“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
As my series of posts related to Mindanao draws to a close, I would like to share with you two practical notes – itinerary and expenses.
Arrival in Cagayan de Oro from Manila
White Water Rafting
Day trip to Camiguin
Cagayan de Oro to Malaybalay, Bukidnon
Divine Mercy Shrine in El Salvador, Misamis Oriental
Dahilayan Forest Park in Camp Phillips, Bukidnon
Del Monte Clubhouse in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon
Around Malaybalay, Bukidnon
Malaybalay, Bukidnon to Davao City
Central Mindanao University in Maramag, Bukidnon
Viewpoint in Quezon, Bukidnon
Philippine Eagle Center and Malagos Garden Resort in Calinan, Davao
Eden Nature Park in Toril, Davao
I’ve researched long and hard for this trip, since I wanted to get the best out of our week-long adventure. Yet, some destinations proved to be more enticing than the others, and if I would do this trip again, I would tweak the schedule accordingly.
1. Camiguin deserves more than a day. I could easily spend two or three days on its clear waters and white sand beaches as well as its soothing hot spring. (Days 1 to 3 will definitely be allotted to Camiguin!)
2. Do white water rafting. I had to plead my mother to join us, and she has no regrets! It’s a must when in CdO. However, after the rafting, you can head to Malaybalay, with a stopover at the Del Monte Clubhouse of course. Forget the tough steak, try their cheeseburger! Skip Dahilayan to save on money. There’s really hardly anything to see that deserves the entrance fee and the activities are just way overpriced.
3. Shorten your Malaybalay stay – it is crowded, and didn’t exactly offer the solace that you would look for in a province. The beauty of Bukidnon lies outside Malaybalay. There’s nothing more refreshing that the beautiful sun rising from the agricultural lands covered in fog. The rolling hills in Quezon is another picturesque scenery that you shouldn’t miss.
4. Samal is another idyllic destination. It’s the place I would want to get back to (except for the bat sanctuary) if I were given the chance to go back in Davao.
5. Forget the shuttle tour in Eden, and walk instead. Though physically exhausting, trekking might be the best way to see the area.
While I normally try to share the rough costs in my trips, I hardly post the total costs of my trips. I’ve always argued that each one travels differently. Accommodation and food preferences vary greatly among people. I am not a budget traveler, but I am budget-conscious. This year, I promised myself to be more careful about spending. Here is the fruit of my labor – P16,400 (approx 365 usd) for a week-long adventure!
This we did not scrimp on, except for one meal which we chose not to indulge in as we were too full to eat. Must-try’s are the following: sinuglaw in CdO, pastel from Camiguin, the cheeseburger from Del Monte Clubhouse and durian coffee in Davao.
The costs exclude the fruits we ate as my mom paid for them and I wasn’t able to jot down the exact values.
We rented a van for six days since we were eight in the group and six of which are senior citizens. If you’re traveling solo, you could always opt for the bus as a cheaper alternative, but you might miss out on some of the stopovers that we had. If you’re more adventurous, hail a habal-habal (motorcycle) to bring you to places around town.
*We only had 3 airport transfers as the one going to Davao airport was included in the van rental cost. The taxi from our house to the airport cost P350, shared within our family of 4. The van from Laguindingan airport to CdO was P1000, and the airport taxi to our house was also the same.
**As agreed with Kuya Buloy, the van owner, we paid for the gasoline of the van on the way back to CdO. We only used half of the amount stated above.
This is where we actually saved money. We stayed in Tune Hotels in CdO for P1200 per room per night, 1st Avenue Apartelle in Malaybalay for P600 a room per night, and Las Casitas de Angela Inn II in Davao for P1000 per room per night. I would recommend the first two (remember: no frills), but not the last one. I’d gladly choose Tune Hotels Davao for that, which we saw from the outside on the way to Sasa wharf.
I’ve put all the tourist-related stuff here, except the tips. Just a few more notes, the entrance fee to White Island was P20 per head, while the boat rental was P420, which could transport 6 (skinny) people. Also, the entrance fee to Paradise Island Resort included P50 as consumable. For Eden Nature Park, entrance fee was P200, while the shuttle tour was P120 per head.
We could’ve saved on baggage fees (we were flying on budget airlines), but my father forgot that he had a wallet swiss army knife! We had to check it in, and bought 20 more kilos on the way back as my mother decided to buy some fruits in Davao.
The CD from Bugsay White Water Rafting is very pricey, but who wouldn’t want to have the photos of their rafting experience? The souvenir items include a pack of monk’s blend coffee from the Monastery of Transfiguration, five shirts from Davao and two pieces of malong.
I was lucky to score cheap tickets to Cagayan de Oro and from Davao from two budget airlines. One of them proved to be a horrible mistake as our flight was delayed for 5 hours! Anyway, a regular economy class ticket will cost you P5000 each way, while budget economy starts at around P2000 on Philippine Airlines.
Hope this helps! Happy travels! =)