Reasons why Compostela Valley should be your next getaway
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With its long name and under-the-radar destinations, Compostela Valley is arguably among the underrated provinces in the popular Davao Region. Nicknamed ComVal, it was carved out of the 11 northeastern towns of Davao del Norte in 1998 which is comprised mostly of flatlands. It will be rebranded into Davao de Oro later this year in keeping with its Davao heritage, and lure more tourists.
Here are some of the golden reasons why this land of gold should be your next getaway.
This town is ComVal’s only coastal area and has a vast stretch of powdery sand in Davao Gulf dotted by reasonably-priced resorts. Lunod Island (St. Anthony), it is part of the 3,433-ha Mabini Protected Landscape and Seascape which is ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving, and a nesting site of the endangered hawksbill and leatherback marine turtles.
But if you got a good budget, you can visit or stay at Lubi Plantation, a posh leisure complex managed by the prestigious Thailand-based Dusit Thani group. This 36-hectare leisure project a master-planned British-style township and a low-density facility to ensure guest’s privacy. It boasts of an exclusive beach, 18 luxurious villas, restaurants, a swimming pool, recreational and watersports facilities, a wellness center, and an educational nature program around Kopiat Island.
The new luxe resort aims to serve as an alternative gateway to ComVal with its 30-minute fast catamaran transfer from the Dusit jetty in Lanang, Davao City.
ComVal’s gateway town, it is home to Camp Manuel T. Yan Eco Military Park and Tribal Village, a section of the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry (Agila) Division base where guests can get military-type fun like shooting, boodle fight meals, treks, obstacle courses and challenging trails. This summer, it is offering the five-day Major, Major Weight Loss Campain on April 10-14 and?May 15-19 for those who want to slim down and stay fit.
Also within the camp is the Mahayahay Cave, the habitat of small bats, a rubber plantation, wild deer and bird sanctuaries, a model waste management system, bamboo and lawaan forests.
From Davao City, you can take a snapshot at the ComVal boundary tableau landmark at an elevated part of the national highway.
The provincial capital, this town is the hub of transport, commerce, and establishments such as hotels, dining outlets, and other tourist services. A must-see at the Provincial Capitol is the Solidarity Ring, a 99% gold jewel worth P 1.5 M forged from coins and nuggets contributed by townsfolk to symbolizes their unity and aspirations.
Within the complex is the newly-opened Bahay Katutubo which showcases the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous peoples such as the Manobo, Mansaka, Mandaya, Dibabawon, and Mangguangan tribes. There are occasional weavers who demonstrate the intricate handweaving of the tribal fabrics.
For pasalubong shopping, head to the public market or supermarket where you can buy an assortment of fruits, organic rice, upland coffee, and their trademark dark chocolate bars.
If you are into spelunking, check out San Vicente Cave system which has four caves of varied attractions—a sinking cave which starts with a 60 ft. drop, a popcorn-like crystallized formation, limestone-stone filled, and a 40-foot drop with an underground spring.
This upland town is regarded as Davao Region’s summer capital because of its altitude and series of refreshing waterfalls and spring resorts. The hilltop Heaven’s Peak Highland Resort gives a commanding view of gold-rich peaks on board the cable car, among the few of its kind in Mindanao. It grows organic vegetables and livestock to offer a healthy farm-to-table dining experience.
With its cool crisp mountains air, it is best to stay at the tribal-themed rooms to give you time to explore the great outdoors—the biodiversity-rich Mt. Candalaga, the Mt. Tagub-Kampalili Ranges Protected Landscape, and the trilogy of Tagbibinta, Marangig and Pyalitan, the most accessible and Instagrammable among the dozens of falls in the town.
Paddle a bamboo raft at the placid Lake Leonard, a 200-hectare scenic caldera lake which is the core of the Eco-Tourism Park which has a modest dining and function area, and native cottages for picnics.
A few minutes away is Mainit Hot Spring, an astounding rock formation surrounded by forested slopes where the spring cascades into a hot waterfall. Massage services are available for a complete therapeutic treat.
Climb the Tower of Light the town’s iconic 45-foot sculptured mixed media with a spiral staircase which simulates the flame’s movement. The only structure which survived Typhoon Pablo (Bopha) in 2012, it is open year-round to guided group tours to encourage small community-based economic activities.
Cool off at the 4-tiered Tadya Falls which emanates from 4 cold spring water sources and is called as such due to its jar-like contour which is called tadyaw in the Mandaya language.
Getting There: ComVal is accessible by public transport (aircon buses or UV Express vans) from Davao City in the south or Butuan in the north. Vans and buses make a stop at the terminal in Nabunturan, where you can take vans or jeeps bound for the interior municipalities.
Where to Stay: A classy and inexpensive lodging is the newly-opened Qi Xiang Business Inn, which has the basic amenities of perhaps a two-star hotel. Cheaper alternatives are Cozy Quartelle and ComVal Hotel which have their modest food outlets, all located in Nabunturan.