Durian Obsessed – 6 Philippines Vacations to Satisfy Yourself with the King of Fruits

By Mark Wiens 11 Comments
A pure golden nugget of the King of Fruits
A pure golden nugget of the King of Fruits

Mark’s Note: A shared affection for durian is a camaraderie that perhaps forms a stronger bond between two humans than anything else.

So after connecting with Lindsay and Rob, who have dedicated an entire year to travel the world and eat durian, I was pretty excited to hear about their adventures. In the future Lindsay will write a book, but for now be sure to check out their latest mouthwatering durian discoveries on Year of the Durian.

Now over to Lindsy…

Durian craze has hit with such force that some people are no longer content waiting for durian to be shipped to them.

Instead the wealthy of China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau are beginning to include durian as part of their vacation packages, looking for tours of vintage farms and all-you-can-eat buffets.

Thailand and Malaysia make the most fuss about their durian, but the Philippine’s fun-loving, laid back culture and paradisiacal white sand beaches (not to mention durian!) makes the southern island of Mindanao a great durian vacation destination.

Here are a few family friendly durian activities in the Philippines:

Durian Bouillabaise
Durian Bouillabaise

1. Davao City’s Kadayawan: August

A durian festival in disguise, Kadayawan is the harvest celebration that signals the beginning of durian season. It’s officially a gathering of the Davao region’s ten ethnic tribes, but durian plays a significant role in decoration and cuisine.

Around the city, restaurants put durian on the menu, mixing the fruit into a variety of popular local dishes and beverages. Not for vegetarians or the MSG wary.

Do: Watch for durian floats at the parade, fight the heat with durian ice candy, and taste durian offerings at the SM Mall food court.

Durian feasting competition
Durian feasting competition

2. Tagum City Durian Festival: August-September

An hour drive north of Davao City, the festival is now in its 7th year and has been a major success. The month-long event was created as a way to support farmers of the “Plant Now Pay Later” program, initiated to encourage durian farming.

Do: Compete in the durian eating contest, taste durian creations of local culinary students, and enjoy local durian varieties, especially Jemapis Farm’s Red Prawn. Don’t miss the opening ceremony.

Magsaysay Durian Park
Magsaysay Durian Park

3. Magsaysay Durian Park: All-year

No visit to Davao is complete without a trip to Magsaysay. Just outside of Chinatown, Magsaysay has been the durian center of Davao since the 1950’s.

The heaps of durian piled in front of Nenang’s stall attracts the most attention, but for a taste of the oldies head back across the street to Toto Willie’s, who has been selling durian since 1964. Beware the bicycle durian vendors, who offer lower prices but rig the scales.

Do: Try local favorites like Native, Arancillo and Puyat. In true local style, wash it all down with an iced bottle of Coca-Cola, believed to cleanse the palate and prevent durian burps. See Durian Varieties of the Philippines.

Blugre Coffee - Durian Coffee
Blugre Coffee – Durian Coffee

4. Blugre Coffee

The very first specialty coffee shop, Blugre is responsible for bringing coffee culture to Davao City, with a local twist: durian. Now a successful chain, Blugre may soon take durian coffee international.

Do: Sip a durian beverage and munch a slice of durian cake while marveling at the company’s new jingle, set on repeat as only tolerated in the karaoke-obsessed Philippines.

A beautiful truck full of durian
A beautiful truck full of durian

5. Kidapawan: September-October

The gateway to Mindanoa’s mother volcano, Mt. Apo, the city used to host one of the nation’s largest fruit festivals as well. Weather changes and a shift to rubber, banana and oil palm have decreased fruit production and the festival has been canceled since 2010.

Do: Enjoy the local durian supply between hikes, or attend the nearby Kalivungan Durian Festival instead.

Durian in the Philippines
Talikud Island

6. Samal and Talikud Islands

This is where the paradisiacal island dream becomes reality. The sixty-minute ferry ride leaves from Santa Ana Wharf just next to Magsaysay Durian Park. Complete your durian vacation by grabbing a box of durians from any of the Magsaysay vendors before leaving. If you plan on staying awhile, you can place an order and have your favorite varieties shipped to you via ferry.

Do: Eat durian while relaxing on a white sand beach, feed durian to fish while snorkeling, or build a durian shell boat.

About the Author

Me

Lindsay Gasik has spent a crazed 8 months hunting durian around SE Asia with her husband, Rob Culclasure.

They have just four months and three countries left of a year-long project focused on the King of Fruit. To read about their adventures or satisfy your own durian obsession, head over to Year of the Durian now!

11 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Alice Viejo

    7 hours ago

    I am planning on visiting Southern island of Mindanao for a great durian vacation destination. Hope to eat some of the most delicious durians there!

  • budi salim

    6 years ago

    HI Ms Lindsay Gasik and Mr Rob Culclasure, it is very nice reading your article about durian. By the way, do you have any information about are there any durian restaurant for durian lover located in Philippine? i see there is only Blugre Cafe that selling Garpuccino and Larcepuccino. I would like to know if there is any option restaurants somewhere else? Thanks a lot for your help

  • GreatDurian

    7 years ago

    I have never been to Asia, but am anxious to find a good seller of durian fruit in the US. I live on the east coast though, so my options are limited. Anyone have any ideas?

  • Lindsay

    9 years ago

    I had a great time! 🙂 Philippines is definitely on the top of my list for places to visit again. During durian season of course…. 😛

    • Mark Wiens

      8 years ago

      Great Lindsay, it’s on the top of my list to visit again as well!

  • Ada | Adaphobic Travels

    9 years ago

    I have been to Davao but I didn’t dare eating Durian, I have this weird sensitive sense of smell and really can’t tolerate. But I wish I had it!! I hope the author enjoyed her stay in Davao 😀

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Ada! I think the author really did enjoy her time visiting!

  • sully86

    9 years ago

    mark: Breaking the stereotype of angmoh not being able to eat durians. Awesome!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Haha, yes!

      • Joel Bruner

        9 years ago

        Dude, just saw this awesome recipe on a comment…

        Durian pizza! He said the durian lost most of its flavor obviously, due to the 500 degree oven, but he had a great name for it- since he was just making a Hawaiian pizza, but sub-ing out the pineapple and replacing with durian, his new pizza was the Malaysian!
        haha 🙂 awesome

        • Mark Wiens

          9 years ago

          Haha, that could be very delicious, and that’s a genius idea indeed. Maybe a durian dessert pizza would be better – like bake a round bread and spread durian on it, so it’s not cooked and retains its flavor.