Durian. Philippine Eagle. Mt. Apo. These are what I call the superstars in Davao. But you see Davao City is more than the king of fruits and the king bird kingdom.
In this simple Davao City Travel Guide, I collaborated with a Davao local blogger- Glen Santillan of Escape Manila. Hope this helps Davao City future visitors.
1. Describe Davao City.
Glen says: Davao is one of the safest place in the Philippines but because it is situated in Mindanao it is often stereotyped as one of the dangerous places in the country. It is a place where Christians, Muslims and indigenous people co-exist harmoniously.
James says: Davao City is 3x as big as Metro Manila in land area. The center of economic activity in all of Mindanao with an International Airport and good Seaport system. As Glen said, its safe, actually its the “Most Child-Friendly City” in the Philippines. A big city packed with diversity- of Christians, Muslims and lumads co-exist.
2. What do you like most about Davao City?
Glen says: I love Davao’s peace and order and the no smoking policy. I think everyone of us deserve clean air to breathe.
James says: Same with Glen, peace and safety. I really feel safe even when alone walking at night. The taxi drivers are fair and helpful. The freshness of seafood, vegetables and fruits. Plus I think I can live with durian, mangosteen, rambutan, lanzones and marang for the rest of my life.
3. Is there anything the local government can do (or stop doing) in order to make the place more tourist friendly?
Glen says: I think the city should allow bars to open after 2AM during weekends and holidays.
James: They should do something about the heavy traffic during rush hours. It’s not like EDSA traffic but who wants being stuck on the road?
4. Don’t go home without seeing/visiting/experiencing __________.
Glen says: A first time visitor to Davao should not miss the Philippine Eagle Center to have a close encounter of our own Philippine Eagle which is considered to be one of the largest and most powerful eagles in the world.
James says: I like having a morning walk around Bankerohan Public market for fruit-tripping. Then go to Aldevinco for some pasalubong shopping. If you have atleast 3 days and is an adventurous type, why not scale Mt. Apo which is the highest mountain in the Philippines.
5. Don’t go home without trying/eating ____________.
Glen says: One should try the king of fruits – Durian. There are different varieties of durian available in town and my most favorite is Arancillo for its sweet and creamy taste. If you want a bitter-sweet taste, you can try Puyat. Aside from the king of fruits, I also recommend eating at Lachi’s and sample their mouth-watering desserts.
Penong’s BBQ for a local flavor of chicken, pork or fish. Have your food anyway you want- grilled, soup or ceviche. It has lots of branches around Davao City.
You should also get to taste Durian coffee and Durian Cheesecake at Blugre’s Coffee.
Don’t you also miss the gourmet cheese from Malagos Farmhouse, I specially like the Chevre which is made from goat’s milk- wonderful tart and creamy. It also comes with pineapple, mango and pesto flavors.
Desserts like durian cheesecake or sansrival should be at Lachi’s, with a homely ambiance and just good food, you will never forget the place. Lunch and dinner can be enjoyed with my personal faves- callos, spicy oriental chicken and laing. <3 it!
If you are looking for a superb fine-dining experience, do try Marco Polo’s Bistro. An exciting food experience is on your way from appetizer to dessert. Taste local cuisine with a twist. I love their tuna kinilaw (ceviche) topped with crispy dried pusit (squid), pomelo salad with arugula sprouts and durian panna cotta.
6. Traveler’s Tips:
Glen says: If you have a lot of time to spare try to visit the nearby Island Garden City of Samal for beach bumming and other water activities .
James says: You should not miss the Philippine Eagle Center. YOu should go there in the morning as you would learn a lot from the guides inside. If you have more days to spare, go to Mati City particularly Dahican Beach to have a break from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Its just a 3-hour land trip if you are taking the van, 5 hours if you take the bus.
7. Recommendation Hotel, Inn?
Glen says: For budget travelers, you may want to try My Hotel along San Pedro St. They have aircon rooms at P800 and non-air at P250.
James says: If you are on a budget go to Casa Graciana near NCCC Matina and MTS (starts at Php300) and I can just take the public bus to the airport when I go back to Manila or Palawan.
If you want superb service, comfort and convenience in the heart of the city. Go to Marco Polo Hotel Davao– its the best hotel pare! Durin Kadayawan Festival, Marco Polo Hotel is the best spot where you can watch the street dance from various performers from Mindanao. Visit this link for rates and amenities: Marco Polo Hotel Davao
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Getting to Davao by air:
Cebu Pacific Air flies daily to Davao City from Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Kalibo, Zamboanga, Dipolog, Cagayan de Oro and Puerto Princesa . For bookings and inquiries, go to www.cebupacificair.com or call (02)7020-888. The latest seat sales and promos can be found on Cebu Pacific Air’s official Twitter (@CebuPacificAir) and Facebook pages (/cebupacificair).
You can read my past articles about Davao City below:
If you want to join the Travel Bloggers Collab, please do email me at journeyingjames(AT)gmail(DOT)com together with the place you want to talk about. I want to learn from you and see from your perspective.