If you're a lover of all things festive, it has probably occurred to you to visit one of Mindanao's underrated gems, Tagum City. The Music Capital of Mindanao boasts more than the heavenly taste of durian and the 16 different festivals celebrated every year, as it is also the perfect venue for "soul-searching" and feeding your cultural appetite.
Tagum City is arguably one of the most "titled" cities in the country, with it being dubbed as the Palm City of the Philippines, City of Parks (they take pride in various beautiful parks and plazas like the Freedom Park, the Mangrove Park, the Rotary Park and Recreation Center, and many more), and Home of Festivals in Mindanao. No matter what time of the year do you happen to visit the city, there's always a festival to attend to as they celebrate 16 different ones all year round.
Major airlines fly to Davao City from Manila every day. From then, Tagum City can be reached via taxi or bus in an hour.
Ferries regularly travel from Manila to Davao via the Port of Sasa
Major bus companies offer the combination of land and sea travel called the roll-on-roll-off (RORO). Philtranco buses in Pasay City and Cubao can take you directly to Tagum City.
Live like a local and explore the city with a habal-habal (a motorcycle modified to seat more than two people). If you don't want to be inconvenienced, you could use a rented car to tour around the city.
Tagum City wouldn't be dubbed as the Music Capital of Mindanao for nothing. Music lovers rejoice as the city's yearly Musikahan sa Tagum Festival gathers the best musical artists and enthusiasts from all over the country to celebrate the art of music.
The City is also known for being one of the first ones to openly support the LGBT community through their Binuhat Festival. The celebration gives our brothers and sisters from the LGBT community to show off their skills and talents.
Your Tagum trip isn't over until you've visited the "largest rosary in the world" that can be found in Christ the King Cathedral. The Cathedral itself is an attraction on its own as well, as it is considered as the biggest basilica in Mindanao. Feel free to attend the mass, you wouldn't experience any language barrier as they celebrate the Holy Mass in three different languages: Bisaya, Tagalog and English.
They also have a few festivals that food lovers would truly enjoy, like the Durian Festival in May and the Halal Food Festival, where they showcase Muslim delicacies prepared through the right Halal rituals and rules.
However, if you're feeling a bit adventurous, visit the municipality of New Corella and enjoy their abundant springs, pools, caves, water terraces nature trails, and even rice fields and banana plantations. From Tagum Integrated Bus terminal, take a jeep or bus going to New Corella and alight in the public market area/Poblacion. Fare is approximately P30 and travel time is about 30 minutes.
If you failed to visit any of the city's food festivals, don't worry, there are tons of restaurants to satisfy your cravings. Pick and Grill located in Macario P. Bermudez St., is famous for serving delicious and affordable Filipino meat to fill your hungry tummy. They are only open for dinner, though so make sure you visit only after 5pm.
Tagum City may not be the home of authentic La Paz Batchoys, but Taweng's batchoy, located in Abad Santos cor. Mabini St., is definitely worth a try. A big bowl of their delicious batchoy only costs P70, and they also offer fresh milk from their own fairy farm. What more could you ask for, right?
If you have a sweet tooth (like me), Yuyu Café and Dessert Shop is the place to go. Fortunately for us, they do not only offer desserts, their menu ranges from smoothies, pizza, pasta and all day breakfast food. The café is located along the National Highway, beside Jollibee.
Tagum City not only offers vibrant festivals, they also provide a great night life courtesy of Club Ecstasy (situated in Tagum Mall) and Tita Mai's Batchoy in Mabini Street.
If you want to book a hotel that is an attraction by itself, try the Banana Beach Hotel/Hijo Resorts. You'll surely enjoy your stay here as it established itself as the first and only eco-agri tourism destination in the country.