Oct 14

Philippines 2014: 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 ₱50 for adults, ₱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 :)

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 ₱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 ₱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 ₱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 ₱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 ₱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

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

Sep 14

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

Date: May 6, 2014

The plan for today began with the idea that I would take a ferry to Samal island and hope to go an island tour from there. Trouble is, it wasn’t easy to book tours to the island as the few travel agencies I made contact with at Davao City told me they only do the tours on certain days and that too if they get enough tourists.

So figuring I could try my luck and find some tour agency near Davao port, I took a taxi to get there early enough. When I was dropped off near the port entrance, I saw many dive centers.

Carabao Dive Center Davao Philippines

Carabao Dive Center was a name I came across when researching Davao tours

I inquired about their ‘introductory dive’ scheme which cost ₱850 (₹1100/$19/€14). To my luck, they told me there was a group today and if I pay up, I could join them. I thought about whether to do a Samal island tour — or (finally) experience scuba diving for the first time.

Scuba diving it was!

I paid up, and was asked by the staff to choose a wetsuit and scuba foot fin that fit me.

Davao port sea side

I was a bit nervous, and at the same time excited. Although I have always wanted to try scuba diving, I never planned for it today!

Davao port Philippines

We walked towards our boat

Davao port tour boats Philippines

The boat ride to the dive spot wasn’t very far off

Scuba dive boat tourists Davao

This was my group

Loading up the boat scuba tour Davao

They loaded up the boat

Boys swimming Davao Philippines

And we were finally off!

Continue reading “Philippines 2014: Scuba diving for the first time, at Samal Island (Davao)” »

Aug 14

Philippines 2014: Philippine Eagle Center, Davao

Date: May 5, 2014

After an eventful day at Eden Nature Park yesterday, I realized I had to make yet another long journey today to get to the Philippine Eagle Center. Using public transportation, you first need to get to Calinan and then to Malagos.

After breakfast, I walked from Green Windows Dormitel to Calinan Transit Terminal near Bankerohan Public Market.

Durian jeepney Davao Philippines

They had to offload quite a few durians at the market before the jeepney could set off for Calinan :-)

Davao highway Philippines

The jeepney ride to Calinan costs ₱45 and it took an hour or so

Once I reached Calinan, bike taxis approached me asking if I wanted to go to the Philippine Eagle Center. It cost ₱20, so I hopped on one and I was on my way.

Davao town Philippines

It wasn’t a short ride to Malagos but it only costs ₱20

I was dropped at the entrance to a park, for which the entry fee was ₱5. The Philippine Eagle Center is housed inside this park.

Water reservoir Davao Philippines

Some water reservoir

Philippine Eagle Center Malagos

This was the entrance to the Philippine Eagle Center

The entry ticket for the Philippine Eagle Center costs ₱50 (₹69/$1/€0.8).

Philippines Eagle Center walk

The park didn’t seem very big

Visitor steps Philippines Eagle Center

As a fund-rasing scheme, visitors can pay to have their names on concrete slabs and leave a memorabilia behind. As long as you don’t mind being stepped on.

Continue reading “Philippines 2014: Philippine Eagle Center, Davao” »

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