Go to “where the sun rises”

Surfboarders at sunrise, Dahican Beach  by Jojie Alcantara.

IT'S officially summer, you’re thinking of heading to the nearest body of water out of town and Dahican Beach pops to mind—it’s very accessible, good to visit for the day or two, and perhaps the only beach you’re familiar with in Mati City.

Sun & swim, skim or surf in Mati's most popular beach destination--Dahican. (photo credit: Jojie Alcantara)

But before spreading that beach mat or riding the waves on a surfboard, you might want to see a glimpse of the other heavenly shores of the area. For that bit of info, you need to stop over at this new Mati must-see every tourist should visit—the Subangan Museum. In a very relaxing azure-shaded corner of this edifice, you’ll be surprised with the mind blowing, amazing beaches Davao Oriental has that you’ll have to ask for an extension on your vacation leave.

In an azure-shaded corner of this edifice, you’ll discover the many amazing beaches Davao Oriental.

The indigenous tribes of the region interpreted by the artist Kublai Milan.

Inside Subangan (which means “East” or where the sun rises) Museum, you will get more than you expect. Beyond the showcase of pristine beaches is the rich cultural and natural heritage of Davao Oriental—an embodiment of the soul of a region.

Subangan encapsulates the many facets of Davao Oriental.

If you froze on your tracks when dinosaurs (the skeletons, that is) greeted you at the grand entrance of the Museum of Natural History in NYC, it’ll be the same with the 53-feet Sperm Whale welcoming you in Subangan. Mati named their museum centerpiece DavOr and is considered the largest display in the country and seventh in the world.

The museum's centerpiece-- DavOr the 53-foot sperm whale's skeleton.

Along with DavOr, the museum features Davao Oriental’s collective pride as a people and showcased in “galleries”: 

1. Natural Heritage- the marine and terrestrial biodiversities, natural attractions like Mt. Hamiguitan Range and Wildlife Sanctuary (inscribed to be a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the famous Pygmy Forest), bodies of water, forests and caves; cultural heritage.; 

Mimicking the Pygmy Forest of Mt. Hamiguitan, soon to be a UNESCO WOrld Heritage Site.

The rich flora & fauna of a mountain dissected.

The forest walk...

...with a glimpse of the animal life.

A showcase of the province's mangrove system & the numerous water systems in the region.

It would be interesting to explore the caves as well.

And probably what will put a smile on your face & excite you-- the beaches & islands of Davao Oriental.

2. Cultural Heritage – the prominent tribal groups of the Mandaya and Kaagan/Kalagan.; 

Tribal wear.

Weaving dreams  in colors.

The man-river-crocodile tribal pattern is seen all over the museum.

3. Historical Heritage- the province’s history and people including a memorial of the recent devastation that hit the area—the Typhoon Pablo (Bopha) Memorial.; 

The Typhoon Pablo Memorial

A peek at the devastation.

4. Trade and Industry and Governanace- the industrial activities of the province highlighting investment opportunities.

The province's trade & industry on display.

I ma pretty sure you’d be surprise what treasures Davao Oriental has on its bosom once you’ve toured the Subangan, the beaches included. The tranquil beach scenes can be the finale of the second level tour of the museum. Expect your jaw to drop and probably say, ”They have these here in our backyard?” (no pun intended). After which, you can probably call for a vacation leave extension or perhaps, plan another trip in the summer.

Count the beaches. How many days do you need to frolic in these  beauties?

The Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum is located at the Tourism Complex, City of Mati, Davao Oriental. Contact Ms. Lyrna Padohinog or Ms. Amy Ponce at mobile numbers 0998-977-2935 or 0926-836-2345; email at subangan@yahoo.com; and visit its website at davaooriental.gov.ph.

DavOr smiling at his/her guests & hosts: Ian Garcia (M Magazine) , Ida Gamo (ChoosePH), Alsiphi Quiñones  (Provincial Tourism Office), Amy Ponce (Subangan Museum Curator), Lyrna Padohinog (Subangan Museum Administrator), Ken Ong (Edge Davao) & this writer.