Sweet Escape: exploring Baganga, Davao Oriental

TO cap off the month of August (a month filled with long weekends! Yay!), my friend and I decided to go on a quick weekend getaway from the city.

Mindful of our budget and with the help of internet research, we decided to spend our weekend adventure on the eastern side of Davao Region.

Baganga is a first class municipality of Davao Oriental Province which is the easternmost province in the country and is surrounded by the Philippine Sea, part of the Pacific Ocean and the Davao Gulf.

With Kuya Jojo. Too bad he does not bring a phone with him but if you happen to spot him at the downtown terminal we highly recommend him as a motorcycle driver/tour guide.

We travelled early on Saturday morning (around 5am) and arrived at around noon time in Baganga. My travel buddy Claudette initially contacted a motorcycle driver to tour us around the nearby spots in Baganga but we were kinda bummed because he was not available when we arrived. Thank God we found another motorcycle driver/tour guide: Kuya Jojo who was kind enough and toured us around the municipality for just P500.

The boulders going to the Curtain falls

 Campawan Curtain Falls

Campawan Curtain Falls

About a 30 minute bumpy ride from downtown Baganga and a quick five minute hike is really worth it just to see this beaut. Located in Barangay Campawan, Curtain Falls really does resemble a kurtina with its curtain-like cascading waters.

The best part is that there’s no entrance fee! For those who want to stay and chill in the area cottages are also available for minimal fee.

Baganga Sunrise Boulevard.

Baganga Sunrise Boulevard

Back in 2012, Typhoon Pablo left Baganga devastated and these whitewashed mangroves are a living testament that there is still beauty in the broken. Ironically, we went there on high noon but nonetheless, the place is really beautiful.

Located along the coastal road of the municipality, this is another “entrance fee free” tourist spot in the area. The boulevard also has amenities such as a restaurant, kid’s playground and beach huts (rent at P300).

The inviting waters of Lake Carolina.
Lake Carolina

Located at Barangay Salingcomot, Claudette said that the lake really kind of resembles the Enchanted River of Hinatuan in Surigao with its blue-green water. Lake Carolina is still undeveloped but nonetheless it’s still a perfect spot to escape the heat with its cold water. Other than tourists, many locals were also goes there for a dip.

Entrance fee in Lake Caroline is only P5 pesos per person but we paid P20 since we were with Kuya Jojo.

Balite Hot Spring

Balite Hot Spring

We almost forgot about this spot on our list but thanks to Kuya Jojo for remembering to take us to Barangay Kinablangan where it is located. Since it was a hot afternoon (which was then followed by a quick drizzle that time) there were no people when we arrived. But according to Kuya Jojo people mostly go there at night times. The hot spring closes around 11 pm.

Entrance fee for Balite Hot Spring is P10. Cottages are also available.

White sandy shoreline of San Victor Island

San Victor Island
This small island is just a quick five-minute boat ride from Barangay San Victor sure is a gem and another testament of rising after the storm as it was also affected by Typhoon Pablo back in 2012. Its powdery white sand and clear water is sure inviting and perfect for a beach day.

Tents, aircon and non-aircon rooms are also available for those who want to spend the night in the island. There’s no ready to order food in the island but they offer cooking services for a minimal fee so it’s better to buy rice and fish in the market before heading to the island but since we forgot their staff is kind enough to go to the market for us. For the record we had grilled fish for dinner and it was yummy!

We slept in the non-aircon room which is at P270 per head inclusive of the environmental fee and boat ride. Environmental fee is at P30 while boat ride to and from is at P50.

Getting to Baganga
Baganga is about a 5 to 6 hours van ride from Davao City. Buses are also available at the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal. Another route is to ride a bus going to Mati City which is a 3-hour ride and transfer to another bus from there going to Baganga.
We went home at around 8 am and arrived safely in Davao at around 1 pm the next day.


We initially budgeted P2,000 each for this trip and here’s the breakdown of our expenses:
Davao to Baganga – P700
Lunch (van quick stop) – P130
Motorcycle for the day tour – P500
Entrance fees – P60
San Victor non-aircon room with boat ride – P540
Dinner (P200 for ingredients and P100 labor) – P300
Fare from Brgy. San Victor to Baganga van terminal – P50
Baganga to Davao – P700
Lunch (van quick stop) – P140
TOTAL: P3,120/2 = P1,560 each

We did not go over budget which is an achievement!

So the next time you crave for a quick getaway, why not go east and enjoy pocket-friendly and adventure filled vacay in Baganga. See you again soon, Davao Oriental!

*As Published in SunStar Davao on September 2, 2016*

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