When it comes to the Philippines, Davao City is the biggest city as measured by land area. It’s also one of the biggest cities on the planet. Additionally, it is the city with the 3rd most population in the Philippines right after Manila.

Whereas some sections of Mindanao Island has areas of conflict, one of the most secure, most livable and top managed cities in the Philippines is Davao City.

Davao City comprises an international airport, as well as has eight large shopping malls, several luxury hotels, lovely resorts, contemporary restaurants complete with local and worldwide name brands and most significantly, great folks live there. In the past several years, 1000s of people living in Davao City have been employed at several large call centers.

I have to admit that as the person writing this article, I am a bit biased, as I have loved living in Davao and have done so from 2010. Even after coming here from LA in California, I love this city.

Davao Tourist Attractions

Here are some must see places to go in Davao:

Eden Nature Park – The park is a peaceful and serene location a mere twenty or thirty minutes’ drive from the city. It has a cool mountain feeling and lots of large pine trees and other plant life. It’s a great location to relax in and watch the local creatures like birds and deer.  Plus, there is a place where you can fish and they will cook the fish on the premises for you. You can get there via taxi ride for a set price because usually the drivers can’t get another fare there. So, I tell the taxi drivers I will give them more money than what it says to pay on the meter.

Jacks Ridge – This is was created on a hill on land that used to be a Japanese outpost where they retreated from at the end of WWII. There is a fantastic view of Davao City from here and there’s a fantastic place for guests to enjoy a good meal.

Mount Apo – This is the Philippines’ tallest mountain. It’s forty kilometers to the northeast of Davao City. The mountain top overlooks the city. The volcano here is a top hiking destination.  It’s a 2 day climb, but it’s worth it if you are in good enough shape to try it.

Philippine Eagle Sanctuary – Here at the sanctuary there are thirty-six eagles as well as lots of other birds and animals. Plus, you can have a great lunch and watch falconry events.

Samal Island – Secdea Resort, Pearl Farm and additional Samal Beach Resorts – Though Davao City doesn’t have sandy white beaches as other places in the Philippines does, you can get to Samal Island in a mere 10 mins via boat ride. Lots of world class resorts there, including Secdea and  Pearl Farm. I think Pearl Farm is the better of the two and that it is the most relaxing. Secdea, on the other hand, is a great place for adventure and has lots of fun for young couples.

Three other resorts on Samal Island include Paradise Island, Blue Jazz and Camp Holiday. They all have fantastic facilities. Plus they cost less than the first two. There are beaches on Davao with  black sand. Some of the locals adore these, but most tourists like white sandy beaches better.

Davao Crocodile Park – If you love seeing animals, come here to see crocodiles, as well as monkeys, some snakes, bearcats and some raptors and numerous other creatures. These make it a most enjoyable place to see. It has up to date equipment too, along with a tourist show featuring their largest crocodile, named Pangil.

Food and the Davao Night Life

Where should people go for the night scene? The latest trending area to go is Echelon, which is located at the Peak of Gmall. It’s packed with people during the weekend, however, a few other great spots to go drinking include Brick Lane, the Grid, and the Brewery in Damosa. Lots of tourists also go drinking at the Huckleberry, which is located right past Claude’s French Restaurant.

Davao Food Choices– Davao now has several great places to eat, including Bondi and Bourke, the Tiny Kitchen and Bon Appetite. These are 3 of my favorite ones. Another fantastic but little known place is the Vegan Dinosaur.

Transportation to and all over Davao City

The international airport at Davao is reachable from everywhere in the Philippines. There are tons of taxis in Davao an they are known for being very honest. My tip is that you should always use taxis to get from the airport. You don’t need your own car.

For Pinoys used to using the system, you can find Jeepneys and tricycles all over the city.  You can get out of town via catching a bus at the Ecoland terminal, plus there is a main stop located in Buhangin if you want to go north to places like Tagum and Mati.

Davao Places to Stay

Marco Polo is the best hotel. It’s in a perfect location and is a five star hotel where you will always get great food and service. Two newer hotels are Seda, and the Radisson Blue. They are good places to stay as well. Another nice hotel is the Waterfront Insular, followed by the Apo View, which has added some new and renovated rooms. If you are on a tight budget, try one of Davao’s great boutique hotels. Plus there are several condos or Airbnb locations.

President Rodrigo Duterte

A story on Davao City would not be finished if we didn’t talk about the adored former Mayor, who is now the country’s president. He lives here in Davao and spends much of his time here while he is running the country.