A budget vacation spent in a hotel in Mati City is guaranteed to give you front row seats to scenic sea views and memorable seafood buffets. Learn more about the city that borders the southeastern side of Mindanao in this guide.
Mati is the capital and only city in the province of Davao Oriental. The city has long been a haven for sea-lovers because of Dahican Beach and Pujada Bay. These days, Mati is also attracting tourists and aviation enthusiasts with its fantastic aerial views and affordable flying facilities and lessons.
If you’re coming from Manila, you can book a direct flight to Davao City. From there, you have to take one of the Mati-bound vans that stop by Gaisano Mall or Buhangin Gym.
Mati can be reached by taking a bus or a van from Davao City. The ride to Mati’s van terminal takes about 3 or 4 hours and costs about P250 per head.
Tricycles are the most common transportation options in the city, while jeeps are typically used to travel to Mati’s neighboring towns. If you’re planning on trying out ultralight flying, hire a tricycle driver to take you to Mati Airport. Make sure you get the driver’s number so you can call him to fetch you once you’re back on the ground.
Mati City’s primary tourist attraction is Dahican Beach. This 7-km stretch of white sand and crystalline waters offers breathtaking sceneries and opportunities to take part in watersports. This shore serves as a vantage point from which one can view the Plesiosaur-shaped island called Sleeping Dinosaur, which is another attraction in itself.
Aside from the beach, tourists can also visit the Carmelite Monastery, Mati’s City Hall and Pylon, and the restaurants in Baywalk. If you’re into photography and architecture, you should drop by Davao Oriental’s Provincial Capitol, which is popularly known as the local white house. Another exciting destination is Subangan Museum and its collection of local crafts and cultural artifacts.
Aside from the allure of its structures and natural wonders, Mati is also attracting tourists with its programs for aviation tourism. Mati Airport draws in future pilots and aviation enthusiasts with its ultralight flying facilities, flying lessons, and affordable introductory flights.
Get acquainted with the lovely seascape beside Mati City by spending a day on Dahican Beach. In addition to its natural beauty and chill vibe, the shore serves as a venue for skimboarding and surfing lessons. You don’t have to worry if you’re a total beginner; the Amihan boys — a group of local boys who compete in skimboarding and surfing competitions all over Mindanao — will teach you how to balance yourself on the board. But if you want to see and interact with corals and fishes, Pujada Island serves as a jump off point for snorkeling and diving trips.
After you’ve explored the water, it’s time to take to the skies. From Dahican Beach, hire a tricycle that will take you straight to Mati Airport. Here, an experienced Mindanao Saga Flying Club member will give you a short introduction to basic flight safety and signals. Next is the highlight of the whole shindig: a 15-minute aerial tour in an ultralight plane. Your pilot will show you Mati’s best sights and scenes from above. Make sure you take a lot of pictures during your flight. At the same time, take the opportunity to see the world from a different perspective and enjoy the absence of the feeling of solid ground beneath your feet.
There’s no lack of good food in Mati City. For coffee, sweets, and good conversations, head to the Baywalk area and look for Ciangi. Visayan staple dishes, on the other hand, are offered at La-ne’s Kan’an. The restaurant’s sinuglaw — a combination of grilled pork belly and tuna ceviche — will certainly fit any celebration.
Seafood dishes like grilled tuna belly, crabs, and shrimps are available all day from the aptly named Seaside Restaurant. Alternatively, you can hold a feast in your accommodation by buying cheap but freshly caught squids from the local fishermen.
Looking to hang out with your group at night? Mati has some great bars and restaurants like Kinanatu Restaurant where you can drink, eat, be merry, and be serenaded by the local bands.
There is an abundance of cheap accommodations alongside Dahican Beach and in Mati’s city proper. If you want a beachfront hotel in Mati, you can stay at Dahican Surf Resort or Blue Bless Beach Resort. For a carefree holiday close to the city’s conveniences, book a stay at Senorita Suites or Beatriz Hotel.