Sunday, July 10, 2011

[DAVAO] Eagles, Crocodiles, and Playing with Fire

I once said that you should never get transportation at the airport and instead just walk away because there will surely be a highway connecting it to the city where public utility vehicles will be present. I don't know why I couldn't even take my own advice. What the hell is wrong with me? Selective amnesia? It cost 300 pesos care of the taxi driver. Perfect. We arrived at My Hotel after 30 minutes.

I left my things and headed out after checking in. I was hungry because I haven't eaten anything that morning. I walked around the vicinity and found a lot of parks. Osmeña Park had monobloc benches and people were getting a good massage from reflexologists. Next to it is the pastel green building, opposite of which is the San Pedro Cathedral, which has an odd shape. Two more parks can be found as you approach the Lachmi Shopping center: Rizal and Quezon. I ate at Jollibee before I called it a day and celebrated my first day of unemployment with the best gift ever: an early and long night of sleep.

I forgot to mention that I also went to Museo Dabawenyo before seeing any of the parks. I saw it while looking for fast food. The entrance fee is waived except on Sundays and holidays. I think this is a good place to get to know Davao better. The displays are very detailed and there are a lot of texts you can read next to each exhibit. If you are a big fan of history then this place is for you.

The next day started as early as 4 AM but I lazed out a little, browsed the net, did some stretching, dealt with some of my language lessons, then took a shower. I left for Calinan at past 8. The Philippine Eagle Center was my destination. Find your way to Annil Terminal at the market and there will be L300 vans there going to the said place. Once you reach Calinan, most people will advise you to take a habal-habal to get to the PEC. The one I got asked for 150 round trip.

I was expecting the place to be some sort of a big house where eagles would be kept in glass displays a la Ocean Park, except that these are birds, not fish. Well, the Philippine Eagle Center is located in a forest reserve which shares the land area with a water corporation, thus the 5-peso entrance fee to the park. You shell out another 50 for the center itself. Do not be stringy now, remember that you are helping the eagles and their barkada. Yup, the place is not exclusive for eagles. There are other inhabitants there like deer (Philippine Brown), boars (sleeping, did not even pose for the camera), a species of monkey (busy fishing), and other fellow birds like owls and other eagles.

I'd say that Pag-Asa and Dakila are experts when it comes to camwhoring. Who are they, you may ask? Pag-Asa was hatched in 1992 and used to be very popular. Dakila is the other eagle on the other side of the sanctuary. They were on the far side of their caged habitat when I approached and since my phone camera’s zoom sucks, I almost gave up on a photo. Wait! There they flew closer and closer until they were in front, mightily posing for a photo-op. Yes, both of them. I think ALL of them have this habit of keeping their wings spread, impressing you with its span after landing. They hold that position for half a minute or so. Awesome and cute!

I wanted to go to the nearby Malagos Garden Resort but I've had enough of animals that morning and so I asked the driver to get me to the bus terminal where I rode a bus to Davao, and then getting off at SM. I ate lunch and had a movie break. This is one thing I like most about going to the province, most films no longer showing in Manila are still being shown most of the time. The movie I saw was Amigo. That was at 11:30 AM. By 2 PM I was on my way to Hilltop for the zipline.

Get on a multicab or a jeep headed to Ma-a. Ask the driver to drop you off the street where the habal-habal drivers are waiting. That street intersects the rather long Ma-a Road (it has a new name, but I forgot what it is). The intersection in question is the one sandwiched by a gas station and a church. Turn right for the Crocodile Park, left for Zip City and Outland. You will reach Outland first. I didn't go there so who knows what excitement I missed. Zip City looks boring. Sorry for this but I already had my fill of ziplines the previous week and Gen San set the bar quite high when it comes to ziplines. I thought the 300-peso fee to be too expensive. Getting up there is easy because of the many habal-habals down the hill. Going down is based on luck if you do not have a vehicle of your own.

There is a Dencio’s branch a few meters away from Zip City. I didn't check it out. Instead, I banked on luck and found a habal-habal driving past me. He took me to Crocodile Park for a hundred pesos. Beggars cannot be choosers and soon enough I am literally going to turn into one if I keep this up.

Crocodile Park is located in what seems to be an exclusive subdivision. Within the vicinity are a few residential houses, the Tribu K’Mindanawan, and a Butterfly Park. There is also a Zorb Ball facility. You can reach the park by walking but make sure you allot around half an hour for that. That was what I did going out to the highway. I was walking alone but the area was well-lit so it wasn't that scary.

For 150 pesos, you get access to the Crocodile Park, Butterfly Park, and Tribu K’Mindanawan. I was already pressed for time so I let go of any plan going to the Butterfly Park. The Crocodile Park is full of many kinds of animals aside from reptiles. There's an Ostrich field where around half a dozen or so are running around. I actually mistook them for football players from afar. Weird enough, there was a football match going on at the park next to theirs, separated by a mere fence. Ostriches are kind of creepy when viewed up-close. They remind me of those velociraptors in Jurassic Park. Like, freaky.

There was an animal show at 4 PM which included daring a fourteen-year old girl to kiss Kuya Carlo on the lips, which she did (watch the video), a cockatoo playing basketball, provoking Pangil which resulted in a wet and wild experience for the audience, and a few more gimmicks here and there. Grab a snack or tour the park after that. You should be at the Tribu K’Mindanawan by quarter to six for the tribal dance show which is concluded with a fire dance. Those guys are not just awesome dancers, they are also human pyrotechnic displays. Amazed much.

I ended my Davao trip at Abreeza: 1 hour of malling and dinner at the open-air food court. This Ayala Mall is new but full of people and stores waiting for you to spend your hard-earned dinero. Just do some research as to how to get there. I was already low-bat by then that I just took a taxi. Next stop: Cagayan de Oro. I'm really loving Mindanao!

[DAVAO] Eagles, Crocodiles, and Playing with Fire

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