Tramline at Tawan Tawan Baguio District, Davao City: What It Is and a Lot More Along the Way

It was my second day in Davao City and my initial plan was to go to Samal Island. Because I got up late and was not able to take an early ride to catch the sunrise, I decided to go to the Philippine Eagle Center instead.

I met Michael Marasigan, a volunteer at PEC, a triathlete and a tour guide on the side. I asked him how I could get to Eden Nature Park to try their zipline and sightsee after an hour of his guided tour in PEC. Upon learning of my adventure trip, he asked me if I wanted to try a cable car near the area. Out of curiosity and excitement, I hurriedly said yes. Two minutes later and we’re riding his motorbike going to Barangay Tawan Tawan, Baguio District.

Here's Mark taking videos.
Here’s Mark taking videos.

We stopped at a “sari-sari” store to get a refill and off we went to the mountains. The path was smooth and easy at first. Small houses were still visible. Huts along the way were filled with durian, pomelo, mangosteen and other produce for sale, all fresh from trees planted in the area. Mark joyfully pointed at almost everything interesting on our way-from trees, houses, fruits to gardens and plantations. A couple of minutes later and the road began to get rough. No more cemented pavements in this part of the city and I thought to myself, “Where the hell are we?” I saw a distant mountain and he told me we’re going on top of that. Wait. What?

We passed by a huge pineapple plantation. It is known as Davao Agricultural Ventures Corporation (DAVCO) a joint venture between Del Monte Fresh Produce and Anflo Management and Investment Corporation (ANFLOCOR) which is engaged in the production of fresh Del Monte Gold pineapples that are exported to Japan, Hongkong, Korea, Middle East and New Zealand. It was not harvest season yet and what I only saw was vast greenery, still such an amazing view! I wondered how they water and fertilize those thousand pineapples.

The Del Monte Gold pineapple plantation. Yummy!
The Del Monte Gold pineapple plantation. Yummy!

On the other side of the road are thousands of Dole banana trees and a facility that harvests, seals, packs and exports them to Japan. Don’t get confused now, pineapples are Del Monte Gold and bananas are Dole.

A few minutes later and the mountain was getting closer, hence more detailed. I got so excited (or rather relieved) that we were finally getting there. After a few more turns, jagged trails, uphills and seemingly endless roads which got narrower in every turn, we were finally there!

That mountain. Me on our way,
That mountain. Me on our way,

An ordinary and far away village, Barangay Tawan Tawan has a large number of inhabitants as opposed to its distance from the city center. Small shacks were built near each other. There are concrete ones too. Children played in the yard, some barefoot. People here go to the city to get goods and stuff through a motorbike or tricycle. There is no regular commuter jeepney or multicab.

We stopped near a cliff where a what seemed to me was a sidecar of a bike painted in white with pink flags tied on iron bars. It hangs in mid air through cables connected to the other side of the mountain. The words “Tramline System” were poorly spray painted beside the concrete wall of the landing area. Surely, I was disappointed at first. I haven’t ridden a cable car in my life but I have seen one on TV and books and they didn’t look like that. Well, there’s another side of the story.

This 865-meter agricultural bi-cable tramline system is a Php2.7 million project assisted and funded by the Department of Agriculture, RFU-XI under the High Value Commercial Crops Development Program (HVCDP) and its implementing arm, the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (Philmech). It is located in Barangay Tawan tawan Baguio District, Davao City which connects Sitio Durian (point A) and Sitio Gading (point B). This is the second tramline system which was built by DA in Davao City.

Tawan tawan's tramline system
Tawan tawan’s tramline system

This agricultural tramline system is a hauling facility that is made of steel cables, pulleys, carriers, posts, power house and loading and unloading stations. Its capacity is approximately 400-500 kilos but can carry up to four people only due to sitting capacity. It hangs about 100-200 meters high above the Panigan river bed.

The view from the tramway. Awesome!
The view from the tramway. Awesome!
Here's another one!
Here’s another one!

It is an alternative transport system that would benefit the farmers in the area. This reduces hauling costs, prevent post harvest losses and encourage more farmers to increase their production. It also removes the dependence on porter system of hauling that spoils and damages fruits and vegetables during the transport. Before the tramline was built, farmers used to transport their agricultural products through horses crossing the river. It charges Php1 per 20 kilos. Barangay council and the MTBKA handle the operation of the tramline. Proceeds go to its maintenance and the people of the community.

Going to the other side. This mountain is home to three Philippine eagles and there were several sightings here of this endangered specie. Great!
Going to the other side. This mountain is home to three Philippine eagles and there were several sightings here of this endangered specie. Great!

I paid Php120 for a roundtrip. I got a big discount because Mark told the woman assisting us that I was his cousin from Manila. Locals pay lower or sometimes free. We quickly boarded and I took photos while Mark took videos. I am not a fan of heights but I enjoyed the ride with the view of the river below. We took a short walk on the other side. You could go swimming in the river following the path on the other side but I didn’t plan to get wet.

the trail going to the river
the trail going to the river

I wasn’t able to do any eco adventure activity during my stay aside from this one but I can say this is totally awesome and one of a kind especially the trip going here.

How to get there:

There are habal-habal going here. I am not sure about the fare though. Better ask the locals when you get to the city. Travel time is around thirty minutes.

Tip: Go early in the morning. You will have one hell of a ride when heat strikes and you cannot enjoy the view along the way when it gets dark. I wasn’t able to get Mark’s number. You can find him at PEC though.


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