One of the more exciting attractions of Davao City is the D’ Japanese Tunnel Family Resort. The tunnel used to be an important site during the Japanese occupation but was then developed into a tourist spot years later. Not only is it a tunnel, but a developed vacation place: tons of Japanese restaurants as well as accommodations can be found inside.
The tunnel was created during World War II, supposedly for Filipino prisoners of war. Its creation was mainly for hideout purposes, not only for the sake of keeping the Japanese soldiers safe but to keep their belongings intact as well. Stories say that hundreds of tunnels were dug during the time that the Americans took over Davao City and this was certainly one of them. The D’ Japanese Tunnel has now apparently become the most famous tourist tunnel in Davao.
Upon approaching the tunnel, you’ll be greeted by beautiful statues of a World War II Japanese soldier and a Japanese woman in a kimono. All throughout the tunnel, you’ll be seeing life-size statues of Japanese soldiers to stir up your imagination even further and bring you to a time when life was inside the tunnel for safety against the world outside.
With your tour guide on hand and the installed lighting to illuminate the way, you’ll notice different weaponry, water bankers and offices used by the Japanese soldiers themselves. There are several chapels as well, including one with a replica of the Golden Buddha. As you go deeper into the tunnel, more vintage machine guns, explosives, bombs and plenty of bullets and ammo surround the place. Interestingly, plenty of gold molders were found inside the tunnel, which might have meant that the soldiers stocked up on gold inside, or were essentially digging for some found inside.
The definite size of the tunnel seems relatively small at 300 meters or a length of only 1000 feet. But it actually extends deeper, even if visitors are not allowed to walk further. The part that tourists are not allowed to go into is blocked by bars at the end. Apparently, this is due to the tunnel being owned by two different owners. The tunnel is located in Matina Balusong, Diversion Road, Davao City which is a 20-minute drive from the downtown area.
As previously mentioned, there were several tunnels around the city of Davao as the Japanese found these tunnels an effective means of transportation for their equipment as well as for the mobilization their forces. This strategic move definitely made it difficult for the Americans to locate them. Some of these tunnels were extremely long and some would even crisscross and intersect at a point.
World War II followers will definitely be amazed by the tunnel that certainly captures the public’s imagination. Most tunnels built by the Japanese used manual labor as thousands of Filipinos were used as slaves to dig and excavate the tunnels. After the war, most of the tunnels were destroyed as an effort to rehabilitate the city. Some were still preserved though, and eventually became tourist spots and landmarks, like the D’ Japanese Tunnel. For a minimal cost, visitors will then be able to experience a site that has such rich historical significance to the city.