Adventures and Sports
Would You Dare Wake the Sleeping Dinosaur of Mati, Davao Oriental?
Ida Damo | Nov 20, 2017
The Sleeping Dinosaur is a popular stopover for visitors and locals bound for Mati City coming from Davao City and Tagum City. A thousand or more photos have been taken with the plesiosaur-shaped dinosaur in the background from a viewdeck.
What could the stories be behind its shape and who can say if they were true? One such tale is that a man from a far area dreamed that he would be going to a place where a piece of land would jut out to the sea and it would be shaped like a dinosaur sleeping on its belly.
True enough when he looked out his vehicle’s window on his way to Mati City, he was greeted with the dinosaur-shaped island.
Another story is that there was a young, well-loved dinosaur that was poisoned by a fellow dinosaur that got jealous of the former’s popularity. The young dinosaur fell into a deep sleep. Through time, the dinosaur has been covered in soil and vegetation has grown from it. But because of the love of the people for the dinosaur, they hope that the dinosaur would still wake up.
Another version is that people believe that the skeleton displayed at the Subangan Museum in Mati City is that of the dinosaur. But it was proven false because a dinosaur that big (the whole area is 579 hectares) would not fit inside the museum and the skeleton is that of a sperm whale which they named DavOr.
You know how stories make you curious as to what mysteries the sleeping dinosaur keeps. And so on a drizzly Saturday morning, together with the Maayong Buntag Mindanao Team, we sought the help of the Davao Oriental Provincial Tourism Office and the Mati City Tourism Office to guide us in our trek on the dinosaur’s back.
We were praying for the sun to come out so the trek would not be as slippery and difficult.
The shortest trail to reach the sleeping dinosaur is at Bad-as Point, Barangay Dawan, Mati City.
Just right after the Bulaloan Viewdeck in Bad-as is a downward road leading to the barangay from which you start your climb. Recommended vehicles are pick-ups and other SUVs. The regular mode of transport is a large jeep that charges PhP50 per person one way.
We had elementary school kids as our guides and they did not lose sight of the oldest person on the trek: Me!
The road going to the summit is not easy to trek. When you reach the barangay, you pay the entrance fee of PhP10 per person and start walking. The residents are accommodating and friendly.
Since it was low tide, the kids led us to the coastal path instead of the usual road on the hill. Mangroves in different stages of growth line the beach side.
First ascent was on a slightly steep hill of boulders and trees. As you continue to climb, the hill tapers to grassland. You take a breather and enjoy the view. Take a photo and realize that you have just climbed the arm of the dinosaur.
The rolling hills of yellowish green grass give way to the blue sea and sky. You climb on until you reach the belly of the dinosaur where the trail ends. The view is breath taking.
In the early part of the year, the trails have been closed because of the garbage left behind by irresponsible climbers which led to the Mati City Government with the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) to formulate a Dinosaur Trail Management Plan (DTMP).
The plan would safeguard and protect the sleeping dinosaur from such irresponsible acts and conserve the fragile environment from which it rests.
Will the dinosaur wake up with the noise? Will the thousand footsteps that trudge on its back disturb its sleep? We can only ask and for the mean time, enjoy the view while the dinosaur is in deep slumber.
“Take nothing but pictures; Leave nothing but footprints; Kill nothing but time.”
Thank you, Province of Davao Oriental Tourism Officer Miguel Trocio, Janjan1 and Janjan2; Mati City Tourism Office’s Carlo; Barangay Dawan Kid Guides- Jessica, Lovely, and Shay; Maayong Buntag Mindanao’s Hernel Tocmo, Ken Mangaya-ay, Chastine Montaño, Fredzon Sagarino, and Ken Regner.
How to get there:
Davao City is an hour and 50 minutes by plane from Manila and 50 minutes from Cebu.
Mati City is 3 hours away by land from Davao City by private vehicles. Bus rides would take 4 to 5 hours.
Coordinate with the Mati City Tourism Office for trail hikes to the sleeping dinosaur.