Photo source City Government of Davao
Davao is a large multi-cultural city in the southern part of Mindanao. A safe haven for those who wish to experience a balance between modern city life and connect with nature. The city has modern contemporary establishments, malls, world-class beaches, caves, mountain trails, great restaurants, and lovely people.
Davao City surely is a nice place to visit, plus it’s a smoke-free city which makes it a healthy place to visit. You won’t have to worry about inhaling any of those second-hand smoke, and for the smoking travelers – do be cautious and extra careful where you light up.
It is the capital of the Southern Mindanao Region of the Philippines or Region XI – which is considered to be one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. It’s famous for many things – the Philippine Eagle, gold, exotic flowers, natural attractions, and landscapes to name a few.
For those looking to have some fun adventures, there’s the tallest mountain in the country, Mt. Apo, beach bumming in Samal and a visit to the Crocodile Park. No visit in Davao would be complete without trying some of its local fruits such as Durian, Mangosteen, and Rambutan among others.
According to local historians, the word “Davao” is derived from the phonetic blending of the word of three Bagobo subgroups when citing the Davao River. The indigenous Obos who lived in the remote areas of the region called the river – Davoh; the Clatta or Guiangans called it Duhwow, or Davau, and the Tagabawa Bagobos called it Dabu.
Davao was overrun by the Spaniards only in the mid – 1800’s, led by Don Jose Uyanguren, under the orders of Gov. General Narciso Claveria. Moros and Lumads were the previous dwellers of what is now called Davao City. But the Spanish rule in Davao wasn’t stable as the Lumads and Moros resisted the Spanish efforts to resettle them and make them pay tributes.
After 50 years of being occupied by the Spanish force, they abandoned Davao in 1899. Then, the Americans took over. The American colonizers saw right away Davao’s rich potential for agricultural investment and growth. They were successful in “befriending” the indigenous inhabitants of the land and then they reconstructed the place to be a huge coconut and abaca plantations.
During the early American rule was when the swift progress in the economy started. Migrants from Luzon, Visayas, as well as other countries like Japan, China, and the United States, moved to Davao.
Over the years, Davao has gone multicultural as it continues to attract people from all over the country, and abroad.
Top 10 Things to do in Davao
Ride the Skycycle at Eden’s Nature Park & Resort
Photo source Eden Nature Park and Resort Davao
Eden’s Nature Park is a beautiful and clean 80-hectare park and mountain resort in Davao. It’s only about an hour drive from the city proper and home to over 100,000 pine trees. It’s the perfect place to get acquainted with nature and experience mountain park adventures, and enjoy the cool fresh air and be surrounded by lots and lots of greens.
Eden allows you to have enjoyable and intimate moments with your family and friends – and these moments will turn into unforgettable memories. Some of the things to do for fun in Eden are the Sky Cycle, Sky Rider, Sky Swing, Horseback Riding, Fishing, and a 4 KM trek in their forest.
You guys can also stay overnight in one of their cabins, and if you get lucky you might be able to get them half the price. They sometimes offer promos for their accommodations, follow their Facebook Page to be updated.
Eat Davao’s famous Durian at Bankerohan
Photo by yearofthedurian.com
On your visit to Davao, you must taste the Durian, also known as the ‘King of Fruits’. It’s a popular delicacy in the country and is abundant in the city of Davao. The fruit is well known for its pungent smell but delicious taste, tagged as one of the world’s most exotic fruits. A definite must-try.
You guys can try it at the Bankerohan Market, the city’s main market. Just take any jeepney ride that’s bound for Bankerohan and it will take you right there. Look for and try the Puyat brand, it’s said to be the best kind.
Bring home with you some of the durian delicacies – candy bars, sticks, preserves and even cubes as pasalubong. You can’t however take the fresh fruits with you as most airlines won’t let you take them onboard.
Help in the preservation of the Philippine Eagle
Photo source Philippine Eagle Center Foundation
The Philippine Eagle is our country’s national treasure, but has become extremely rare and endangered. Just down the road from Malagos Garden Resort, you will find the Philippine Eagle Center, it’s a home to rescued and captive-bred Philippine Eagles. You can also find other types of birds here, a few reptiles and mammals like monkeys. There’s a minimal entrance fee that goes into the conservation of these endangered animals. You will definitely be in awe when you see the animals here up close.
The conservation center has this breeding program designed to protect the Philippine Eagles, one of the world’s largest eagles. The Philippine Eagle Foundation believes that the fate of our endangered eagles, our environment and the quality of life are closely linked. They are committed to promote the survival of the Philippine Eagle, the biodiversity it represents, and the sustainable use of our forest resources so as the future generations would still be able to enjoy them.
Photo source Philippine Eagle Center Foundation
The Philippine Eagle Center is an hour drive from the city and you can get there through a private car or public transport.
CAR: The most convenient way to get to the center is through a private car. Just search ‘Philippine Eagle Center’ on Google Maps or Waze and follow the route going to the center.
BUS: From the Annil Terminal located at corner San Pedro Extension and Quirino, get on a bus bound to Calinan. The bus departs every 15 minutes and bus fare starts at Php 30. From Calinan, take a tricycle/ pedicab to the Eagle Center.
Watch the Bird Show and Animal Encounter at Malagos Garden Resort
Malagos Garden Resort is an agri-ecotourism destination and is also a nice place to visit and get in touch with nature. Guests of all ages will enjoy roaming around the resort and be amused by lots of different recreational activities – from bird-feeding, to animal encounters, riding the calesa, releasing of butterflies (if you get lucky), and more.
This mountain resort is committed to environmental conservation and sustainability when it comes to agriculture. Malagos Garden Resort has state-of-the-art educational attractions such as the Museo de Mariposa and the Malagos Chocolate Museum, which are awesome.
Photo source Malagos Garden Resort
During the weekends, at 10:30 AM – there are Bird Shows that are so much fun to watch. The show is a fun presentation with sound effects, dramatic stage design, an educational script, as well as talents by the birds and their handlers. Malagos Garden Resort showcases through this Bird Show a valuable learning and experience that can only be found in textbooks. After the show, guests can interact and have photos taken with the birds. You guys would definitely enjoy this! 🙂
Animal Encounter Show
Photo source Malagos Garden Resort
On Fridays to Sundays, at 2:00 PM, Malagos Garden Resort has an Animal Encounter Show. It’s a fun-filled experience designed to enable guests and especially children to have a much more meaningful encounter with Petting Zoo residents. Guests learn more about the important roles that these farm friends play in the ecosystem from their keepers. You can also interact with the cast of the show right after their performance. You guys can feed the goats, pet the horses, and even cuddle with the rabbits.
Go Island Hopping in Samal and Talicud
Photo source La Isla Bonita Talikud Island Beach Resort
Go on an Island Hopping Adventure and see the beauty that is Samal and Talicud Island. Samal or also known as the Island Garden City offers an unspoiled environment and a rich marine life that is a nice place to visit whenever one would want a break from the city buzz. And it’s just a few minutes away from the city by ferry or boat.
A trip to Samal would be more interesting if you decide to go deeper into the island and visit its hidden gems. One of which is the Talicud island that sits south west of the larger Samar area.
There are a lot of Island Hopping Tours offered in Davao. It’s best to book with a trusted agency like Way PH, you can join both the inland tour and the island hopping tour and won’t be disappointed. For the Inland Tour, you’ll get to see the Monfort Bat Cave, Hagimit Falls, Blue Bird View Deck, and the Kaputian Beach Park Resort – it’s so beautiful here.
And as for the Island Hopping Tour, you’ll visit the following – Wishing Island, Taklobo (Giant Clam Sanctuary), Pearl Farm Resort, Malipano Island, Isla Reta, La Isla Bonita, Isla Kristina Resort (Pool by the sea), Coral Garden, and the Babu Santa Beach Resort. You will have so much fun swimming and snorkeling on the island hopping tour. The water is so clear and the underwater marine life is so nice to watch.
To book the Samal Island Hopping Tour, visit – https://wayph.com/package/davao-tour-packages/island-hopping-in-samal-island/.
Eat at the Roxas Night Market
Photo by Les Mis Bustamante
The Roxas Night Market in Davao is the ideal place to try out some of the city’s local street food. The night market starts from the crossroads near the Marco Polo hotel and goes on for about 1 KM southeast down Roxas Avenue. You will find food stalls in the first half of the night market – usual street food like grilled skewered chicken, pork belly, and tuna. As well as other fried foods and also balot.
The food here is relatively cheap and the atmosphere is lively. Tables and benches all over for people who’d like to eat the barbeques and more. Expect to eat like a ‘cowboy’ in Filipino/ Bisaya terms – plates are wrapped in plastic and customers use their hands to eat. Sort of like Cebu’s Larsian – the BBQ place in Fuente.
After the food stalls, you can spend some time shopping or just walk around and see the stuff that’s for sale. Clothes and accessories like shoes and even some toys are sold here. It’s a good way to do a little walking after being full from all that eating. 😉
The Roxas Night Market is open every day and is busiest during the weekends. It runs from 6 PM until midnight. From the Marco Polo hotel, you will see the start of the night market from the street.
Visit some reptile friends and more at the Crocodile Park and Zoo
Photo source Crocodile Park and Zoo
Oh! One of my favorite places in Davao – the Crocodile Park and Zoo. It’s an establishment that showcases a crocodile farming system in the country, equipped with modern equipment and facilities. The park aims to educate people about the natural world of crocodiles and other animals that live in the wild – and how these animals play a vital role in the ecosystem.
Davao Crocodile Park and Zoo has a 45-minute show called the “Save Our Species Show” and is a must-see for locals and tourists alike. The show displays the connection between these animals with their trainers. The show aims to empower people to make better choices in order to help with the conservation of animals, their habitats and the environment.
Photo source Crocodile Park and Zoo
Guests can also just go walk around the park and see the animals individually. There are more animals inside the facility, not just crocodiles. You will see monkeys, tigers, bearcats, different types of birds, snakes, and other reptiles.
Davao Crocodile Park is located in Riverfront, Corporate City, Diversion Highway, Ma-a, Davao City. Open from 8 AM to 6 PM on Monday to Thursday; and 8 AM to 7 PM from Friday to Sunday.
One Day Pass is Php 350 for Adults, also Php 350 for Children ages 3 and above. Includes: Visit to Davao Crocodile Park & Zoo, Butterfly House, Tribu K’ Mindanawan and all regular scheduled shows.
Visit the Bone Collector Museum & Museo Dabawenyo
D’ Bone Collector Museum is a must see especially for those who have children traveling with them. The museum was founded by an American living in Davao with the intention of bringing awareness to people. It’s an unusual yet mind-altering collection of bones from a wide variety of animals. You will find skeletons of reptiles, horses, dogs, ostriches, a tiger, dolphins and even a sperm whale. A lot of aquatic animals here have died due to the consumption of plastics. The museum hopes to remind the people of the consequences of their mindless actions towards the ecosystem.
Photo source D’ Bone Collector Museum
The museum is located in San Pedro St, Poblacion District, Davao City. Open from 10 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday. And Saturdays from 1 – 5 PM. Close on Sundays. There’s an entrance fee of Php 130 for kids and Php 150 for adults. For more information, you can visit their Facebook Page – D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc.
Museo Dabawenyo is dubbed as “people’s museum” – it is an institution in the service of the community and its development. The museum has programs that are designed to bring historical and cultural awareness, understanding and integration.
Photo source Museo Dabawenyo
The museum is accessible to the public and isn’t built to gain profit. They opened in 2008, this museum & gallery focuses on the people, history, art & culture of Davao. It is a nice place to drop by on your visit because although the museum only has a few artifacts – they hold a significant value and will enrich your knowledge on Mindanao’s history and culture.
Museo Dabawenyo is located in University Avenue, Juna Subdivision
Davao City. Open from 9 AM to 6 PM from Monday to Saturday. Admission is FREE. For more information, visit their Facebook Page – Museo Dabawenyo
Enjoy a nice afternoon at the People’s Park
Photo by PJ Entrepreneur
The People’s Park in Davao is described to be one of the “cleanest and greenest parks in the country” – making it such a sight to see and brings pride to the people of Davao. It is a 4-hectare cultural theme park created in 2007 and is the brainchild of then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City.
Definitely one of the must-see when in Davao, especially because it’s FREE of charge and tightly secured. There are plenty of things you can do in the park. There’s a Learning Center at one side of the complex that will educate both adults and children. At one corner, you will find the “Sunken Garden” – it’s a gardener’s haven; and a “Children’s Library” – it’s great for kids of all ages as they can read books here anytime they wish to.
There is a Durian dome at the park, a mini-forest and you will also see large sculptures all over the park – these were made by Kublai Millan. It’s a nice secured place with Park Rangers that inspect every single person who gets inside. There are many people who go to the park to use some space to train or jog around the oval.
In the afternoon, you will see hundreds of pigeons that you can feed and interact with. They stay at the “Philippine Rainforest” – a small section inside the park. You will also find a large replica of the Philippine Eagle by the entrance.
There is a large playground for kids to enjoy for free, and by the side are tables and benches where families can have their picnic. And some also choose to eat on the ground by the pond also around the large sculptures. You guys can also shop some pasalubong at the park’s exit. There are some delicacies, accessories, bags and shirts that you will be able to purchase there.
People’s Park is located in Uy Building, 49 Jln Palma Gil St, Davao City. Open from 5:30 AM – 11 PM daily. Admission is FREE. Just let them inspect your belongings and you’re good to go and explore this fun place.
Climb the country’s highest peak – Mount Apo
Photo by @ayradotcom
A lot of people both local and foreign travelers come to Davao, with the purpose of climbing the highest mountain in the country – Mount Apo. This national park is the most popular nature-based tourism in the Philippines and is the perfect place for free spirits, adventure junkies, and fun-loving families.
The climb going up the Mount Apo National Park is challenging but really satisfying as you get to the peak. You will have an awesome time and the opportunity to discover a lot of things and have a close encounter with all things natural. The popular climbing destination can be reached for at least two days.
You can take either of the two main trails – the Kidapawan Trail on the side of Cotabato (you will pass by forested trails and shallow rivers); and the Kapatagan Trail from the side of Davao (trail is more challenging compared to the other one and has a volcanic terrain).
On your trek at the national park, you will find lush rainforests, hot springs, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, geysers and a lot of other natural wonders. You may even get lucky and spot a Philippine Eagle flying over you. There are several tour agencies where you can book your trail adventure to reach the peak of Mt. Apo. You may check here for more details – https://www.trailadventours.com/philippine-mountains/mt-apo
Hope our list and guide will be of help to you in planning your Davao Itinerary. Be mindful of nature and definitely enjoy your trip!