This is a late post, I apologize. I have been busy with life which I am sure you all are too. Anyway, I would like to share my Mati travel experience with everybody, especially for female solo travelers.
Mindanao is a part of the country not openly explored for many reasons which shouldn’t be the case, in my opinion. After my short trip to Mati, I was personally surprised because there are great spots in Davao Oriental that shouldn’t be kept hidden.
I will start from the very beginning, how I came up with the idea of traveling to Mati. It was actually simple- I wanted to take a long bus ride. It seemed that my last bus ride was a long time ago. With my friends’ recommendations, Mati seemed like the perfect detination to travel by bus.
How to get to Mati from Gensan
The commute was very straightforward. From Gensan for example, take a bus from the Bus terminal to Davao, which takes around 2-3 hours. Thereafter, take a bus going to Mati which will take approximately 5-6 hours. Expect one or two stops for inspection where you will be asked to bring your bags/luggage to pass through x-ray machines.
In my case, I would say it took between 9-10 hours from my town until I reached my accommodation in Mati. So you can imagine how exhausting this trip actually is.
Always bring snacks and drink lots of water on the way because, like me, I wasn’t feeling very well upon arriving, felt dizzy and nauseous. Probably because of lack of food, healthy ones at least.
Activities in Mati
Since I was only there for a few days, I didn’t have enough time to explore all the touristy spots. Add the fact that it was more rainy days than sunny didn’t help.
The first activity I want to mention is surfing. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting Mati to be a surfing spot, I think I missed that part when my friends were talking about it. So, I was surprised to learn that surfing is a big thing in Mati beach.
It is also a good thing when I think of it because it means we don’t need to go to some faraway places to surf since we have it here in Mindanao! Unfortunately, I didn’t try it because of the weather and I was alone. It would be fun to be doing it with other people. Besides, I have tried it in Bali already so it wasn’t like I was missing something. It was fun to see people surf and skim on the beach though.
On my next day, I have decided to do a day tour so I met with the same driver who drove me to the resort on the first day. We agreed on a day tour for 1,000 Php.
Our first stop was the popular island in the shape of a dinosaur. There is an option to trek up but since it was muddy and still gloomy that day, we decided not to but only to see it from the viewpoint.
Pangyan Falls & Hot Spring
Our next destination was Pangyan falls. This is located a little far from the city proper which takes around 40-50 minutes by motorcycle. What I loved more was the hot spring because it was perfect for a cold weather that day.
Calamba Farm Sea of Clouds
I need to tell you guys a story about how we reached this place because the sea of clouds is apparently a newly discovered spot in Davao de Oro. My tour guides (I have two) didn’t even know about this place, they only heard it from other drivers. Their curiosity plus my sense of adventure pushed us to see this place for ourselves.
Have you ever been lost while traveling or don’t know what to expect to a place you’re going? Not having heard nor seen a place before gives a thrilling feeling, a sense of excitement. So for me, this made my day tour more exciting. And once on top, they’ll have tons of great spots for photo taking that I’m sure everybody will like.
I haven’t mentioned the muddy road we have to drive through, only added more adventure.
A part of understanding a new place is by going to their museum. This museum explains a little history of the province as well as their music, clothing and many others. It’s a great way of learning about the place you’re visiting.
Although it has been raining non-stop that day, I wanted to have this photo taken while I’m still in Mati. It’s a real proof that I’ve been there, isn’t it?
Where I Stayed in Mati
Dahican Surf Resort
I read about this resort online. They have available rooms for groups and family and you need to book a day before your arrival date.
Being a solo traveler, I decided to book in a dormitory room. For one, it is the cheapest and two, it meant a new experience for me since I’ve never tried it yet in the Philippines. I did try it in Singapore though because hotels there were pretty expensive.
Funny story, I though it was only for females. I was surprised to see a man occupying opposite my bed space but he was okay, harmless. =) We had a little conversation and I learned that he was from a city close to where I live.
If you prefer staying in tents, you can rent for one which is way cheaper than staying in rooms.
This trip ended up way better than I was expecting it to be. Besides, all I wanted was a long bus ride anyway. =) I learned that there are many worth visiting places up north of Mindanao which if I have more time in the future, I will surely visit.