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 would be my last full day in Davao, and the first time I try scuba diving!

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


18
Jul 14

Philippines 2014: Leaving Cebu for Davao; Davao City sights

Date: May 1st, 2014

Yesterday was an eventful day of sightseeing. I began early morning swimming with Oslob’s famed whale sharks and later enjoyed the beauty of Tumalog Falls. I was tired by the time I got back to Cebu from Oslob yesterday, so when I woke up in the morning, I decided to take it easy today.

Tr3ats guesthouse rooftop cafe Cebu

I had breakfast from the hostel’s roof top ‘cafe’

Roof view Cebu hills morning

The hills weren’t too far away from here

I worked for much of the day (ironic, considering it was May Day), only stepping out at 2pm to go to Ayala Center.

Ayala Center mall Cebu garden

A very nice mall not too far from the hostel. (Had to take two short jeepney rides to get here)

Felafel roll Cebu Philippines

I sat down at Persian Palate and had a spinach felalfel sandwich, a chicken shawarma rice meal and coconut water. Bill came to ₱242.

Since it was May Day, many shops were closed and the streets were far from buzzing.

The next day (May 2), I stepped out to do some shopping. I took a jeepney and went all the way down to the end of Osmeña Blvd. No fancy malls out here. Just a lot of street markets, shops and some much older shopping centres and department stores. I stepped into one and ended up buying some sandals for really cheap.

Cebu city alley street Philippines

Much of down town Cebu looks like this

Anti-America poster Cebu Philippines

Saw a bit of ‘anti-America’… for a change

I then took a jeepney to SM City, where I decided to have lunch.

Bacon hot dog onion rings Cebu

I had an bacon-wrapped hot dog from Monster Franks. And yes, that’s all the onion rings you get (plus a drink) for ₱130

After some window shopping and purchasing some souvenirs, I headed back to the hostel.

Pasta garlic bread Cebu

For dinner I ate at a small Italian eatery near Tr3ats Guesthouse. That’s fettucine pasta with meat sauce (₱140). This would be my final dinner in Cebu.

Date: May 3rd, 2014

I took a taxi to the airport as today I was leaving Cebu for Davao.

Cebu bridge road Philippines

It was bright and sunny today, so I hoped the flight would leave on time

After checking in, we got word that the flight was slightly delayed. *Shocker* -_-

Zubuchon lechon Cebu airport

In the departures lounge, the famed Zubuchon had an outlet

Zubuchon menu Cebu airport

Zubichon got really famous after Antony Bourdain called their lechon “the best he’s ever eaten”. So I too packed a lechon and rice meal (₱190) to have on the plane as my in-flight meal.

Cebu island from airplane Philippines

Goodbye Cebu!

Zubuchon lechon pork takeaway Cebu

The lechon was really well done and the meat was obviously good quality pork. I guess Zubuchon really is worth trying when in Cebu.

Davao from sky

The flight from Cebu to Davao takes just over an hour

Landing at Davao international airport

Landed in Davao — for the first time

Davao big sign airport

I hired a taxi to take me to the hostel I was going to be staying at for the next few days

Building Green Windows Dormitel Davao

This building with green tinted windows is the FTC Tower. It houses Green Windows Dormitel on the 4th, 5th and 6th floors (Oh, the taxi fare came to ₱166)

Reception Green Windows Dormitel davao

I chose Green Windows Dormitel because they have dorm beds for ₱188 all inclusive, and the rooms looked very nice and clean in the photos

Rooms Green Windows Dormitel Davao

Green Windows Dormitel has everything from dorm rooms to full service suites

Dorm room Green Windows Dormitel Davao

This was the ₱188 dorm room, and I chose bed E, by the window. I was quite impressed! Wooden floors, functioning air conditioner, and comfy beds. The wi-fi was spotty inside the room, but whenever it worked, it was good.

Lobby Green Windows Dormitel Davao

I would sometimes have to sit out on the couch to get a better connection

TV room Green Windows Dormitel Davao

This is the TV room, attached to the cafeteria

Cafeteria Green Windows Dormitel Davao

The cafeteria has a (pay) buffet serving breakfast, lunch and dinner (mostly Filipino cuisine) and the prices for coffee/tea and other items seem fairly reasonable

Store Green Windows Dormitel Davao

There’s even a store selling more groceries in the reception area

Mt. Apo street Davao city

The street Green Windows Dormitel is situated at is called Mt. Apo street. With a name like that, you would assume Mt. Apo is close by. Nope, Mt. Apo is no where near it!

Davao city traffic Philippines

Green Windows Dormitel wasn’t too far away from the main city center

I walked about to scan the area and was happy to find enough eateries (KFC, McDonalds, Jollibee, etc.), pizzerias and bakeries galore all within walking distance from the dormitel.

Daylight Inn Davao city Philippines

To the left is Daylight Inn, a place I was initially going to stay at because it was the only listing available for Davao City on Hostels.com

Time Square mall panorama Davao

Times Square Mall to the left and more shopping centers all around

Davao city center panorama

I just roamed around town to see what else Davao City had to offer

City Hall of Davao Philippines

City Hall of Davao

Durian statue city hall park Davao

Durian is abundant in Davao and there they honour the fruit

Rizal statue Davao City Philippines

A statue honouring Philippine hero Jose Rizal

Jose Rizal bronze statue Davao Philippines

Philippines eagle shed Davao park

Davao is home to the country’s national bird — the Philippines Eagle. I would be visiting the Philippines Eagle Center the day after.

San Pedro Cathedral Davao city

I walked towards the San Pedro Cathedral, a Davao landmark

San Pedro Cathedral people monument-davao

This statue is the Commemorative Monument of Peace and Unity

San Pedro Cathedral Davao Philippines

San Pedro Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Davao and renowned for its odd boat-like design

San Pedro Cathedral Davao interiors

I checked out the interiors

Inside San Pedro Cathedral Davao panorama

Took a panorama

San Pedro Church boat shape Davao city

And then I left

Osmena park Davao city Philippines

Near by was Osmena Park

Massages at Osmena Park  Davao

And inside were scores of masseurs offering foot and shoulder massages :-)

Royale House hotel Davao

I walked around a bit more before heading back

Billiards Davao City Philippines

Billiards seemed to be a popular pass time

Bakery fresh pastry Davao city

A lot of nice bakeries in Davao City, and it was cheap!

I’ll be honest. When I read Davao City was the biggest city in the world (in terms of area), I still assumed Davao City would have its areas of world-class skylines. Far from it. It feels more like a very big town. It’s big in size, sure, but far from fancy. I saw so many pawn shops — a sign that the populace are looking to sell their wares (hopefully not stolen) in exchange for cash. Electronics stores hardly stocked the latest models and even the malls lacked any of the usual fancy brands. Definitely far more low key compared to Manila and Cebu.

Anyway, I wasn’t in Davao to hang out at malls. Tomorrow I would visit Eden Nature Park and attempt to visit Mt. Apo (which I realized only after landing here that the mountain is no where near the city)

FTC Tower Green Windows Dormitel Davao city

FTC Tower, at night

 

(All the above photos were taken using my phone camera, Sony Xperia Z1)

Next post in this series:

Philippines 2014: Sky Cycle at Eden Nature Park, Davao

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

Previous posts in this series:

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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