quick nap aboard the van while on the way back as the sun sets silhouetting the many fruit orchards at Calinan and Tugbok Districs. Wake yourself up with durian coffee at Blu Gre at Landco Building when you reach downtown.

Or take this other eco-adventure – river-rafting the mighty Davao River. Your trip from upland Tamugan would end at the Crocodile Park by the Dizon’s River Front. There you can feed the crocks or feast on their special delicacies and famous pomelo.

Dinner should not be any problem after you freshen up. Take your pick – fresh seafoods at Ahfat, Korean delights at Arirang, Pinoy favorites at Probinsya or Chinese cuisine at Emerald all at the Victoria Plaza Carpark. An alternative would be Jack Ridge’s at Shrine Hill for al fresco dining with a scenic view of Davao’s skyline at night.

Dessert? For both the aficionados and the first-timers, the fruit that “smells like hell but tastes like heaven” are available at Magsaysay Park or along Anda St. Insist on the local varieties. Durian is now grown year-round but the best times are July to October.

The night would still be young by the time you finish your meal. So, head out to feel the pulse of the city’s nightlife. Coffee shops and bars are aplenty. Happy hour sing-a-long at Goodtimes just off Sta Ana Church or Chico’s along Rizal St.

If you want to meet the locals, try a quick look at the People’s Park. It’s a garden and open air art gallery rolled into one where the city’s rich and hoi polloi enjoy an urban oasis.

Prefer dancing and live bands? Then be by 9 pm at MTS (Matina Town Square), or at the restobar row along F. Torres or at The Venue (infront of Central Bank) or at the Damosa Gateway.

After the booze, try to avoid any hung-over with hot and spicy soup before the bed. Try Bullcachong along Gen. Luna St.

Then dream on the best day you ever had in my city.

8:11 a.m.

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