Monday, February 03, 2014

Chasing the Waves Amihan style - By the Little Red Bikini Girl in Dahican Beach

Planned a trip to Davao, and upon research, chanced upon this little jewel of South Mindanao known as the Dahican Beach.  The so-called Boracay of Yester Years, before Boracay became this tourist trap of an island.  And, it is known for the Amihan Boys - the Surfer dudes of the Philippines!! Yes, of course, Dahican may not be as famous as its neighbours - Cloud Nine with the amazing waves, but it is still a nice beach and great place for beginners to learn surfing!
Trip to Dahican beach is not to be taken lightly.  First, you have to get to Mati either via the public bus or the van from Davao City.  Upon landing at Davao International airport, you can just take a 10min walk out of the airport to the little bus stop just outside Jose Maria college to wait for the bus to Mati.  The bus takes about 5H (P282 for air-con, P255 for non air-con) to get into Mati, while the van would take about 3.5H, costing about the same.  My journey was by the bus, which was frequent enough. 
Upon arriving in Mati, it was late night (after 6pm) when the sky turned dark.  I checked myself into Chew Lodge, which is a 5min walk from the bus stop.  This area near the bus stop is not Mati City, and hence food choices are far and few.  Chew Lodge is located very near to the Market (as you walk out of the bus stop, take the first left, past the market, and take the 2nd right).  For better options, you can choose to stay in Mati City (5min habal habal ride away).  Chew Lodge is a very basic home run lodge, where bathrooms are shared amongst all guests.  I got a room for P250 with a double bed fan room with nothing else.  As mentioned, this area doesn't have much food choices except for roast chicken, or small local food stall with nothing much to offer at that time of the day.  If you want more food options, take a trip down to Mati City.  There are 2 more home run lodges just opposite Chew Lodge but I didn't ask for their prices.
The next day, I traveled down to Dahican Beach (20min motorbike ride for P40 each way).  Just tell the driver you want to go to Amihan Surf, or anywhere you are planning to go, and they will drop you right there.  It is easier if you know where you are going, else you will have to end up walking the entire stretch of beach to find the different resorts.

Dahican Beach
 The day was perfect for a beach day as the sun was shining bright, the sky was clear and the water crystal blue.

Amihan Sa Dahican is a group of surfer boys who are famous for their surfing prowess.  Their location right smack in the middle of Dahican Beach also makes for great surf spot.  I chatted up with Mark, one of the surfer dudes there and got myself a surf lesson (P400 per hour).  Climbed onto the board and pushed out to the middle of the sea, where the surfing started.  It was pretty manageable for me as I've tried wakeboarding and windsurfing before, so balancing wasn't a problem for me.  And I managed to stand up and surfed on my very first try!  Just remember to fall back before you reach the shore!  And don't worry too much about picking up the board as the boys will help you with it when you get washed up on shore.  Jan-Mar is the best time to surf there as the waves pick up during the period.  Don't expect super waves like Bali or even Cloud Nine, but the waves there are good enough to surf for a period of time.  Before I knew it, my hour was up! Where did all the time go?!?! Surfing was really fun and you wouldn't realize time actually passed by so quickly!  Do note that you might get some bruises or scratches from the pebbles and rocks when you fall back and get washed up on shore.  Especially when the waves come.  I got 'thrown' about a few times, and rocks are really painful when they pelt on you.
Amihan Hut
Skimboarding is also big in Dahican, and you can get a lesson for P150 per hour.  Boards are also for rental for 500-700P per day with the Amihan Boys.  You can find them on facebook here Amihan Sa Dahican, or their website at Amihan Team or contact Winston Plaza at (+63) 0921 452 5027.  They do rent out tent for P200 per night, but you will have to buy your own food to cook in their kitchen.  There are also a few resorts along the beach ranging from P1,000-P2,500 per night.
After my lesson, it was time to explore a little of the beach.  I didn't go too far out to Botona Resort, just stationed myself along one stretch of the quite beach and rested.  The beach is really quiet and idyllic, there weren't many people along the beach and you can actually take pictures with no one but you in it!  Not much of a night life there unless you create your own.  Didn't see any cafes/restaurants, so you just have to stick with the resort cafes/restaurants.  But the view is pretty amazing!  And the water was crystal clear blue!  Hope it actually stays this way, but it might be soon that people actually start to discover this little stretch of beach in Mindanao.  Already, there are constructions going on to build more resorts along the beach.  As of now, still only frequently mostly by local surfers.  I did spot only a couple of foreigners laying by the beach.
Don't you "Wish You Were Here"??
Beach is so empty and the sky was so blue
Construction in progress
Didn't choose to stay in Dahican, but probably should have cos I bet the sunset is amazing.  Went back to Chew Lodge for the night, and another 5H bus ride back to Davao City the next morning.  Going back, you would have to either choose to stop somewhere near the airport stop and head into Davao City or go all the way to Ecoland Bus Terminal and take a taxi from there.  Either way, it would be similar costs.  The conductor advised me to get off somewhere further from the airport stop and took a taxi into Davao City (about P150).  There are plenty of jeepneys passing by as well, if you know exactly where you want to get off, jeepneys are a cheap way to travel (about P20 into city probably).
Chatted with Winston Plaza (his contact listed above) and he knows places nearby Dahican where you can chase the waves in private! And he has taken some American clients on the bangka just to explore the nearby waves.  So if any of you are interested, contact him for a private tour to chase the waves!!

Also, there 2 obscure and quiet little islands - Waniban and Pujada.  No resorts or eateries.  You can pitch tent to stay overnight there, and bring your own food.  Heard from Winston that diving is pretty good over there too. 
Next stop on my vacation - Mount Apo and Diving in Samal Island.  To be continued.


Anonymous said...

Hi.may contact number ka po ba sa chew lodge? Thank you!

DianShan said...

Sorry i didn't manage to get the contact number. I just walked in and got a room. But i found this number on the internet (087) 388-3104 maybe you can try calling