NiceThings in Davao: Crocodile Park & More

Day 4:

Seeing as this was the last day in my Davao birthday vacay, we made sure to make the most of it. Good thing we took the last flight out.

First stop: Museo Dabawenyo

Patintera and I are big fans of art so we squeezed in a visit to Museo Dabawenyo into our last remaining hours in the city.

patintera at museo dabawenyo davao

Patintera taking a snap at Museo Dabawenyo

We weren’t allowed to take photos except for this one painting by the staircase:

museo dabawenyo davao

This painting depicts the three peoples who make up Davao: Muslim, Christian, and Lumad.

We learned that the name Davao came from three names: The Tagabawa called it “Dabo”, the Giangan called it “Dawaw”, while the Obo called it “Davah”. Combining all names, settlers began calling the place “Davao”.

How to get there:

Like most places in Davao, if you’re not a local, it’s best to ride a cab. Most cabbies are nice. In fact, we noticed a significant decline in our encounter with ill-mannered people while we were there. The small percentage of a-holes we came across were staff in our hotel (rhymes with barnacle). Dabawenyos are nice, helpful, and all-around good guys. Thumbs up!

Travel Tips:

Museo Dabawenyo is located in Poblacion District, a few blocks away from the Davao City Hall and St. Peter’s Church. You might want to swing by those two places as well when you’re in the area.

philippine flag in davao plaza

The Philippine flag is flying freely in Mindanao. Let’s keep it that way.

From Museo Dabawenyo, we headed back to the hotel for our check-out. We left our luggage with the concierge before going off to Crocodile Park.

Crocodile Park

We were having second thoughts about going to Crocodile Park since we’re not big fans of motorcycles and we kept reading online that the only way to get there was on a habal-habal.

Well, good thing I refuse to leave anything to chance so on our way back to the hotel, I asked the cabbie about public transportation to Crocodile Park. And guess what? You can take a cab to and from Crocodile Park without breaking the bank. You don’t need to contract a cab to wait for you, stretching your budget beyond limits nor do you have to take the dreadful motorcycle if you’re penny-pinching. You can easily take a cab from the Crocodile Park as you would from a mall. Habal-habal myth busted!

Entrance fee to the Crocodile Park is P200, which also includes entrance to Tribu K’Mindanawan and Butterfly House.

The first thing you see when you enter is the skeleton of a really big crocodile.

crocodile park davao

Crocodile parts at Crocodile Park

Not too far from it is the actual giant crocodile. Patintera wasn’t all convinced it’s still alive since it didn’t move at all while we were there. But I’m pretty sure it’s still breathing. I think?

giant crocodile at crocodile park davao

A ginormous crocodile at the Crocodile Park

The smaller crocodiles were a bit more limber.

crocs at crocodile park davao

These crocodiles like the swamp.

Like the Philippine Eagle Center, which wasn’t all about eagles, the Crocodile Park isn’t all about crocs. It’s home to a pretty interesting collection of creatures.

If you’re gutsy, you can have a close encounter of the third kind with a White-bellied Sea Eagle. Of course, touching is prohibited. And with those sharp talons, you’d be smart to keep your hands to yourself.

white breasted sea eagle crocodile park davao

White-bellied Sea Eagle up close

This gorgeous bird was a bit of a snob.

gorgeous bird crocodile park

Not sure what this bird is called but she’s pretty.

When you see it…

bird at davao crocodile park davao

Another beautiful bird at the Crocodile Park

I think this one’s just a parakeet but the colors are pretty so she gets a spot here:

love bird at crocodile park davao

Gorgeous colors

We stopped by the souvenir shop to get some pasalubong but they didn’t have sealed stock of the shirt I wanted to get for my sister so they pointed me to Tribu K’Mindanawan where the bigger shop is located.

Travel Tip:

Don’t buy shirts, wallets, etc. until you get to the souvenir shop at Tribu. They have a bigger and better inventory. And there are more stores to choose from.

Tribu K’Mindanawan

Now, I love animals as much as the next gal, more if the next gal was Patintera, but all the glorious animal scent didn’t really whet my appetite so I wasn’t exactly looking forward to dining but we had to eat lunch ’cause it’s tradition.

When I first heard about Kaonanan sa Tribu K’Mindanawan I thought it was a must-see for our Davao trip. And walking onto the grounds, I knew I was going to enjoy myself.

tribu kamindanawan crocodile park davao

Kaonanan sa Tribu K’Mindanawan

The place was way more than what I imagined. I expected good food but I did not expect a cultural tour of Davao. Kaonanan prides itself in offering tribal dishes, which is why I wanted to go there in the first place, but what made me fall in love was the palpable local flavor that hung in the air.

tribu kamindanawan crocodile park davao mask

Kaonanan sa Tribu K’Mindanawan’s dining area has interesting conversation pieces

The local indigenous music playing in the background was captivating. The decor was equally inspiring.

patintera at tribu kamindanawan crocodile park davao

The colorful Tribu K’Mindanawan

Not all dishes are cooked and served in bamboo but we ordered those that were:

food in bamboo at kakanonan tribu kamindanawan crocodile park davao

Cooked in bamboo

The Binayong Ajos, Luya, Tanglad na Manok is a Manobo dish of mashed garlic, ginger, and chicken cooked in bamboo.

binayong ajos, luya, tanglad na manok kakanonan sa tribu kamindanawan davao crocodile park

We had an actual Manobo dish. How cool is that? 😀

The waiter insisted that I try the Camote Tops Juice. I wasn’t sure I would like it so I told him I’d try it if he agreed to replace it for free if I didn’t. LOL

Lucky for him, the juice was delish!

binayong ajos, luya, tanglad na manok kakanonan sa tribu kamindanawan davao crocodile park

Camote tops juice for the adventurous me and Buco juice for the wimpy Patintera

Would have loved to try other tribal dishes but we had to rush back to the hotel to pick up our luggage before heading off to the airport. We didn’t even have time to go to the Buttefly House *sob* I was really looking forward to that.

I was extra nazi-ish about the time ’cause I didn’t want to miss our flight. We’ve had some experience in that area and it was costly. So, right after I changed my shirt (it’s hot in Davao), I nagged Patintera about going to the airport. And good thing I did ’cause traffic was bad, like, Manila-bad. But we got to the airport still with time to spare so we grabbed dinner.

I was a bit sad about leaving Davao. It’s just one of those places that agrees with me, you know?

Fun Davao Facts:

  1. The streets are clean. There’s no trash in the streets. None. Even wet markets are clean. Guys aren’t standing around whipping out their privates to do their business on the street like it’s the most normal thing in the world. If Davao was a girl you invited to dinner, you’d think she was raised well. Davao is a well-mannered, educated lady.
  2. Davao is typhoon-free. The mountains plus their environmentally sustainable way of living keeps them safe from the wrath of Gaia.
  3. People are nice. Living in Manila, the niceness of Davaoenos will be noticeable to you. No one’s rushing to “get there first” so everyone’s relaxed on the streets. No one’s insecure about their life and limb so people aren’t rude and abrasive.
  4. It’s safe. Not for criminals. But for those who live within the bounds of law, it’s perfectly safe 😉

I hope to see Davao again soon. Or maybe we can bring Davao to the rest of the country. That wouldn’t be so bad now, would it? *wink*


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