Davao City embodied their tagline “Life is Here”, this must visit tourist destination in the Philippines will surely captivate all kinds of tourist. It’s picturesque landscapes charm everyone from fruit plantations, farms ,hills, valleys, mountains, virgin forests, wildlife and islands.
It’s my first time to explore Davao City and I’m not expecting too much from it aside from it’s the hometown of our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the home of the famous King fruit, the durian. In my mind, what else I can do or visit in this city? I thought its just a clean city with just few attractions but I’m totally wrong, Davao City has a lot to offer to the world. Davao is home to the majestic Philippine Eagle, the country’s pride and national bird which is considered as the largest eagle in the world. You can also find one of the most expensive orchid species like the Vanda sanderiana.
I consider myself as not so adventurous traveller as I want to explore certain places that are relaxing with less physically demanding activities. Here are my Top 10 must visit tourist attractions that you might want to explore when you visit this amazing city.
TOP 10 MUST VISIT TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN DAVAO CITY
10. Parks, Gardens and Government Center
This new attraction was opened on December 2017 with the help of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and the cooperation of the Marfori Subdivision Homeowners Association. It’s a relaxing garden with colorful flowers and plants. This garden has chapel and a covered basketball court. Local trees are also planted which provides fresh air and shade from the sun. Restaurants, cafés and specialty stores are located in the main road across the garden.
Known as the cleanest and greenest park in the country, this cultural theme park was built in 2007 by former Mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte. The name People’s Park was named by Romeo Sardon, a retired electrician, who won the “Name the Park” contest. This 4-hectare park houses large sculptures that symbolizes Davao City rich history and culture. It is an open plaza with landscaped greenery which is called “Philippine Rainforest”. Sculptures include the huge Philippine Eagle replica, the Durian Dome, patterned with Davao’s popular fruit which are created by well known sculptor Kublai Millan.
Formerly known as the Plaza, Osmeña Park is one of the most frequented public parks in Davao City. This historical landmark was once the site of settlement of the early Davaoeños. The park is located next to the Sangguniang Panglunsod ng Dabaw City Council) Building, at the corner of Claro M. Recto Avenue and San Pedro Street.
The Davao Rizal Park is the place where some government-financed bands held their concerts. It is also a gathering place for short meetings of the government. This particular post now completes the three historical parks situated within the center of religious and political power where the legislative and executive branches of the local government of Davao City form a right triangle with the Archdiocese of Davao at the center; the other two landmark parks are: the Osmeña Park and the Rizal Park.
It was constructed in honor and memory of Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina. It is one of the chief venues for all our major festivals and celebrations in the city such as the Araw ng Dabaw and the Kadayawan Festival. Inside the Park are two beautifully handcrafted concrete Durians, a landscaped gardens and a water fountain. It is where political rallies and religious fellowships are held, free concerts and where street food fiestas are celebrated. It is Davao City’s Kilometer Zero.
Davao City Hall
The Old City Hall formerly the Municipal Building) was constructed in 1926, ten years before Davao finally became a city. Guests are allowed to take a look at the City Mayor’s Office. 🙂
The Museo Dabawenyo building is formerly the Court of First Instance then restored and rehabilitated to house and showcase the rich history and diverse cultural heritage of the Dabawenyos. The museum was first opened to the public during the 71st Araw ng Dabaw grand opening celebration on March 14, 2008. There are life-sized diorama of the ten indigenous peoples of the city, works of local artists, culture, trade and history.
Kublai’s Ponce Suite Gallery Hotel
Ray Mudjahid Ponce Millan also known as Kublai Millan or Kublai is a prolific artist from Mindanao. He is known for his giant sculpture, photographs, paintings and digital arts. Kublai was born on July 8, 1974 in Cotabato City. Kublai started his career when he made all the artworks both inside and outside of his family’s hotel; Ponce Suites. His mother is the manager of the hotel. He studied at the University of the Philippines for his higher education and attained a degree of Fine Arts. After his graduation from college he returned to Mindanao, painting and sculpting subjects relating to the culture of his hometown. He is responsible for two giant works; “Kampilan” by Sultan Kudarat in the city of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and the “Risen Christ” in the church of Tagum City. He is also responsible for the giant durian monument in Davao International Airport and the giant eagle and Bagobo children in People’s Park, Davao City.
8. Kadayawan Village
Davao City is rich in history, heritage and culture, evident in the tribal houses you can see and experience at Kadayawan Village in Magsaysay Park that features the houses of Five Lumad (Bagobo-Klata, Ata, Obu-Manuvu, Matigsalug, and Bagobo-Tagabawa) and 6 Mor(Sama, Maranao, Kagan, Iranun, Maguindanaon, and Taosug) tribes are the original inhabitants of Davao City. Each of the 11 tribes has its own tribal house and has in full display their musical instruments, colorful attires and trinkets and products. Tribal members warmly welcome guests to go inside their houses and freely answer questions for those who wish to know more about indigenous practices.
7. Food Trip at Roxas Night Market, Saging Republik and Rekado Restaurant
Roxas Night Market
You definitely should not miss going to this night market for it’s a foodie’s haven that will satisfy your cravings to sumptuous dishes. The food here is relatively affordable and I must say its delectable. Non food items are also on sale here. You never been to Davao if you did not visit this place. Love the food! especially the grilled seafood! 🙂
One of the must dine in Davao City is Saging Republik for it serves sumptuous dishes with interesting ingredient, the banana. Most of the items in the menu has banana that brings out the taste of every dish. The Gatchips, a healthy chips made with cavendish bananas is also available perfect for snack and pasalubong which comes with different flavors. 🙂
Saging Republik must try dishes are Smoked Bangus Pomelo Sanigang, Spicy Chicken Sisag and Spareribs with Banana BBQ Sauce. It’s highly recommended guys! 🙂
Craving for Filipino comfort food? Rekado Restaurant is a place to dine in Davao City. Must try dishes are Tenga and Tokwa, Imbao Soup and Pompano with Tamarind Guava Sauce. For dessert, their Cheesecakes are legit! I tried the Parmesan Cheescake. I love the relaxing ambiance of the place and the food is good! 🙂
6. Davao City Vista View – Shrine Hills, Jack’s Ridge and Vista View
A destination for meditation, prayer or relaxation amid a lush greenery of tall trees, and rich floras and faunas, and well-manicured grass atop a hilly part of the city, and where fresh and clean air abound with a magnificent view of Metro Davao and the Gulf of Davao. It is known for the site of the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague.
Jack Ridge and Vista View
Have a breathtaking view of the city by visiting these places. What a relaxing view to end the day! 🙂
5. Davao Crocodile Park
The Davao Crocodile Park is an establishment that showcases a ‘state of the art’ crocodile farming system in the Philippines. It has the most recent crocodile farm design equipped with modern facilities and equipment. The presence of other exotic animal species like raptors, monkeys, bearcats, snakes, birds, and other reptiles makes it one of the most desired tourist destinations in Davao.
4. Eden Nature Park
This 80-hectare resort gives you an amazing mountain experience. Cool crisp mountain air while enjoying the spectacular views of pine trees, flowers and plants. A farm to table experience in their restaurant is one you should not miss. The ingredients used in every dish are freshly picked from the farm. A perfect dining for health conscious people like me 🙂
3. Philippine Eagle Center
The Philippine Eagle Center is an 8.4-hectare area located at the foothills of Mt. Apo in Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City and situated within the Malagos Watershed. The Philippine Eagle Center primarily operates as a conservation breeding facility for the critically endangered Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) and other birds of prey. There are currently 7 Philippine Eagles in exhibit for education while the rest are isolated for conservation breeding and research purposes.
The Center does not only have Philippine Eagles to show but there are a number of other birds, mammals and reptiles as well, most of which are endemic to the country and some are considered rare.
2. Nature’s Wonder at Marilog District – Buda, Lawi Lawi Adventure Park, Bemwa Park and Kwagsik Falls
Buda, Marilog District
The boundary of Davao City and Bukidnon Province or BuDa, is a favorite getaway of the Davaoeños because of its fresh and cool mountain air. One hour travel from Davao City is all worth it! The relaxing and refreshing view will take your breath away! 🙂
Bemwa Organic Farm
Bemwa Farm is one of the a must-visit attractions also in Marilog District. This farm is know for its strawberry fields. Aside from the strawberries, they also have rows of sunflowers, fresh organic products, and other potted herbs that you can purchase at very reasonable prices. A farmville in real life indeed! 🙂
Lawi Lawi Adventure Park and Cottages
Lawi Lawi Adventure Park & Cottages offers accommodation. It’s the Baguio version of Davao City less the crowd, pollution and numerous establishments. A perfect place for total relaxation. I really enjoyed the fresh air, cool breeze and some activities you can do this amazing part of the city.
The trek to Kwagsik is not easy I must say for you need to endure the 30 to 45 minutes tiresome trek, the uphills, walking near the cliff, steep downward slopes, slippery clay soil, sharp rocks and the insects. It’s extremely tiring for not so adventurous person like me but when you see the falls, its all worth it! 🙂 I even take a plunge in its iced cool water.
1.Malagos Garden Resort and Chocolate Musuem
Topping my list is the Malagos Garden Resort. It’s a 12-hectare nature-themed park that houses a bird sanctuary, butterfly museum and the Malagos Chocolate Museum that will let guests experience the Tree-To-Bar guided tour of the cacao farm and its facilities. I enjoyed everything that this resort offers, from the tour, the bird show, bird and fish feeding and most of all, the world class Chocolate Museum which I believe the first and only of its kind in the Philippines. No words can explain how I enjoyed every moment in this resort! Deserving to be Top 1 must visit in Davao City. I will share my experience soon! 🙂
WHERE TO STAY – Recommended Hotels in Davao City
Marco Polo Davao
Marco Polo is my top choice hotel in Davao City. The hotel room is well maintained, the food is exquisite, the service is beyond my expectation. Added to it is the perfect located wherein its in the heart of Davao’s shopping and business district.
It has five restaurants serving everything from international buffet at Cafe Marco to Cantonese delight at Lotus Court. The Eagles Bar with its classic bar ambience proves just the place to unwind for a drink. At Pool Lounge you can enjoy the perfect lounge music, wines and cocktails by day or night. Polo Bistro offers international dishes while you can enjoy the signature high tea at the Lobby Lounge. Other facilities such as swimming pool, spa and fitness center will surely make your stay an delightful one.
Seda Abreeza Hotel
The 186-room Seda Abreeza hotel in Davao City highlights the newfound status of this metropolis in the Asian region. Leading a new generation of hotels earmarked for global travellers, Seda Abreeza underlines the city’s resurgence with facilities and conveniences that cater to the modern lifestyle. This chic hotel got everything to have a relaxing stay both for business or leisure. The hotel room is spacious loaded with basic amenities. I love the wifi for it’s fast and reliable, perfect for business travellers.
Park Inn by Radisson Davao
Located only 15 minutes from the airport and the center of Davao City, the Park Inn by Radisson Davao makes the perfect home away from home. What I love about this hotel is that its connected to both the SM Lanang Premier Mall and the SMX Convention Center via a bridge, and offers stunning panoramas of the islands and highlands.
Royal Mandaya Hotel
The Hotel is uniquely characterized by turrets, which symbolize the Kamalig of the Mandaya. My hotel room at the Royal Mandaya Hotel is relatively simple yet cozy. It’s a perfect hotel for its location and hospitable staff.
Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao
This hotel is beachfront gateway to the diverse, colorful and rich cultural heritage of Davao City. It’s one of the city’s iconic landmarks. Considered an attraction to many tourists, the hotel-resort features sprawling and carefully manicured gardens and scenic views of the Davao Gulf and the Island Garden City of Samal from the verandas of well-appointed guestrooms and suites. The mix of natural beauty, warm service and hospitality, delectable dining offers, and its proximity to the city’s commercial and business hubs make Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao a truly delightful destination.
SOUVENIR SHOPS AND PASALUBONG CENTER
Apo ni Lola Durian Delicacies
This pasalubong shop is a must visit to when buying durian products. It’s famous for its creamy and tasty delicacies made from durian and mangosteen, langka and others. Must try our the Durian candy, tarts, bars and ice cream. In addition to Durian-based treats, we also have products made from other local fruits such as Mangosteen and Langka. The Durian Yema is the favorite of our President Duterte, he even buy some and give it to his guest when visiting Davao City.
Love chocolates? Cacao City in Davao is a place to visit! Majority of the chocolate products of the city are on sale in this shop.The café is a joint project of the city’s agricultural office and the private sector located at the Pasalubong Center in Palma Gil Street which is just beside People’s Park.
Other Pasalubong Shops:
A building with over 100 shops which sells genuine Mindanao products and a variety of souvenir items from tribal clothes, souvenir shirts, house ornaments, batik products, shawls and jewelries such as earrings, bracelets, necklaces made with precious pearls.
Pasalubong Center Davao
BEST TIME TO EXPLORE DAVAO CITY
The best time for explore Davao City is between December to February for it’s normally the coolest and driest time of the year. If you are fan of festivals, you might visit Kadayawan Festival in the month of August. During this month this is a bountiful harvest of fruits so the price of pomelo, durian and mangosteen are relatively cheap. Just make sure to reserve hotel room in advance for its the most popular time of the year. Bring extra load of patience also for many tourist flocks to join the festivity. I explored Davao in the month of December, the weather is fine and majority of the tourist attractions are not crowded.
HOW TO GET THERE
Located two hours south of Manila and Pampanga, you’ll be arriving at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport. I strongly recommend that you fly via Clark International Airport to avoid the hassle of long lines and traffic. Local and international flights are also cheaper via Clark compare to Manila airport. Worried about the transportation? P2P buses are available to and from Clark Pampanga. Check daily flights to Davao City via Philippine Airlines. Check current promo fares at www.philippineairlines.com.
MY TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
My travel in Davao City is one of my best for 2018! The Dabawenyos hospitality exceeded my expectations. Davao City’s tourist attractions are worth exploring, its rich culture, arts and history are interesting enough that will make you fall in love with this city. There is no doubt that Life is here in Davao City. Everything is here! No words can explain how I love my travel and I will definitely go back to explore more! 🙂
Thank you Davao City Government, Davao City Tourism Office, Philippines Airlines and ofcourse Davao Tourism Association(DATA) for making my experience one of the best not only for 2018 but in my entire blogging journey so far!
Daghang Salamat Davao City!