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Top Things To Do In Davao City

By May 24, 2015 ,

Aerial view of Davao City

Davao City in the island of Mindanao is one of the major tourist destinations in the Philippines. It has so many things to offer. Sumptuous regional food, unique tourist attractions in the countryside and beaches.

It is frequently cited as one of the top safest cities in Asia to live and travel and lately being the 9th safest city in the world.

Probably, one of the largest cities in the world with a land area of 2,444 square kilometers, Davao City offers varied choices of attractions for travelers. Despite its size, it is one big city that you will never lost. Everything is in order. Directions to a specific location can be easily navigated.

It is a city with interesting culture and history which often celebrated through local festivals. People of Davao are hospitable and accommodating. And though locals spoke in visayan dialect most of them can communicate well in Tagalog and English. 

Traffic is not terrible and almost everywhere is accessible. Shopping malls, churches, public markets, hospitals, souvenir's shops and schools are located within the city and with just a single ride, the most is two rides but the travel would not take more than an hour.

Police visibility is all over the place so you will feel protected. Pickpocketing, snatching, kidnapping and other horrifying crimes are not usually heard within the city. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte exhausted all his effort to make the city highly safe and peaceful. Davao City is the only place in the Philippines that has 911 vehicle for emergency incidents.

So if you are thinking of visiting Philippines any time soon, consider Davao as your top pick and experience the best of Mindanao.

If you are still unsure what to do, what to expect in Davao City, here are some of my suggestions:

DINE AND ENJOY THE VIEW

Jacksridge is one of the most beautiful open restaurants in Davao City where you can get a picturesque view of the entire city at night time. Perched above the Matina hill, the restaurant offers an ultra-relaxing atmosphere. 

Jacksridge is located at Shrine Hill, Matina, just less than an hour drive from the city proper. It offers international cuisine and the best food finds in Mindanao. It is surrounded with trees and scenic view of nature and has a spacious ground for bonding and fun. Small pavilions surround the restaurant. It has several rooms for an overnight stay with a swimming pool facility.

JOGGING AND WORKOUT

People’s Park in Davao City is open to the public. It is a beautiful place to chill during an intense summer heat. It has a jogging track, park benches, verdant trees, a sunken garden and workout equipment.

Every weekend, People’s Park organizes a free Zumba and Taebo sessions where visitors can freely participate. It normally starts at 6:00 in the morning. Every Sunday after these workout sessions, a free porridge is distributed to participants. Just bring your own water.

People’s Park is located within the heart of the city along Palma Gil street, a few walks away from Marco Polo Hotel and Royal Mandaya Hotel. It opens at 5:00 in the morning and closes at 9:00 in the evening.

THE EAT-ALL-YOU-CAN PHENOMENON

Davao City is not famous for night life and bar hopping but famous for eat-all-you-can dining adventure. Over the years, food establishments burgeoned, offering an affordable buffet . Price normally ranges from Php100.00 to Php400.00 excluding drinks. 

CHILL ON BEACHES

The Davao region has several gorgeous beaches to boast and one of these regions is the beautiful Island Garden City of Samal or IGACOS. Though, geographically, IGACOS is already part of Davao del Norte, it is closer to Davao City, just a 20 minute travel by ferries and less than an hour travel by bus.

My best recommended beaches in IGACOS:

PearlFarm and Malipano Island – World class beach resorts and quite pricey but very elegant, luxurious and with world-class accommodation and services. Stilt houses are built above the water which made the experience ultra-fulfilling. It has two swimming pools, sports facilities, water adventure and a private ground to chill. The maranaw restaurant within Pearl Farm served international cuisine. Malipano can be reached by boat from Pearl Farm and if you book at Pearl Farm, visiting the seaside of Malipano Island is free.

PreciousGarden Resort – One thing I love about this resort is the cozy restaurant area. It is located in the middle of the garden and offers local and international cuisine. Their pasta and pizza are scrumptious. The beach area is located in front of the restaurant garden area. It has no entrance fee and you will only pay when you book for your hotel accommodation. 

Spacious ground, scenic beach area, crystal green water and very affordable accommodation are what make this resort an ideal place to chill in Samal Island. The sprawling ground is perfect for team building and ball games activities.

Chemas Beach Resort
Another beautiful Samal Island beach resort that provides a tranquil experience. It has both a swimming pool facility and a beach side. It is surrounded with coconut trees and tropical plants and a beautiful ground to enjoy with your love ones. It has a beautiful view of the sunset also and a terrific view of Davao City at night time.

Isla Rita
Few of the beaches in Samal Island which I longed to revisit due to its very clear and calm water. It has several cottages for an overnight stay and most of these cottages are located within the mountain surrounding.

GO NATURE ADVENTURE

Due to its laid-back environment, Davao City is still surrounded with verdant tropical trees. This is ideal for travelers who want to relax in a mountain-type environment after an exhausting city tour.

Nature parks in Davao City:

Eden Nature Park - is a premier mountain resort in Mindanao. It is located in Eden, Bayabas, Toril, Davao City. It is a home to botanical garden, bed of flowers, pine trees, organic vegetables, adventure and lush tropical foliage. It has indigenous creatures too with Deer park and Bird walk. Extreme sports adventure can be experienced at Eden too. At night you can go camping at its trail site. Or go walking among boulders in the morning and try zip line in the afternoon. Check information HERE

Loleng's Mountain Resort - Located in Eden, Bayabas, Toril just before reaching Eden Nature Park. It offers a beautiful scenery of nature and a relaxing atmosphere of tropical plants and cool amenities.

Gap Farm - Located just outside downtown Davao in the diversion road of Maa. It has a very quiet atmosphere of a farm life with a swimming pool facility, horse back riding and tropical garden. Check information HERE

Malagos Mountain Resort - Another nature resort in Davao located in Malagos district, almost two hours ride from the city proper. It has a very cool atmosphere and surrounded with thick vegetation and tropical elements of nature. It has a swimming pool facility to boost also.

Crocodile Park - Just a few miles from Gap Farm is a Crocodile Park that houses crocodile species. Good for people who love wildlife and exotic animals.

Philippine Eagle Sanctuary - Located in Malagos district, it is home to Philippine eagle species and other wildlife.

GET COZY IN CAFES

Davao City has several cafes and bistros that offer scrumptious European and American dishes. All these cafes is equipped with a free wifi connection. Ideal for people who want to relax, cool down and enjoy good food in a peaceful surrounding, these cafes are mostly situated in quiet streets in the city, but all these areas are relatively safe so no worry for any crimes.

Some of the best cafes in Davao that offer delectable dishes, teas and coffee concoctions in a relaxing and quiet environment:

  • Bistro Rosario - Located in Torres St, this cafe offers yummy desserts, pasta and coolers.
  • Lachi's - Offers some of the most insanely scrumptious pastries in town, located in Marfori Heights, Davao City.
  • Kangaroo Cafe - Cool and homey atmosphere located in Tiongko Avenue few steps from the Bangko Central
  • Café Demitasse - Also located in a quiet street of Torres. It has a soothing ambiance, cushions are very relaxing and foods are great! Their Creamy Carbonara, Monte Cristo and Belgian french fries are worth trying.
  • Yellow Hauz - Another comfy destination with good food along Torres street.

SOUVENIR and DELICACY SHOPPING

There are several shopping stalls in Davao City that sell souvenir items, mostly Mindanaon authentic products and fruits, Aldevinco Center is one. It is just located in CM Recto Street or Claveria street just in front of Marco Polo Hotel and Ateneo de Davao University.

Aldevinco Center has several boutiques for authentic Mindanao products and souvenir items. It has money changer outlets too which offer higher exchange rates compared to other money changer outlets in the city. This is accessible through a jeepney or a taxi ride. Take note that Davao City has no bus vehicles traveling within down town.

Another delicacy destination for shopping is the Pasalubong Center near People's Park in Palma Gil street.

GET OVERLOAD WITH FRUITS

Davao City is known for fruits like Durian, Mangosteen, Banana and Pomelo. Everywhere in the city, fruit stalls can be found. If you want to get overloaded with fruits at a reasonable price, visit Magsaysay Fruit vendor. It is just located along Magsaysay Street near the Magsaysay Park and Boulevard district. It can be easily reached through a jeepney ride via Agdao and Uyanguren routes.

SHOPPING AT CHINA TOWN

There’s an area in Davao City known as the China Town in Mindanao, the Uyanguren avenue also known as Magsaysay Avenue. This avenue is composed of hardware, dry goods stores and shops mostly owned by Chinese. It offers  affordable goods. This is accessible through a jeepney ride, just tell the driver you are going to Uyanguren.

ATTEND CHURCH SERVICE

Shrine Hill – Houses the Roman Catholic chapel and shrine for the infant Jesus. It has a sprawling ground with manicured lawn to rest on while enjoying the scenic view of nature. It is just a few distance from Jacksridge and opens every day for visitors and pilgrims.

San Pedro Cathedral Church – This one of the largest Roman Catholic churches in Asia in terms of size, this is also the center of the Roman Catholic life in Davao City. It is under the jurisdiction and responsibility of the Archdiocese of Davao. It is located between CM Recto Street and Bolton Street, just in front of Davao City Hall.

Where’s Davao City?

It is located in Southern Mindanao and generally safe for all travelers. For those who feared explosion, insurgencies and suicide bombings, Davao City is very far from Maguindanao, Zamboanga or Lanao regions and no incidents of such are recorded in Davao City. The city is protected with police personnel who ensure safety around the metro. It is just two hours away from Metro Manila via air travel.

How To Get There?

Davao City has international airport that serves domestic and international flights. You can directly book a flight from Singapore or Hongkong. If you are in Metro Manila or anywhere in the country, several airline companies are serving direct routes to Davao daily. 

Getting Around:

There are no buses within the downtown area unlike EDSA in Metro Manila. If you are coming from the airport, you may take a taxi to reach Davao City proper. Travel time is less than an hour. Jeepney is the most common mode of transportation in Davao City, however, if you don’t like riding a jeepney, taxi is available all throughout the city and nearby districts.

Where to Stay?

Depends on your budget and lifestyle, Davao City offers several hotels and tourist Inns for travelers. Choices range from luxury to affordable accommodations. Within the city proper, the following are some of the most popular:

  • Marco Polo Hotel 
  • Royal Mandaya Hotel
  • Grand Menseng Hotel
  • Davao Tower Inn
  • Casa Letecia 
  • Sampaguita
  • Aljem's Inn
  • Bagobo House
  • Marbella's Mansion
  • Humberto's Pension
  • Sychar Garden Hotel

Best Time to Visit Davao City

Davao City is free from severe typhoons but it is occasionally visited by Monsoon which drops heavy rain, but it is not disastrous compared to the situation in Metro Manila when storms hit.  Temperature is relatively mild even during summer season. There are two festivals celebrated in the city that demonstrate cultural diversity and historical interpretative presentations through a street dance parade. Araw ng Dabaw every March 15 and Kadayawan Festival every end of the week of August.


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