Let me hook you on a trip to the Philippines – to Davao City in particular. Imagine the change in feeling from being trapped in one’s daily life and the rush and constant demands on your time to a place where life slows down – where one can absorb the peacefulness of a mountain environment. A mountain that surpasses all nearby landmarks. Well, it must be paradise. Higher up in elevation, the cool breeze comforts you. You find that the temperatures feels refreshing in contrast to the city itself where the daytime high easily soar past ninety degrees. The serene setting comprises an enormous amount of open space. “I must have reached the eden!” you say to yourself.
My wife and I recently visited Eden Park Nature and Resort in Davao City in the Philippines. As a nature enthusiast, I enjoy visiting such places in different parts of the world.
The natural environment does not disappoint – the weather was delightful and the panoramic views stunning. An “I Love Eden” sign caught my eye. Another highlight included the statue of the carabao–also called the water buffalo. This animal is native to the Philippines. Other attractions include the diversity of flowers including sunflowers, roses, waling-waling orchids, Gumamela (hibiscus), and the Sampaguita – all contribute to Eden’s beauty. One can spot numerous fruit trees including Mangosteen, Dragon Fruit and Durian. The Dragon Fruit, originally from the Americas, is commonly cultivated in southeast Asia. The lush green scenery quickly grabbed my attention. We enjoyed the sight of coconut trees and the extensive farmland. Organically farmed cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, and many other vegetables are grown and sold in the park.
Reflecting on Davao’s popular resort, references to the biblical Garden of Eden come to mind. “Eden” means “delight.” In the biblical Eden, people lived a “life free from care, and without labour and sorrow,” according to Easton’s Bible Dictionary. Visiting the Philippines’ version of Eden surely feels the same to some degree.
After arriving at Eden Park, we stopped to eat lunch. The atmosphere of Vista Restaurant at Eden is brimming with life. The restaurant consists of many open windows. Lush greenery and large areas of woodland encompass much of the outside view. The delineation between the outdoors and the indoors is somewhat blurred with numerous plants growing inside the uniquely designed building. One Eden Park tour guide describes food as “very fresh” from the garden. “Yes mama; it looks yummy!” replied one of the Davao residents. Vista Restaurant at Eden Park is only place in the Philippines where all the vegetables served are organically grown.
The Birds of Many Colors
Following our lunch we began exploring more of the jungle. The park features numerous bird life. The blue-streaked Lory, a medium-sized bird in the parrot family is a delightful creature. This colorful bird is unique to southeast Asia, Indonesia in particular. The blue-streaked Lory is primarily red with blue streaks from eye to ear, and it has a brown and black tail.
The sought after Golden Pheasant has a dark green upper back with black edges and a golden yellow crest. Noticeable for its short-rounded wings with dark brown primaries. We also spotted two yellow lovebirds; these are are native to parts of Africa including Madagascar. Other creatures on display at Eden Park include peacocks, doves, deer, horses, iguanas, crocodiles, snakes, and parrots.
A Variety of Educational, Physical, and Nature-Related Outdoors Activities
A variety of outdoor activities keeps one enamored with a place like Eden – either through physical exercise or simply by relaxing and enjoying the views of the surroundings. Couples use the gazebo for weddings and for romantic dates. A number of educational and historical sites are also unique to the park.
During your visit to Eden Park consider visiting or doing the following: fishing village, bus tour, flower garden, amphitheater, rainbow path and tribe sculptures and their nepa hut. A highlight of a visit to the village is the traditional Filipino house made of bamboo.
One of your stops can also include Lola’s garden or “grandma’s garden,’ and its famous wishing well. Visit the herb garden and a carabao sculpture. Filipinos use the carabao or water buffalo for farming. Also stop at Tinubdan – the name means “source of water.” I am not the most adventuresome, fearless person when it comes to certain activities. However, if you are brave you will enjoy activities such as the sky swing and sky cycling. Young children will gravitate towards the playground. On warm days, a refreshing dip in the four-foot swimming pool is highly recommended. Finally, if you enjoy physical activities and exertion, hike the mountain trail.
Alas after several days our time here finally came to an end. I left with a plan to return again – next time arriving with some of my favorite books. Even for locals, the park provides an ideal environment for a staycation. As mentioned on the Visit Eden website, “Eden invites you to take it easy in a private leisure where you can savor quality and intimate moments with family, catch up on your reading or simply sit back and entertain your thoughts.”