Davao has the idyllic charm of a small town, the sophisticated comforts of a modern metropolis, the best of both worlds – a destination that does not only promise leisure, escapades or profitable ventures but most importantly, a warm feeling of being home.
The beautiful city of Davao is surrounded by picture-perfect landscapes. Also known as Dabaw, it is the biggest metropolis in the Philippines in terms of land area. It is also among the country’s most progressive places, yet living there would still afford you the luxury of living in the countryside; thus it is dubbed as the “city of two worlds.”
Davao is in the southern part of Mindanao and is in the same island as Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Bukidnon.
Why Not Go
If you want to experience all night fun in street parties, this might not be the perfect place for you to visit. Although there are a number of nice bars in Davao, night life is not a big thing in this city as people prefer to go to parks and farms instead.
Photo by Jokojun
Davao is one of the must-see places in the Philippines because it has so much to offer its visitors. From the island treasure known as Pearl Farm in Samal island to the nature trips in its vast collection of farms, mountains, volcanoes and plantations, Davao makes for one very interesting city. It is also noteworthy to know that up to this day, you will still find a very diverse community here, with ethnic tribes and modern people coexisting harmoniously. Thus, you will often find a wide array of arts and crafts such as hand-woven cloths and ethnic beads being sold in market stands.
Date: Every 3rd week of August
Photo by Belarminoed
Summer time is among the best period to head to Davao. It is said to be “typhoon-free” but it cannot escape rainfalls though they are not really as bad as the rest of the regions. It is advisable to visit the city during cold seasons if you prefer the cool breeze over sweaty sightseeing. Moreover, if you would like to experience how Dabawenyos celebrate their festivals, you might want to go there around the 3rd week of August as this is when they have a week-long celebration for the Kadayawan Festival.
• Marco Polo
If you are looking for a great place to stay with a Western flair, Marco Polo is your best bet. You may choose from rooms, suites, continental club rooms and continental executive suite, and signature suites. Every room in this hotel is set with broadband internet connection and other features which are most suitable for business travelers. Marco Polo Davao is located in between Claro M. Recto and Manuel Roxas Avenue. Rates start at $89.
• Bagobo hotel
If you are looking for a budget hotel, you can stay at the Bagobo Hotel. This place is situated at Gov. Duarte St. The hotel is strategically located in the main commercial, shopping and entertainment area. It has 35 air-con rooms with 24 hour cable TV and hot or cold shower. The room rates ranges from $18 to $42, depending on the type of accommodation.
Where & What to Eat
• Jack’s ridge
The ground where Jack’s Ridge is now located is previously a division of Japanese headquarters where the soldiers retreat to after the World War II ended. Americans arrived in Davao during May 1, 1945 obliging Japanese to head to Matina Hills where they had a superior lookout of the Davao Gulf since that was where the American vessels were anchored. The main restaurant provides Dabawenyo dishes like grilled tuna, pork and chicken inato, kinilaw, sinigang and more. They are located in Shrine Hills, Matina. You may call them at +6382-297-8830 for reservations.
If you are craving for spare ribs, Aphat is the place for you. Actually you may spend around $32 for buffet and get 7 dishes plus dessert and drinks.
• Dimsum Diner
Davao city is fortunate enough to be full of restaurants that offer Indian, French, Italian, Japanese and Chinese cuisines. Dimsum Diner has probably the best siomai in the city. If you are not familiar with this Chinese food then it is all the more reason for you to try it. They have many branches in the city, but for your convenience, you can try their restaurants in Agdao and Gaisano Mall.
As mentioned, nightlife is not big in Davao. Local people prefer dining and picnics. However you can check out The Venue along Jacinto Extension as it is the most frequented party place in the city.
From the article, you mentioned “The Venue” for nightlife. That is old news and “The Venus” and its surrounding compound is dying. The bigger area attracting nightlife is on F. Torres. There are many restaurants, bars, KTV, coffee shops. There are a few popular compounds loaded with locations. An other area is Rizal Street with Rizal Promenade. In Matina there is MTS (Matina Town Square) with lots of places too. – Bruce
My to do List
• Samal Island
This mysterious and exotic island boasts of sparkling waters and sugary beaches. To get there, you can take a boat ride from the city wharf; the trip is about 45 minutes. People come here mostly to see or stay at the Pearl Farm. It is one of the most sought-after honeymoon destinations in the country.
PKTan: Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral infection which is sometimes complicated by hemorrhage or shock. There is no vaccine. Travelers to Samal Island should protect themselves from mosquito bites by applying repellent and keeping themselves covered.
• Crocodile Farm
Located in Diversion Road, Ma-a, this is the place where you can find a lot of crocodiles and other animals such as snakes and monkeys. Watch out for the biggest crocodile in the country, aptly named “Pangil” which means “fang.”
• Philippine Eagle Center
This place is about an hour away from the city, and you can take a bus ride going there. For a small price of about a dollar per person, you get to see the glorious Philippine Eagles. You can also try Falconry which is one of the highlights of this trip.
• Zip lines
There are many zip lines in Davao. There is one where you pay around $8 for the experience at Camp Sabros in Mt. Apo, or you can go to Eden Nature Park, a fantastic mountain resort boasting of a very exciting zip line experience.
Photo by James Torres
• Mt. Apo
Of course, if you like mountain climbing, you should not miss out on this stratovolcano which happens to be the tallest mountain in the Philippines.
• Davao Museum
Located at the Insular Village in Lanang, the Davao Museum is where you can find the rich cultural history of the city preserved in one place. You will see ethnographical and archaeological collections gathered from the Mandaya, Bagobo, Manobo, Mansaka, B’laan and Tiboli tribes.
• Lanzones, Mangosteen and Durian
Never leave Davao without tasting these heavenly fruits! It might be important to say though that not everyone will love Durian because of its smell, but if you can, just hold your breath so you can sample this great-tasting fruit.
• Sul Orchids Farm
Davao has several orchid farms and among the most popular is the Sul Orchids Farm located at Luzviminda Village in Ma-a. Here you will find the most beautiful orchids which Davao is actually quite famous for. You can also choose to purchase some, if you like.
The Gaisano Mall or G-Mall is a really big mall, and it is 6 floors high. There you can find anything and everything you want for clothes, accessories, electronics, and food.
Stay Away From
Well, there are not that many crimes in Davao since authorities always ensure the safety of its locals and visitors. It is in fact one of the safest places in the country.
On the other hand, you need to be aware of the fact that Davao is a smoke-free city so smoking in public places can really get you in trouble. And they also prohibit the use of firecrackers even during special holidays such as Christmas and New Year.
You can get to Davao by air, land and sea. For air travel, you get the advantage of having a wide choice of entry points because Davao already has an International Airport. You can get there from Singapore (SilkAir), Macau (Viva Macau), Darwin (Air Frontier), Seoul (Asiana) and many more. For domestic air travel, you can catch a flight from Manila, Zamboanga, and Cebu via PAL or Cebu Pacific; there are also smaller planes which can take you to Davao from other cities.
Sea travel would get people to Davao from Cebu and Manila, and a few other major cities in the country. It is usually an overnight trip to get there.
Land travel is especially advisable for travelers who are currently in Mindanao. You can get there from Cagayan, Iligan, Bukidnon, and Zamboanga by bus. You can even get there from Manila by taking the PhilTranco buses, it is going to be a long trip but it’s the scenic route to Davao.
Roz Visarra has always been fond of travelling. As a young girl, she would travel with her parents in the Visayas and Mindanao because their relatives are from all these areas. She currently resides in Cebu, the Queen City of the South and looks forward to her next travel.
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