Last weekend I went on a solo trip to one of the surfing sites in the Philippines, Mati City. It is the 5th class city and capital of the province of Davao Oriental. Famous for surfing and skim boarding but there are still a lot of things you can do there. 😊
Check out my experience over the weekend. And include this on your #travelgoals, #bucketlist and #wanderlust journey. 😀
HOW TO GET THERE
From Ecoland Bus Terminal in Davao City, you can take a bus with Mati signage. There are two bus liners that ply there. You can also choose either to take the non-stop, air conditioned or non-air conditioned bus.
In my case, I was able to take the air conditioned bus because the non-stop bus follows schedule (not every hour).
The fare is Php 240 and the travel time is 5-6 hours including all the stopover both in bus stops and terminals.
HOW TO GET AROUND The tourist destination in Mati is kinda far from each other, except the Baywalk and Clock Tower which both can be found in the city proper.
If you want to go around, you can either take a habal-habal (motorcycle), tricycle or rela. I am not sure if how much is the fare for the trike and rela since I took the habal-habal.
These habal-habal drivers will approach you once you get off at the bus terminal. The rate will differ on where you will go. Try to negotiate to lower the rate if you think it’s too much.
For me, I hired to tour me around and dropped me off at Dahican Beach. My driver, Kuya Mon 0935 4768200 gave me a rate of Php 500. The next day, he charged me Php 150 to pick up from Dahican Beach and drop off at the Bus Terminal.
Our first stop is the Sleeping Dinosaur.
Supposedly, you can get off at the viewing deck before you arrive in the terminal. However, I chose not to because I was worried that I will find it hard to look for a vehicle to ride going to the terminal.
It is about 10-11 kilometers away from the terminal. Or about 15-20 minutes ride.
As the name suggest, it is a hill that formed like a sleeping dinosaur. A portion of it is surrounded with seawater. Visitors can also trek on it. It will take 30 minutes.
But for people like me who has limited time, I just took photos and appreciated it from the viewing deck. 🦖
Before we headed to our next stop, we stopped at the city’s Clock Tower. It can be found near the City Hall. Near the clock is written the date 1903 when the place was declared as a municipality.
Last stop before heading to Dahican Beach is their Baywalk. It is located by the sea. It is surrounded by stalls and restaurants. Here you can find and buy the famous Empanada. Kuya Mon kept on asking me if I will buy but I didn’t since I won’t directly go home from Mati. But, when I go back, for sure I will try this.
Many people both locals and tourists would go here especially when the sun is about to set. Some are just relaxing and chatting while others are taking pictures, eating and even dancing. The sunset here is beautiful too.
Kuya Mon then dropped me off at Amihan sa Dahican. He has been promoting and convincing me to stay here but I already had a reservation at Dahican Surf Resort.
For those who plan to go to Mati City, you can either stay at Dahican Surf Resort or Amihan sa Dahican. Actually, they are just a few walk away from each other.
The difference might be that DSR has rooms and tents that you can choose from. Their fan room costs Php 2000 (5 pax), Php 2400 (6pax), Php 3600 (10pax), Php 4800 (12 pax) and AC room for Php 1500 (2pax) while their tent rental is Php 300-500 plus the entrance fee of Php 200 per pax. You can reach them at their Facebook page Dahican Surf Resort. They only have common comfort room and shower. They have Surf Shack Bar and Grill where you can dine and drink. They also teach surfing lessons.
On the other hand, Amihan sa Dahican only offers tent for those who want to overnight. The rate is Php 320. They have a store where guests can buy their needs. However, they don’t sell liquors/alcohol drinks and cigarettes. They don’t allow drinking within the premise since they are protecting the marine life of the turtles and the kids that they are supporting. They advise guests who want to drink to go to DSR. They also offer surfing lessons for Php 500 per hour. And they can cook for their guests at a corresponding fee. If you want to stay here, please send me a message so that I can give you the contact number of the caretakers.
Wherever you choose to stay, always keep in mind to be responsible guests. Do not throw garbage anywhere. Help the people protect their paradise.
I did not go to Mati City just to chill and eat even if I want to just sleep all day. Hahaha.
But I went there to do something for the first time and tick off it from by bucketlist. That is surfing!
I have been to Siargao but was not able to do it. And so, I will not miss this time.
I went to Amihan sa Dahican for the surfing lesson. My instructors, Kuya Winston, Qiara and Kuya Jose were so patient with me the whole time.
First thing we did since it was my first time was to do the basic. Paddle, ready and stand up.
After learning it, we went to the water and applied what they taught me. After few minutes, I was kinda frustrated thinking that 1 hour may be over yet all I did was paddle. But, I did not give up. I kept on trying and motivating myself that I can do it. Plus my instructors are encouraging me and very helpful.
Until I did once, twice, thrice and I did enjoy. It was the best experience though.
After falling for a couple of times, I did it.
I was very happy after that and felt so fulfilled. 🙂
My instructors Kuya Winston & Qiara 🙂
After that, I went back to DSR to change and prepare my things. Then, checked out and headed back to Amihan sa Dahican where Kuya Mon will pick me up.
Indeed, it was an experience that I will always look back and cherish. Not just because I was able to surf. But before the trip, there were people who told me that it’s gonna be hard and unsafe for me to go there alone. This motivated me more to do it. Also, I was able to meet and chat with new friends (the locals). Talked about their lives and how beautiful & peaceful their place is.
Definitely, I will be back in Mati City. First for the empanada. Second for the museum (I missed to visit because I was running out of time). Third is for the turtle at Amihan sa Dahican. Fourth is for the surfing. And lastly, of course, for the people and my newfound friends.
- Mati City is far from Davao City so it is better to depart Davao City early in the morning. Much better also if you can take the non-stop bus.
- When traveling to/from Mati City, you can bring your foods but there will also be stopover.
- It is better if you contact a habal-habal driver to pick you up and tour around the city.
- If you have already contacted a driver, you can ask the bus driver or conductor to drop you off at Sleeping Dinosaur so that you won’t need to go back there. It will save you time. Then, inform your habal-habal driver to pick you there.
- Do not forget to try the famous Empanada at their Baywalk.
- Buy your dinner at the city proper before heading to Dahican Beach. Though, Dahican Surf Resort has a restaurant but the foods being served is limited.
- You can also buy your necessity like snacks, water, toiletries, etc. in the city. There are many convenience stores in the area. There are also banks for financial thing.
- If you want to stay in a room, reserve a room in advance at Dahican Surf Resort. There rooms are very limited that it gets fully booked fast.
- If you opt to stay in a tent, there are options to choose from. You can either bring your own tent or rent their tent at either Amihan sa Dahican or Dahican Surf Resort. There is also an area a few meters away from DSR where you can put up your tent.
- Do not leave Mati City without surfing. May it be your first time or not, or may you be a beginner or an expert, you should do it. It is indeed fun! 🙂
I hope you can pay a visit at Mati City. It is kinda far but it is totally worth it. Plus the people are so accommodating and friendly. You will not just gain experience and stories to tell but you will also find new friends. 😀