May 2014, Davao – Eden Nature Park

After a lackluster first few days in Davao, the real fun began when my uncle, now a native of Davao, assigned his right-hand man to take us to the places that we must go to. And boy, does he know where to go. First stop: Eden Nature Park!Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkWhen I heard “nature park”, I immediately became a bit wary and dismissed it as one of those parks where it consists of wide spaces, flowers and trees here and there, and so on. But arriving there, considering the effort it took us just to get to the place itself (hint: mountains and more mountains), it was pretty obvious that I was wrong. Just look at that map! I was stunned by the size of it; there’s so much to see and do!

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkWe started walking around, and one thing I noticed while strolling about is how ENP is really concerned about nature and how they really take steps to actually help conserve and preserve the environment. I appreciated random signs like these which increase awareness about how much we’re taking from nature. This awareness is also apparent in certain policies in other places in the park.

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkThey have a huge area for eating, and another smaller shack just beside it. I just remembered that with our entrance fee came free snacks (we had spaghetti and a tuna sandwich, the only choices during that time), so at least you wouldn’t go hungry while going around the park!

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkYup, my family still goes for cheesy photo-op places like this. 😀

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkWe didn’t walk around the whole park, though. We were actually waiting for the open car which would take us and other guests around a tour of the place. Because of that open car, it wasn’t exhausting at all. While in the car, we see stuff and then learn about what they are from our tour guide. Like this photo above – these are plants grown using hydrophonics (learn something new everyday!), which is a form of agriculture that grows plants using other solutions, like nutrients, in place of soil. Amazing, right?

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkWe also passed by several cottages and lodges. We were ready to write off these accommodations as something we wouldn’t use in the future, but again, we were wrong! Dependable mom did the calculations, and it turns out that if you travel in a group and rent a bigger cottage like this, it’s actually much more affordable than staying in a hotel. We were so sold by the idea, we’re now seeing if we can plan our next faculty outing here!

Eden Nature ParkThe first stop where we were actually allowed to and given time to get down and wander around was this place, where it was flowers galore! (Just look at that name – Billy Button!) Picture time!

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkThe funny thing is, I don’t actually recall if this was my first time to see real sunflowers. These were definitely not the perfect, huge-and-cheery sunflowers we see in pictures, but it’ll do!

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkI think we were given only about 10 or 15 minutes, so act quick and target the areas where you want to take pictures. Next stop!

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkThe next place where we alighted was this display of the local indigenous tribes and their way of living.

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkTo be honest, cultural displays and whatnot are not at the very top of my excitement list, but it was definitely nice to see and be educated about this aspect of Philippine culture, especially the indigenous tribes.

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkYes, so we did something fun instead. Don’t think they fully committed to the role, though!

Eden Nature ParkNext was this cave which looked like it would be full of gimik (at a loss as to how to translate this now), but it turned out to have the most beautiful paintings inside:

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkAll drawn and painted by hand – aren’t they stunning? I didn’t get to know who drew these, though.

We had some more fun, with Dad being the instigator:

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkBack out in broad daylight, sanity was restored, thankfully.

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkThis was on our way back, when we went inside the indigenous tribe’s model house and sneaked a peek.

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkWell into our ride, we suddenly smelled a foreign, but sweet, scent wafting in the air. Then, our tour guide suddenly reached out a hand, and boom! A fresh sprig from the herb plantation!

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkWe were able to think of a hundred people who would have loved this! My mom even told the tour guide to pick an extra few more, which, of course, she denied. 😀

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkSo finally, we come to our last stop, which is an elevated peak where you can see the whole herb plantation from above, this wishing well and more gumamelas in the vicinity, and last but not the least, an unexpected view of most of Davao!

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkSo this was part of the herb plantation we could see from this place (called Lola’s Garden, if I remember it right). The focal point here, though, seems to be the wishing well. Thank God Dad discovered it way earlier than our other car mates (muahaha) and so we were able to get good photo opportunities before they noticed and all swarmed our way.

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkArt direction and photo by Dad. Haha! Look at those gumamelas, though. The water really adds something, no? And it was my first time to see the yellow-orange kind!

Eden Nature ParkIt was tough to get the Davao view with my prime lens, but trust me when I say that you’ll be stuck looking at it for a few seconds.

Eden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkEden Nature ParkIs this a flower? A plant? A fruit? They call it the Mickey Mouse plant, solely because of how it’s shaped. As mom said, “di rin naman mukhang Mickey yan ah” (that doesn’t even look like Mickey), but they choose to name it that way, I guess. Don’t even ask me about what its scientific name is.

Eden Nature ParkThat’s it for Davao! If our faculty trip pushes through, I’ll take more detailed and thorough pictures. I promise. 😀

Dann

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