Summer is Here !

Starting this summer and onwards … it will now be ‘One Summerfun, One Davao’.  With this people can explore the different destinations of Davao Region and at the same time participate in summer fun activities.  On the beach are varied events from volleyball, swimming, diving, surfing etc. to the mountain climbing, trekking, skycycle, zipline and many more. These events were carefullly planned and organized for visitors because visiting Davao is also bringing home a great experience. Here’s some activities lined up by the tourism industry players for everyone this Summer … !

Tourism stakeholders promote ‘One Summerfun, One Davao’

DAVAO CITY, April 2 (PNA) — The different stakeholders in Davao Region are one in promoting this year’s summer activities dubbed as “One Summerfun, One Davao.”

One Davao Tourism Officers Association (ODTOA) president Noel Daquioag said it has been their goal to support each other as they market the different destinations in their respective areas.

“New destinations continue to be uncovered in the different places of the Davao Region,” he also said.


A unified promotion of these places will entice tourists to visit the different destinations of the region and creating events will also give them a unique experience,” he said.

Acting head of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Region XI Eden Larano said the different local government units come together to complement each other in the promotion of their destinations.

“Because it is summer, most of the events are sports related activities from beach volleyball, mountain climbing, swimming and others,” she said.

Digos City tourism head Bebot Felera said they have every summer “Mt. Apo Summer Climb” from April 12 to 20, 2014,that is held in time of the Holy Week. Among others, the participants will be issued a Certificate of Climb. The climb carries a registration fee of P720 for local climber, P432 for student and P1,080 for foreigners.


Meanwhile, Davao del Norte for this summer will have the “Lingaw Sa Tag Araw Summer Workshops” that include workshops on visual art, brass band, dancesport, theater arts, hip-hop dance.

The other event is the Grand Sta. Cruzan which is spearheaded by the Tagum City Tourism Council and the Diocese of Tagum. It is a religious-historical celebration held in small Christian communities Gagmayng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKK) in a presentation in the most colorful May-time festivity which depicts Catholic tradition of procession or parade of Biblical characters and the traditional presentation of the sagala (a religion-historical beauty pageant).

The City of Mati in Davao Oriental has organized “Mati SummerFrolic 2014”, an electronic music festival of colors in Barangay Dahican.

Provincial tourism head of Davao Oriental Miguel Troccio said together with this event is the 10th year anniversary celebration of the Amihan sa Dahican surfers which will highlight the Dahican Strip.

Included during the holding of Summerfrolic are beach volleyball, beach frisbee, foam party and the feast on waves of surfing and skim competition.


 In Compostela Valley, tourism officer Christine Dumpar said they are also into promoting their pilgrimage site where for this Summer they are encouraging tourists to help in the actual building of houses in Maragusan town where an area there is also badly hit by typhoon Pablo.

Participants, she said will be ushered to a side trip to the different destinations there from mountain climbing and trekking towards the waterfalls and the chance to see the largest flower in the world, Rafflesia, that can be found in the forests of Maragusan.

She said there are also sports activities in the beaches of Pantukan like beach volleyball, duathlon, frisbee, wake-boarding.

Davao City tourism head Lisette Marquez said there will be lined up sports activities even as she said that they will be inviting professional basketball players for this summer’s sports event in the city.

Marquez said during summer there is always an increase in arrivals, the city being the island’s major destination in the south.


She said fun activities are held and these are done in coordination with the private sector.

Major malls here continue to provide events be it in entertainment or organized activities for the youth and the children, she added. (PNA)FPV/Prix Digna D. Banzon/ldp


The island paradise in the South …

Summer is for fun, for relaxation, for the beach, for tourists to visit destinations. While in Davao, one should never miss this island. Others really plan a trip to this island paradise in the South just like a group of young professionals composed of software engineers working in a multi-national company operating at the Global City in McKinley Hills, Taguig City composed of Jose, Pondey, Erika, Venessa, Camille and Bob who visited the place lately. They said they enjoyed not only the sea but the inland resorts as well, the spring, the waterfalls, the food and all about the island. The experience is what makes every visitor look forward that is why the number of tourists here continues to grow as seen by officials of the island’s city government where increase in arrivals is pegged at 30 percent this year.  Below is my story on what Samal City expects this year …


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Samal City expects 30% increase in number of visitors this year

ISLAND GARDEN CITY OF SAMAL, Davao del Norte, Feb. 18 (PNA) — The Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS) expects at least a 30-percent increase in the number of visitors this year compared to last year.

The city’s head of Investments and Tourism office, Jennifer D. Cariaga, told Davao business reporters in an interview that they expect more tourists, both domestic and foreign, to visit the island either for recreation or on business trip.


Cariaga reported that in 2013, the number of visitors was 425,916. Of this number, 267,632 were on day tour while 158,284 stayed overnight. Total visitors in 2012 only totaled 280,000.

Cariaga said this figure was only from those resorts that submitted report to their office.

The number could be more, she said, considering that out of the 79 registered resorts in the island, only 31 provided them with data.

“The figure could be over a million considering that less than half of the resort owners provided them with data,” she said.

Cariaga said they hope to generate more detailed data as they continuously dialogue with the resort owners to find ways on improving the system.

Meanwhile, she said they coordinate closely with other local government units on tourism-related activities especially that Samal City is being positioned as an important tourism destination.

Cariaga said the different resorts are fully booked during summer.

She also observed that tourist arrivals are high during Holy Week with the program they call “Oplan Semana Santa”.

There are religious activities spearheaded by the Catholic Church in the island during this period, she said.

Most visitors stay for two nights and three days, exploring the island through island hopping, diving, or snorkeling, she said.

Cariaga likewise noted that the city government, through other offices like the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army in coordination with resort owners, are intensifying their efforts to maintain peace and order. (PNA)
LAP/ASA/Prix Digna D. Banzon/ldp

Kadayawan sa Dabaw features Filipino dishes, holds Durianfest and agri-trade fair

August is festival month for Davao City and Dabawenyos are one in this celebration of prosperity and thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest of both the land and sea. Foreign and domestic visitors flock to this prime city in the South because of the Kadayawan  Festival.  When you come … you will bring home a warm, friendly, happy and rich experience.  Come visit the place and enjoy both island to highland tourism sites and the colorful festivities.  Madayaw !  … this story tells you what you’ll get when you come to our Davao City this August.


DAVAO CITY, Aug. 5 (PNA) — Choices of Filipino dishes will be featured this August in time for the Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival where most of the restaurants and hotels in the city showcase all about Kadayawan festivities for a celebration of nature’s bountiful harvest of the land and sea.



Offering an array of sumptuous and delicious Filipino fare, like the case of “The White House” where it treats diners that would make one want for more of its Kadayawan sa Dabaw Feast offering.

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The White House co-owner Cathy Binag said diners could delightfully sink their teeth into the wonderful taste of the “Real Kare-Kare” made with sauteed roasted rice, Ox tail, Ox tripe with separate peanut sauce and steamed vegetables.”It is home-cooked and made from scratch,” she said.


There is also the “Twiced-Cooked Adobo ala TBF” which consists of Pork Pata Front with Pork Belly and Mashed Liver. And the Tuna Kinilaw that Davao is known for but the Kinilaw here comes with a twist and aromatic kick known as “The White House Kinilaw”, she added.



During the Kadayawan this August, she said they offer the “All Veggie Fried Lumpia in Pinakurat Vinegar”, “Daing Na Bangus Belly with Salted Egg”, and the “Classic Binagoongang Baboy”.

Binag said all the ingredients, the vegetables, meat and fishes are all sourced out here that are produced locally in Davao.

Meanwhile, a ten-day Durian Festival will take place at SM Lanang Premier with 10 durian growers participating.


Candelario Micolob, president of the Davao Durian Council said the festival will be from August 10 to 25, 2013.

Micolob said the event will showcase different varieties of the fruit with its inherent characteristics.

There will also be farm tour for those interested and learn more about Durian.

He said the festival is their initial step of a series of marketing activities that the industry is going to undertake.

At the festival, visitors could feast on Durian at affordable prices with initial price that ranges between P30 to P35 per kilo.

At SM City Davao in Ecoland, the agri-trade fair is set up where different flowers are on display.



The month long agri-trade fair is one of the most-anticipated events of the Kadayawan festival for both Dabawenyos and those coming from other places.

Davao City’s best agricultural products including fruit seedlings, ornamental flowers are among those on display for sale.

This is where the city’s best flowers, ornamentals, fruit seedlings, and herbs are displayed and orchid enthusiasts will get the best and the newest of varieties. (PNA)

Because it’s summer …

During summer tourism destinations around the region hold activities either  in beach resorts or in the mountains from highland to island sites. Featuring not only their respective areas to visitors but also towards building relationships, meeting new friends and also the possibility of helping host communities strengthen their existing livelihood activities.  In ComVal, a festival is set to open this May where domestic tourists around Mindanao participate.  More on that event with this story I write about their summer beach sports festival  …   

Compostela Valley to hold 5th Summer Beach Sports Festival

Davao City, April 30 (PNA) — The province of Compostela Valley will hold its annual “Summer Beach Sports Festival” despite continuing rehabilitation from the disaster brought about by typhoon “Pablo” last December.

The provincial government decided to push through with the festival this summer as it has been a regular event for the past five years and people are looking forward to this.

Provincial tourism officer Christine Dompor said the holding of the festivities is also to raise awareness about the fragile state of the environment.

She said the beach festival will take place along the Pindasan, Mabini and Magnaga, Pantukan beaches to start this May 4.

Although she said that conducting the festival during summer made a difference in their visitor arrivals of about 5 to 10 percent but what is unique is that families come to visit our beaches where they hold family gatherings or reunions and join in the beach ball competition.

“The participants come from the different parts of the region,” she said.

Meanwhile, she said the swimming competition has participants coming from the various regions of Mindanao.

The race she said is an 800-900 meter race from Kopiat Island to the Mabini mainland coast.

Dompor recalled that their summer festival was awarded as the national champion in the 2010 ATOP-DOT National Search for Best Tourism Practice Awards.

She said the event this May features a series of beach sports event like water volleyball, beach volleyball, the 700-metre Kopiat Swimming Challenge, fire dance, body painting competition, regatta sailing contest, an amazing race competition, sea-kite flying, banca race, and bikini open.

The event she said is held within the 3,433-hectare Mabini Protected Landscape and Seascape of Davao Gulf all weekends of May. (PNA)

Foreign sailors pick Samal Island as starting point for 2012 Sail Morotai in Indonesia

Sharing my story on Davao’s organized sail pass for foreign sailors set to join Sail Morotai in Indonesia …

Foreign sailors picks Samal Island as starting point for 2012 Sail Morotai Indonesia

ISLAND GARDEN CITY OF SMALL, Davao del Norte (PNA) –Eleven yachts manned by sailors from several countries took off Thursday here towards Indonesia for the 2012 Sail Morotai,   highlighting the island of Morotai in North Maluku which is site of the World War II battle waged under Allied Commander General Douglas MacArthur on September 1944. 
The yachters have chosen this island city in the Davao Region as their starting point for Sail Morotai when the 11 sailboats made the traditional sail pass as sailors bade good bye to Dabawenyos who sent them off Thursday morning for a safe journey. Dabawenyos waved Philippine flaglets as a horn blared signalling a safe and fun sailing. 


The private sector activity was held at the Ocean View marina owned by the Holiday Island Garden Development Corporation of the Bangayan’s family. Participants were Australians Michael and Rosemary Lewis (S.V. Expiditus, 36-foot monohull); Daryl Nelson (S.V. Metana 2, 38-ft. monohull); Bruno Hammerler (S.V. Freiheit, 38-ft. monohull); Christopher and Daun Morris (S.V. More Magic, 43-ft. monohull); Trevor Burridge (S.V. Gadfly, 44-ft. monohull); Heinrich and Rosita Hetzel (S.V. Ela, 43-ft. catamaran); and Alan Chalk and Marife S. Banez (S.V. Break-Away, 43-ft. catamaran). 

Other nationalities were Dutchmen Johannes A.M. Van Run and Maria Helma Verdonk (S.V. Alk, 39-ft. monohull); Americans Walter and Jane LeCompte (S.V. Calixto, 46-ft. monohull); Paul and Robyn Carpenter of New Zealand (S.V. Shiralee, 35-ft. catamaran); and Belgians Luc Callebaut and Jackie Lee (S.V. Sloepmouche, 46-ft. trimaran). 

Gene Bangayan, who is also president of the Davao Tourism Association (DATA), said that through social networking and after several exchanges of messages, the group came to Davao and docked their sailboats at the marina for some maintenance check in time for their journey to Indonesia. 

The group arrived here middle of August and had the chance to visit places and learned Davao’s culture, crafts and tradition. “Although they stay in their boats, they go around and experience what our city can offer,” she said. 
Bangayan said the sailors were issued a special visa by the Indonesian government with no registration fee which would allow them to stay in Indonesia for two to six months. She said the Indonesian government spearheads the annual sailing activity to promote their different island destinations including Talaud which is the nearest point to Talikud Island of Samal. 

On Sept. 15, 1944, allied forces from the United States and Australia under Supreme Commander General Douglas MacArthur landed on Morotai and defeated small Japanese troop remaining stationed there. Morotai became the air and naval base of the Allied Forces in the South West Pacific that helped free the Philippines from Japanese occupation.  

More than 120 yachts are expected to participate in the 2012 Sail Morotai from various countries including Australia, Philippines and Malaysia. It will take the yachters some eight days to sail from Samal Island to Morotai or arrive about September 15 to 17. 


Bangayan said they are now working on Davao’s regular participation on leisure sailing aiming to launch the Sail Philippines in 2013 where sailboat owners can participate for fun. 

“We thought of expanding and sustaining our linkage with them (sailors) in order for them to come back and bring more participants by initiating events in Mindanao,” she said. 
Department of Tourism (DOT) regional director Art Boncato said considering that participation will be from different countries, “we will elevate it to national scale and mark it as an identifying event for Sail Philippines.”  
He said this requires lot of interventions but DOT will take the lead in getting inter-agency support like the Customs Immigration Quarantine Security (CIQS) task force. 
“But in the future perhaps we can have our own sailing brand as the island is full of eco-adventure, eco-tourism,” he said. 

Boncato said the sailors that just left Davao have their own blogs where they can talk about their experiences here, a good exposure on what Davao offers which can draw interests from around the world. (PNA) LAM/PrixDignaDBanzon/LDP/UTB

Hijo Estate Resorts opens door to the public

By Prix Digna D. Banzon

MADAUM, Davao del Norte, May 17 (PNA) -– A newly-opened 760-hectare Hijo Estate Resorts, a mix-use tourist development along the Davao Gulf in Madaum, is now open to the public.

In the 60s, the Hijo Estate Resorts was an agricultural farm and popularly known as the Hijo Plantation. It was the first banana plantation that made its first shipment of cavendish bananas to Japan on May 21, 1969.

Hijo Resources Corporation president and chief executive officer Rosanna Tuason-Fores said with the rich natural resources inside the estate, it would be best to share it with the people.

Situated at the center of the Davao Gulf, she said one can absorb the natural landscape and the purity of nature.

“Absorb Hijo with its rich resources, release yourself and take in the beauty,” she said in a briefing with members of media from the cities of Davao and Tagum.

The Resort is part of a master plan of the Hijo Estate Tourism Development where it has an investment of P250 million for the infrastructure and land value combined.

Fores said the development is continuing and will do it by phases even as talks are ongoing with an international partner for converting the existing wharf to an international port making it an agricultural gateway in Mindanao.

The Hijo township project is composed of several components from resort, residential, international port, commercial and mix use development.

Although she did not disclose the identity of the partner, she said they intend to start ground works within the year.

“We wanted to help small farmers market their produce direct to the international buyer by accessing the port even as she stressed that while they partner with a foreign company, still we set the bar,” she said.

Within the estate also is a 120 hectares land classified as Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), while some 100 hectares will be for residential villas with 1,000- sq.m. per area for prospective owners.

Meanwhile, Fores said with the opening of the Hijo Estate Resorts to the public, they noticed that people also look for quality leisure resort.

She noted that with tourism as the third or fourth biggest industry in the Philippines, this new tourist landmark (Hijo Estare Resorts) is an addition in the country.

She said the resort includes Banana Beach, the world’s only beach inside a banana plantation, and Lanikai Heritage House, the original plantation home that is now open to the public.

Both Banana Beach and Lanikai offer resort accommodation and world-class swimming pools designed to cater to individuals who wish to indulge in seaside luxury. It also features the Spot, a private fishing spot stocked with talakitok, bangus, and, once in a while, a barracuda.

Among the tours offered within the property includes a unique twilight safari that lets visitors witness wild boars roaming around at dusk. It also has the daytime forest tour, a river cruise, and an orchard tour that allows visitors to pluck fruits straight from the trees (depending on the season).

The Hijo Estate Resorts is the only company that offers banana plantation tours that showcase how bananas are propagated, raised, harvested and packed for export to markets all over the world.

The resort had its soft opening last year and since then traffic kept on increasing both for domestic and foreign tourists. It recorded some 1,600 tourists in April 2012. (PNA)