10 Reasons to Choose Davao as your Next Getaway

While not always the “best” choice for beaches when traveling, Davao holds a certain charm to it which draws people in to experience its vibrant culture. You’ve probably heard all about Eden Nature Park or Samal Island, but this region proves to be more than what meets the social media eye. And because we’ve made it our mission to show you all the hidden gems this majestic country has to offer, allow us to take you through this provincial paradise the way you’ve never seen it before.

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HOW TO GET THERE:

  • Cebu Pacific Air offers almost hourly direct flights to Davao’s city proper. Fares usually range from P1,200-P3,500 depending on the day or season, but if you’re a hunter for cheap deals, you can score roundtrip tickets for less than 800php!
  • Book flights via @cebupacificair here: http://bit.ly/DiscoverMNLxCEB
  • Traveling by sea is also an option, but it would take days and could waste precious time you could spend exploring instead.

Ready? We list down where to go, what to do, and what to see in Davao for the full Dabawenyo experience.

  1. Davao is a city that is brimming with vibrant and fascinating culture.

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Before you visit some of its top tourist spots, make your way to Museo Dabawenyo where you’ll be eagerly greeted and shown around by the staff. The experience is anything but uninteresting—you get to learn the history of the city, see how it became one (if not) the most progressive province in the country, and learn about the tribes that to this day live among the locals in harmony. You may be surprised to find out that Davao isn’t one dot on the map, it’s an entire region on the south-eastern part of Mindanao composed of five provinces, so really, it’s a huge area to explore.

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  1. The Ritz Hotel at Garden Oases is the perfect place to stay.

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It’s located at the heart of Davao City near the plaza, the night market, and basically every significant building you may want to visit as well. Whether you’re a big group or traveling solo, the hotel carries rooms that can accommodate you whenever you decide to stay in Davao. Bonus: They have a pool with a slide that even adults can use!

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THE RITZ HOTEL AT GARDEN OASES

Porras Street, Bo. Obrero, Davao, Davao del Sur, Philippines

Phone: (082)228-6884-85

  1. Samal Island isn’t your typical provincial naked island.

It may be considered as the beach of Davao City, but it’s actually a town and a 10-minute ferry ride away from the mainland. The shores are lined with fine, white sand and the glassy turquoise waters are almost too good not to dive into. But apart from the ocean, Samal Island also has hidden gems like the Hagimit Falls which offers a calming view of its perfect gossamer curtain water.

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  1. Food definitely takes center stage.

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From the fresh and exceptionally tasty fruits, to the almost-exotic-but-not-quite flavours of coffee, down to the most Instagrammable and inclusive food park, Davao is making waves on the country’s food scene.  We recommend Karlo’s Gourmet and Coffee over at Jack’s Ridge where you can enjoy a cup or two while overlooking the city’s picturesque viewpoint. For big groups, Boxed Up should not be missed.

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The hype of being Davao City’s first food park isn’t lost on the locals and should not be. Nothing is ever repeated on the 30 strategically positioned food stalls (which are all local food, mind you) to make sure that you and your barkada get the best of everything, may it be tacos, pizza, chicken, halo-halo, red velvet ensaymadas, and a whole lot more.Shot with Sony A7RII | FE 24-70MM F2.8 by Taryn Navarro

Two more restaurants you shouldn’t miss are Saging Repablik (with a second-floor bar, Deq) and Aposento! Both whipping up good ‘ol Filipino comfort food with an undeniably delicious twist!

First off, Saging Repablik serves, you guessed it, dishes with bananas and banana infused flavors. Items such as savory flavored banana chips and pancit with banana that takes you by surprise with how good it all comes together.

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Aposento on the other hand serves classic pinoy favorites such as Crispy Pata, which is a crowd winner since they opened. It’s also home to the best Frozen Brazo in town! Yes, you have to try it.

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  1. Malagos Garden Resort is a rightfully popular must-visit destination.

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We can almost hear that Spongebob character yelling for choooocolate. Malagos is home to some of the best and world-class cacao beans made into equally delightful and lip-smacking hot chocolate drinks or bars. Upon entering, a lush garden greets you where there are scientific playgrounds for children and obstacle courses for adults. They also have accommodations and a pool readily available for guests who would opt to check-in. Up for a fairytale-inspired photo shoot? Head over to their Butterfly Garden where you can get up close to hundred if not thousands of colourful butterflies.

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Discover MNL Tip: Try their chocolate ice cream! You’re welcome.

  1. Hijo Resorts Davao might just be one of the province’s best kept secrets.

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The term “Banana Beach” isn’t a common thing you’d hear when touring a place, but make sure to take the 2-hour drive from city proper to Tagum City where you’ll find Hijo Resorts Davao. Everything you could possibly want in a countryside resort, they have. Infinity pool heading straight to the ocean? Homey and dreamy villas? A shooting and archery range? Hanging bridges within an actual forest? A floating restaurant on a glimmering lake? Seriously, there’s so much to do and see here, you may want to allot a couple of days to stay.

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  1. The Night Market over at Roxas street is every foodie and thrift-lovers dream.

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We all have reasons why we love ukay-ukays, and the one along Roxas street stretches for miles. Have your pick of the litter and then walk all the way to the front for a wide array of food which feels very much like the lively streets of Hong Kong. See if you can find the matchaand strawberry-flavored buchi! They’re heavenly.

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  1. Davao is home to some of the most amazing wildlife.

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Not only does the city protect and take care of hundreds of crocodiles, it’s also home to endangered Philippine eagles, wild boars, deer, ostriches, monkeys, and so much more. Get up close with them for the full wildlife experience.

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  1. It’s impossible not to feel safe with the city’s 911 emergency hotline.

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Another unusual tour you can take is the 911 tour where you’ll be shown around the city’s emergency response system. Here you get to see for yourself how secure the city is with dozens of HD CCTVs dotting the streets to spot for pasawaydrivers. Then, you’ll be gladly educated and given an inside look of their top-notch ambulances and fire trucks. It’s all very modern and quite amazing to see in person how these machines are able to save lives. Trust us, it’s one of the highlights of our trip.

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  1. Davao’s locals are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.

We’re not kidding how warm everyone is. People along the streets will smile at you, greet you, and even let you sample some of the food they sell. Also, if you happen to be looking for a guide, look for Kuya Sam. He definitely made this trip one of our most memorable ones with his endearing “dad” jokes and rich knowledge of Davao and its history.

Don’t forget these essentials:

  • A huge appetite—you’ll be eating a lot!
  • Trusty backpacks from Outdoor Products Philippines
  • Trusty luggage from Delsey for all the Durian pasalubong shopping you’re bound to have!
  • Running shoes
  • Water bottles
  • Sunscreen, always!
  • Caps, sunglasses, and beach coverups. We get ours from Grind Philippines, it’s a one-stop shop for travel and adventure gear and apparel!
  • Swimsuits! It’s always summer in the Philippines, isn’t it?
  • Cameras to document the fun trip you’re about to go on. We recommend Sony ones, they’re amazing! Our compact travel buddy is the Sony RX100 V.

 

Special thanks to our Official Airline Partner: CEBU PACIFIC

Lens and Camera Partner: SONY PHILIPPINES | Check out #SonyPH and#SonyxDiscoverMNL for more photos!

Major Sponsors: DELSEY PHILIPPINES, OUTDOOR PRODUCTS PHILIPPINES  & GRIND PHILIPPINES

Tour & Travel partner:  TOURISM OFFICE OF DAVAO & ECOTRANS

 

Written by: Kyla Paler

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