(Mis) Adventure Time in the South – The Davao Leg

Note: This is long overdue, as work and a whole lot of Christmas crafting had to be finished (and still ongoing, unfortunately). I’ve also gotten a nasty flu. I actually had been coughing a week ago but I suspect I caught an altogether new strain of flu on top of that. I haven’t been this sick for this long in quite a while. Hope it’ll go away soon.)

The next leg of our trip started off with cake. Chocolate cake, to be exact. Dell had just arrived to join us for the rest of the trip, and had his first taste of the delicious cake (no pics of the cake itself, as I was too busy eating it to bother taking a photo, hehe).

The deadly chocolate cake was baked by Gem's mom :)

The deadly chocolate cake was baked by Gem’s mom 🙂

We left for Davao City that afternoon. The Davao leg was a whirlwind of activity, with our first day spent mostly on travel, taking a bus ride to Davao City, a cab to another bus terminal, and finally a bus to the Island of Samal. That bus actually got onto a ferry, and it was the last one to board. We were all sitting in the back row, and unthinkingly I started recounting an episode of NatGeo’s “Seconds from Disaster” about a ferry that sank during a routine trip. It wasn’t the right time and place for that, I can tell you.

Sorry for the disaster story, guys >_<

Looks of terror. Sorry for the disaster story, guys >_<

We survived the brief trip, and made our way to Camp Holiday. By then it was evening, and we were not able to enjoy the sights on the island. After an arduous calculation and accounting of our shared budget/expenses, we went down to the hotel’s restaurant to have dinner and had our first glimpse of the beach. Well, kind of.

What we had hoped would be our beach front

What we had hoped would be our beach front

Since it was evening, we contented ourselves with the sound and smell of the sea while having dinner.

View from our room's window

View from our room’s window

The beach front, with the industrial docks of Davao City across the sea.

The beach front, with the industrial docks of Davao City across the sea.

At night.

At night.

For dinner we had chicken, crispy hito (catfish) and a boneless bangus (milkfish) soup called “Boneless of Love” — with Filipinos’ propensity for ballads I bet this was named after this song. Throughout dinner, this little fella was all up in our business:

I can has catfish?

I can has catfish?

Despite our best-laid plans to go out at dawn, we awoke not too bright and early the next morning, After breakfast, we had our first good look of the beach front.

Camp Holiday beach front

Camp Holiday beach front

The very limited beachfront at Camp Holiday

The very limited beachfront at Camp Holiday

Camp Holiday is right beside the port. So the beach front was pretty limited. And unlike other beaches were you can actually walk the shore line, we were basically walled in: a private property on one side, and the port on the other. And across —

View of the docks. Wondering if that faint outline of a mountain is Mt. Apo, the tallest peak in the country.

View of the docks. Wondering if that faint outline of a mountain is Mt. Apo, the tallest peak in the country.

Cottage at Camp Holiday

Cottage at Camp Holiday

Self serving.

Self serving.

Or palm flowers. I realize this tree may be too small to be a coconut. Hmm..

Coconut flowers. Or palm flowers. I realize this tree may be too small to be a coconut. Hmm..

The sky brightens as the morning unfolds.

The sky brightens as the morning unfolds.

We were not able to see more of the island, unfortunately. So the trick to really enjoying Samal Island is going to a resort with a better beach front for the day, and staying at a cheaper place overnight. Camp Holiday wasn’t horrible per se, but for its price you should manage your expectations accordingly.

We had a quick swim in the swimming pool, before the onslaught of girl scouts (a whole barge of screaming prepubescent girls shattering our peace and quiet) made the pool unbearable. And anyway we had to check out of the place. And oh, my major misadventure — my eyeglasses broke. And as we rushed onto the ferry, my second mishap: I fell, scrapping my knees and twisting my ankle. With an entire ferry as my audience. How mortifying.

Samal Island, 'twas all too short a visit.

Samal Island, ’twas all too short a visit.

But thank heavens for painkillers. Or else I wouldn’t have made it through the rest of our day in Davao City. One of the things we did was to head to a pasalubong center. Buying pasalubong is a Filipino tradition of buying small souvenir items or delicacies native to the place you’re visiting  and bringing these home to friends and family. I made most of my Christmas shopping here, since I hate shopping for stuff at malls at the height of Christmas season.

We ended the night with a delicious dinner at Penong’s BarBESTcue, where we had chicken inato,  which is like chicken inasal, but the marinade contains pineapple. Or at least that’s what Marc said.

Chicken barbecued 'inato' style

Chicken barbecued ‘inato’ style.

Kilawin, or our version of ceviche. With tuna, cucumbers, red onions and green mangoes.

Kilawin, or our version of ceviche. With tuna, cucumbers, red onions and green mangoes.

Grilled squid!

Grilled squid!

Ampalaya, or bitter gourd, with lots of fresh tomatoes and onions

Ampalaya, or bitter gourd, with lots of fresh tomatoes and onions.

We spent the night at Gem’s brother’s house with her sister-in-law, niece and nephew. Their dogs just had puppies so dog lover Dell was utterly charmed. Despite being a cat person, so was I  ^_^ I think it was the novelty of being able to make the little furballs follow your commands. I was able to teach one to follow the sit command, not so much because of my skills but more because I had some kibbles for it.

One of the more calm, submissive (as Cesar Milan says) pups in the litter

One of the more calm, submissive (as Cesar Milan says) pups in the litter

Puppy resting after a hard morning of playing

Puppy resting after a hard morning of playing

The following morning we had to leave Davao to go back to GenSan.

Up and about early morning - the talahib catches the first of the morning's light

Up and about early morning – the talahib catches the first of the morning’s light

Even the lowly talahib has some beauty at sunrise

Even the lowly talahib has some beauty at sunrise

The puppies bid us farewell as we left Davao for General Santos City

The puppies bid us farewell as we left Davao for General Santos City

To our delight, our bus had wi-fi!

Hurrah! Connectivity!

Hurrah! Connectivity!

I spent most of the trip sleeping, but I did manage to take some photos of the wonderful scenery outside the bus window:

On our way back to General Santos City via bus.

On our way back to General Santos City via bus.

Mountains, clouds, treetops

View from my bus seat, on the way back to General Santos City from Davao City

View from my bus seat, on the way back to General Santos City from Davao City

The mountains!

The mountains!

By lunchtime we were back in General Santos City, and rearing to head to another beach in Sarangani.

Next leg: The beach! I make the most of my last day in General Santos City.

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