Davao: Kadayawan Festival and other trippings

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Woke up to this view!
As part of my sister's wish to attend the various festivals in the Philippines, we also booked a trip to Davao to see the Kadayawan Festival. We were very excited because we've never been to that festival even though we've been to Davao thrice!

Thankfully, despite the rainy weather in Manila, the sun cooperated throughout our long weekend in Davao. In fact, it was so hot, it felt like my skin was burning! Weekend trip tip: Bring sunscreen.

We stayed for one night at our house in Davao, where my cousins stay for free. Thankfully, I've booked us a room in Marco Polo because there was no room for us at home. Despite the long weekend, none of my cousins went home to the province because we were there. That's also just an excuse, because I wanted to try the Marco Polo in Davao -- another one off my bucket list!

As soon as we landed, we went straight to McDonalds for breakfast. The taxi drivers are so much nicer compared to the ones here in Manila. They will give you back the change up to the last peso. And thanks to GrabTaxi, we were able to get discounted taxi fare, too.

After breakfast, we went straight to our house to drop off our bags and meet our cousins. Then off we went to Samal Island!

Samal Island

We were so unprepared for our trip. I thought Samal Island was like Boracay Island or Panglao beach where we can just pick any resort, and that the access was going to be easy. Nope. Our cousins made us look up resorts online. We had to pick a pretty cheap one because my sister and I had a budget, and we ended up paying for everything whenever we were with our cousins.

When we got off the roro at the port in Samal, we rode a tricycle at P40/head. That was pretty expensive! But the road to the resort we chose was pretty difficult, so we felt that it was worth it. If you could book a resort with a transfer, that would be so much better.

And when we got to the resort, that had a private gate and the guard wouldn't let us in without a reservation, we found out that they were already full and we can only stay for their daytime tour. Since the resorts in Samal are pretty far apart, we had no choice but to stay. Too bad the resort didn't have any snorkel or boat facilities so we were only able to enjoy the scenery, go swimming in the sea or in their infinity pools. But their pools also had salty water!


It was definitely not how I envisioned my trip to Samal Island! I forgot the name of the resort, but for the price we paid, it was good enough. You get what you pay for, I suppose.

It was definitely not how I envisioned Samal -- and ate Mako was so surprised why I kept saying we had to go. So despite the forgettable experience we had this year, I'm hoping I can come back, but visit a different part of the island, and book with a different resort!

We went back to the city and had a quick dinner with other cousins. My nephew invited us to the street foam party as part of Kadayawan Festival. So off we went, and along the way I couldn't help but notice the heavy military presence in the vicinity. But no one seemed to be bothered or afraid! They said it's common in their area, especially with the ongoing festival celebration.
I'm not much of a party girl, but it was so much fun! My cousins were so nervous because it was such a crush, and the roads were a bit slippery from all the foam, but it was nice to just dance in the dark and forget all my worries, especially after such a tiring week.

We had to get out soon after because they wanted to go home. I admit I was also afraid because the people started pushing. I think people pushing + slippery roads = disaster, so off we went. That was unforgettable, though!

The next day, we checked in at Marco Polo. We chose the Marco Polo because of its proximity to the dances (there's a stage right outside!) and when I contacted them they said its free for guests of Marco Polo but on a first come, first serve basis. So at eight in the morning, my sister and I checked in and I asked for two seats to the stage.

They said we can't, the seats are reserved for those in their membership program. I was so surprised and I complained that we were assured that seats were available to the guests, but to no avail. My sister and I just walked for thirty minutes under the sun because of the road blocks, we couldn't get seats to the stage, there was no room available yet, and we were thirsty and so sweaty. The receptionist finally told us we can avail of the pool area and facilities if we wanted to rest.

But we went to Davao for the festival, so we went to watch the dancing instead and ignored the sun, heat, and sweat.

Ahhh no regrets!





There are several stages set, and even though they didn't dance their full routine at the stage at Marco Polo, there was still a huge crowd! Their energy was certainly infectious, and the crowds endured the scorching heat just to watch the lively dances and colorful costumes.

Afterwards, I received a text from Marco Polo saying our room was ready. It turns out they upgraded us from their standard room to a deluxe room so that they can accommodate us early (at only 10am!).

For some reason, they also added an extra single bed and extra amenities even though there were only two of us. Ate Mako opted to sleep in the extra bed. Their extra bed actually felt more newer than the king-sized bed, but I'm not complaining.




After a quick lunch and shopping at Aldevinco, we were back at the hotel and enjoyed their pool. Their pool is actually pretty large, and there was plenty of space for everyone. There were two spaces that were roped off for those who wanted to do laps, and my sister and I had fun going back and forth. It was definitely a treat for us because we love to swim, but we rarely get the chance to do it unless we're on vacation.

Afterwards, my cousins and I met up again for dinner at Perch. They recommended it, and I've read it on other blogs too, so off we went. We tried the candied bacon, their steak rice, and a slab of steak. The servings are pretty generous for five people. Their cocktail drink wasn't as tasty as I wanted it to be, though, although the alcohol was pretty strong.





We left with full and happy bellies, that's for sure.

While my cousins went back to the festivities, ate Mako and I went back to the hotel for our spa appointment at Lazuli. Since their air conditioning wasn't working, we opted to have the full body massage at our room. I had my body scrub at the spa, and it was pretty good. The positioning of the in-room shower was awkward though, as anyone walking past your room outside will be able to see you if your room attendant opens the door.

My only complaint with Lazuli is that it took them 30 minutes past our massage appointment for them to go up to our room. We were already so sleepy and we just wanted to leave. Thankfully we already paid for the massages before we got started. Even though we were in Davao, we still locked up all our valuables in the in-room safe before we started the massage.

I think our Davao trip was a half and half success. In terms of enjoying the festival, I think we were able to do so, but aside from that, there were plenty of near misses! I hope our next trip will be so much better.

Thank you for the pleasant stay, Davao!

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