Davao City: Solo Travel to My Hometown

My mind was switching back and forth, hesitant if I was going to push through with a trip to Davao that I already booked months before. Sitting at my desk in the office, a lot of questions came to mind: Where will I stay? How much do I have left? Should I even bother?arrival davao

It was only a day after a one-week vacation in Bangkok and Cambodia, yet I already had another ticket scheduled for the next. A temporary break in my hometown; something that was also long overdue.

I almost decided to just let it pass and continue with my work. I only paid around 200 Php for the airline promo fare so it wasn’t much of a loss if I didn’t push through. Besides, I didn’t even have a concrete plan.

But it didn’t convince me enough to cancel the trip altogether. I’ve been waiting for a long time to go back to Davao just to see how it’s been; without visiting people I know and just doing things my way. I already filed for a vacation leave so durianit was only me that was stopping myself from pushing through. But I’m glad that I did go and board the plane.

Arriving in Davao

Armed with a knock-off Lonely Planet guide book and my backpack and gadgets, I arrived in Davao without a clear sense of goal. But in the end, I visited my younger brother, met other PTB members and bloggers, and ate one of my favorite fruits–durian.

The only place I truly went for a nature-trip was Isla Reta in Samal Island; a beautiful place to spend a night with friends over drinks under Talisay trees. I can still recall the fallen leaves on the sandy beach – how they add drama to gloomy landscape.

davao isla reta samal
Isla Reta, Samal Island

But even so, I only stayed for less than 30 minutes! I had to hire a boat and paid a lump sum to head back to the town and ride a bus to take me back to the city.

All of these happened on a weekend. The remaining time I had left was used to observe my surroundings as well as work on some freelance jobs (so much for a vacation). I walked and dropped by familiar places that had changed over the course of 12 years. Sigh. I left Davao in 1999; things didn’t look the way they used to.

st camillus dormitory
St. Camillus Dormitory bed at 180 Php per night

Outcome of this Solo Traveltrees isla reta

Because of traveling solo to my home town, I

  • took lesser photos
  • paid more for items that weren’t planned
  • lost a considerable amount of time because of not researching ahead and creating an itinerary

However, because of this solo travel, I learned that

  • things happen only when you make them happen.
  • Lonely Planet books are what they are – just guides and not travel bibles
  • you can’t blame anyone but yourself when mishaps occur; which is not such a bad thing because of taking responsibility for your actions.

I did not go to a lot of places during this trip to my home town. I was basically bumming around the city. But I’m still satisfied knowing that I didn’t back out.

On Traveling Solo

In a previous post, I wrote about how I call myself a travel blogger but one of the things that I confessed is I don’t normally travel solo. Sure, I’ve done it a few times. Manila, Bacolod, Dumaguete, and Davao. But these places are destinations that I’ve lived in the past. Still, I’m not rushing things. We all develop as travelers because that’s the way life is – we grow with our passion.

This was one of the rare opportunities that I traveled alone. I may not justify my blog’s name, ‘solo flight’, at first glance. But its purpose should NOT be taken literally. I know that the time will come when I’ll surely go out on my own. I’m just taking things one step at a time.



This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Blogger’s Blog Carnival themed Solo Travel which is hosted by the Philippine Blog Awards Best Travel Blog of 2010 Winner, Nina Fuentes of JustWandering.org. Click on the Blog Carnival Logo on the left to see more interesting posts regarding the thoughts on Solo Travel.




Enter your email address to subscribe for updates.
Please don't forget to confirm your subscription by checking your Inbox.

soloflightEd.com is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
For updates, Like his page on Facebook or Follow him on Twitter.
For questions, advertising, and other concerns, shoot an email to ed@soloflighted.com.

38 thoughts on “Davao City: Solo Travel to My Hometown”

  1. I actually like this kind of travel, just bumming around, not moving a lot, not a lot of things to worry about , uhmm..except doing freelance jobs part while on vacay! haha  I'm sure you can erase the solo travel to an unfamiliar place in the future. really looking forward to that Ed. and yeah, re the soloflight-ED domain, I'm one of the pips who took it literally, kaya nagulat ako nung nakwento mu saken sa Boracay na d ka tlaga solo traveler. hehe but like you said, it shouldn't be taken literally. =) by the way, I think Rough Guides is better than LP. =)

  2. – You've managed to travel to Davao after two international destinations despite a few concerns, that's got to be something! 
    – Bumming around our hometowns and reminiscing on our happy past are just some of the simple pleasures in life that we rarely get to enjoy due to our busy schedule. 
    – I'll also be traveling to Davao this July too —> SOLO (unless some of my friends will go with me). First time to be in Davao. I'm looking forward to see it personally. 
    – P.S. I'm now based in Cebu. Looking forward in meeting you and other travel bloggers here in Cebu. 
    Keep on traveling!

  3. Yan ang masayang buhay. Travelling everywhere tapos puro freelance work ang gagawin or impromptu jobs. Parang ang sarap maging freeeeeeeee!
    Punta ako sa Davao this May! Wohoooo! 😀

  4. i can't imagine traveling and doing freelance work at the same time – hands down to you, ed! can't wait for davao trip this august with you, doi and my twin 🙂

  5. ay nako Ed, uulanin ka ng proposal to be their significant other para di ka na maging solo! hahaha
    and btw, not using your booked airline tickets is a mortal sin. (you'll get to cancel more in the future. so dont you ever!) hehe

  6. @photoblogger: that will be soon.

    @thepinaysolobackpacker: haha. freelance kasi daming mga pending tasks na dapat gawin. haha, soloflight, that will be the day, right gael? hehehe will keep you updated kung kelan yun mangyayari, though right now i'm focusing on my work kasi i need to do something na rin. hehe

    @nina: yeah, for now i'm contented with the trips with friends. once i have enough funds lang, 😀 nina, thanks uli sa pag extend. and good luck sa pagcompile, it will be epic! 😀

    @dylan: ah yeah, i was a bit crazed after the whole international vacation that's why i needed to chillax and not think too much of creating a plan. Besides, when I got back to Cebu, I immediately had to work. Good luck with Davao! Looking forward to meet you as well! Wait what's your FB account? I'll invite you in our PTB group! 

    @robbie: haha, i know you'll be able to do that soon! dami mo kasing astig na skills! good luck with your trip!

    @carla: haha, just realized that I went to Davao just to work! bwahahaha. thanks!

    @chyng: uy chyng, astig ng comment ah. nahiya tuloy ako, haha! i think i'll commit a mortal sin soon, im swamped with work sa opisina, mukhang mapapacancel ako sa bakasyon this June 🙁

  7. Same sentiment when I went back to my hometown after a year of not visiting kahit na 5 hrs away from Manila lang ang Pangasinan 🙂 I am not really a fan of detailed itineraries, pero ok din na at least you know some spots within the area. Kung solo naman, just take your time – take it slow. I really love hometown stories na solo – parang mas personal talaga noh? If you see some changes (giniba yung favorite building mo, bago na hitsura ng hospitals, parks, schools etc) parang you can't help but feel sentimental. Yay. So much for the journey 😀
    Ed, baka mag-Cebu ako sa May. Kitakits! 😀

  8. @dylan: thanks! i added you in PTB already! 😀

    @micamyx: haha, parang sepia-colored stories talaga ang mga hometown visits. magandang topic for a blog carnival pero huwag! kasi nakagawa na ako. bwahahaha. lapit na ang May mica! 😀

  9. i think its' nice that you decided to travel back to your hometown and did touristy stuff. that way, we appreciate ordinary  things that we rarely notice. next time, take more photos! 🙂

  10. I've never traveled solo before either.  Unless you count the time when I flew into Shanghai by myself to meet a friend of mine.  I like to think that all travel is good travel anyways so even if you don't travel alone all that much, it is still good.

  11. ayos ka, Ed! just keep doing what you're doing. the funny thing is, a lot of people take traveling seriously. at the end of the day it's just traveling! you come and leave. pero kanya-kanya lang yan! like what i said sa iba, it doesn't mean that when you travel solo makes you a better traveler than those who travel with a group. when i fly to cebu, contactin kita bro! astig!

  12. @richard: ey, salamat! dugay nako wala napadpad sa Davao. hehe

    @Miranda: thanks miranda, you should try it some time! even if to those places you've gone to!

    @pinay travel junkie: haha, yun ang pinaka sakit. hehe

    @happy sole: haha, will take more photos next time.  chill mode kasi ako nung panahon. hehe

    @steve: whatever works for us, right steve? So long as we enjoy what we're doing! 😀

    @tina: or you can read through blogs and then print them out. 😀 once you drop by Cambodia, you'll get knock-offs at cheaper prices! 😀

    @pinoy boy journals: thanks jerik! haha, yeah. kanya-kanyang trip lang talaga. it's nice to try everything as well though para ma experience natin kahit papaano. pero dapat wala lang talagang pwersahan. haha, abangan ka namin nina doi, carla and the rest of the PTB Cebu team! 😀

  13. Hi Ed , we do grow and develop as travelers, as bloggers (as travel bloggers) – and it's not important whether you're traveling solo or with a group. just do whatever makes you comfortable and happy

  14. I've traveled solo a lot of time before because of my job. Masaya siya sa start pero nakakalungkot minsan pag breakfast. :)) 
    But anyway, okay lang naman if you travel with others. I don't think of you any less as a travel blogger. And you're right, the expenses go down if you travel with other people 🙂

  15. never akong nakapag travel solo na totoong travel solo or ayaw ko lang i-recall?hahaha.pero itatanung ko sayo ang same na tanung ko kay DOI_—-anu parin ang mas maganda? travel solo or travel with a goup?based on experience?

  16. @Prime: indeed! we learn along the way when we travel just like any other skill! 😀

    @smarla: yung expenses talaga ang biggest factor for me! 🙂

    @pusang-kalye: haha. ok lang yan anton. for me it depends kasi who you're with. i'd prefer to go with a group basta magandang bonding activity/adventure yung pupuntahan kasi you get to share the adventure with other people yung tipong mga (water rafting, wakeboarding/surfing). pero if you want to NOT be disturbed, then you can just travel alone. there's a certain 'high' you feel when you travel alone that differs when you're with a group and vice versa. So long as balance lang; also sometimes we come up with a compromise and when travelling with a group, we break among ourselves for a few moments para mapag-isa 🙂

  17. I recently visited Davao – my hometown – which I only get to see  at least once a year. It always gives me a special kind of "high" being home, seeing family & old friends. There's a sense of familiarity and yet a sense of detachment also permeates – it's like I felt being a local and a tourist all at the same time.

  18. Ang mura ng ticket ah, but I couldn't agree more, one of the disadvantages of solo travel is that you have no one to share the expenses with. Most hotels charge the same rate for a room that is good for two as well as rental for boats if you happen to go on island-hopping. Either way, it never stopped me as well from traveling solo. 🙂

  19. @thenomadicpinoy: wow, we're kababayans pala! also, you're back in the Philippines! I saw your awesome posts updated! 😀 indeed, there's a contradicting feeling being back in our home town!

    @vin: haha, yeah, dami noh? i brought my camera and laptop kasi — had to do some homework to earn extra income online!

    @lakwatseradeprimera: yeah, 200 pesos kasi piso fare nun! it's a good thing I saw a couple of cheap places to stay. 180 Php per night for a dorm type (aircon) and 250 Php for a single room (fan pero may free wifi!)

  20. I haven't tried traveling solo but I will soon do it by the end of June by going to Singapore all by myself as an advance gift for myself. I really don't have an exact things what to do there kasi plano ko lang balikan lahat ng napuntahan namin last year kasi masyadong minadali nung tour guide ung tour namin ehh. hehe. Pero napaisip akong gusto ko sulitin ung punta ko din since bihira lang naman ung chance na 'to.
    Got my ticket at a low price as well, at around PHP3000 round trip in cebu pacific. 😀 Sana lang wag maharang sa airport dahil magisa lang akong pupunta. hehe.

  21. @adam: you should drop by your hometown, it brings a lot of memories back to your yesteryears! 😀

    @rikkidecastro: it's alright if you don't have a direct itinerary. Sometimes it's better to just suck up the experience and just let the world pass before your eyes. nice work with the promo fare!

  22. I've just recently been bitten by the travel bug.  I've traveled solo three times this year and loved all the adventures (including getting lost!).  I hope I'd be able to find the time to write about my travel experiences someday (or soon!) 
     I have more trips planned in 2012, including a solo trip to Davao in Feb.  No relatives or friends there so I am looking for a budget hostel or dorm to stay for two nights. Is St Camillus dorm for males only? or do you know of any  female dorms  within Davao City? 
    PS: I've read many of your posts and travel tips since I started traveling  but just didn't  get the chance to leave comments until now.  Very enjoyable to read and very helpful. Kudos.

  23. Thank you so much for your help and for sharing the link…  Green Windows Dormitel sounds like a really great place!   I'm sure I'll enjoy my Davao trip.  Happy New Year to you and more enjoyable travels in 2012!

  24. Wandered into your Davao post by chance. Happy to note you've visited our city after so long. As a Dabawenya, I can't even think of wanting to be based elsewhere (although I am "laagan" as well).  Keep up the good blog. 🙂


Leave a Reply