At the heart of Davao Gulf lies a place where each moment becomes a cherished memory forever shared and treasured by you and your family. A place surrounded by the beauty of nature and the history of a people. A home you can call your own. This is the Hijo Estates, right at the heart of Davao Gulf.

Last September 8, I was one of the lucky few who got invited to join Hijo Estate’s Fiesta and Partner’s day. I was joined by my fellow Davao bloggers that day and we were all promised a fun, relaxing and informative trip around the Estate, and, for sure, that was what we got! I will be recounting my experience during the tour in this post and I hope I can leave with you some information regarding this beautiful treasure at the heart of Davao Gulf.

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We were told to meet up at the Estate around 1 PM and, coming from Tagum, I had to go there by myself. Good thing I’ve been to the place a couple of times in the past and I didn’t get lost. We all met up at The Spot, the estate’s very own fishing spot/restaurant, where the staff accommodated us and offered us a snack before we officially started our tour. During the bit of free I had waiting for the others to arrive, I took the chance to take photos of the breath-taking location.

“A tranquil fishing pavilion surrounded by swaying palm trees, The Spot is the ideal place for first-time fishers–especially those who want to taste what they’ve caught. The Spot has also been hailed as a shining example of sustainable architecture, with huts made from native materials such as cogon grass, anahaw trunks, coconut lumber, and bamboo.”

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A truly peaceful and serene area. I just wanted to stay there and relax but we had a tour to start! We boarded the estate’s very own shuttle cars and off we went. The first stop was The Forest section.

During the ride we passed by the Davao Gulf. It was a beautiful site, with the wind blowing in from the sea. We really were in the heart of the Davao Gulf!

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We also passed hundreds of coconut trees, all perfectly in line, stretching out as far as the eye can see! Imagine all the coconuts they harvest and have to work with!

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Nearing the end of this leg of the tour, our shuttle halts to a stop because the residents of the forest were out and about. And by residents I mean the wild monkeys and boars! They littered the road and the driver had to stop our car for a bit and wait for them to make way for us. It was surprising how they weren’t startled by the presence of humans or a car at all! Our tour guide tells us that the estate intended it to be this way. To have the animal residents as close to nature as possible. They don’t herd them away whenever a tour is taking place. Instead, they let them do as they please. This way, the monkeys and boars still ‘own’ the area. This is still their territory and the tourists are the visitors. I like this idea better than having them caged up!

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We got to see the ‘boss’ of this particular territory, too. His name is ‘Bungi’. Bungi, in visayan, refers to someone with a harelip or cleft lip. He got the name after acquiring his ‘bungi’ features during a ‘clan war’. There are other territories around the plantation and sometimes the leaders have fights.

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After the residents of the forest let us through, we reach the Elevated Walk! I have been here before and I think I’ve finished the whole length of the hanging bridges in the past. But during this visit, we only traversed some of it and had to head back for the rest of our tour.

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After the very fun walk, we headed back to our shuttle and we were whisked away to a part of the estate I have never been to before.

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The view blew me away. As a photographer, the place definitely tickled my fancy. I started imagining all the photo shoots I could do here! But, as I thought of shoot opportunities, Hijo Resources Corp. and ICTSI had bigger, grander plans! The Hijo Port is an accredited PEZA zone and is planned to be 54-hectares large, strategically located to connect Mindanao to major Asian markets. It is set to be the largest container-handling fleet in Mindanao upon its completion in 2015.

Not only was the view breath-taking, but the view that the Hijo Resources Corp. has for Mindanao is just as breath-taking. I don’t know much about how ports operate but I do know how my camera works so… it was photos galore we go! It’s not every day you can take photos with these gigantic pieces of machinery! Or I think it’s some sort of mobile building… or something.

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We took quite some time taking photos here but we had a tour to finish! Our shuttle took us to the next stop of our tour which was the Orchard and Plantations. We had to exit the resort area and take the road heading for Mati to get to the next destination. We passed by some banana plantations along the way.

Pick a variety of in season fruits at the Orchard like Durian, Mangosteen, Lanzones, Pomelo, and Rambutan. A unique escape that can only be found in Banana Beach, a unique Davao Resort.”

“Enrich your mind as you learn the artistry of growing bananas and harvesting coconuts at the plantation. Learn and understand the research and meticulous process behind each Hijo’s Twin Rivers product.”

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We saw saplings of bananas that they are cross-breeding. It was a pretty sight. But what I remember most about this part of the trip was the coco sugar that they sold. I bought a pack for my dad. It’s supposed to be good sugar that even diabetic people can consume! 

The products produced and sold by Hijo are branded Twin Rivers. Be sure to pick some up when you visit!

After my purchase, we leave the orchard and head straight to the more popular section of the estate. The Banana Beach! 

“Made for real-life adventures and adventurers at heart, Hijo’s casual, tropical-themed resort has something for everyone: native-inspired accommodations, numerous beach and water sports, and diverse activities, from forest and river tours to an enchanting night safari.”

Most people refer to the Hijo Estate as ‘Banana Beach’ because this is the part that a lot of tourists visit. It is the world’s ONLY beach inside a banana plantation! Amazing, yes?

During this tour, though, we did not go towards the beach area but here’s photos of the pool area and the air-conditioned casitas. 

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To check out rates and other forms of accommodation at the Banana Beach, click HERE.

And finally, we reach Lanikai!

“Set within the sprawling Hijo Plantation, Lanikai, Hawaiian for ‘heavenly sea’, is Davao’s ultimate private playground. Outdoor buffs can indulge in a wide variety of activities, from kayaking to camping, then return to the tranquil seclusion of the resort. Lanikai extends to include a lush forest, Madaum river, and the Davao Gulf.”

I have never been inside the Lanikai area before so it was pretty special that it was during this celebration that I get to visit it. We were greeted by a music and dance number performed by students of a local school.

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We then head inside where a Cocktail Party was taking place. We were all so inappropriately dressed so it was a bit of a struggle to go in. We eventually did and headed to the back to see the pool.

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While everyone mingled and socialised and ate, I was chilling by my infinity pool, sipping wine.

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This is how I roll.

Kidding aside, during the cocktail party, CEO Rosanna Tuazon-Fores gave a speech and talked about their vision of Hijo Resources Inc. and for Davao and Mindanao. My favourite line from her speech was:

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“We can’t predict the future, but we can create the future.”

During this tour I saw how Hijo Resources Inc. managed to develop the land most beautifully while keeping nature intact. We may not see what the future holds but from what I saw, experienced and learned during my trip, Hijo can definitely create a future I am very much excited to see and experience!

I would like to thank Hijo Resources Inc for inviting us and welcoming us to the estate! I had the most enjoyable experience and have learned so much! I am looking forward to seeing Tagum as the next tourist capital of the South and I am very much excited for the future that Hijo is envisioning and building!

For more information on the things you can do at the resort, please head on over to their website:

Hijo Estate Resort

and experience nature like I did!

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