I've only heard and read about this place a few times before. And no, not from seasoned travelers. I heard about this from people who weren't just seeking for a new place to go to, but from people who were chasing serenity. I've seen their astonishing photos and I was sold.
After doing a little bit of research, I found out that you can't just walk-in there. You have to register first and a secure a recommendation letter from their office at Jose Maria College. You also have to pay PHP 100 per pax for Entrance Fee. These properties are owned by Apollo Quiboloy's family. Yes, Pastor Quiboloy of the religious group, The Kingdom of Jesus Christ The Name Above Every Name. Others were probably taken aback because of this. But for open-minded travelers, this is not an issue at all. :)
|the main gate|
The Prayer Mountain is located at the foot of Mt. Apo, in Third District of Davao City, in Calinan. Going here is not very easy. From the city center, you have to travel to Calinan. Then from the town of Calinan, hire a habal-habal to take you to Tamayong. It was quite a ride! The pineapple plantations, the durian trees along the way and the very cold weather, altogether gives you a wonderful feeling. I once again felt that urge (the way I felt in Siquijor) to raise my hands while on the motorbike but then it was not safe hehe. All in all, it will take you less than an hour to get here.
When we arrived, the security guard asked for our recommendation letter right away. After verifying it, he then called the guard on the other gate and instructed him to let us in. Apparently, there are different gates for the members and the visitors. We were immediately entertained by a Brother (I'm sorry, I'm really bad at names). First, we were asked to watch a video about why and how the place was built and of course about their activities. Don't worry, they are very nice and they won't persuade you to be a part of their religious group. You will actually feel their lightheartedness by the way they welcome visitors no matter what your religious background is. All you have to do is to return their kindness. :)
We were then escorted by Brother and he toured us in the entire vicinity. He was so nice that he was even holding the umbrella for us. Aww.
This place is also known as the Covenant Mountain and Prayer Center or Garden of Eden Restored (which was its old name). Upon entering the gate, you'll already feel a sense of peace and spirituality.
More than 50% of the flora here were imported from different parts of the world. No wonder some of the flowers we saw seemed unrecognizable but all of them were so beautiful!
The trees, the plants, the flowers, everything you see has that calming effect. This is an 8-hectare property. So imagine being in this vastness surrounded with God's creations.
|a tree almost touching the sky|
This place was built here at the foothills based on the belief that a mountain had always been a significant place for God's dealing with men.
It's so fascinating how well this property is taken care of. As you walk along, you will notice a group of hard-working people tending to the plants and cleaning every corner of place. They say trucks of water are being used here everyday to maintain the beautiful garden and landscapes. And would you believe that every single plants that are prone to pests, are being soaped by the gardeners individually? :)
|lizzie in wonderland :)|
There's a relaxing music playing all around the garden and when we tried locating where its coming from, we found these big kick-ass outdoor landscape speakers. A pair of these cost USD 500, so it's roughly PHP 10,000 each! We found out that the garden's centralized music is being played 24/7. Just wow!
|the soothing music source|
The mansion below is the official residence of Pastor Quiboloy himself. This is located at the northern end of the property.
On the northwestern part, you will see the Millenneal Houses.
These are grand row houses which are being used by the group members, visitors and pilgrims from other parts of the world whenever they have big events or gatherings here.
|Pink Millenneal House|
Their colors are pink, blue and yellow. And nope, it wasn't just because they liked those colors. The color code has a purpose. The blue house is for the men, pink for the women and yellow for families or couples. We were able to check out the inside of the yellow house. :)
|Yellow Millenneal House|
We had a fun and enlightening morning that day. It was one of the nicest gardens I've been too, and the first of its kind, I've seen in the country. I'm so glad we made it to this haven. Please don't be put off by the religion factor. They welcome everyone with open arms.
|just happy :)|
Did this post made you curious? So you want to go there too? Here's how:
Directions from Davao City:
- From Davao City center, go to Bangkerohan where the terminal to Calinan is.
- Take the L300 going to Calinan, fare is PHP 45.
- Disembark in Calinan town proper, there's a queue of habal-habal in one of the side streets there. Tell them to take you to Tamayong Prayer Mountain. Locals also know this as Quiboloy's. They charge PHP 30 each one-way (PHP60 back and forth). But since it is quite far and secluded, you may find it difficult to get a ride back to town. We asked our drivers to just wait for us and just paid them PHP 100 per person.
- Registration and admission fee payment is at Jose Maria College. It is just adjacent to the airport.
- Please dress appropriately. No revealing tops, shorts or short skirts especially for the girls.
- Closed footwear is most preferred. Those pink shoes, I bought it in Davao because I just brought flipflops with me on this trip hehe.
- If you're going there on the sunny time of the day, you may bring your own umbrella to keep you protected from the sun.
- Most importantly, follow their do's and don'ts to show respect. You will get a list of those when you're done with your registration.
This is Part 3 of my Davao travel series.