Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dashing into Dahican Strip (Part 1)

Summer’s over in the country but for me it’s one season that doesn’t really have a definite ending. As long as there’s a slice of nature where I can enjoy a summery dose of sun, sea and sand, my restless feet will always find their way there.

Pujada Bay
If there’s one tourist magnet near Davao which I’ll never tire of paying a visit to get the best of the summer season, it’ll most likely be Mati. Having been there many times in recent months, I’m head over heels for the city and its natural come-ons.

Dahican Beach
As my thoughts turn to nature during the last few days of May, I heard once again the reverberating call of the city’s popular beach: Dahican. Little did I know that not a few of my co-workers wanted to dash into that top destination in Mati, too!

When I shared about my plan for a last summer hurrah in Dahican, it elicited one question from them: “When do we leave?” How can I say no to that? LOL! Thus, what was originally a solo sojourn turned into a weekend wandering with some of my officemates!

Together with Roy, Kim, Alex, Maliz and our friend, Tessa, I drove once again to Mati (my second sojourn this year!) for our summer escapade to Davao Oriental. Except for Alex and me, the rest of Team Dahican hasn’t visited Mati before.
Three of us—Kim, Alex and myself—took turns in steering the wheel. Driving to Mati had us speeding our way through the three provinces of Davao Region—Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, where Mati is.

Encountering little traffic, my car took us past the palm trees of bustling Tagum City, the coastal municipalities of Maco, Mabini and Pantukan, the verdant plains of the rice and coconut-producing towns of Banaybanay, Lupon and Isidro and, finally, Mati.  

Sleeping Dinosaur Island

Approaching Davao Oriental’s capital, the generally straight road gives way to a long and winding stretch, flanked by craggy elevations on one side and deep ravines on the other, with matching magnificent glimpses of picturesque Pujada Bay.

Because most of my companions were first-timers, a stopover for a slew of selfies with the Sleeping Dinosaur Island and Pujada Bay, two of Mati’s picture-perfect attractions, at the background was sort of customary, if not obligatory. LOL!
We pulled over at Badas, a lookout point along the highway that offers a commanding view of the bay and the islands dotting it. With DSLRs, digicams and smartphones in tow, the team indulged in a seemingly never-ending photo shoot! 

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Usual travel time from Davao to Mati is about three hours at the most. Add to that about 10 to 15 minutes of selfie time at Badas. LOL! From there, you’ll reach downtown Mati after meandering some more along the zigzag road for about 10 minutes. Add again another 20 to 25 minutes and you’ll be in Dahican. 

Before proceeding to Dahican, we made a detour to one of Mati’s mouth-watering fixtures to give in to the grumbling of our tummies—Seaside Restaurant. So named because of its location (adjacent to Pujada Bay), the restaurant offers the most delectable dishes consisting mostly of seafood caught from the waters surrounding the city.
For lunch, we had sea bounties galore—kinilaw na malasugue (blue marlin ceviche), sinugbang pusit (grilled squid), prawns in chili and garlic sauce and pesang dugso (red axil emperor fish soup with veggies), with piping hot rice and cold soda to boot! 

Mati Baywalk

After lunch, we stretched our muscles by walking towards the baywalk located beside the restaurant. There, we had another round of photo ops at one of the city's most-frequented spot.

Not a few of the places I’ve visited in various parts of the country have put up signages affirming the inhabitants’ love for their place. Mati is no exception. It also has this free-standing “I ♥ Mati” sign along the baywalk which always attracts tourists obsessed with selfies. 

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For this sojourn, the signage once again stood as mute witness to the selfies our team shot there. Incidentally, a similar standee has also been put up right smack at Dahican Beach, where we also indulged ourselves to several rounds of photo ops. LOL!
Visitors wanting to go to Mati but have no rides or would rather commute may hop into any of the aircon buses and vans plying the Davao-Mati route. If I’m not mistaken, vehicles bound for this route leave every hour. Arriving in Mati, commuters may take any tricycle that could bring them to Dahican. 

Once a secret known only to locals, Dahican, whose name means “to come in from the sea” in the native tongue, is blessed with a seven-kilometer immaculate stretch that’s caressed by the cerulean blue waters of the country’s south seas. 

Arguably, the beach has one of the finest grains I’ve seen so far here in Mindanao. So, you can just imagine the exhilaration, not to mention the ecstasy, which engulfed our first-timers when their world-weary feet stepped into Dahican’s creamy white sands! :-D

(to be continued)

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