After zorbing and trying (and failing) to walk on water, we proceeded to the Partoza Durian Farms. Agro-tourism, yeah! The farm is a 45min drive from the Crocodile Park compound.
One important thing if you're planning to visit the Partoza Durian Farms: appointment is a must. Contact them at least two days before your visit. Because lunch and snacks were available, I initially thought that we could just waltz right in, just like in most restaurants and parks. Good thing we bothered to ask two days before if a reservation was required.
Upon arrival, our small group was greeted by the owner himself, Mr. Antonio Partoza, Jr., accompanied by two cute dogs. Both dogs were quiet and friendly. The black one was especially sociable. He would always approach us and let us pet him. Later on, we saw a third dog but he was chill just like his two furry friends.
We were surprised to learn that we would be dining not in a commercial restaurant but in Mr. Partoza's house. (This is why you need to let them know in advance that you'll be visiting -- so they can prepare your food.)
For durian fanatics, here's an advice to handle durian overdose:
The visit to the Partoza Durian Farms did not feel like a commercial activity. In fact, according to Mr. Partoza, he opted to shy away from turning his land into a resort and opted for a more laidback, low-key business of farming durian, the quintessential Davao fruit. Visiting the farm felt more like visiting the farm of a rich uncle or family friend. Mr. Partoza certainly had that vibe, of being an uncle or long-time family friend instead of a complete stranger we met just a few minutes ago. He spoke freely and casually about life on the farm. His son also accompanied us during lunch but, in contrast to his father, he was very quiet.
We were served pork laing, tinola paella, fried hito (catfish), mango-pomelo salad, buco juice, and (of course!) durian. There was way more than enough food and most, if not all, of the ingredients were farm-to-table. I did not like the pork laing and the tinola paella very much (just out of personal preference -- I like paella but I'm not a big fan of tinola and I like my laing really really leafy and spicy) but I appreciated the freshness of the veggies. The fried catfish was good and crispy. The mango-pomelo salad was divine and worked great both as a dessert and a palate cleanser during the meal.
After the meal, we went off to tour the farm. According to Mr. Partoza's assistant, they would normally ask their guests to wear a helmet while going around the farm to avoid injuries if a durian fruit would fall off the tree, but since we visited after harvest time, we did not have to wear the helmets.
Mr. Partoza led the tour, discussing the various plants around us. Whenever we had questions, he would answer them as best he could. Conversations flowed smoothly and the tour did not feel scripted. Like the chit-chat during the meal, it felt like a friend discussing things with you and showing you around.
Despite the name, we saw a lot of plants at the Partoza Durian Farms, not just durian trees.
There were also animals, such as these goats.
|Duuuuude...want some grass?|
There were outdoor seats as well as a playground for kids.
Unfortunately, since our visit was after the harvest, we only saw one fruit hanging from the tree.
And lots of durian flowers.
Two unique plants piqued our interest: miracle berries and the Mickey Mouse plant.
The miracle berry (aka miracle fruit, miraculous berry, sweet berry, agbayun, taami, asaa or ledidi), when eaten, causes sour foods you eat for the next 60 minutes to taste sweet. We tested this by eating a miracle berry then biting into a kamias (Bilimbi fruit, a sour fruit). True enough, the kamias tasted sweet. Woah!
The Mickey Mouse plant, on the other hand, is also known as Mickey Mouse Fruit, Cow's Udder, Apple of Sodom, Fox face, Five Fingered Eggplant, Nipple Fruit or Titty Fruit. I dunno, I think the folks who came up with those blushworthy names stared too much at cows and boobs (and cow boobs). To us, the Mickey Mouse fruit looked more like little yellow feet.
The visit to Partoza Durian Farms cost us P380/pax for the lunch. Sounds a little pricey but the food was more than enough and really fresh. Plus, Mr. Partoza was a gracious host and the tour was engaging and educational. If you're coming in the morning or late afternoon, you can also opt for snacks instead, for P180/pax.
Partoza Durian FarmsBrgy. Biao Escuela, Tugbok District
Davao City, Philippines
Tel. No. (82)2264406 / (82)2861598 / +639177147332 / +639209607332