From being an off-the-beaten destination, the Mindanao region has over the years become a bucket list target for local and foreign travelers. To say that it’s the best in the country is an understatement — it is more than that.
From its beautiful and scenic highlands and islands to its picturesque and pristine beaches, there’s no denying that the region has a lot to offer, and we have covered many of them here at Car Rental Davao.
One of the places that really encapsulate the beauty of Mindanao is BuDa. To start, BuDa is short for Bukidnon-Davao and it essentially the boundary that links the province of Bukidnon and the city of Davao. It has since become a go-to place for tourists and vacationers, thanks to its stunning landscape and relaxing scenery.
Surrounded by mountain ranges, green and lush forests and a stunning view of the tallest mountain in the Philippines — no less than Mount Apo — it is considered as the “Baguio of the South.” That’s a fair comparison because like that city up north, BuDa is also shrouded in fog and is enveloped in cold weather all year round. Likewise, it is also elevated 4000m above sea level, making it a haven to those who want to escape the heat in the city.
Last year, this author had a chance to visit BuDa for the first time. I was also originally planning to go back this year until COVID-19 happened. While travel remains restricted across the country, allow me to share with you my travel experience.
How to get to BuDa
Getting to BuDa is easy and Car Rental Davao will make it even easier for you. Rent a car from us and have a comfortable trip. We have everything from sedan to SUV to vans, all premium but cheap rental cars.
If you’re a tourist or visitor from the north, we can have an airport car rental arranged for you and have the unit delivered at Davao airport. If you’re already in the city, we can also drop off the unit exactly at your location.
If you intend to stay in BuDa for long, we can also offer special car rental deals for you — just contact us directly and we will make the arrangement for you.
Normally, it will take you at least 3 hours if you take the bus, but by renting a car from us you can cut the travel time down to 2 hours, or even less.
On your way to BuDa, you will be passing by a community in the southern part of Davao known for its vegetation, gardens selling flowers and plants, livestock farms, cacao farms, fruit stands and fishponds. And the good part is, they are way cheaper than the ones in the city. It is definitely worth it if you make a quick stop here.
Once you start seeing two giant sculptural pieces of the Davao Eagle, known as the “King of Philippine Skies,” along BuDa Highway in Barangay Baganihan in Marilog District, then that signals you are already in BuDa.
Things to do in BuDa
Once you’ve arrived at BuDa, the first thing you should do is to eat. One of the must-tries here is Seagull Steak House and Coffee House, a quaint resto-café that serves everything from sandwiches to pancit to steak and sisig, paired with your choice of coffee: cappuccino, brewed, latte — they have everything.
But perhaps one that you shouldn’t miss is their best-seller: their suman-sikwate duo (suman paired with Davao’s native cocoa drink). Priced at just P65, this delicacy is one of the best I’ve tried. It has the right layers of flavors, texture and pleasing plate presentation. I can’t wait to try this again!
Once you are refuelled, I suggest you head straight to your next destination. Around 30 minutes away from Seagull is The Reel Place, a resort that is known as “The Little Baguio.” True to its moniker, The Reel Place is a great representation of Baguio. I’ve been to that city up in the Northern Philippines numerous times so I know what it looks like. The landscape, the feel and the vibes are so Baguo-like. The only difference is the crowd. I hope it stays that way.
The entrance fee here is only P25 per head, and with that you can try everything from taking a dip at their swimming pool to crossing their hanging bridge and visiting their playground. You can also try their zip-line and experience their monkey bridge — you just have to pay separate fees.
Another place I highly recommend is the Benwa Farm, a unique place that offers a wholesome agricultural farming experience to its visitors. You have everything available here at very reasonable prices: from fresh produce like strawberries to rows of sunflowers, potted herbs and other organic products. As we are definitely a family of strawberry-lovers, we decided to bring home bags of it with us, with my mom making sure we had enough of them as pasalubong.
Inside the farm you can also find their in-house canteen which serves their special lugaw and goto, as well as vegetable salad prepared using their own products. I must say, for a not-your-usual lugaw, Benwa Farm’s tasted fantastic! Not to mention, healthier and better.
Also something unique that Benwa Farm has to offer — that I thought was only available in Baguio — is their famed strawberry taho (strawberry flavored soybean curd). Be reminded though that it is only available during weekends.
As someone who’s trying to be healthy and is an organic-eater, this, for me, was one of the highlights of my BuDa trip. It was such an enjoyable and at the same time educational experience to see how they grow these homegrown products. I will definitely go back.
Photo: Benwa Farm
Also a must-visit in BuDa is Epol Falls. It’s a 20-feet high majestic falls, which according to locals there stands for “Everlasting Power of Love.” To get here you need to have stamina, and lots of it, as you will be trekking for many kilometres. It was worth the long walks though, I guarantee you, as you will be passing by one of the hidden gems of Mindanao.
Just a tip: Make sure to have a jacket or sweater with you as the water gushing from the falls can be a bit icy cold. Also note that a right of way of P7 per head is being collected at the entrance and another in a small house near the falls so it’s better to prepare coins beforehand.
Lastly, you can never leave BuDa without visiting Hills View Mountain Villa. This is actually one of the best places I’ve been to so far. Everything about it is perfect. From its unique setting — perched on a hill overlooking the beautiful and picturesque scenery of nature and the sea of clouds — to the cold breeze of the wind, the Hills View Mountain Villa is just perfect for a family reunion or get-together. I happened to be with my parents and siblings so it was really one for the books.
Other places to visit are Highway 81, Alice Log House and Buda Vista Vacation House. I look forward to covering them here on Car Rental Davao in the near future.
Our lives are often full of pressure and distraction. Most of the time we rush on things too much that we forget to pause and live for a moment. Once in a while we have to breathe and see the beauty of the world we live in. We have to have a deeper connection with nature and the people around us. BuDa gave me that — the feeling of being connected with the people I love and just being alive.
I hope to be able to go back once this pandemic is over. Who knows, maybe I will be able to bump into you and we can have a real human connection.
Where to Stay in BuDa
Seagull Mountain Resort
Barangay Lorega, Kitaotao, Bukidnon
Budget: For as low as P1700 good for two persons.
Contact No.: 09513880295 or 0822985990
Hills View Mountain Villa
Brgy. Datu Salumay, Marilog District, Davao City
Budget: Standard room rate starts at P2500 good for 3 persons.
Contact No.: 09271325060
The Reel Place
Brgy. Lorega, Kitaotao, Bukidnon
Budget: Standard room rates start at P700 on weekdays and P900 on weekends good for two people with complimentary breakfast. Standard cottage rates start at P1800 on weekdays and P2200 with complimentary breakfast
Contact No.: 09156033951
Barangay Baganihan, Marilog District, Davao City
Budget: Entrance fee is P15.00 per person. The rent for big unused hut is P50 per person
Contact No.: 09263416968 (Bebeth) or 09261347611 (Ayoy)
Brgy. Salumay, Marilog District Davao City.
Budget: The room rate starts at P1800 for a cottage good for two people.
Conact No.: 09399240760
Alice Log House
Bagong Silang , Baganihan, Marilog, Davao City, 8000 Davao del Sur
Budget: Own the place for a day for as low as P4,500 12 persons maximum. And additional P250 per excess person
Contact No.: 0995994 1125
Brgy. Lorega, Kitaotao, Bukidnon
Budget: The room starts at P1000 for two persons for 24 hours
Contact No.: 09209702817
Buda Vista Vacation House
Brgy. Lorega, Kitaotao, Bukidnon
Budget: The standard vacation house rate starts at P6000 and it can house up to 15 people.
Contact No.: 09325377194
Sonnen Berg Mountain View
Sitio Crossing S, Marilog District, Davao City 8000
Budget: Room rate starts at P1000 good for 2 persons
Contact No.: 09477611689
Bato Bato Peak
Brgy. Sinuda, Buda 8716, Kitaotao, Bukidnon
Budget: Exclusively enjoy the whole place for as low as P5000 maximum of 15 persons for a day.
Contact No.: 09054752983
Datu Salumay, Marilog District, Davao City
Budget: Entrance fee of P150 for overnight stay and standard room rates ranges from P1000 to P3000
Contact No.: 09178119641
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