I went to Davao City for this year's Integrated Bar of the Philippines National Convention. Davao is the most progressive city of the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. It is the home of the Philippines highest peak - Mount Apo. It is also the home of the world famous Waling-Waling orchid (Vanda sanderiana), the majestic and the very rare Philippine eagle (Pitecophaga jefferyi) and the stinky but tasty durian fruit.
It is also the largest city in the world in terms of land area. Despite its vastness, it was not enough to contain the egos of 3,000+ lawyers who attended the convention. So after the lectures, I immediately shed my lawyer personality, transformed myself to Plant Chaser and off I went to Malagos Garden Resort to escape from my peers.
Malagos Garden Resort is about an hour's drive from the center of the city. The resort is owned by the family of my friend Rex Puentespina. He was featured in this blog in my earlier post "Close Encounter of the Airplant Kind". My friends, fellow lawyers and newbie plant enthusiasts Paul and Clarence accompanied me in the tour of the resort.
The resort has a walk-in aviary where guests can do bird feeding. Parrots, lories, parakeets, geese, ducks and finches competed for bird food on our palms. It was so much fun that it felt like we were kids again. The main attraction of the resort is the bird show but unfortunately there was no scheduled show when we were there.
The resort has a petting zoo where you can get up close and personal with farm animals and a big pond where you can fish or if you feel like a fish there's a big pool where you can swim.
Adjoining the resort is a goat farm where they raise goats, milk them and make goat cheese.
The farm makes all sorts of goat cheese and I must tell you they are all so yummy. You would not believe that we make cheese this good in the Philippines. The Malagos cheeses are available at the resort. For those of us who live in Metro Manila, the cheeses are available at Rustan's.
There's also a cacao farm and a chocolate factory. Willy Wonka denied us entry to the chocolate factory due to quarantine issues. Good thing because I have this very bad habit of repetitively dipping my pointy finger in anything chocolate and licking it after.
The resort is huge and has a well manicured lawn. The landscape is trully picturesque so I took loads of photos. The lawn is dotted with yuccas, agaves and furcreas.
This charming pathway leads to the cottages.
You can enjoy a bird's eye view of the resort from the top of the observation deck.
Kids can tire themselves in the playground.
Interesting plants abound in the resort. This was the whole purpose of our tour.
Huge Tillandsia xerographicas greet guests at the resort entrance.
This is a staghorn fern (Platycerium superbum), a big fern species from Australia.
This Multi-headed Cycas rhumpii grows unabated.
Cobra fern is a mutated Asplenium nidus. Leaves curl so much that they look infested by aphids and mealy bugs.
A very old Bantigue tree bonsai (Pemphis acidula)
I have never seen a Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) this tall.
Variegated furcrea selloa.
An eye catching community of Aechmea blantechiana.
The Calabash (Crescentia cujete) fruit has anthelmintic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Pumpkins as big as lawyers' egos.
After a half day tour of the resort and the nearby goat and cacao farms, we decided to bring our respective families to Malagos Garden Resort becuase it definitely deserves a second visit. The vow is to return to Davao.
Oh i forgot to mention, there's a huge orchid farm across the street from the resort but that is a forthcoming story.