The word Davao came from the word “daba-daba” which means fire. The primitive populace of the place used to have ritual fires along the river banks. Davao City is the world’s largest city (244,000 hectares). It enjoys a serene, pleasurable climate all year round. Mount Apo which is the 2nd highest peak in the Philippines completes the scenery of Davao.
Davao is serviced by an international airport. Cebu Pacific flies five times daily from Manila (1 hour and 35 minutes) and from Cebu twice (55 minutes).
Key shipping lines service the Davao area from Manila and nearby southern points.
Where to Stay:
It has a splendid selection of choices of hotels, pensions, inns to go well with every budget. There are beach resorts, from opulent to rudimentary. Another alternative is the Home stay Program of the Department of tourism which allows guests the option to be subjected to living with a typical Davaoeno family.
Listed among the best hotels are the following: Apo View Hotel, Marco Polo Hotel, Grand Regal Hotel, Pearl Farm Beach Resort, Royal Mandaya Hotel and Waterfront Insular Hotel
Places to Visit:
Eden Nature Park and Resort – 20 minutes away from the city proper. This cool paradise will take you to a place exquisitely different from the whirling pace of the city. It is 2,500 feet above sea level nestled on the higher slopes of grand old Mt. Talomo with the imposing Mt. Apo peeping behind its shoulder. It offers the most excellent view of the city and the Davao Gulf. This mountain resort is 95% man-made. It started a program for wildlife conservation. You’ll get a close encounter with the amazing Indian peacocks, deers and birds. The fox head or Mickey Mouse plant and jade vine are not to be missed.
Paradise Island Beach Resort – It can be reached via a 15 minute pump boat ride. On the way there, one can see the Samal Houses – these are native huts built on stilts over the waters. The beach that curls around the resort is characterized by fine white sands. Looming in the horizon is the majestic Mount Apo. It has a mini-zoo and amenities of a typical beach resort.
Jack’s Ridge – It is the place to be at night. It sits quietly on top of a hill. Various restaurants of various specialties abound the place. It has an amphitheater which can be used as a venue for events.
San Pedro Cathedral – It is Davao’s oldest church named after its patron saint San Pedro. It was built in 1847. Its old altar was preserved at the right wing of the cathedral exhibiting antique images of saints and that of St. Peter.
Eagle Conservation Center – It takes care of the once known as the monkey-eating eagle. It is endemic to the eastern portion of the Philippine comprising the Sierra Madre Mountains in Eastern Luzon and Mindanao.
Mt Apo National Park – The tallest peak in the country at 10,311 feet above sea level extends from North Cotabato, Davao del Sur and Davao City to Agusan del Sur and Misamis Oriental. Its name means grandfather of the entire Philippine mountain.
Puentespina Orchid Garden – It is located in Agdao, Davao City. It showcases a wide variety of exotic orchids of different species.
Pearl Farm – a must when in Davao. It is very calm and quiet. Day tour available. It is a private paradise nestled in the quiet side of Samal Island, Philippines. Formerly an actual pearl farm where thousands of white-lipped oysters were cultivated for their pink, white, and gold pearls, the 14-hectare resort is just a 45-minute boat ride from the Davao Marina Wharf.
* Try the Durian Pie of Cecil’s Snack Inn – it’s a must! If you still haven’t got enough of your durian feast, you can try its durian roll and durian cake.
* Ahfat is one of the best restaurants in Davao. Try their Ostrich Steak, seafood dishes and Pomelo Shake.
* For shopaholics, Aldevinco is the place to be. It is the Mecca of rich colored bags and imported textiles.
* Visit Blu Gre – Davao’s version of Starbucks and Seattle’s Best. Home of the Durian Cappuccino and Cinnamon w/ Cheese and Butter.
* This is a strictly NO SMOKING City.
Discovering Davao is like living with someone for the first time. One can’t help but be awed by the things that one can unravel in the new relationship. Each day becomes extra special because every time you’d wake up … you’d find a surprise. Whether it is nice or irritating, it is something that one has to live with because it makes living more exciting and unique from the other relationships. It is something that we hold on to even if life gets rough and full of ennui. It is not something that you’d give up easily just because the person didn’t live up to your expectations.
It’s a city with two extreme experiences … the warmth of the beach and the coolness of the mountain. It’s having the best of both worlds no wonder it is dubbed as “the most livable city in the Philippines”. Just like a new relationship, it’s a combination of both. Despite its differences, it makes life worthwhile. It is both a challenge and a solace that one can conquer and come home to at the end of the day.
Written: August 2004