There’s Grandeur in Simplicity at Banana Beach Davao

Sometimes, a break is all you need. A deviation from your everyday routine, a distraction. And this why we keep on going to vacations, on booking those cheap flights and purchasing online deals. We all seek to disentangle from the routines that bog us down, from our humdrum existence. This is why wanderlust consumes us—dares us to escape the black and white of our daily lives.

In my recent trip to Davao, I was extremely lucky to experience the relaxation and escape I was looking for. But more than this, I learned and tried new things that revived my beat-up mind. All the blogging, drinking, dancing, drinking, and programming (biggest ugh of all) can totally wipe you out, and this trip, this discovery, was more than welcome—a breather I instantly embraced, however short and quick it is. And I got this from a piece of paradise called Banana Beach Resort in Tagum, Davao del Norte.

Dubbed as “the only beach resort in the world inside a plantation”, Banana Beach is nestled within the 760-hectare expanse that is Hijo Estate Resorts, or Hijo Plantation. The sprawling property includes not only a secluded beach, but also a private century-old forest, the Madaum river (which doubles as its border), 500 hectares of banana and coconut plantations, and abundant leisure space. It is situated at the heart of Davao gulf, blessing it with the freshest catches as well. Because of its size and location, Banana Beach is no doubt the perfect hideaway for tourists aiming to be one with nature.

What I love about Banana Beach is that it caters to everybody—from the most hardcore and adventurous travelers; to corporate folks looking for a retreat; to curious first-timers of nature immersion; to families seeking quality time and bonding. I am amazed at how it has set up and developed itself into one of the most versatile and accommodating resorts I’ve ever been to.

My raves and stories about Banana Beach are endless, and so before this turns into an unending monologue, below is an organized review I wrote for those of you who are interested to visit Banana Beach or Davao. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did reminiscing on my Banana Beach experience!

Genuine Smiles: the Friendliest Welcome Ever

Tagum City is about one and a half hours away from Davao City. Fortunately, Hijo Estate Resorts has an office downtown in Damosa, where guests are picked up at specific schedules and taken to the resort. Call Hijo (+6382.282.3662 or +6382.282.3757) to inquire about transfer fees and make sure you book ahead.

Banana Beach sits on a secluded area off the Madaum main road, and upon entry, we just marveled at the massiveness of the property. Every other resort would be dwarfed by this. We proceeded to the Tourist Center, where the resort manager greeted us, along with some staff bearing welcome drinks—refreshing buko juice, made in-house, very Filipino. I loved it! Most resorts would just serve iced tea or mango or whatever. (They did serve iced tea as well, right before we went to our room.)

Checking in was a breeze and within a few minutes we got our keys attached to this cute banana-shaped holder, as well as our passport, which would be used to track all activities we availed and food we ordered throughout our stay.

The Rooms

Banana Beach offers two types of accommodation: the al fresco casita and air-conditioned casita. Both are tropical-themed—think of native materials like nipa and bamboo—and are distributed on a long strip near the shore. We stayed in an air-conditioned casita, a 30-sqm. suite which features a Queen-sized bed, a lounge with a pull-out mattress, an en suite bathroom, cable TV, a coffee nook, a mini-bar, and a private porch.

Air-conditioned casita: PhP3,700++ weekdays/PhP4,200++ weekends
(rates may change without prior notice)
Banana Beach supports #TEAMPALE! Yay! :p
The bed is super comfy, the mattress and pillows soft and clean. I liked the neutral color scheme, which blends nicely with the tropical design of the casita, with its nipa roof and wooden porch. The sunken ceiling showcases a fan as centerpiece—cute and very Filipino.

The air-conditioned casitas were designed by Architect Angelo Manosa.
The bathroom was well-designed and spacious. There’s a huge closet for your things, across it, the toilet. Directly in front of the doorway is the vanity with local toiletries, including Hijo’s homemade products like soap and shampoo. To the right is the bath area, which features a handheld shower.

I loved how spacious the entire casita is—almost too big for two people and ideal for families or barkadas. The coffee nook is a nice touch, perfect for enjoying peaceful mornings in the province while enjoying the view. The porch was lovely too—a great spot to breath in some fresh air. Yes, I definitely loved our home for that weekend.

The al fresco casita on the other hand is simply an open-air hut which guests can rent for daytime or overnight use. It comes in double and family sizes, and houses 2 single beds or 1 double bed, a mosquito net, and an electric fan. The downside is that there is no private bathroom—only a communal one. The upside—especially for backpackers and camper types—is that it has a lovely view of the sea, and you are surrounded by foliage.

Al fresco casita: PhP850++ weekdays/PhP1,100++ weekends
(rates may change without prior notice)
Tip: if you're getting an air-conditioned casita, ask if any of rooms #3, #4 or #5 is available—they’re nearest the restaurant and the pool.



Banana Beach has a wide selection of food for the hungry daytime visitors or overnighters. Its main restaurant, the Banana Beach Restaurant, offers both local and international dishes—prepared from ingredients harvested from the resort’s own organic farms, freshly-caught from the sea, or sourced from local farmers and fishermen. I loved their farm-to-table advocacy which not only ensures safer and healthier food for the guests, but also helps the livelihood of the locals.

Pork Spare Ribs Barbecue, PhP295
I loved the fresh and delicate Kinilaw na Tuna (raw cured tuna), served with cucumber, radish, and vinegar. The Vegetable Samosa was an excellent starter too. The Pork Spare Ribs Barbecue were tasty, with its tender meat and sweetish sauce. If you love seafood, you must order their delicious Grilled Tuna Belly! I devoured this like I hadn’t eaten for years—down to the last morsel. Other seafood dishes I liked were the Calamares Fritos, Seafood Canton, and the must-try Tinolang Imbao (mangrove clam)!

Vegetable Samosa, PhP195; Kinilaw na Tuna, PhP280
Tinolang Imbao, PhP315; Seafood Canton, PhP235

Clockwise from top left: Tinolang Imbao; Calamares Fritos, PhP285;
Cucumber-Calamansi Cooler; Grilled Tuna Belly, PhP125/100g.

For dessert, you have to try their artisanal banana ice cream! With banana as the base, the ice cream comes spiked with other flavors such as Cookies and Cream or Tablea. For drinks, please get their signature calamansi cooler, which uses their own prided products: pure calamansi puree and coco syrup. There’s a cucumber-calamansi variation that was soooo addicting, I almost forgot to order beer. :p

Banana Ice Cream with Tablea, PhP88; Calamansi Cooler
#TEAMPALE in Davao!
Adding PhP650 to the room fee gets you breakfast for two. You can choose from Continental, American or Filipino breakfast sets—I ordered crispy danggit with 2 scrambled eggs, garlic rice, and brewed coffee. My aunt had bacon and fried eggs. Both plates were generous and filling.

If you want to try fishing AND eating your own catches, head over to The Spot—Banana Beach’s fishing village-slash-restaurant. 

All-day use of fishing rods costs PhP100 each. If you’re a first-timer, don’t fret because the staff will teach you how to fish. If you happen to catch some, you will need to pay PhP280 (bangus, kitang) or PhP350 (lapu-lapu, talakitok) per kilo—inclusive of cooking fee.

Facilities & Activities

Banana Beach features an infinity pool situated near the main restaurant and right in front of the beach. The pool is medium-sized and is built with an adjacent Sunken Bar, where guests can enjoy fresh juices or alcoholic drinks.

The winds weren't so nice to us when we visited, as they agitated the waves and even forced the management to install the wind breakersthus the obstructed view below. In spite of it, I still found this area to be relaxing and beautiful.

Whether it’s an adrenaline-pumping action you’re looking for or something more relaxed, Banana Beach’s roster of activities has something for you. Cruise through the Madaum river or enter a century-old forest while marveling at old trees and various types of flowers, and encountering long-tailed macaques and wild boars. Bike and explore the beauty of the resort or get all wet and wild aboard a banana boat.

River Cruise
Rattan inside the forest
Archery and Shooting Range
You can also go on a Plantation Tour and discover what Hijo is known for: its world-class products—Cavendish bananas that are being exported all over Asia. They also manufacture calamansi puree, coco sugar, and coco syrup, which can substitute sugar in your drinks.

For more details on Banana Beach’s activities, read this: 10 Things to Do in Banana Beach Davao.

Tours & Packages

Below are the rates for the different tours available at Banana Beach:

For the packages, here are your options:
  • All-Day Pass (PhP1,250/head, mininum of 8 per group) - choice of 4 activities, welcome drink, use of infinity pool, PhP3,500 consumable on food and drinks; valid for 1 day
  • Consumable Pass (PhP950/head) - fully consumable on food, drinks, and activities; valid for 1 day
  • The Spot Pass (PhP500/hut) - valid for 1 day, inclusive of 2 fishing rods

Check out for more information.

Banana Beach: Grandeur in Simplicity

It’s easy to forget that one is in a 760-hectare property when you’re in Banana Beach. A place this huge is not ordinary, and I feel lucky that it’s available for us to enjoy, to admire, and to explore. You know how other hotels and resorts practically rub it into your face that they have the biggest blah blah and the most luxurious blah blah? I didn’t feel this at Banana Beach. The resort spoke for itself, and if it ever did flaunt itself, it was too subtle to be noticed. I didn’t need the biggest pool, the finest cashmere towels or the most luxurious dessert with freaking gold shavings on top because the resort’s simplicity and sincerity was enough. In fact, it’s exactly what I needed—given that most things in life are superficial, and as a person yearning for a break from my daily grind, it’s a relief to find something so genuine.

More than the fun list of things to do, I fell in love with the superb service—especially that sense of personal touch. Everyone was just so friendly—the resort manager himself even took responsibility for acting as tour guide during our River Cruise, because it was a Sunday and they were understaffed. The staff are accommodating and sincere—a little more training maybe, for the pickier foreigners or guests from Manila. But overall, I found the service to be fine and straightforward.

In fact, I would say my stay at Banana Beach is one of the most memorable and most amazing getaways I had this year. This versatile, clean, multi-faceted, and family-friendly resort has a lot of potential to become one of the Philippines’ top destinations—it’s just that the word needs to get out there. I highly recommend Banana Beach as an item in your itinerary when visiting Davao—or Mindanao, in general. When I happen to go back down south, I’m definitely stopping by here again, because as I write this I am terribly missing the entire experience and I’m aching to do it all over again.



Here's a video I made showing my Banana Beach experience:



Air-conditioned casitas are clean, spacious and comfortable. Lots of activities available.
Sincere and warm staff. Friendly resort managers. Loved the umbrellas available everywhere, a very thoughtful touch.
Breakfast is OK; seafood dishes, homemade ice cream are must-tries!
Loved the tropical feel of the resort, total immersion in nature.
A bit far from the city, but worth it. A piece of hidden paradise in Davao.

Points for improvement:
  • Faster serving time in Banana Beach Restaurant should be considered (average when we visited is about 15 minutes).
  • With its huge land area, maybe the resort can add another pool.
  • Installing bidets and rain showers in the bathrooms can add a nice upscale feel—nice to have, but not really that important.

Banana Beach Resort
Hijo Estate Resorts, Hijo Plantation, Brgy. Madaum, Tagum City, Davao del Norte
For reservations:
Packages and Rates: click here

Have you been to Banana Beach Resort? How was your experience?

My stay was sponsored by Banana Beach Resort. All opinions, however, are my own.

If you like my posts and would love regular updates on travel photos, food finds, restaurant reviews, dance articles, and drunken tales, follow Pepe Samson on Facebook!

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