Tuesday, March 10, 2009


• Barcelo Pearl Farm Island Resort. Once a pearl farm where oysters were cultivated, it is now a world-class tropical paradise that beckons with the promise of a private retreat in the tranquil and exotic island of Samal. The resort offers numerous attractions. For the sports enthusiast, tennis courts are available. For a truly relaxing experience, the Ylang Ylang Soothing Lounge beside the waterfall is simply the best place to relax and be lavished with a massage, body scrub and a lot more.
• The Marco Polo Hotel captures the elegance and sophistication that is in keeping with the fine reputation enjoyed by the chain. I love to stay at this property not only to be in the heart of the city, but also to experience a taste of the warmth of Davaoeño hospitality. It is unquestionably the city’s finest hotel.
The Lotus Court Restaurant found at the hotel serves the best authentic Cantonese cuisine in town. The amiable Jimmy Montenegro, food and beverage manager, prepared the dinner menu that had for appetizers strips of roast duck, steamed chicken, fresh cantaloupe with shredded lettuce and pili nuts glazed with a homemade combination of plum and chili sauce. The main course consisted of deboned pomfrey or pompano topped with a special black bean sauce, shrimp mousse wrapped with thinly sliced squid meat deep fried in salt and pepper, bean curd sautéed with black mushrooms and lettuce in oyster sauce, queen crabs rich in crab roe stir-fried with chili garlic sauce, turmeric seafood fried rice and, for dessert, hot sweet red beans topped with lotus seeds. It was without a doubt my best Chinese meal ever.
• Malagos Garden Resort. It features native Philippine plants, orchids and butterflies. It likewise has a collection of Napoleon Abueva’s sculptural artworks spread on its 12-hectare enclosure.
• Eden Nature Park and Resort nestled on the upper slopes of grand old Mt. Talomo offers one of the best views of Davao City and Davao Gulf. It provides a real alternative to the fast-paced city life with its cool pleasant weather, vista playgrounds, prayer garden, camp huts and hiking trails.
• Philippine Eagle Research and Nature Center. It is here where the first ever Philippine eagle was born in captivity, aptly named Pagasa. It is a living proof of the dedication of the Davaoeños to preserving their environmental heritage.
• Rancho Palos Verdes. The first world-class championship golf course in Davao. Set in rolling terrain, it offers varying levels of play for golfers with water hazards, ravines and scenic holes.
• Aldevinco Shopping Center with its good selection of Muslim brass items, ethnic trinkets, tribal artifacts, baskets, batik fabrics, bags and antique Chinese wares.
• Marketplace, where Davao’s claim to culinary fame, bariles (tuna), is abundant. For more gastronomic experience, drop by the Marina Tuna Restaurant famous for its local version of the Japanese sashimi. Suka at Sili located at the Venue is the best place to savor buntot ng tuna cooked to perfection.
• In spite of my lack of appreciation for the durian, one cannot leave Davao without savoring the king of all fruits. Davao is also famous for its delicious bananas, citrus, mangosteens, sweet pomelos, rambutans and oranges.
• Waling-waling, an orchid of exceptional beauty with velvety petals in royal colors of purple, red and yellow. It is the queen of the rainforest.
The Davaoeños, who are spontaneous and convivial in their celebration of life, are sincerely warm with a strong spirit of camaraderie.

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