Visiting Dahican

This would be my fourth time visiting the fabled shores of Dahican, though this is the first time I would visit the place during the Sambuokan festival.

Dahican is a coastal barangay in Mati City, capital of Davao Oriental. it is famous for its crescent-shaped beach,  a seven-kilometer stretch of fine white sand embraced by clear turquoise waters. The Pacific coast brings in waves which has made it popular for surfers and skimboarders.

In fact Dahican is known as the home of the Amihan Boys a group of young surfers and skimboarders, who have become Mati City's poster boys of sorts attracting wave after wave of visitors eager to try out the tranquil Pacific playground.

Sonny Aporbo aka Bayogyog, an Amihan who won skimboaring competitions outside the country.

Sambuokan is a festival in Mati City and is celebrated every October. It is a thanksgiving festival similar to Davao City's Kadayawan. The festival happens during the semester break and has become a destination for a younger set of tourists wanting to experience that unforgettable sembreak adventure.

I tagged along my photographer friends, the Maniniyot Community group, we rented a van and took a 3-hour trip from Davao City to Mati City.

Over the years, the government invested in infrastructure to develop the tourism destination, one thing I noticed is that cemented roads now connect Mati City proper to Dahican which used to be reached by dirt roads. Then there is the Menzi Beach Park where the city invested in a P20-million visitor information center to cater to a growing number of tourists.

At the local government managed Menzi Beach Park

There are several resorts and facilities which can accommodate visitors, among these include Botona Beach Resort where I spent holy week with friends many years ago, Kanakbai- where the Provincial Governor once treated us visiting Davao City media for lunch, Dahican Surf Resort and there's Amihan sa Dahican, the headquarters of the Amihan Boys. 

We pitched our tents and rented rudimentary cabanas in a property adjacent to Amihan sa Dahican. Our property caretaker, a kind Kalagan lady  was allowed by the owners to develop ramshackle huts for the Sambuokan weekend, she shared that some of the residents were displaced as investors began buying lands along the beach. 

I hope development would preserve the ambiance of the place and they won't go the way of Davao City which lost Times Beach to over-development or the case of Samal Island which lost control of its shoreline. Aside from aesthetic value, Dahican is also a nesting ground for marine turtles and the coast is home to dugongs and whale sharks.

My Dahican sambuokan experience was a great experience but I hope improvements could be made. 

* more clean comfort rooms, in one instance there was a single comfort room handling the needs of hundreds of people in Amihan sa Dahican. Some answered the call of nature along the sandy shores (during nightime under the cover of darkness) or in the bushes.

* ensuring peace and security- during the night we spent in Dahican we were shaken by gunfire said to be perpetrated by a drunk local businessmen who fired his M16 rifle for stupid drunken reasons. Visitors getting awakened by gunfire is a no-no for a developing tourist spot. 

* more food choices for visitors. beach and great food goes well together, there were a few food outlets in the area for the many visitors. I was expecting freshly-grilled sea foods but all we had were ordinary viands being peddled. 


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