MANILA, Philippines -- Banana Beach, as its name implies, is the world's only beach resort inside a banana plantation. It is located in Barangay Madaum in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, or about an hour away from Davao City.
Davao del Norte Vice Governor Victorio R. Suaybaguio, Jr., Regional Tourism Director Arturo Boncato, and Rosanna Tuason-Fores recently led in the inauguration of Banana Beach's infinity pool with a resounding strike at the gong signifying good business, and hopefully, more tourist arrivals.
What is extra amazing about the infinity pool are the seats built below the water near the sunken bar. So, it means, you can swim, sit down for a while, have a drink, and go back to swimming again.
Tuason-Fores, chair and president of Twin Leisure Group, Inc. and concurrently vice-chair and chief executive officer of the Hijo Resources Corporation, said her company that built Banana Beach "nurtures nature today to benefit the generations of tomorrow."
Banana Beach is one living example of such vision. It is the world's only beach inside a banana plantation with a 4.5-kilometer coastline, where you can do skimboarding, ultimate Frisbee throwing, beach volleyball, or build sand castles.
For fine dining and fishing, you can drop by at The Spot (named as such because you have to find your own "spot" to do your fishing). Bangus, kitang, and lapu-lapu are some of the fish you can catch in the pond.
But that's not all. You can also walk under the coconut trees or read thought-provoking books or listen to your favorite songs under the shade of the trees. You can also do biking and horseback riding, if you want.
Clustered around tropical gardens a few steps from the beach are charming tropical-inspired cottages, two of which can accommodate up to 25 persons each. There are also seven small huts which can house 10 persons each.
But the most romantic is the casita (which resembles a native bahay kubo but very open like a cabana). One or two mattresses are provided along with a mosquito net for protection.
If you have only a day and just want to tour around the place, you can avail of the Banana Beach day tour at P350 per person (inclusive of guided tour and snack). Select from any of the two types: forest tour or banana plantation tour.
The forest tour is not far from the beach. Actually, it is a 60-hectare second-growth forest. It is home to herons, egrets and other birds. Monkeys and wild pigs also abound. One way of enjoying the forest is through its Twilight Safari, which starts at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m. Guests stay at the edge of the forest and wait for the animals to come out and forage.
Its newest forest attraction is the elevated walk or e-walk. Actually, it is a series of several hanging bridges. Each hanging bridge is about 22-25 meters. From the ground, the elevation is about 18 feet. While walking on the e-walk, you can see various forms of organisms and plants. If you're lucky, you can see various species of birds.
If you prefer the Banana Plantation tour, you will have an opportunity of learning a bit of history and science as you go through Hijo Plantation, the first plantation in the country to export bananas to Japan.