The relatively remote locale of Governor Generoso in Davao Oriental welcomes intrepid tourists looking for off-the-grid adventures.
Jutting out on a southern peninsula in Davao Oriental province, Governor Generoso—GovGen for short—is a languid coastal municipality situated about 200km away from Davao City. It has prospered quietly from fishing and coconut farming, and now offers a wealth of activities for adventurous travelers.
Catch the sunrise at Cape San Agustin
The scenic coastal highway from Davao City terminates at Cape San Agustin, where the Davao Gulf meets the Pacific Ocean. Three lighthouses, nicknamed the Tres Marias, make for a prime spot to watch the sunrise. From September to October, visitors may even spot migratory birds from Siberia and East Asia, such as buzzards and sparrowhawks.
Marvel at a sacred tree
Next to the highway in Barangay Magdug stands an enormous 90m-tall New Guinea walnut tree, called mamacao, which means “big tree” in the indigenous Manobo language. This particular behemoth is known locally as the Centennial Tree. According to legend, it shelters nature spirits and is believed to be around 300 years old.
Relax on the shores of Sigaboy Island
A short ride by outrigger boat from Tibanban takes visitors to a 30-hectare rocky island draped in lush foliage. Camp out by the pristine sandbar, or snorkel along its offshore coral gardens.
Trek to one of the world’s largest pygmy forests
GovGen is a gateway to Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, a Unesco World Heritage site. The forest reserve is home to an estimated 1,400 species of flora and fauna, including animals like the Philippine eagle and Philippine tarsier. A three-day trek will take hikers to the summit, where the terrain is blanketed with mineral-rich soil and old bonsai-like trees.
Swim along the coral wall of Tagabebe
Among the 15 newly discovered dive sites along the coast, a vibrant drop-off point simply called “The Wall” at Tagabebe is the most alluring. The location is an ocean corridor for creatures such as sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. Dive trips may be arranged by Davao-based businesses like Carabao Dive Center (fb.com/carabao.divers).
How to get there and where to stay
GovGen can be reached by either public bus (four hours) from Davao City Overland Transport Terminal or by shared van (three hours) from Gaisano Mall. Call the municipal tourism office at +63 912 315 1195.
El Don is a new Mediterranean-inspired resort that offers guest villas overlooking the Davao Gulf. Located within a coconut and mangrove farm in Pundaguitan, the resort has a white-sand beachfront and numerous coconut trees from which one can hang a hammock. You can also explore a nearby islet and mangrove forest by kayak. fb.com/eldonresort