We recently stayed at the Banana Beach for an overnight stay. We were 2 small families with 3 generations represented. The children were teen and pre-teen in age. The resort is a little over an hours drive from Davao City. It is a sprawling resort within a coconut and banana plantation. There is a central restaurant/bar/pool/accommodation/beach central complex. A children's' playground is a short walk away. A little farther on is a cement/hard-surface tennis court. There is a stocked lake for fishing called "The Spot" featuring its own main building with dining and bathroom facilities as well as large cabanas or huts at waters' edge from which one could fish. Guests are shuttled to the second growth jungle canopy walk as well as the river/canal kayaking both of which are quite a distance away from the central pool area.
The accommodations used to consist solely of wood/bamboo/thatch houses or casitas that are Filipino or native in design and were not air-conditioned. We were fortunate to be among the first to stay in their new, modern, air-conditioned casitas which had just been completed the month before. The resort website still had these casitas as "coming soon!" These were very modern and comfortable accommodations and the air-conditioning was very welcome. Each casita had its own bathroom but the bathroom did not have individual AC units so, unless one kept the door between the living/sleeping area and the bathroom open, the latter would get hot and damp. The main rooms are spacious and clean with flat-screen TVs, fridge, couch, table and chairs. The beds were large and very comfortable. The sleeper sofa or cot was apparently quite comfy as well.
The highlight of the resort is the pool which is next to the bar and dining area and looks over the beach and sea. There is a swim-up bar but the main bar will serve you drinks anywhere around the several pools. One could swim laps if feeling energetic or just lounge in the shallow areas of the pool and relax. There was a nearby building with showers/changing area/lockers for those visiting for just the day.
The food was fairly good but nothing spectacular. A pleasant surprise was a large banana bunch hung by staff at the restaurant on the weekends. The bananas were freshly harvested from the plantation and allowed to ripen on the tree. The consensus of the group was that these were among the tastiest bananas we had ever tasted. It helped that they were free. This was apparently offered only on weekends. The staff was always friendly and helpful.
"The Spot" offered fishing at a stocked lake with a rod available for a reasonable P100 rental fee. We fished from a bridge linking the main building to a small island in the lake as well as from the island itself. The bangus were plentiful and the children soon got the hang of catching them. The staff helped their efforts by tossing pellets of fish food around the where they had cast the lure. We had the freshly-caught bangus prepared 3-ways for lunch (kilawin, sinigang, and deep-fried).
The jungle forest tour includes walking through the trees on swaying suspension bridges and exploring at ground level. We saw the macaque monkeys and a wild boar on the road leading to the jungle tour but not during the actual hike itself. There is a canal cutting through the property and a nearby river; the resort offers kayak tours exploring both of these as well as the mangrove forests.
The weak spot of the resort is the beach. It lies just beyond the pool past a grassy lawn. The beach lies over a meter below the level of the lawn and ground is supported by wood buttressing which looks temporary. At high tide there is almost no beach although the water is shallow. The water is somewhat silty. At low tide there is a wide, grey sand beach. There was a fair amount of garbage washed up onto the beach which is not surprising given the nearby communities. I should state that people with large plastic bags started picking up the trash; I presume that they were resort employees. The reason the sand was dark and the water relatively murky was most likely due to the nearby silt-laden river emptying into the bay.
The resort offers a lot of activities most of which we did not sample. We enjoyed the pool immensely. Try to get the cabana near the swim-up restaurant when hanging out by the pools. The jungle walk was interesting and we had fun fishing at "The Spot." The new, air-conditioned casitas were excellent. The resort might consider offering interested guests to other nearby, more picturesque beaches. There is a lot that the resort has to offer its guests. If you are in Davao Banana Beach is definitely worth a visit.
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