February 2010

Our trip started in Davao City with a pleasant drive on good roads to Mati, with a short stop at the Tagum City Hall under construction, a truly humongous building. The road follows the Davao Gulf and passes scenic Pujada Bay before reaching Mati. We then proceeded to the stunning Dahican Beach, a 4-km stretch of white sand facing the Pacific Ocean. We stayed at  Kanakbai, a two-room resort near the North end of the beach (tel 0905 3119198). There is no restaurant but the staff can shop and cook for guests. Another cheaper option is the Botona resort, which has a restaurant that serves basic food. The road to Bobon, further South on the Guanguan Peninsula offers beautiful views of the coast, on both sides of the peninsula. In Mati, I can recommend the breezy La’ne’s Kan-anan restaurant (easy to find behind the Shell station).

Pujada Bay
Pujada Bay seen from the road before reaching Mati
Dahican Beach in front of Botona Resort
Dahican BeachDahican Beach seen from Kanakbai Resort
Tagum City Hall under construction
The beautiful road to Bobon
KanakbaiKanakbai Resort on Dahican Beach
Sunrise over Dahican Beach
The next day, after watching a gorgeous sunrise on Dahican Beach, we proceeded to Caraca, on a cemented road with stunning views of the Pacific coast. The town was the capital of the Spanish province of Caraga in the 17th and 18th centuries and has an old Spanish church that was rebuilt in 1886. If you must eat in Caraga, try Lea’s Food Hub Catering Services, a small turo-turo canteen, that we were told was the best in town.Caraga
Caraga Church
The friendly "Food Hub" in Caraga
Mayo Bay
The stunning Mayo Bay seen from the road to Caraga

We then proceeded to Pusan Point, at the end of a 9-km dirt road that starts at Barangay Santiago, a few kilometers South of Caraga. A sign at the junction shows the way. Pusan Point is the easternmost point of the Philippines and consists of sharp limestone rocks jutting into the Pacific. On 31 December 1999, this was the site of a great gathering of people who wanted to be the first to see the first sunrise of the new millennium in the Philippines. A marker commemorates the event. A large cross and a lighthouse also stand at the site.

The sign in Barangay Santiago

The millenium sunrise marker
PusanThe crashing of the waves on Pusan Point
Eastermost in the Philippines
PusanThe Pacific Ocean seen from Pusan Point

On the way back to Davao, we drove South to San Isidro and Gov, Generoso, getting views of Mt Hamiguitan on the left, and Davao Gulf with Samal and Talikut Islands on the right. We stopped at San Isidro municipal hall to inquire about the hike to Mt Hamiguitan (1630m) and close-by Tinagong Dagat (a mysterious mountain lake with high and low tides). This is a major climb that will be the goal of another trip.

Sunrise on Mount Hamiguitan
In spite of its beauty and ease of access from Davao City, Davao Oriental is hardly mentioned on Philippine guide books and tourism publications. With little information available on where to go and what to see (let alone where to sleep and eat) any trip to Davao Oriental can become an exciting exploration.

Day 1: Davao City-Tagum-Mati-Dahican Beach  
Day 2: Dahican Beach-Caraga-Pusan Point-Dahican Beach
Day 3: Dahican Beach-Mati-Lupon-San Isidro-Gov. Generoso-Lupon-Davao City
Christian Perez
Muntinlupa City