A broad avenue flanked by rows of giant palm trees welcomes visitors to Tagum City, about an hour and a half away by bus. Stay at The Plantation House, a charming family home built in the 1920s. Rich in history, it’s filled with antique furnishings while incorporating new facilities. The home sits within Hijo Resorts Davao, a sprawling property with eco-agricultural tourism activities. Explore its banana farm, coconut plantation, forested area and river.
About four hours from Davao, laid-back Mati City lures visitors to its beautiful beaches. This is where you’ll find Dahican, a popular beach of coconut trees, sparkling turquoise waters and beach bums looking to swim, surf, skimboard, paddleboard and kayak. This is a sea turtle nesting ground, and if you’re lucky you might even see dolphins and dugongs (sea cows) traversing the waters. The Mindanao Saga Flying Club’s ultralight plane does early morning aerial tours of the area.
Nearby, San Isidro offers great trekking at Mount Hamiguitan, famous for its protected pygmy forest of small, century-old trees. The Mount Hamiguitan range was declared a national park and wildlife sanctuary in 2003, and inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014, a first for Mindanao. At the foothills lies the Mount Hamiguitan Natural Science Museum, an interactive showcase of the diverse species that live in the mountain.
Three hours away is General Santos City, known as the Philippines’ tuna capital. Check out this industry at GenSan Fishport Complex. Superfans of boxing great Manny Pacquiao will want to join a tour of his residence. You may even catch him around the city playing pool.