In 2012, southern Philippines was ravaged by Super Typhoon Pablo (Bopha). This category 5 super typhoon with winds of 280 km/h, was considered the strongest typhoon that has ever hit Mindanao. It affected more than 6 million people and caused over a thousand deaths. It was even named the world’s deadliest disaster in 2012.
Davao Oriental was among the most affected provinces. I was sent there to cover the aftermath. That was my first time in Davao Oriental. Apparently, it wasn’t a good first impression given the situation.
Since GMA Kapuso Foundation’s various rehabilitation projects took almost two years to complete, I was flying back and forth to Davao. In every visit, I grew my love for Davao Oriental. I met some of the warmest people ever, not to mention that I documented two of my most memorable stories there.
Here’s a story of a young seashell diver in Davao Oriental that I documented in 2013.
According to Region 11 Department of Agriculture, a total of 70, 000 hectares of coconut plantation have been destroyed by Typhoon Pablo in 2012. People are primarily dependent on these plantations. Boosting tourism will give local people alternative source of income.
So visiting Davao Oriental isn’t just for summer fun! You get to help the local people recover from the typhoon!
With that, let me show you THREE of my favorite places in Davao Oriental that you should also visit!
1) ALIWAGWAG FALLS
Situated 20 minutes away from the town proper of Cateel, Aliwagwag Falls is just along the highway if you take the shortcut road from Compostela Valley to reach Davao Oriental.
I consider this the most beautiful falls I have ever seen IN MY LIFE. Back in 2013 when our driver was telling me about Aliwagwag Falls, I was not even paying attention. But when he woke me up from a travel nap (which is, by the way, a habit every time I have a road trip) and pointed to the direction of the falls, I honestly thought I was still dreaming, and I am totally not exaggerating!
I was gawking at the sight of the magnificent cascades! I was like a frantic kid who ran up the boulders to reach one of the biggest among the 130 AH-MAZING cascades.
The LGU of Davao Oriental has recently developed the vicinity of Aliwagwag Falls. They have constructed amenities including a function hall, and a couple more cottages. The pathways leading to the top of the cascades have been completely tiled. There are also hanging bridges over some of the falls’ minor canals.
2) Leafless Mangroves along the Pacific coast
There is something mysterious about the leafless mangroves along the rocky pacific coast of Lambahon, in the town of Baganga. I find them attractively haunting. So melancholic of a view, yet therapeutic at the same time. I just wanted to sit there and stare at this grandeur. Linger for a while and drown myself with all my musings. Perfect place for meditation!
This is also along the main Davao Oriental hi-way. You can get there quicker if you access the road from Mati.
3) MAGPONG FALLS
Magpong is an undeveloped, rarely visited falls in the town of Boston. It’s approximately 10 minutes away from the town proper. You can ride a habal-habal to get there.
Apart from the beautiful water drop, there is also a nearby cave that you can explore. You can do spelunking and rock climbing. For the extreme ones, yeah, you can do cliff diving down the main pool catching the soothing water of the falls.
Boston is the town closest to Bislig, Surigao del Sur. Catch a jeep or habal-habal going to Boston in Mangagoy.
By the way, did I say the pacific view along the highway going to Boston is equally astounding? Some curves will let you see a panoramic view of the mountain ranges sloping down the pacific. The beauty of the pacific cliffs there is as equally magnificent as those in Benguet and Ifugao, well if not even more stunning!
And oh, do you want local contacts to guide you there? You can message me or leave a comment. I can refer you some nice people!