1. Safety Comes First
If you ask Filipinos from different regions of their archipelago what they think about Davao city their response is extremely consistent: “It’s the safest city in the Philippines!” After recently visiting the largest city in Mindanao, there is no reason to refute this claim. It is safe, there are plenty of police in the city and touts do not approach tourists with the same level of intensity as in other regions of the country. The local government is very proactive when it comes to ensuring the safety of their citizens.
2. Delicious Durian
Some hate it, but others love it. Durian could be the most widely debated fruit in the South East Asian region. This stems from its pungent odour; an odour so strong that many taxi drivers will not even allow passengers inside while carrying it in a sealed container. If you can get past the odour you will feel a truly unique texture on your palate along with a flavorful sensation that will stimulate your taste buds. Whether you have already acquired the liking for durian or you are up for trying it, Davao is an excellent place to find it. Right beside the entrance to Magsaysay Park there are numerous vendors set up selling delicious durian as well as other local fruits. Most of them have seats and they will give you tissue to clean your hands.
3. Davao is a smoke-free city.
It would be practically impossible to visit Davao without seeing posters and signs reinforcing the idea that the city is smoke-free. You can go to bars and other public establishments without worrying about the side-effects of second hand smoke. Of course some people will try to go above the law. According to a few of the signs, the city has been smoke-free for over ten years. Therefore, if you are a smoker it might be a wise decision to pack a patch opposed to a pack while travelling to Davao.
4. Convenient Access to Nearby Islands and Tours
The convenient proximity of the Santa Ana pier to the downtown area of Davao makes it super easy to arrange day trips to beautiful outlying islands such as Samal and Talikud. Only a few minutes from the pier there are some dive operators who provide daily excursions to the nearby reefs. If you prefer to guide yourself, hop on a ferry and explore deserted beaches and waterfalls for a day or two.
5. The People of Davao
The people living in Davao are proud of their city and it shows in the way they treat tourists. If you wave, they wave. If you ask directions they are more than happy to direct you to your next destination. The People’s Park in the central downtown region of the city is a great place to strike up a conversation or two with some locals. If you enjoy live performances check out Matina Town Square. Often called MTS for short, Matina Town Square has a solid collection of restaurants, cafes and bars surrounding a concert stage which provides ample opportunity to chill out with some local flavor.
Where did we stay in Davao?
While we were in Davao we stayed at Jade Dragon’s Suites. Since we don’t have a direct affiliation with this specific property, in an unbiased manner we can say that we enjoyed our stay. It was clean and the staff were friendly. It’s also conveniently located within the city. At the time of writing it had a respectable 7.5/10 score based on 138 verified guest reviews.
How to find the cheapest room in Davao?
Based on our experience visiting Davao, we suggest using one of the three following reputable sites: www.agoda.com, www.booking.com or hotelscombined.com. Hotelscombined.com is an excellent price comparison site (regarded by many travelers as the best in the industry) whereas booking.com is known for cheap prices, many options, and the best refundable room policies. We use www.agoda.com all the time for room bookings in the Philippines because it is the largest room provider in the country and it has the most verified guest reviews. I have created links to their respective properties for Davao to save you some time: