The Next Pitstop: Davao City-Samal Island Leg 2010

MAGANDA ANG PILIPINAS!

After the success in Palawan and Cagayan de Oro, the parteee never stops. It’s time we conquer Davao City!

Davao City is located deep in the heart of the Philippines’ exotic south, in the southeastern portion of Mindanao Island. It is a highly urbanized city that serves as the major economic, financial, and educational center of Mindanao. More than that, the city has been continuously striving to offer the travelers various choices in terms of luxury vacations and adventure experiences.

The city, which falls nominally under the province of Davao del Sur, is bounded on the north by Davao and Compostela Valley provinces, on the east by Davao Gulf, on the south by Davao del Sur, and on the west by North Cotabato province. Davao is virtually typhoon-free. The city enjoys fair weather, and even rainfall, temperature, and humidity all year round. Average temperature is 32 degrees Celsius and average rainfall is up to 2,000 mm yearly.

How Do I Get To Davao City?

The trip to Davao City just came in by surprise. Airphil Express is geared up Father’s Day with a special promo and of course it was hard to resist once more. I really don’t have travel plans not until early next year or late December for this year. But like what I said, the promotion was very enticing. Good thing it helped that my bestfriend/travel buddy Janyl is in for some action this year! There are several airlines that offer daily flights direct from Manila to Davao City. Among which are as follows:

  • Philippine Airlines – offers 5 direct trips daily to Davao City utilizing Airbus A330-300. The regular Econolight one-way fare ranges anywhere from Php2000 and can get to as high as Php3000. One can easily book flights through their online facility, which has improved over the last months in fairness. Or you can just call their customer service hotline facility @ (632) 855-8888 to reserve tickets and then just pay them at their offices or through their authorized ticketing agents (with additional charge of course).
  • Cebu Pacific Air – also offers 5 direct trips daily to Davao City. They also have connecting flights from Manila-Cebu City-Davao City. The one-way Go Fare is about the same as PAL’s. They also have an online facility where you can book your flights easily and just pay using your plastics or through accredited banks and authorized ticketing agents.
  • Zest Airways, Inc – offers 1 direct flight daily to Davao City International Airport. What I like about this airline is that they strive to rise from the bad reputation that they have had when they were still named Asian Spirit. What I like about this airline is that they allow you to book through phone, even promo fares! Once booked, you can just pay it through their offices and accredited banks and ticketing offices.
  • Airphil Express – will offer direct flights from Manila to Davao starting July 21, 2010. I guess that’s the reason why they have promo to this destination and good thing is we took advantage of it! Our promo fare for travel to Davao on October 6-9, 2010 is roughly Php1200 per head and that’s a 2-way fare already!

Budget-Friendly Hotels and Inns In Davao City

I have always been in the search for the best budget hotels and inns around the Philippines and the hunt is now on for Davao City this time. There are several blogs, forums and websites that helped me in locating what I’m in search for and they proved to be very helpful in my travels. Most of the information supplied came from their own experiences and some of them are locales in the area. I have always believed in back-packing style of traveling because it allows me to get to know the place better. The trick here is to keep your options within the limits of your budget, that way you won’t have a hard time in trying to choose among the relatively large number of options you have.  Davao Travel Blog, Davao City Hotels and pauliqueladao’s blog site helped me a lot in furnishing all the necessary information I needed for this trip. The requirements for this trip is not lavish enough to be searching for something quite pricey. The accommodations needed to have the following:

  1. standard air-conditioned
  2. twin beds
  3. provisioned own comfort room with hot and cold shower
  4. wi-fi access (for Janyl and me of course)
  5. with cable TV
  6. with free phone service within city limits at least (for inquiries)
  7. within the city limits or near business establishments
  8. having a swimming pool is a plus factor but not a requirement though
  9. room rate should not exceed Php1000 per night

With all these requirements in mind and much thinking here are our choices for our Davao City accommodation:

BAGOBO HOUSE – no website but you can use that as reference
Governor Duterte Street, Davao City (downtown)
(6382) 222-4444; Fax: (6382) 222-4440
jht@dvweblinq.com
PhP 863.75 / room

CARPEL’S PENSION HOUSE – no website
Camus Extension, Davao City (downtown)
(6382) 221-1641 to 44
PhP 400 – 500 / room

DAVAO TOWER INN
566 E. Quirino Avenue, Davao City (downtown)
(6382) 221-2099; Fax: (6382) 221-8034
PhP 600 – 2,500 / room

MY HOTEL DAVAO
San Pedro Street, Davao City (downtown)
(6382) 222-2021; (6382) 300-4040
PhP 800 – 1,050 / room

SAMPAGUITA TOURIST INN – no website but you may use that as reference
Mt. Mayon Street, Davao City
(6382) 227-2958
PhP 175 – 550 / room

FIRST PACIFIC INN DAVAO – in front of Palma Elementary School
498 Quirino Avenue, Davao City  (downtown)
(6382) 305-6183
PhP 880 – 1,280 / room

CASA LETICIA – fronting People’s Park
J. Camus Street, Davao City  (downtown)
(6382) 224-0501
PhP 2,200 – 4,200 / room

JACK’S RIDGE RESORT AND RESTAURANT
Shrine Hills, Matina, Davao City 8000
(6382) 2978830 to 31
PhP950/room

WHAT TO DO IN DAVAO CITY?

I found several reasons why I’m so excited about our Davao trip in October. Among the reasons are as follows:

Whitewater rafting adventure trip – Experience wild water river rafting in Davao River. Ride through 24 extreme rapids from Barangay Tamugan to Barangay Lacson in Calinan District that ranges from Class I to class IV rapids. This adventure is charged @ Php2000/person inclusive of transportation (From Crocodile Park to Rafting Area and back), packed Lunch & bottled water, use of Gears & equipment, river guide, zip line at ZIP CITY, souvenir shirt Plus: photo CD (2 CD per group of 6).  The itinerary is as follows:

  • 830 am Assembly at Crocodile Park
  • 930 am Departure
  • 1030 am Arrival at Put In area, Tamugan
  • 1100 am Start of Rafting
  • 1200 nn Lunch
  • 300 pm Arrival at Take Out area, Purok 8, Lacson
  • 330 pm Departure for Crocodile Park
  • 430 pm Arrival at Crocodile Park

There’s also River One Adventure which charges Php1500/person for the white water rafting. There is a big difference as far as the inclusions are concerned: four-hour river rafting, transportation, a packed lunch, souvenir River One shirt and a photo-video cd of your adventure.

white water rafting adventure

Zipline/Canopying at Camp Sabros – Located at Digos City, enjoy one of the country’s longest zipline (400m and 380m) with Mt. Apo as your backdrop. New adventure attractions are also available here such as the treetop rapelling and pendulum swinging.

Davao City tour – Rediscover the rich heritage of Mindanao at the Davao Museum. Tour around the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague, which overlooks the city. The tour ends with a shopping spree at Aldevinco Shopping Center and Madrazo Fruit stand, where you will experience your first whiff of Davao’s famed fruits. The tour also includes visits to the Davao Crocodile Park, Puentespina Orchid Garden, and St. Peter’s Cathedral.

Davao Countryside tour – Drive up the slopes of Calinan to find the Philippine Eagle Nature Center, a sanctuary built close to their natural habitat. A sumptuous lunch awaits you at the Malagos Resort, where rows of orchids are planted in tradition of the famous Banaue rice terraces, and then on toward the Davao Crocodile Park as the last stop.

Mt. Eden Resort day tour – Mt. Eden Resort, located 2,000 feet above sea level, is a magical getaway offering breathtaking views of the surrounding plains. Cooler temperature and pure air make it a powerful place for healing mind, body and soul. This mountain resort reservation offers a cool climate, lush forest, and natural surroundings, overlooking the city and the gulf. The area is suitable for camping, nature hiking, bird watching, and horseback riding.

THE SAMAL ISLAND ESCAPADE

An exciting ferry ride will take you to Island Garden City of Samal. There will be a stop at Bat Kingdom, where one can see millions of bats in three adjoining caves, followed by a drive through to the City Hall of Samal, passing the city proper before having a short trek to Hagimit Falls, where one can take a dip in its cool waters and spend the remainder of the day. From Samal Island, we can visit the Pearl Farm Resort.

Pearl Farm Resort day tour – This world-class resort boasts of white sand beaches over a 14-hectare spread. It was once a pearl farm, where thousands of white-lipped oysters transported from the Sulu Sea were cultivated for their pink, white, and gold pearls. Today, the resort beckons with the promise of a relaxing, private retreat, under the care of its friendly and charming staff. The day tour includes buffet lunch @ Php2050 per head.

 

 

 

 

 

** Special thanks to Jonathan dela Paz for the beautiful picture of Pearl Farm, Samal Island, Davao.

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Zest Air’s Z2 Voyager Pass Now Available

The Zest Air Voyager Pass is a whole new way of traveling to your favorite Z2 destinations. It’s a booklet with 11 one-way flight coupons sold for travel to Z2 destinations. What is even better is you don’t have to stand in line whenever you have to book your flight. All you have to do is call the hotline, fill up and write on the ticket yourself and check-in for your flight! No waiting, no queueing, no kidding!

MECHANICS

1. THE Z2 VOYAGER PASS BOOKLET – A Z2 VOYAGER PASS booklet is composed of eleven (11) one way flight coupons sold for travel to identified Zest Air destinations andvice versa.
2. APPLICABLE ROUTES – The Z2 VOYAGER PASS coupons can only be used to any destination covered by the routes as indicated on the cover of the booklet based on the Route Category as specified therein. Booklets/coupons with a Category “C” level can be used to sectors falling within Categories “A” and “B” considering that “C” level is the highest fare booklet. Booklets/coupons with Category “B” level can also be used to sectors falling within a lower level category such as Category “A.” However, booklets/coupons falling within lower level Categories i.e. Categories “A” and “B” cannot be used to higher level Category booklets/coupons such as Category “C.”
3. VALIDITY – The Z2 VOYAGER PASS is valid for carriage for one (1) year from date of purchase of the booklet.
4. NO-SHOW FEE/NO-SHOW AT THE GATE – Ticket coupons not cancelled within 24 hours prior to the date of departure will be charged with the applicable NO-SHOW FEES. Z2 VOYAGER PASS holders who have checked-in on the day of departure but did not show at the boarding gate will be charged the applicable NO-SHOW AT THE GATE FEE upon revalidation of booking.
5. NON-REFUNDABLE – The Z2 VOYAGER PASS is non-refundable. Zest Air will not refund, reissue or replace lost, unused or expired Z2 VOYAGER PASS coupons.
6. TRANSFERABILITY – The Z2 VOYAGER PASS is transferable, the Z2 VOYAGER PASS holder can authorize anyone to use the coupons in the VIP Pass booklet. The procedures stipulated above shall be followed upon booking a seat.
7. CBBG – Z2 VOYAGER PASS can be used as Cabin Baggage (CBBG) or baggage occupying a revenue seat.
HOW TO USE YOUR VIP PASS
1. RESERVATIONS/BOOKING – The Z2 VOYAGER PASS holder should call the reservations office to reserve a seat and declare that he/she is a bonafide holder. VOYAGER Pass holder without confirmed booking is subject to space availability.
2. FILL-UP FLIGHT COUPON – The Z2 VOYAGER PASS holder should fill-up the following boxes in their flight coupon using a permanent ink/ ballpoint with the details given by the Zest Air reservations agent. A flight coupon presented upon check-in written in pencil shall not be accommodated. The holder should finalize their booking by providing our reservations agent their coupon number.

 

The following details are as follows:
a. Flight number b. Flight date c. Flight time d. Status e. Booking reference (original booking and new booking code) f. Date finalized g. All other pertinent details as may be reflected on the face of the booklet coupon.
3. FINALIZING YOUR BOOKING – Finalize your booking by providing our reservations agent with your ticket number. After completing the details, tear off the flight coupon and present the original coupon upon check-in.
4. REVALIDATION – Sticker for revalidation will be used to revalidate the Z2 VOYAGER PASS COUPON. Ticket surcharge will be applied for every Z2 VOYAGER PASS revalidation. Erasures and alterations will render the VIP Pass coupon null and void. Any revalidation needed shall be done at any Zest Air organic ticket offices only.
APPLICABLE RATES / COST PER BOOKLET
Z2 VOYAGER PASS
Route Category “A”

 

MANILA – LEGAZPI (MNL-LGP)
MANILA – MARINDUQUE (MNL-MRQ )
MANILA – NAGA (MNL-WNP)
MANILA – SAN JOSE, MINDORO (MNL-SJI)
MANILA – TABLAS (MNL-TBH)
CEBU – BACOLOD (CEB-BCD)
CEBU – CAGAYAN DE ORO (CEB-CGY )
CEBU – ILOILO (CEB-ILO)

Cost per Booklet 18,689.00
Route Category “B”

 

MANILA – BACOLOD (MNL-BCD)
MANILA – BUSUANGA (MNL-USU)
MANILA – CALBAYOG (MNL-CYP)
MANILA – CATARMAN (MNL-CRM)
MANILA – CEBU (MNL-CEB)
MANILA – ILOILO (MNL-ILO)
MANILA – KALIBO (MNL-KLO)
MANILA – PUERTO PRINCESA (MNL-PPS)
MANILA – TACLOBAN (MNL-TAC)
MANILA – TAGBILARAN (MNL-TAG)
MANILA – VIRAC (MNL-VRC)
CEBU – DAVAO (CEB-DVO)
CEBU – ZAMBOANGA (CEB-ZAM)

Cost per Booklet 28,589.00
Route Category “C”

 

MANILA – DAVAO (MNL-DVO)

Cost per Booklet 39,589.00

For more details pls. call:
Hotline @ 855.3333

Zest Air’s Updates As Of November 2009

Previously, Zest Air would send promos and airline updates via email. I noticed that they haven’t sent me one for the past few months. You would really have to visit their website for promo updates. Fortunately I was able to see some of their refreshing new ideas. They have posted the selling and travel dates for their promos. Moreover, they now offer packages for travelers like me! Check out some of the latest happenings from Zest Air!

Important Zest Air promo sell and travel dates to remember for 2010:


Zest Air New Year Sale

Selling period is from January 3 to 5, 2010

Travel period is from June 15 to November 15, 2010

The Love Seats Sale

Selling period is from February 12 to 14, 2010

Travel period is from June 15 to November 15, 2010

Summer Madness Sale

Selling period is April 1 to 7, 2010

Travel period is from June 15 to November 15, 2010

Mid-year Sale

Selling period is from June 1 to 7, 2010

Travel period is from July 1 to November 15, 2010

Zest Air Annual Sale

Selling Period is August 1 to 3, 2010

Travel Period is September 1 to 30, 2010

Halloween Sale

Selling period is  October 27 to November 2, 2010

Travel period is from November 1 to December 10, 2010

Early Christmas Sale

Selling Period is  November 23 to 30, 2010

Travel Period is from January 15 to March 15, 2011

IMPORTANT NOTICE: For all booking made and finalized before October 16, 2009, kindly click the image for the new flight numbers. It is important that you reconfirm your flight bookings through their hotline or ticket offices within 24 hours prior to the day of your flight to avoid inconveniences.

For those who want to travel stress-free, you simply have to book the package offerings from Zest Air. I believe the package rates are valid until March 30, 2010 and it already includes round-trip airfares, 3 days and 2 nights accommodations, daily set breakfasts and the 12% VAT.  It resembles the packages of PAL called PALakbayan and I guess that’s how Zest Air came up with their new product. So check them out!!!

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To book your flights or for more details you may log-on to Zest Air’s website at anytime. You may also call their hotline at +632-855-3333 or email through leadagent@zestair.com.ph.

For inquiries and feedbacks you may email Customer Service Center at customerrelations@zestair.com.ph.

Biyahe na!!!