It's the tagline of Mati City’s new tourism campaign under Mayor Carlo Rabat.

The idea is for Matinians and visitors to fall for the charms of this idyllic city facing the Pacific, and that “love” could be quickly shared through social media.

And this marketing concept is reaping benefits to Mati, with visitors coming in huge numbers.

“Na-surprise kami sa development sa Mati.” (We were surprise in Mati’s development) says Mati City Mayor Carlo Rabat.

our host Mayor Carlo Rabat

“When we spend holy week in Dahican City, there were just a few people, now it Is filled with people.” The Mayor recalls seeing the crowd at Dahican.

This writer was part of a select group of photographers and bloggers who were invited to spend the Holy Week in the city by the local government.

We toured around the City Hall, the Baywalk, Carmelite Monastery, Subangan Museum, had an ultralight flying experience over Dahican, an island tour in Waniban and strolling at the famed Dahican Beach.

The group caught the Mayor frolicking at Waniban beach along with his family. During holy week he makes it point to spend the days around the beaches and islands of his city.

Waniban Island

Mayor Rabat says the secret to the recent successes is maximizing exposure in Mati, these means putting up or supporting events that will attract visitors.

He recalled that the city began getting national attention when a group of  celebrities had a pictorial in Dahican for a glossy magazine. These included actor/athlete Enchong Dee, Miss World 2014 Megan Young and sultry actress Jessy Mendiola.

Enchong Dee's cover for Metro Magazine Summer Edition
2013, shot in Dahican

The City then began supporting events particularly massive Electronic Dance Music parties, Sembreak in last year’s Sambuokan and the recently-held Summerfrolic.

The Mayor attributes the recent arrivals as an offshoot of those parties. “of the thousands who attended Summerfrolic almost all of them has a Facebook account." The Mayor explains the power of the social media as an effective marketing tool.

The place has become some sort of a Mindanao’s Palm Beach, where young people converge during school breaks. It has attracted throngs of adventurous beachgoers drawn to the long coastline of Dahican.

Dahican Beach

Renowned skimboarder Sonny "Aporbo" Bayogyog in action

The local government and private businesses are also inviting celebrities to Mati, these has a double-edged purpose, celebrities entertain constituents and also these social media savvy artistas can spread the beauty of Mati thru their social media accounts which are heavily-followed.

Fine examples include Kathryn Bernardo and Jessy Mendiola who snapped shots of Mati and uploaded it on their social media accounts like Instagram.

With increasing number of visitors Mayor Rabat says they need new investments from the private sector particularly rooms and accommodation facilities particularly in Dahican.

Currently they are building a water system in Dahican to attract more investors, Mayor says this is a partnership between the Mati Water District and the City. Dahican has no water system and is dependent upon wells.

The City is continuing with the Dahican Beach Strip development started by the previous administration. The DBS contains a visitor information center, day-time cottages and comfort rooms.

The Davao Oriental Provincial Capitol

The Centennial Garden with clock tower and pathway of leaders.

The Mati Baywalk

Bayogyog running to skim, at the background is the home of the Amihan Boys, a group of local skimboarders

The Mayor says they are waiting for the contractor to complete the project and turnover the facility to the government so that they can introduce new developments. However he discounted the possibility of building overnight accommodations, as they would not want to compete with the private resorts.

The City is also developing a property as a tent area for visitors; they will be constructing comfort rooms and putting up lights.

Mayor Rabat says the plan for Dahican is to develop the area without destroying the pristine natural environment. Its waters are home to dugongs, dolphins and whale sharks. It is also an important sea turtle nesting site.

Two months ago, the City convened the Task Force Dahican to study the eco-tourism of the place.

One firm plan the City Mayor is bent on keeping is to keep the eight-kilometer beach barrier free,  jetties, breakwaters and barriers are not allowed to be constructed in the area.

Aside from Dahican the Mayor is also exploring the potentials of Mt Hamiguitan as an eco-tourism destination. The protected area known for its bonsai forests is shared by the towns of Governor Generoso and San Isidro it is being submitted for listing as a World Heritage Site.

They are also waiting for the private owners of Pujada Island to enter into partnerships with investors, the 156-hectare island is home to fine white sand beaches. Waniban Island’s ownership is still under court litigation. The caretakers with the support of the barangay tourism council have set-up huts for daytime visitors.

The city government also wants to put ultralight flying as part of their itinerary for Mati. The Mindanao Saga Flying Club the operator of a ultralight facility in the airport offers Trial Introductory Flights for P1,600, a 15-minute ultralight ride which takes you above the scenic Dahican coastline.

Ultralight flight in Mati

There are perhaps a thousand reasons why someone would love Mati, and through these initiatives the city government is trying to add many reasons more. 

Special Thanks to Mayor Carlo Rabat, City Tourism Staff; Yon, Mel and Mel, the Mindanao Saga Flying Club


  1. Excellent coverage of a great destination. Mark my words; the next Boracay in 10 years


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