Witness sea of clouds without the hiking. Buy souvenir dark chocolates Davao is famous for but first, discover how chocolates are made from tree to bar (cocoa tree to chocolate bar). Be entertained and educated by a bird show. Have lunch where the 16th president of the Philippines eats. All these in less than 24 hours in Davao.
Part 1 of this trip was taken on a Thursday afternoon. This Part 2 covers the places we visited the following Friday before heading to the airport in the afternoon. As a general tip, especially if you’re a group of at least 5, it’s recommended to hire a van. We got ours for Php3,500 for eight hours, with driver, sans gas. Twenty-four hours in Davao is such a rush so I really suggest you save the hassle of transferring from one bus to another jeepney. Get the contact details of our van-for-hire below.
Sonnen Berg Mountain View
Address: Marilog, Marilog District, Dabaw, Lalawigan ng Davao del Sur
How To Go: Hire a van and instruct the driver to park right next to the entrance or commute. From Mergrande in Talomo, Davao where we stayed, ride a jeep bound to Ulas Crossing then transfer to bus to Cagayan – Bukidnon then alight at Sonnen Berg, recognizable or unrecognizable with a tiny signage along the highway. Hike some steep 150 meters or so. It’s in the boundary of Bukidnon and Davao
Entrance Fee: Php50
What to See/Expect: Sea of Clouds without the hiking. For the lazy gals like me, I thought this was my chance to experience it without breath-panting.
There are a number of resorts or restaurants that provide “hills view” or a view deck – among many other things. Sonnen Berg is one of them. Another is Hills View Mountain Villa. These “hills views” are located in Buda St., so don’t be confused as even locals use these terms loosely and interchangeably. As of this writing also, Sonnen Berg is closed. That’s why I’m also sharing that there are other “hills views” where you can chase sunrise to have a glimpse of the so-called sea of clouds. We didn’t get to catch this by the way. Our driver, a local of Davao City wasn’t very familiar with these sea-of-clouds thing so make sure there are no communication gaps. The sightings of sea of clouds here, like anywhere else, would greatly depend on the weather and the time of day. No one can control the weather so the best that you can do is control your timing – wait for the sun to rise here. If you can, so you won’t feel time-pressured if you don’t like the thrill of chasing something in general, book a room in one of these hills view and effortlessly wake up to some visual treat.
Malagos Garden Resort
Address: Calinan-Baguio-Cadalian Road, Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City, 8000 Davao del Sur
How To Go: Cab / Van for hire
Entrance Fee: Php250 for the day tour. They have rooms if you want to stay for a night or more.
What to See/Expect: “Malakas na agos” or Malagos. This huge garden is built near a raging river, thus the name. Daytour includes the Bird Show, guided tour to the bird feeding dome, Butterly garden, Mariposa Museum, and ends with the Tree to Bar (cocoa tree to chocolate bar) experience. They have facilities for team-building. There are four outlet restaurants inside. We only tried Viewdeck Cafe and the breakfast was sadly average (coffee was good, though). We originally wanted to eat here but apparently that’s not allowed. You have to pay the entrance fee just to get inside the restaurants so we decided to maximize the tour. It did not disappoint. The garden is huge and if I were to go back, I’ll surely stay overnight. Thumbs up to the accommodating staff. Also, their 65% dark chocolate is the best part of this trip. The joy of discovering a food to turn out to be your next favorite is priceless. Next time, I”ll take home more of Malagos chocolates.
Yellow Fin Restaurant
Address: F. Torres St., Prime Square II, Davao City, Davao del Sur
How To Go: Cab / Van-for-hire (Jorge Cellphone Number: 09357251591)
Entrance Fee: Free. It’s a restaurant.
What to See/Expect: This is part of the “Duterte Tour” that Davao now offers because according to the locals, this is Duterte’s favorite restaurant. Rumor has it that he goes here every week. They serve mostly Filipino cuisine in “turo-turo” or “paluto” style depending on your liking.