Soldier statues Japanese tunnel Davao Philippines

Philippines: Japanese tunnel; leaving Davao for Manila

Date: May 7, 2014

Today was my last day in Davao. I checked out early from Green Windows Dormitel because instead of heading straight to the airport, I instead decided to carry all my bags, take a taxi and visit the Japanese World War II tunnel in Davao.

The tunnel is now situated inside a resort that goes by the name of D’Japanese Tunnel Family Resort. Like every attraction in Davao, it’s a bit of a drive away from the city.

Davao island highway Philippines
As the taxi kept on riding for around half an hour, I wondered if I would be late for my flight as the Japanese Tunnel is not in the same direction as the airport.

Once I reached D’Japanese Tunnel Family Resort, the entrance to the tunnel was pretty much visible from the gate. It’s basically a resort built around the tunnel. I went to the resort’s eception desk and bought the entry ticket for the Japanese tunnel. It costs β‚±50 for adults, β‚±20 for children.

D' Japanese tunnel entrance Davao
This is the entrance, the reception was to the right.
Entering Japanese war tunnel Davao
There is a guide that comes along with you
Japanese tunnel Davao Philippines
This tunnel was built in 1942, during World War II, when the Japanese had captured Davao and used the island in its fight to capture the remaining Pacific islands.
Japanese world war tunnel Davao
It’s 300 metres long
Jail cell Japanese tunnel Davao
The tunnel was used by Japanese soldiers during the war as an underground base. This is a mini-shrine, a prayer area of sorts
Soldier statues Japanese tunnel Davao Philippines
And this is how a Japanese soldier used to look like in those days
Prison cell Japanese tunnel Davao
A mini-prison cell. This is where they would sometimes keep prisoners of war. Yeah, it wasn’t meant to be comfortable.
Japanese World War 2 tunnel Davao Philippines
We proceeded further, and it got cooler

Displays Japanese tunnel Davao Philippines
We reached the end
Bullet shells Japanese tunnel Davao
You can see used bullets and old casings from the WWII era in this cell… if that sort of stuff intrigues you
Soldier figurine Japanese tunnel map display
This figurine is of a commander looking at a map. Of course, this has now turned into ‘toss a coin for good luck’ tourist sham.
Japanese tunnel lights Davao
And that was it. We walked back.
Inside Japanese tunnel Davao Philippines
On the way back, I took some photos using flash

Japanese tunnel depicting WW2 Davao

D'japanese tunnel Davao Philippines

Japanese tunnel exit Davao
This is some groundwater collection point
Cat inside Japanese tunnel Davao
This cat seems to have have made the tunnel its shelter πŸ™‚

I was in and out in less than half an hour. I took longer to get here! Oh well, I insisted on coming to the Japanese Tunnel so that I can say, ‘I saw this too’ at Davao.

Road to Davao airport Philippines
Anyway, off to Davao airport now!

The taxi fare came to β‚±369 (Rs. 500/$7/€6), but I didn’t really mind. I had another attraction to write about for my readers ^_^. And I wasn’t late to the airport or anything. I checked my baggage on time and had some time to have my lunch before the flight too.

Fried fish rice meal Davao airport
Unfortunately this fried fish rice meal was a complete waste of β‚±170. The fish was bleh, and clearly reheated in a microwave on multiple occasions.

I guess this meal would be the final disappointment from Davao. Sure I tried scuba-diving and sky-cycling, but the last three days spent here, to be honest, was just okay compared to the rest of Philippines I have explored. Not that Mindanao doesn’t have amazing sights to see. I’d love to have seen Asik-Asik Falls (Alamada, North Cotabato) and then Enchanted River in Surigao Del Sur, but both those places were really, really far and I would have had to stay at a nearby town as it would have been impossible to make it back to Davao City by same day evening.

Cebu Pacific take off from Davao
The flight back to Manila didn’t depart on time, which by now I’ve gotten used to.
Leaving Davao flight to Manila
By now, I was no longer blaming Cebu Pacific but instead the congestion at Manila airport — or both.

Upon landing in Manila, I headed to Pink Manila Hostel in Malate, which is where I would be staying for the rest of my days in Manila.

Cubao X restaurants Manila
I met my friend Gale for dinner who said she would take me to Cubao X, famous for its many chic eateries
Gale Bellini's Cubao Manila
We dined at an Italian restaurant called Bellini’s
Pizza Bellini's Italian restaurant Cubao
The seafood pizza was great, and great value at β‚±300!
Orange cake slice Bellini's Manila
This orange cake slice we had for dessert was sinful!

May 9th, 2014

Didn’t do much yesterday day other than catch Amazing Spider Man 2 at Trinoma — which sucked! (The movie, not the mall).

By the way, here are some photos of Pink Manila Hostel I took during the day.

Pink Manila hostel lounge Philippines
The hostel takes up the top two floors of a building. This is the TV lounge area.
Pink Manila hostel pool Philippines
They have a small swimming pool too
Pink Manila hostel reception Philippines
This is the reception, and yes, those are the elevator doors at the back
Pink Manila hostel neighborhood Philippines
The rooms were on the floor above
Pink Manila hostel rooms
Unfortunately the elevator doesn’t come up all the way up here
Dorm bedrooms Pink Manila hostel
These are the rooms. Now you know why they call it Pink Manila Hostel -_-

A dorm bed cost me β‚±570 per night, which was not bad considering the location. I chose Pink Manila Hostel because I wanted some place close to an MRT/LRT station and it had to be close to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex, which is from where I would have to take a ferry going to Corregidor Island.

Pink Manila hostel building
This is the building Pink Manila Hostel is housed in
Pink Manila Hostel building gymnasium
There’s a pay-and-use gym at ground floor
Manila neighbourhood Vito Cruz homes
I was in a nice little neighborhood in Malate
De La Salle University Manila
The nearest LRT station was Vito Cruz. The major landmark here is De La Salle University.
Stores behind De La Salle University Manila
Plenty of small stores, eateries and convenience outlets here

I had my lunch and bought some drinking water to keep in the room. I stayed indoors for much of the afternoon and worked. I decided to step out in the evening to check out Divisoria Night Market.

Makati skyline buildings Manila
This is the Makati skyline from my building
Pedestrian bridge Divisoria Manila
To get to Divisoria, I had to take the LRT and get down at Doroteo Jose. From there are jeepneys going towards Divisoria.
Divisoria 999 shopping mall manila
Unfortunately, it began to rain
Divisoria night market Manila
Many of the outdoor stalls were covering up their wares
Divisoria night market rain Manila
And many called it a day too
Closed stores 999 mall Manila
It didn’t get any better when I entered 999 Mall. Every store was shutting shop for the night.
Cityplace Square 168 mall Divisoria Manila
I walked to 168 Mall next door

Unfortunately, here too, most shops were closing for the day. But I checked out each floor to see what was where. I went all the way up to the food court and decided to have my dinner a little early.

Bon Chon fish taco fries Manila
I sat down at the Bon Chon outlet there and ordered a fish taco, fries, and some chicken.
Bon Chon fried chicken Manila
Gale later told me Bon Chon is a Korean chain. Honestly, I found their food greasy and very oily. For example, there wasn’t much flavour in the chicken beyond the sauces on the chicken skin. Plus, at β‚±345, this is the priciest ‘fast food’ meal I had on this trip.

After dinner, I returned to Pink Manila Hostel. Although I wasn’t able to do much today, I learnt that if you wish to visit Divisoria, best do that well before 7pm. Anyway, I would return to Divisoria the next day and you can check out my next post which is all about bargain shopping in Manila and outlet stores at Paseo de Santa Rosa.

Beer cat Pink Manila hostel
This is a cat that stays at the hostel

Next post in this series:

Philippines 2014: Bargain shopping in Manila; Paseo de Santa Rosa & Solenad

Philippines 2014: Corregidor Island tour

Philippines 2014: Manila Chinese Cemetery

Philippines 2014: Pahiyas Festival in Lucban; Kamay Ni Hesus

Previous post(s) in this series:

Philippines 2014: Scuba diving for the first time, at Samal Island (Davao)

Philippines 2014: Philippine Eagle Center, Davao

Philippines 2014: Attractions at Eden Nature Park… and getting lost

Philippines 2014: Sky Cycle at Eden Nature Park, Davao

Philippines 2014: Leaving Cebu for Davao; Davao City sights

Philippines 2014: Tumalog Falls; Oslob church, Cuartel

Philippines 2014: Oslob – Swimming with whale sharks

Philippines 2014: Trek to Mount Pinatubo crater lake

Philippines 2014: The itinerary this time around; UP Diliman and Maginhawa

My Philippines journeys: 2011 series | 2013 series

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  • Gabby


    I think you ‘misplanned’ your Davao trip. There are a lot of other good places to go to, if you chose the right ones at the right time.

    Instead of roaming around old downtown Davao(which you incorrectly judged*) on your first day, you could have took a side trip to People’s Park, with a lot more sights to see and nearer to your Dormitel. And since you complained about Davao malls not being fancy enough, you should have went to Abreeza mall or The Peak at Gmall, which provides better culinary options and great scenery.

    I’d still suggest Eden Nature Park though since it’s what gives Davao a different flavor from other tourist cities.

    Well, Philippine Eagle Center is a go-to place for educational trips with big groups but for single individuals just exploring the city for fun, it is not very advisable. You could have scrapped that one and went to D’Bone Museum and Davao Crocodile Park instead, which is nearer and cheaper. After which, you could have dined at Jack’s Ridge or other landmark restaurants in the city such as Lachi’s.

    Also, if you really wanted ‘fun’, you should have explored Samal more, especially, Maxima Aqua Fun, Hagimit Falls and Monfort Bat Cave or if you prefer extreme, then there’s Deca Wakeboard park, White Water Rafting or the Outland adventure Zip Lines in Davao City.

    Lastly, instead of going to Japanese Tunnel, you could have tried eating Durian quickly at Magsaysay Park, checked out Lon Wa Buddhist Temple for a few minutes, and SM Lanang Premier on your way to the airport, which would not cause long diversions because they are just along the highway from Magsaysay Park.

    Hopefully, you would reconsider your visit here in our lovely city and you could even check out nearby provinces, for more great spots to visit. Bless you!

    *I say incorrectly judged because those electronic stores were meant for Class E residents or for anyone who isn’t really up to buying serious appliances, there are way better options in malls than those, and you happen to be at San Pedro st., where pawn shops are because it is near the city center, where the bulk of population passes through, and there are many poor and needy residents in the vicinity. Plus, there isn’t really a REAL mall at OLD davao downtown.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thanks Gabby. I agree Davao (and Mindanao) has a lot more to offer and I was aware of some of it. It’s just that a lot of the places that sounded exotic, was really far and not easy to get to the way I was travelling. Some of the places you mentioned such as Davao Crocodile Park and Lon Wa Buddhist Temple wouldn’t have impressed me anyway as I have seen enough of either from my past travels. So that’s probably why Davao didn’t impress me. I’m assuming you are from Davao? πŸ™‚

    Gabby Reply:

    Yes, I’m from Davao. Well, I, too, was skeptical to go to Crocodile Park since I’ve been there before. But in my most recent visit, I actually enjoyed it. There are more improvements I’ve experienced, eating crocodile ice cream, the fire show, and the animal and bird show.
    For the buddhist temple, well, it’s okay if u leave that out.
    Nevertheless, I agree that Davao tourism still has a great room to improve. Being on Mindanao island alone, already gives us a disadvantage because of travel warnings and advisories. Anyway, thanks for touring our wonderful country, the Philippines. πŸ™‚

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