19
Aug 14

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

Date: May 4, 2014

The first half of my day was spent at the SkyCycle and zipline area. Now it was time for lunch.

Forest path Eden Nature park Davao

I crossed the road and walked to the cafe why my lunch coupon was valid

Restaurant Eden Nature park Davao

This is the main restaurant at Eden Nature Park

Buffet Eden Nature Park Davao

They have buffet lunch too, but that costs extra

Cafe Eden Nature park Davao

This is the cafe where I was going to get my ‘lunch’ as included in the ticket

Spaghetti tomato sauce Eden Nature park

A glass of soft drink, a cupcake and a plate of spaghetti with meat sauce, and garlic bread

If you are wondering where the meat in the sauce is… yeah I wondered that too. I only got mushroom bits, and when I asked the server where the beef bits where, he looked at the plate and poured more of the same sauce.

So after a sloppy, lousy spaghetti meal, I began to explore the rest of the park.

Family Village Eden Nature Park Davao

I walked to the Family Village

Philippines monkey Eden Park Davao

More of a mini-zoo really. This the Philippines Monkey.

Cockatoo Eden Nature park Davao

Cockatoo

Peacock Eden Nature park Davao

Peacocks

There were a few more animals and birds but it was all things I had seen at many other zoos or bird parks. Plus the condition the cages were in were pretty poor. So I felt guilty standing there taking photos of these animals.

Way to butterfly park Eden Nature Park Davao

I walked to the Butterfly Garden next

Butterfly garden Davao Philippines

I swapped my wide angle for the 70-200mm

Black white butterfly flower Davao

I don’t know the names of the various species of butterflies…

Butterfly wings Davao Philippines

… because there were so many of them

Black white butterfly Eden Nature park

Still, I just enjoyed taking these close up photos

Black green teal butterfly Davao Philippines

The many wonderful creations of mother nature

Black pattern butterfly Eden Park Davao

Exotic butterfly Eden Park Davao

Feeding butterfly watermelon Davao Philippines

They sure do love water melon

Butterfly mating Eden Park Davao

Didn’t mean to intrude on their private moment (butterflies mating)

Black butterfly flower nectar Davao

Stick insect Eden Park Davao Philippines

Not a butterfly, but stick insects amaze me!

Fishing village Eden Nature Park Davao

I left the butterfly garden and walked next to the Fishing Village

Fishing village pond Eden Park Davao

You can pay to feed fish here. Boring. So I left.

Eden Nature Deer Park Davao

I walked past the deer park

Philippines deer Eden Davao

The Philippines deer

Eden Nature park trek path

To the right was Eden Nature Park’s offices. I walked down the road on the left.

Eden Nature Park trekking road

It was a downhill trekking path and the bricked path gives way to unpaved stretches

Tana-Tanaman village Eden Nature park

There are attractions along the trekking path. This is the Tana-Tanaman village.

Tana-Tanaman village Eden Nature park Davao

This place was dedicated to showcasing the culture of the indigenous people of Southern Philippines

Eden Nature park viewpoint Davao

This was Lola’s Garden (‘lola’ = grandmother in Filipino)

Eden Nature park hillview Davao

Lot of agriculture in and around Eden Nature Park

Hut Eden Nature park hillview

You can just sit here and enjoy the view

Fruit tree collection Eden Nature park Davao

This is a collection of a variety of fruit trees they grow in the park

Vegetable growing Eden Nature park

Dragonfruit plantation?

Log cabin house Eden Nature park

One of the few log cabins you can rent. Eden Nature Park offers several different types of guest accommodation.

Log cabin house Eden Nature park

These are shared, but cheaper

Hanging bridge Eden Nature park Davao Philippines

This is a hanging bridge you pass along the trekking path

Hanging bridge Eden park Davao

And I walked on it (it’s sturdy)

Forest trek Eden Nature park

This stretch has a mini waterfall… but more like a small stream

Waterfall stream Eden Nature park Davao Philippines

Maybe it looks better after heavy rains

Truth be told, from here on I got a bit lost. I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended near a forest area where a few visitors were zip-lining and setting up camp for the night (which Eden provides for). I went around in circles before getting really frustrated and ran towards a staff member whenever I crossed paths with one.

I asked for directions and how to get back because there were no arrows pointing back to the main reception area.

Bizarre flower Eden Park Davao

This was the last photo I took as I didn’t care much for photography anymore. It was nearing 5pm and I didn’t want to get lost in the dark!

After nearly an hour wasted, I ended up back-tracking and walked across the hanging bridge and made it all the way back.

Fern trees Eden Nature park Davao

By the time I made it back to the starting point, other visitors were barely visible

I rushed back out just as the last few cars were leaving Eden Nature Park. At this point, after an hour of getting lost, I didn’t care about visiting Mt. Apo or anything. I just wanted to get back to Davao City!

Downhill road from Eden nature park

I hired a bike taxi which took me all the way back to Toril (cost ₱100 this time)

Road to Toril from Eden Nature park Davao

The amazing part was that for much of the journey downhill, the bike’s engine wasn’t even running!

Here’s a video I took:

All the more reason to question why these bike taxi guys charge ₱100 for a ride that doesn’t consume as much fuel as the ride going up to Eden Nature Park!

Toril market Davao Philippines

I reached Toril market and just then two things happened. 1) The strap of my slippers broke, 2) electricity went!

Toril market trike jam Davao

The citizens just expressed a loud, collective sigh when the power went :-)

Toril barbershop shoe repair Davao

Conveniently enough I found a shoe repair boy (in front of a barber shop) who stitched the strap all for just ₱10

Jeepney ride Toril Davao evening

I waited by the highway and managed to get a jeepney going to SM Davao

The sun had set by the time I got down at SM Davao. I decided to have an early dinner from here itself before taking another jeepney back to town.

Curacha red crab Davao Philippines

It’s called a Curacha, a type of crab quite common in South Philippines

It cost ₱105 for the curacha with some rice — and it wasn’t worth it. Hardly any meat inside, and by the end of the meal, I still felt hungry. So I went and had two slices of Pizza Hut pizza (₱55). After checking out a few stores, I left SM Davao and hopped on a van taxi going to Davao City.

Once I reached my stop, I walked back to Green Windows Dormitel after picking up some baked goodies for tomorrow’s breakfast. Tomorrow, I would visit Philippines Eagle Center… which is another long drive from the city.

Previous post(s) in this series:

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


04
Aug 14

Philippines 2014: Sky Cycle at Eden Nature Park, Davao

Date: May 4th, 2014

Today I wondered what to check out first. I came to Davao with two main activity highlights: 1) Go sky cycling at Eden Nature Park, 2) Get a shot of Mount Apo. But despite residing at a dormitel situated on Mt. Apo street, the famed mountain — the largest in Philippines — was nowhere near me. Heck, Mount Apo, wasn’t even visible from Davao City! It seems Mount Apo is so huge that most people just go there as part of a multi-day trek.

I couldn’t do that since I only had two more days in Davao so I figured I’ll go check out Eden Nature Park. I followed the instructions on their website on how to get to Eden Nature Park and boarded a jeepney going to Toril (₱20). The landmark given to get down at was a Mercury Drug Store in Toril.

River side houses Davao City

I sat up front beside the driver

SM mall Davao City

Saw where the SM Davao mall is located. We were driving down McArthur Highway

McArthur Highway Davao city Philippines

It was a looooong ride to Toril

Toril Chowking Davao Philippines

Nearly an hour later, I got down at a junction at Toril where you have a Chowking to your left

Toril junction way to Eden

This was taken while I was standing on the left side. Across the road is the Mercury Drug Store. From here there were many bike taxis offering to take you to Eden Nature Park

Road to Eden Nature Park Davao

On Eden Nature Park’s website, they mentioned bike taxis would charge ₱80 for the ride from the junction at Toril to the entrance of the park. But the bike taxis guys here were pushing for ₱200! I told them about ₱80 and they scoffed claiming that was more than a year ago. I bargained as much as I could but eventually settled for ₱150. I couldn’t delay myself anymore.

Road to Eden Nature Park Philippines

It was a 20 minute bike ride up to the park’s entrance

Bad road to Eden Nature Park Davao

The good roads for much of the journey gave way to a bad, pot-holed stretch

Pot holes road to Eden Nature Park

But the park was close now

It was along this road I saw signs pointing to Mount Apo. Excited about seeing Mt. Apo after my time at Eden Nature Park, I asked the bike taxi driver if he could take me to Mt. Apo National Park so that I could just take a photo of the mountain. But the driver told me it’s still many kilometres further from Eden Nature Park.

Anyway, the bike taxi dropped me at the entrance to Eden Nature Park and I made way to the ticket counter. I bought the ₱200 entry ticket which is the basic entry fee access to the park. I needn’t buy the tickets for the Sky Cyle and zip line from this counter as the attendant told me I could do the same in the Sky Cycle area.

Eden Nature Park map Davao

I picked up a map of Eden Nature Park (free)

Eden Nature Park tour centre Davao

That’s the main ticket counter and where the restaurants are

Davao Eden Nature park path

I was making my way out again

Eden Nature Park tourists Davao Philippines

Even though it felt like nobody was going to Eden Nature Park when I was on the bike coming here, there were no shortage of visitors today. Many come by private tour vans or their own vehicles.

Exit Eden Nature Park Davao

The road leading out to the exit

Eden Nature Park entrance road Davao

This is the main road

Eden Nature Park way to Sky Cycle

The Sky Cycle and zip lines are across on the other side of the road

Sky Cycle area Eden Nature Park Davao

On the left is where we can buy tickets for the Sky Cycle ride

Sky Cycle tower Eden Nature Park Davao

This is also where the zip lining is

Sky Cycle tower zipline Eden Nature Park

That’s the tower from where you begin sky cycling and ziplining

Eden Nature park horse riding Davao

You have some horse riding and other kiddy activities on this side too

I bought the ₱300 (Rs. 418/$6/€5) ticket for both Sky Cycle and zip line (it’s cheaper if you buy the combo ticket). The ticket price includes a basic lunch meal. Then I sat down at the waiting area for my turn.

Sky Cycle Eden Nature Park Davao

I was excited

Zip line Eden Nature park Davao Philippines

Zip lining was a lot quicker

Zipline Sky Cycle Eden Nature park Philippines

Sky Cycle speeds depend on how fast you pedal

Sky Cycle Eden Nature park wires

Quite a sight isn’t it? :)

Zip line tower Eden Nature park

The distance didn’t seem too far away

Selfie Sky Cycle Davao Philippines

Enough time for a selfie!

When my number was up, I climbed up the tower with my GoPro, leaving my locked bag at the visitor’s area.

Greenhouse Eden Nature Park Davao Philippines

Those are Eden’s own greenhouses where they grow a variety of vegetables and other plants

Zip lining Eden Nature park Davao Philippines

A lady zip-lining above me

Mithun Sky Cycle selfie Davao

I had to get strapped up

Eden Nature park Sky Cycle wires

Time for me to ‘cycle in the sky’. Gulp!

Sky Cycle tower Eden Nature park Davao

Ready…

Getting ready Sky Cycle Davao Philippines

Set…

Sky Cycle ride Davao Philippines

…and we’re off!

Cycling on wires Davao Philippines

That guy was way ahead of me… or maybe it’s because I was just pedaling slowly

Sky Cycle on wires Davao Philippines

I was a bit nervous and I tried not to look down. But the main reason I rode slowly is because… well, as you can see in the photo. I was just using one hand to hold the handle bar.

Sky Cycle Davao wheel modification

If you are wondering how the cycles stay steady, the tires have been removed and replaced with a groove that just rolls into the beam. That and a steel rod connects the bike to the steel cable above. The same cable above is also where the passenger’s harness is secured to.

Mithun Sky Cycle Eden Nature Park

Half way there

View from Sky Cycle Davao Philippines

That’s the view of Davao from the Sky Cycle

Mithun Divakaran Sky Cycle Davao

It wasn’t easy to click photos, but if you ride slowly, you can

Sky Cycle tower 2 Davao

When I reached the second tower, I got off the cycle, they turned the cycle around, checked the safety harness and only then allowed me go. This gave me time to set up my GoPro to record video.

(I merged the Sky Cycle and zip line videos into one video which you can see below)

After I returned to the first tower, I was un-strapped of the harness I was wearing. Now it was time for me to strap on the harness for the zip line.

Mithun Divakaran ziplining Davao Philippines

First up, photos

Zip line view of Sky Cycle Eden Davao

Needless to say, the zip line is a LOT faster than riding the Sky Cycle

Zip line end Eden Nature park

I reached the other side.

On the way back, I took a video — which you can see after the Sky Cycle ride (at the 2:06 mark).

Path Eden Nature Park Philippines

And with that, I was back on my feet and on the ground

Greenhouse Eden Nature Park Davao

I walked down to check out the Greenhouses for a bit

Greenhouse tomatoes Eden Nature Park Davao

This one was growing tomatoes

Sky Cycle trees Eden Nature Park

The view of the Sky Cycle riders from the greenhouses

Sky Cycle ride Eden Davao Philippines

At ₱300 for both the Sky Cycle ride and zip line, I guess it’s good value. After all, I don’t know of many places in the world that offers such a unique experience.

Mind you the ticket includes a lunch meal and I was going to the small restaurant where they serve it next.

I decided to make the second half of my time at Eden Nature Park as a second post.

Next post in this series:

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

Previous post(s) in this series:

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


23
Jul 14

Feasting on Ramadan food treats at Mosque Road, Bangalore

Every year, during the holy month of Ramadan, Mosque Road in Frazer Town converts into a major hub for food lovers. Several stalls are set up selling a variety of Iftar treats by the road side, and every year, the number of stalls just keep getting bigger and bigger.

Now, you don’t have to go to Frazer Town for Iftar treats as stalls are set up outside every major mosque in Bangalore during the holy month of Ramadan. But Mosque Road being what it is attracts are a larger number of people. I have been Mosque Road with friends in previous years, but this year I wanted to capture some photos for my blog.

After meeting up with a friend, we rode down to Frazer Town, parked my bike near Savoury Restaurant and walked up to Mosque Road.

Ramzan food stall Frazer Town Bangalore

Stalls were set up away from Mosque Road too

Heritage hotel Ramadhan stall Bangalore

Heads up: a lot of meat in this blog post

Mutton kheema egg fry Ramadan food India

Mutton kheema and stir fried egg next to it

Free Quran distribution Bangalore India

This was an organization handing out free copies of the Quran (in English). I asked for a copy as I have always wanted to read for myself what was myth and what is actually quoted in the Holy Book.

Sheek kebabs Ramadan Frazer town

I moved to Mosque Road where sheek kebabs were being cooked over charcoal. Beef, chicken, and of course mutton were on offer.

Brazil beef kebabs Bangalore India

This stall was selling Brazilian beef. When I asked the guy why he wasn’t selling Indian beef, the owner just shrugged and said this “tastes better”. Oh well, I know why. None the less, I packed some.

Fried beef chicken kebabs Bangalore

Beef and colourful chicken kebabs beside it. Really put off by the use of food colour in meat.

Idiyappam Mosque Road Iftar Bangalore

Idiyappams and chicken kebabs?

Beef sukka Frazer town Banglaore

Beef sukka. Sampled some and it tasted okay.

Biriyani Palace Eid stall Bangalore

We then crossed over to the other side where much of the big stalls on Mosque Road were

Pathar gosht stone mutton Bangalore

That’s mutton being cooked on a huge slab or stone over a charcoal fire :-) They call it pathar gosht (pathar = stone; gosht = mutton)

Ramazan tent Iftar Mosque Road Bangalore

There were many of these food tents set up beside Mosque Road

Ramadan food tent Bangalore India

It was crowded!

Mutton haleem Bangalore India

Mutton haleem. Haleem, for the uninitiated, is a thick gravy like dish made using wheat, barley, lentils and meat (plus spices).

Ramazan food tent Mosque road Bangalore

I don’t think I could have even stood here and ate something. Too stuffy and way too many people passing through.

Iftar sweets Bangalore India

Lots of sweets on offer!

Fish chicken kadi Eid food

There wasn’t a whole lot of sea food available and given the ‘Bangalore premium’ for seafood, whatever that was on offer was kinda expensive.

Mosque road Ramadan stalls Bangalore

There were many more stalls alongside Mosque Road

Ramzan tent Frazer town Bangalore

We went in here next

Chicken samosas Eid food Bangalore

Chicken samosas, chicken fry, chicken kebabs, chicken this, chicken that…

Pathar gosht beef Frazer town

More beef and mutton grilled on stone

Dry fruit firny Shahi tukda dessert

Packed up some firny (sweet)

Chocolate cupcakes Karachi haleem

And picked up some chocolate cupcakes

Pudding gulab jamun sweets Iftar

I had some pudding next, which was yum!

Mosque road Ramadan night Bangalore

Even though much of the activity was on the right side, I crossed the road to check out what was on offer on the other lane on Mosque Road

Muslims sheek kebabs Bangalore India

Much of the same, albeit far less glamourous that’s all

Iftar sweets Frazer town Bangalore

There weren’t too many different varieties of food on offer this side

After packing up some more food, I left Mosque Road. It’s obvious the annual Ramadan treats have grown into a big business opportunity for vendors over these past few years. It wasn’t this crowded when I visited 2 years ago. People of all faiths turn up to try out the food. Of course there were a few ignorant people. One guy was silly enough to ask if pork was available! :P

Also, the prices this year weren’t low by any street food means. A plate of pathar gosht was sold for Rs. 200, and the quantity was only good enough for just one person. A stick of just three chicken-cheese balls cost Rs. 50. Don’t even ask about the sea food prices.

Still, if you have an opportunity to check out the fare on Mosque Road, do so if you have never visited the stretch during Ramzan before. And do it before Eid. Happy feasting!

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