There may be numerous tourist destinations all over the world, but the Philippines also offers more than enough of them—and they’re nearer too. Davao, in particular, has certain richness in its history and culture worth immersing in.
Check out a guide to the best Davao experience.
WHAT TO DO
EDEN NATURE PARK & RESORT
Eden Nature Park is a mountain resort located 3,000 feet above sea level. Spread out over an 80-hectare land in Toril, Eden offers numerous resort activities and facilities, such as a fishing village, a swimming pool, an amphitheater, flower and butterfly gardens, a deer park and a mountain trail.
MUST TRY: Skycycling. For Php 200.00 per person, get to ride a bicycle over a zip line.
Barangay Eden, Toril, Davao City
PHILIPPINE EAGLE CENTER
The Philippine Eagle Center is home to 36 Philippine eagles, 18 of which are captive-bred. It also houses grass owls, Brahminy Kites, the long-tailed macaque (monkey), Philippine deer and a crocodile. It simulates a tropical rainforest environment, offering visitors a glimpse of the country’s forest ecosystem.
MUST VISIT: Biasong, a majestic Philippine eagle that has an amputated wing.
TACLOBO TOUR & SNORKELING
The fishing village at Adecor, Samal Island is famous for the 3,500 taclobo (clams) scattered around a 14-hectare area. Go snorkeling into the clear turquoise waters to see these clams and the pearls inside.
GETTING THERE: Take a boat bound for the Island Garden City of Samal at the Sta. Ana Wharf
PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY COMMAND CENTER
The Public Safety and Security Command Center provides protection, security, safety and risk management to the people in Davao City. Likened to the homeland security in the United States, the Command Center houses the 911 services, as well as monitors the city through the almost 200 high-definition CCTV cameras stationed in Davao’s entry and exit points, and major intersections.
Daang Patnubay, Davao City
WHERE TO EAT
PENONG’S SEAFOOD & GRILL
Penong’s Seafood & Grill is a native-themed restaurant well known for its delicious and juicy pork and chicken barbeque. With several branches all over Davao, it pioneered the unlimited rice concept, which eventually became a fad with other restaurants in Davao. It also encourages diners to clap their hands twice to get the waiters’ attention, as opposed to calling out for them.
TIP: Not going to Davao anytime soon? Penong’s has a branch at the corner of Juana Osmena and Escario Streets, right across the Best Western Plus Lex Cebu.
TAKLOBO RESTAURANT AT JACK’S RIDGE
Jack’s Ridge is a local hangout famous for is commanding views of Davao City at night. It used to be the headquarters of the Japanese forces during World War II, as the location allowed them to see when the American ships anchoring on the Davao Gulf. The main restaurant, Taklobo, offers Filipino favorites such as grilled tuna, sinigang and kinilaw.
CHECK OUT: The remains of an old Japanese plane that crashed into the ridge.
Shrine Hills, Matina, Davao City
WHERE TO HAVE COFFEE & DESSERT
Davao’s most famous coffee shop, Blugré is known for serving the durian coffee, a truly unique concoction that samples Davao’s most polarizing delicacy, the durian. Whether you’re a fan of the fruit or not, the Durian Cappucino and the Durian Arctic Blasts are must-trys.
ALSO CHECK OUT: Their durian-infused pastries, especially the Durian de Leche Cheesecake.
Saging Repablik is a specialty restaurant serving ‘Sagingese’ cuisine—innovating the menu with the addition of bananas. The banana twist extends from the appetizers to the entrees, and from desserts to the drinks. Of course, a banana-inspired place wouldn’t be complete without bananaque, and at Saging Repablik, they elevate this street food favorite through the Create Your Own Bananacue Station.
MUST-TRY: Cavendish chips with your choice of two dips.
V. Mapa St., Poblacion District, Davao City
WHERE TO HAVE A NIGHTCAP
THE WHITE HOUSE FUSION CUISINE AND WINE LOUNGE
The White House is the newest fine-dining restaurant, offering Asian-European fusion cuisine. It’s also a landmark, with the historical value of the European-inspired house that was faithfully restored and turned into a restaurant. The sprawling place, tucked into a quiet corner in the heart of the city, is the perfect venue to relax and have a drink.
MUST-TRY: Sashimi and bento boxes
Camella Northpoint, J.P. Laurel Ave., Davao City
WHERE TO BUY SOUVENIRS
ALDEVINCO SHOPPING CENTER
A shopping market located at the heart of the city, Aldevenco offers all the possible souvenirs tourists would want to take home, including delicacies, malongs, woven bags and wallets, and jewelry.
CHECK OUT: For more unique souvenirs like chests and traditional weapons, check out their antique shops.
Claro M. Recto cor. Manuel Roxas Avenues, Davao City
WHERE TO STAY
PARK INN BY RADISSON DAVAO
Park Inn by Radisson Hotels offers a vibrant, friendly environment that provides both business and leisure travelers with the affordable hotel experience they desire. It has a bridgeway offering guests direct access to the SM Lanang Premier, one of the biggest shopping destinations in Davao.
Asian Highway 26, J.P. Laurel Ave., Davao City
SEDA HOTEL ABREEZA
The Seda Hotel Abreeza is located at the heart of the city, offering convenience and luxury for business travelers and tourists. It’s right across the Abreeza Ayala mall, another major shopping center in Davao.
Abreeza Ayala Business Park, J.P. Laurel Ave., Davao City
HOW TO GET THERE
AIR ASIA PHILIPPINES
AirAsia Zest flies to Davao from Manila thrice daily, and from Cebu twice daily. For bookings, visit http://www.airasia.com/.
text and photos by Patty Taboada