Sunday, May 20, 2012

Feeling Good in Hijo Estate Resorts

At the heart of Davao Gulf is a place where coconut trees tower in rows, a sprawling forest remains untouched, and banana trees flourish. Vast lands lay between the quiet waters of Madaum and Tagum rivers, where local tribes share the riverbanks with white-collared kingfishers, each nourishing their home. A place where every morning is a view of the sun from the ocean's horizon, where nature and man commune, where everything is offered to your delight. ~ Hijo Estate resort brochure
The view from Lanikai, the heritage house of the Tuason Family.
Mention "Banana Beach" and good memories will surely play in my mind. My work in the Tagum City Information Office regularly brings me to this wonderful place and each time I set foot on its productive soil, new discoveries, adventures and memories are definitely made. The beach surely lets you go on a reflective break, providing you calm and serenity. Going through it means communing with nature in mere footsteps.

I've been here many times and the place have surely danced through the ballad of our time, and had continuously reinvented itself to make it more attractive to tourists clamoring for a perfect getaway from the noise of the metro. This has been hyped up through the launching of the Hijo Estate Resorts which includes the Banana Beach, which is undeniably the world's only beach resort inside a banana plantation.

The Lanikai Heritage House adds flare to the resort which is nestled in the 760-hectare, mixed-use tourist development along Davao Gulf in Barangay Madaum, Tagum City. In its press release, the resort prides that both Banana Beach and Lanikai offer resort accommodations and world-class swimming pools designed to cater to individuals who wish to indulge in seaside luxury. Indeed, Lanikai stands up to its Hawaiian meaning of "heaven by the sea."

The Hijo Estate Resorts also boasts of The Spot, which is a perfect for family or group of friends who wish to enjoy the peace and quiet of fishing. The Spot offers wide varieties of fishes in its pond: talakitok, bangus and if you're lucky, a barracuda.

The exciting part of the resort, for me, is the ecotourism tour where you will have a chance of a close encounter with monkeys and occasional sighting of wild boars, and most importantly, the 200-meter canopy walk where you will have a good view of the 60-hectare second-growth forest abundant with dao and anahaw, the country's national leaf. It is also where we released the pythons rescued by DENR last year. This what makes this part of the tour exciting. I was told that probably, these pythons are now gone in the wild since they are favorite "pulutans" of the wild boars or baboy ramo that are roaming free in this forest.

Just recently, the resort offered its river cruise where guests will surely have a great time traversing the Madaum River made beautiful by the towering century-old mangroves on each side, with only the sound of your jetty and the singing birds accompanying you.

True indeed, the wonders of Hijo Estate Resorts can be described as such: a vibrant plantation, rich foliage, a long stretch of pristine beach and a heritage home. It's a roll-in one with its own beach, its own forest, its own private fishing spot, twin rivers within  the estate that opens to the Davao Gulf, and accommodations that range from casual, open-air huts along the beach to private, exclusive rooms in a heritage house.

It also resonates with rich history. Erstwhile known as Hijo Plantation, the resort rise within its soil a historic and still-functioning banana plantation within its property. It is famous for being the first banana plantation to start exporting Cavendish bananas to Japan, with its first shipment made on May 21, 1969. It's the sole company in Davao that offers banana plantation tours that show the public how bananas are propagated, raised, harvested, and packed for export to markets all over the world.

Whenever time permits, I would surely go back to Hijo. It's the best place to indulge in calm and serenity in Tagum City.

The Spot, perfect for fishing. 
The Casitas (cottages) in the Banana Beach

Lanikai, meaning "Heaven by the Sea" is the heritage home of the Tuason Family.

Madaum River

Bungi, the tribe leader of one of the barrels of monkey roaming freely in the forest inside Hijo Estate Resort


Infinity Pool in Banana Beach...

...which features a mini-bar in the middle.

Wild Boars roaming in the forest of Hijo Estate Resorts.