Few cities in the Philippines offer as many attractions to the visitor as Davao City. Whether you are seeking a place to be one with nature, or looking to savor its history, there is something for you.
The word apo means grandfather in Tagalog, and it is an apt name for this mountain, for at over 10,000 ft, it is the tallest mountain in the Philippines. Covering an area of nearly 73,000 hectares, the mountain range can be seen over not just Davao City but also over Misamis Oriental, North Cotabato, and Agusan Del Sur.
Aside from climbing the mountain, other attractions of Mt. Apo include the rivers of Maribel Baruring and Sibulan; there are also plenty of small lakes, picturesque geysers and gorgeous waterfalls over 300 feet high.
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The Philippine Eagle Center
Less than hour away from Davao City is Malagos, where you can find the Philippine Eagle Center, the sanctuary of the Philippine Eagle (also called the Monkey Eating Eagle).
The center was established in 1969 under the name the Monkey Eating Eagle Conservation Program, in response to reports that the bird (still known by its former name) was on the verge of being wiped out. The foundation would prove to be successful, and today several eagles have been bred successfully.
At the Philippine Eagle Center visitors can not only see these magnificent creatures in the flesh, but also learn about their habitat, which goes a long way towards helping people understand the importance of keeping the environment clean.
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Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague
One of the many sacred and religious attractions of Davao City, the Holy Shrine is laden with replicas of the Baby Jesus, the Blessed Mother and other relics. For the devotees, there are also plenty of souvenir stalls where you can purchase novenas, rosaries and other related artifacts.
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The GAP Farm Resort
One of the most popular and unique places you can visit, the GAP resort features plenty of deluxe cottages, beautiful trees and a mix of historical and cultural displays, including statues of local mythological figures.
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What makes this site stand out from the rest are the sunken vessels that you will see. A must for divers, the vessels date from the Second World War, and provide a sneak peek into Davao’s past history.
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Davao Historical Society Museum
This is the place where one can, through the display of various artifacts, relics and works of art, catch a glimpse of the ancient tribes and indigenous peoples that lived in the city long before the advent of the Spaniards.
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The Japanese Tunnel
Several of these were built during the War, but the one in Davao is the most famous. Today it is located near a restaurant, from which you can access the tunnel and gaze at the numerous wonders inside, including statues of Japanese soldiers and genuine WWII artifacts such as tables, chairs, and other equipment that the Japanese used.
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Lon Wa Buddhist Temple
Located off R. Cabaguio Avenue, this is the largest shrine dedicated to the religion in the whole of Mindanao. Surrounded by beautiful and ancient trees, the main attraction of the shrine is the statue of the Buddha. It is not just popular with tourists, but also a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists.
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In the compound of the Mintal Elementary School in Mintal Town in Tugbok District the Battle Memorial is a historical site where Japanese forces fought hard to repel joint RP-US forces trying to regain the territory. Many soldiers died in the fierce encounter and are now honored annually by Filipino, Japanese, and American war veterans and nationals as part of their sightseeing in Davao.
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Camp Domingo Leonor
Ambling along San Pedro Street in Davao City proper near city hall, tourists will find this police camp where intelligence headquarters are also located. The Davao Philippine National Police headquarters is found there, though tourists sightseeing in Davao may also drop by and visit the spacious compound with old big trees. It used to be a military camp of a contingent of the Spanish forces that landed in Davao before the 1900s. Later, in 1920, American forces also used it as a camp.
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City Hall of Davao
One of the main attractions at the city plaza along San Pedro Street is Davao City Hall itself. First constructed in 1926 as a municipal hall, the original building design is preserved with some modern additional and a lot of landscaping developments as the present city hall. The spacious area around it, especially in front, has the unity and freedom monument, the Osmena Park, and the San Pedro Cathedral, among others, which are good venues for sightseeing in Davao.
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When tourists find themselves roaming Lanang Town in Davao, the Davao Museum in Insular Village 1 is worth visiting when sightseeing in Davao. It displays well preserved historical artifacts as well as relics representing indigenous tribes in the locality such as native farm implements, tools, utensils, armors, weapons, handicrafts, and accessories. It also features old and restored photographs of some historical events in Davao along with some of its ancestral families.
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Fort of Datu Bago
Datu Bago was the tough Muslim leader of the native tribe that ruled the area where the Davao City proper now stands, somewhere in the vicinity of Washington and Quimpo Boulevards, near the Davao Bay. He tried to repel the invasive forces of Don Jose Oyanguren in 1848 but failed and retreated beyond the Bangkerohan or Tagloc River (behind city hall) and settled somewhere there. The fort at Washington and Quimpo is an apt site for a historical sightseeing in Davao.
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In the early 1900s, Japanese middlemen who migrated to Davao City (then considered as “Little Tokyo”) acquired lands from the Bagobo tribe through a provision in the local laws and also through intermarriage with the tribe. They set up abaca plantations like Fukuwara where Filipino and Japanese workers and their families lived and worked. Today, Fukuwara Plantation, with Japanese dorms, houses, and storages, is a mute witness reminding tourists sightseeing in Davao of those times.
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Mosques in Davao City
Although predominantly Christian (over 80% of the population are Roman Catholics), there are also a number of Muslims living in various parts of the city. Their presence led to the construction of mosques, their house of worship. Aside from being a place of pilgrimage for Muslims who travel to this part of the Philippines, these edifices have also become tourist spots.
The mosques are scattered throughout Davao City, but some of the most prominent are those in Quezon Boulevard, Quimpo Boulevard and Bankerohan. Although the religion of Islam is still a minority, they are increasing slowly, and proof of this are these beautiful buildings, which are growing in number as well.
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Old Japanese Houses
If you go to some of the older districts in Davao City like Toril, Mintal and Tugbok, you will come across several old style Japanese homes. These edifices, which have been preserved, were the homes of the Japanese, both from the pre and post World War II period.
There are also remnants of several factories and industries in the area, most of which were involved with the production of abaca and other plants. This industry was particularly important during the city’s early history.
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The San Pedro Cathedral
The influence of Christianity on the people of Davao is best exemplified by the presence of several churches, the most renowned being the San Pedro Cathedral.
San Pedro is the local term for Saint Peter, and it is in honor of this disciple that the edifice was built. Construction of this cathedral began in 1847, and it is the oldest church in Mindanao. Although it has been rebuilt and redesigned over the years, the original altar remains in place (it is located in the rightmost area of the cathedral) Today, the San Pedro Cathedral holds the distinction of being the seat of the Archdiocese of Davao.
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Located in San Pedro Street, not far from the San Pedro Cathedral, Osmena Park is recognized as one of the most historical sites in region, as it marks the spot where the people of Davao first settled in the province.
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The Jose Uyanguren Landing Site
In Rodriguez Park, Quezon Boulevard lies the marker for the Jose Uyanguren Landing Site, whose descent on Davao marked a turning point in the city’s history.
Jose Uyanguren was a famed Spanish conquistador, and was the one responsible for Christianizing the native inhabitants of the area. As a reward for his efforts, Oyanguren would be appointed the Governor of Davao.
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The Ottha Kyosaburu Memorial Shrine
The obelisk at the Mintal Elementary School was established in memory of Ottha Kyosaburu, who in 1903, was responsible for the enactment of the Public Land Act No. 926, which would go on to benefit the people of Davao.
Ottha Kyosaburu was just one of the many Japanese that exerted a heavy influence on the lives of the people in the city. The relationship between Davao and Japan began in the mid 1800s, when Kitchisaburo Ohta was given permission by the authorities to develop the land. His success led to the influx of other Japanese into the region, including Kyosaburu, who would go on to become one of the most renowned and respected Japanese immigrants in Davao.
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Calinan District in Davao City boasts of this very informative historical site. The Japanese Museum recounts in amazing detail the living conditions, achievements, and struggles of the Early Japanese migrants who settled in Davao City pre and during Second World War. The museum, a fascinating place for a Davao sightseeing trip, features farming and abaca tools and implements used in the various plantations they set up in the place. Also displayed are Japanese literature and currencies, among others.
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Japanese Peace Memorial Shrine
It reminds everybody of the uselessness of war and the value of peace. Visited by numerous foreigners, especially Japanese and American war veterans, as well as Filipinos who now live abroad, this memorial shrine is a great place to see for a Davao sightseeing tour. It is near the Mintal Elementary School and the Battle Memorial in Mintal District, Davao City.
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Memorial to a Brave Son
Armando Generoso was a fearless Davao governor who never thought of abandoning his constituents at a terrible time when others would have gone abroad for refuge. He and his men defended Davao City from the Japanese Imperialist Army entering the city. He died at the very spot where the Gov. Generoso Bridge now stands, a martyr and brave son of Davao. Davao sightseeing will be more meaningful with a visit to this site.
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Mindanao Taoist Temple
When along JP Cabaguio Avenue try dropping by this Chinese temple in Davao City. Folks in a Davao sightseeing excursion often stop by to see this fascinating temple architecture with amazing icons and symbols revered in Taoism. Local and foreign tourists take lots of their photos here like crazy, probably feeling like they have gone to Mainland China itself.
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Mintal Historical Marker
Historic bravery never fails to leave an indelible mark or impression on the people it affected. Japanese colonel Yamada fought valiantly here to keep the territory to Japan against RP-US forces, to no avail. But that show of bravery is now honored by veterans and folks from both sides in Mintal District near the Mintal Elementary School. A Davao sightseeing educational tour would do well to consider this site.
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Monument of Peace & Unity
When leisurely roaming the plaza grounds of the City Hall of Davao along San Pedro Street, tourists and visitors will never fail to notice a fascinating sculpture inspired by the 100 years of peaceful co-existence between migrant and native residents of the city. It was also among the highlights in the national centennial celebrations in 1998. Any Davao sightseeing should always have this site as the first stop.
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St. Mary of Perpetual Rosary
St. Mary of Perpetual Rosary, located in Cabantian in the district of Buhangin, is one of the most popular of the many chapels and churches interspersed throughout Davao City.
The shrine is not just a tourist spot, but among the devotees of the Catholic faith it has become the place to visit to express their love and gratitude to the Blessed Mother.
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Eden Nature Park
Less than an hour away from the capitol is the famous Eden Nature Park. Located in Toril District, it is one resort that lives up to its name.
Eden Nature Park in Davao is situated some 900 meters (3,000 ft) above a mountain, and spans over 40 hectares. Unlike other parks, this magnificent structure was almost completely man made.
There are several attractions in Eden Nature Park, including an Amphitheater, which was designed in a manner reminiscent of Roman style and architecture. Being a park, there is also a lane for joggers, and areas reserved for swimming and hiking. For those who want to see a little bit of everything that Eden Nature Park has to offer, a guided shuttle tour will take you to the most prominent places of interest in the site.
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Paradise Island and Beach Resort
Davao City is famous for its white sand beaches, but few are as popular as Paradise Island and Beach Resort, which you can find in beautiful Samal Island.
Its white sand beaches rank among the finest in Davao City, so it’s hardly surprising that you will find people taking leisurely strolls there, day or night. Beneath the waters are beautiful corals and assorted types of fish, sponges, nudibranches and other exotic forms of aquatic life. But it’s not just on the beach that the attractions lie, because there is also a center where various animals are kept, the perfect place to bring the kids and those who want to learn a bit more about wildlife.
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The People’s Park
One of Davao City’s strengths lies in its ability to harmoniously integrate the old with the new, the various beliefs and cultures of the peoples that live in the area. The People’s Park, opened in 2007, is the perfect symbol for this.
Although it is still new, it has drawn a lot of tourists due to its varied attractions. There is a wide open area ideal for joggers, benches for relaxing & winding down, statues and sculptures reflecting olden traditions and more.
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Davao Crocodile Park
Davao Crocodile Park is the product of the crocodile fascination of a man named Philip Dizon. As a child, he was greatly fascinated to freshwater and saltwater crocodiles. Davao Crocodile Park showcases a world-class crocodile farming system, which is the first one in the Philippines. The park is equipped with the newest and modernized facilities. As present, the park houses exotic animals such as bearcats, raptors, snakes, monkeys, birds, reptiles and different species of crocodiles.
Davao Crocodile park is among the most preferred tourist destination in the city. The park is open for the purpose of tourism, educational tours, entertainment and public viewing, promotional activities such as public awareness by means of regular lectures, conservation of wildlife animals and as a field laboratory for students taking zoology. Biology, veterinary medicine and animal science courses.
The park also has animal shows such as crocodile dancing, crocodile frenzy, crocodile and wildlife encounter, tight rope encounter, and crocodile park roadshow. Davao crocodile park is located at Riverfront Drive, Corporate City, Diversion highway, Ma-a Davao city and opens from Monday up to Sunday.
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Magsaysay Park was named after the Philippine's third president Ramon Magsaysay. It lies within Davao metropolis that overlooks Davao Gulf. The park houses government offices such as the Department of Tourism for Region XI, DFA, Philippine Tourism Authority, Radyo ng Bayan and Tourism Estate Project of Samal Island. Magsaysay Park is a convenient and accessible destination in the City of Davao.
It is one of the most preferred choice of visitors local and international. The park has a diversity of shows and breathtaking attractions . It is a perfect place to unwind and relax with friends and families. The park has a huge skating ring and bike ring where youths spend most of their time skating and biking. Alongside the park is a long line of Durian vendors, which makes the whole experience very Mindanao.
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Monfort Bat Sanctuary
Bat Kingdom Cave or Monfort Bat Sanctuary is the world's largest bat sanctuary. It houses a large colony of Rousettus amplexicaudatus or fruit bats reaching to about 1.8 million fruit bats. The Bat Kingdom cave is located in Kamudmud at the Garden City of Samal.
The cave is open for public viewing where you will see the colony of fruits bats. As first look and when you are a little distant, you may think that it is just a plain mouth cave, but when you look closer, you can no longer see the walls of the cave because it is filled with the bats. The walls are all covered by the fruit bats like as if they were countless like the stars at night.
The site is very fascinating and breathtaking even if you are just at the mouth of the cave. However, tourists are not allowed to go inside of course because of the cave dwelling bats.
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The Philippine Eagle
No other creature has come to symbolize the city of Davao more than the Philippine Eagle. Once threatened by extinction due to rampant hunting and excessive logging, this beautiful creature, courtesy of the Philippine Eagle Camp, is making a comeback.
At the Philippine Eagle Nature Center, one will be able to glimpse the giant bird, and learn vital information about it, including its habits, behavior and characteristics.
The Pearl Farm Beach Resort
Situated in Samal Island near the coast of the city, the Pearl Farm Beach Resort derived its name from the fact that it used to be the place where precious pearls obtained from the Sulu Sea where taken, and then refined. Although it is still known for its pearls, the site is now a resort dedicated to bringing comfort and luxury to visitors.
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The Eden Mountain Resort
Another tourist spot that should not be missed, the Eden Mountain Resort is everything that the nature lover could hope for. It is a combination of a park, lush greens, and select wildlife. With its spacious surroundings, Eden Mountain has become the favorite destination for those who like horseback riding, camping and other activities identified with nature.
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