Thursday, February 28, 2013

Overnight Stay at Marco Polo Davao

In the city, we stayed at Marco Polo Davao, one of 13 hotels operated by the Marco Polo group in Asia.

From its website:
Standing in the heart of Davao’s shopping and business district, with 245 elegant guest rooms and suites, Marco Polo Davao is your first step to the Davao experience! Retreat to any of our rooms and suites, which are elegant realisations of comfort, warmth and space. All the rooms and suites in Marco Polo Davao are equipped with broadband internet and other amenities befitting a business traveler.Marco Polo Davao is extremely close to the airport at a distance of just 12 kms and is a 20-minute drive by car or by the hotel’s shuttle bus, which plies to and from the airport at a nominal fee.

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I'm happy that we chose Marco Polo Davao because the hotel was spacious and well-maintained.
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Lobby Lounge

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Spacious Lobby

Breakfast was at Cafe Marco and it was also not wanting in choices. Food quality was at par with international standards.

More importantly, our superior room was very comfortable and was equipped with modern facilities. We were lucky that we were billeted in the floor that was recently renovated.



Amenities at Marco Polo Davao include a lap pool,
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fitness center for health buffs,
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and the highly acclaimed Lazuli Spa. Having heard a lot of good reviews, we decided to give in and spend a few hours relaxing. 
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My private room had its own shower and steam areas. Lazuli Spa also makes sure guests are at ease by playing soothing music and having warm lights.
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I chose the signature A Touch of Lazuli oil massage which combined Eastern, Western, and deep tissue techniques. I had no difficulty sleeping that night thanks to the very capable hands of my therapist. 
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Off To Dreamland

With my very positive experience, I say that Marco Polo is arguably the best hotel in Davao. I would not think twice and would stay here again the next time I'm in Davao.

Marco Polo Davao is located at 81540 C.M. Recto Street, Davao City. For more information, call (6382)221-0888 or click here.
Lazuli Spa is located at Marco Polo Davao. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Eating Our Way Through Davao City

I know there are a lot of things one can do when in Davao City, but aside from zorbing...

Rolling Down the Hill

my friends and I wasted most of our time indulging in food related activities.

We first went to the Crocodile Park where there's a row of restaurants that prepare crocodile meat.
Riverwalk Grill

Having had a previous bad experience eating crocodile meat, I can only watch as my brave friends try these exotic dishes:
Croc Sisig

Crocodile Steak

Croco Roast Ribs

Still at the Crocodile Park, there was a line forming for Sweet Spot Ice Cream parlor so we all got curious.

It turned out that Sweet Spot offers unique flavors such as crocodile-durian which had a taste profile and texture that weirded me out.

During our stint in the city, we also went to Abreeza Mall and randomly chose to eat at Ranchero. It was only later that I learned that Ranchero is a popular local restaurant known for its ribs.
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Food at Ranchero reminded me how comforting it is to eat good Filipino food 
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Complimentary Starter

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Fried Squid

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Seafood Soup

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Sizzling Sisig

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Bagoong Rice

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Salted Egg & Chicharon Rice

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Baby Back Ribs

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Lechon Kawali

Most say that a trip to Davao is also not complete without eating at Ahfat Seafood Plaza

While the food was not bad, I would have preferred if we went elsewhere because dining in this local institution felt like eating at any other Chinese restaurant back home (read: nothing exciting or different).  On the plus side, our bill was a whole lot cheaper compared to what we usually pay in Manila.
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Shark's Fin Soup

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Sweet ad Sour Ribs

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Broccoli in Oyster Sauce

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Sauteed Prawns

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Fried Eel

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Crab Sotanghon

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Steamed Crabs

If all the eating wasn't enough, we also chose to buy food for our pasalubong needs. Before going home, we dropped by Magsaysay Market for durian and suha....


and Lola Abon's, home of the best durian candy, for our candy fix.
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Although Davao is not really known as a food capital, there certainly are a lot of restaurants in the city that make the eating experience worthwhile.

Riverwalk Grill is located at Davao Crocodile Park. For more information, call (082)2219643.
Sweet Spot Ice Cream is located at Davao Crocodile Park. For more information call (082) 225 0184 or 09152071607. 
Ranchero is located at 3/f Abreeza Ayala Mall J.P. Laurel Avenue, Davao City. For more information, click here.
Ahfat Seafood Plaza has 4 locations in Victoria Plaza Compound J.P. Laurel Avenue, Bajada, Davao City. For more information, call (082)2240002 or (082)2262688.
Lola Abon's is located at 23 San Miguel Village Matina Davao. For more information, click here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Staying at Pearl Farm Beach Resort Davao

The most popular resort in Davao is Pearl Farm so my friends and I stayed there for a night.

From Pearl Farm's website:
Nestled In the idyllic islands of Samal & Malipano, The Pearl Farm Beach Resort is a former cultivation farm for luxurious south sea pearls. Now, it continues its essence of prime luxury as a premier destination in the Philippines and as a perfect hideaway for those in search of blissful retreat.

Due to the unfortunate stranded-in-the-middle-of-the-sea incident, it was already late when we arrived at Pearl Farm.
Welcome Drinks

Pearl Farm at Night

We stayed in a Samal room which was perched above water level and was patterned after stilt houses. I failed to take a picture of our room but believe me when I say that the room was old and needed sprucing. 

Pearl Farm offers buffet dinner for guests but we passed because the options didn't look appetizing.
Buffet Dinner Dishes

We chose to order ala carte and food quality was decent with prices reasonable considering that we were staying in a resort.
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Binakol Soup

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Crispy Pata

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Crispy Chicken

We capped dinner with complimentary cake given by Pearl Farm to celebrate the anniversary of our  friends Frank & Anj. 
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The next day we headed straight to Maranao Restaurant for breakfast.
Maranao Restaurat

Food selection was a few notches higher than what Pearl Farm offered during dinner.

After a hearty meal of waffles, bacon, and everything in between, I finally got the chance to explore Pearl Farm Beach Resort:
Parola Bar



Swimming Pool

Souvenir Shop

Ylang-ylang Spa

Mandaya Weaving Center

Tennis Court

Truth be told, the beach fronting Pearl Farm is not ideal for swimming and it's better to head to Malipano, a private island owned by the resort.    
Malipano Island

I was pleasantly surprised that Malipano Island had fine white sand and clear blue waters.
Sand Bar at Malipano

Guests can also take part in water sports activities at Malipano. Just make sure to book in advance with the front desk.

Before lunch, we took the ferry from Pearl Farm back to the city. I didn't wish to have stayed longer because the resort had seen better days and it didn't live up to hype. 

On a positive note, Pearl Farm Beach Resort is currently undergoing renovations, so I'm sure future vacationers will have a better appreciation of the resort. 

Pearl Farm Beach Resort is located at Kaputian, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao. For more information, click here.
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