The Millennial Mermaid: Rediscovering Davao Oriental: Banaybanay

The iconic Davao Oriental Welcome Park. Always a good time to take a photo, have a snack or freshen up after a long drive. Photo by Christine Joice Cudis.
The iconic Davao Oriental Welcome Park. Always a good time to take a photo, have a snack or freshen up after a long drive. Photo by Christine Joice Cudis.

I remembered wishing to explore Davao Oriental more. After being able to breeze through the other municipalities in Davao Oriental last month, I knew I barely scratched the surface of all its natural wonders.

I know I needed to go back but I didn’t know how or when. Listing all the places that I need to visit again, Davao Oriental topped the list. Maybe because it was nearest to Davao City and maybe because it’s on the east side of Mindanao which had a higher chance of me getting to surf. Whatever those reasons were, all I know is that I have to go back.

As if on cue, I was invited by the Visit Davao Fun Sale (VDSF) team and Department of Tourism (DOT) to visit Davao Oriental together with other local Davao media. Specifically visiting Pusan Point in Caraga and Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel, I instantly said yes. No need to check the itinerary again.

Even if I’m always found in Dahican, I’ve never had the opportunity to visit these tourist attractions in the other provinces of Davao Oriental. I’m always ‘too busy surfing’ as my friends would tell me when they would urge to try other places.

That’s why when this invitation came, it felt heaven-sent. I knew that unless it was a group trip, I’d never be able to visit these places. Perfect timing too because the waves weren’t around in our usual spot in Dahican last weekend.

The two-day trip included the following places: Mati City and the municipalities of Baganga and Cateel. Visiting Mati City on the first day and the other two municipalities on the second day.


The first municipality of Davao Oriental to welcome you is Banaybanay.

Café Pintatagan is found inside the Davao Oriental Welcome Park. It’s along the arch that welcomes you to Davao Oriental. The area on the curve where huge pink letters that read Davao Oriental are found to the left side of the road if you’re coming from Davao City.

Stopping by Café Pintatagan in Banaybanay for breakfast, my co-millennials Joice Cudis from Sunstar Davao and EdgeDavao’s own Maine Dela Cruz found out that this roadside café holds secret Instagram-worthy nooks.

If you’ve got the eye, you’ll see amazing patterns all over the park for potential photo backdrops. Call us hipsters or what but we really tried posing with flowers, concrete coconuts, Anahaw-like leaves and even the café’s bamboo walls just for photography’s sake. It was fun and we all didn’t expect to find these here.

I’ve always seen this place but never really went inside because (again) I’m always in a hurry to arrive in Dahican to surf. The Davao Oriental Welcome Park has a decent comfort room, no tissues though but it’s clean, has a huge mirror to freshen up and great food.

We were supposed to visit Mt. Hamiguitan too but unfortunately, a landslide happened the night before due to the strong rains. It was still being cleared when we arrived in Banaybanay. I think it may be a good thing so that I’ll have more reasons to go back.

What started as mainly mall-wide sale events, the Visit Davao Fun Sale is now the biggest tourism event in Davao Region, already including the following: Mati (Davao Oriental), Mt. Apo (Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur), Island Garden City of Samal (Davao del Norte) and Davao City.

On its fourth year, VDFS will run from April 16 to May 31, 2017 featuring discounted offerings in airfare, accommodation, tours, dining, shopping, beauty and wellness, as well as fun events in sports, arts, and nightlife.

Organized by the Davao Fun Sale Execom in partnership with the Department of Tourism. The VDSF is also co-presented by the City Government of Davao, AirAsia, Bonamine, BPI Cards, Cebu Pacific, and Tanduay. A deep thanks for making this happen!

Hang around next week as I resdiscover Mati City and visit Pusan Point and Aliwagwag Falls for the first time. Visit my blog: for more photos and stories!