Davao General Tourist Information
Southeast of Mindanao is the province of Davao, which are mostly areas surrounding the Davao Gulf. In the middle of the bay coastline is Davao City, 244,000-hectare big, west of Samal Island. On this side of the Philippine archipelago tourists are treated to fascinating Davao tourist spots.
Davao has the highest Philippine mountain peak, the Philippine Eagle, the rare Waling-Waling orchid, the biggest city in Asia and is virtually a typhoon-free territory. This is not to mention the pristine beaches, dive sites, and historical spots. Davao tourist spots are among the most unique in the world.
With its height of 10,300 plus feet, Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the country, still has many secrets to divulge to relentless explorers and climbers. Spectacular views, lush forest, sulfur pillars, wild rivers, waterfalls, serene lakes, strange flora and fauna—Mount Apo, among other popular Davao tourist spots, has been mesmerizing travelers with these features in its entire stretch from Davao to North Cotabato to Bukidnon.
At the foothills of Apo, in Calinan, is a sanctuary lush with thick forests reserved as a habitat for wild animals, many of them endangered like the Philippine Eagle. This mountain haven is among the best Davao tourist spots visitors are eager to see—especially where the remaining 19 Philippine Eagles reside. Being their home turf, this area has been aptly called Philippine Eagle National Center.
Then there are the unique dive sites around Samal and its partner-island, Talicud, in the Davao Gulf. Among Davao tourist spots that have been capturing the imagination of adventurers the world over are unique deep sea marvels like Angels Cove, Mushroom Rock, and Mansud Wall around Talicud. Around Samal there are Pinnacle Point and Ligid caves, among others. In Davao del Sur there are Balut and Sarangani Islands, while Davao Oriental has San Isidro.
Samal Island doesn’t only have dive sites but pristine white-sand beachfronts as well. These Davao tourist spots are where several posh and world-class beach and dive resorts have taken residence. The famous Pearl Farm is there which is one of many quality resorts. Beaches around Samal mostly have gentle sea waves and breezes, being protected by natural barriers that surround the Davao Gulf.
With the rich soil and conducive climate, Davao is among the best agricultural producers in the country and in Asia. It is famous for it various orchards and farms planted with luscious tropical fruits like Durian (its number one fruit), mango, banana, mangosteen, pomelo, and other citrus fruits, mostly export quality. Then there are the orchid farms. These plantations have also become among Davao tourist spots like Eden Nature Park, Puentespina Orchid Gardens, Malagos Garden Resort, and GAP Farm.
Touring Davao is more than just having fun. Experiencing Davao tourist spots can also help many people know more about themselves.
The weather in Davao City is some of the most pleasant in the Philippines. Not only is it free from the effects of any of the typhoons that affect the various parts of the country, but the rainfall, air temperature and humidity are constant throughout the year that there is no dry or wet season to speak of.
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Geography and Location
Davao City is located in Mindanao, specifically in Region XII (the Davao Region). It is usually clustered with the province of Davao Del Sur, but in reality it is an independent city, not subject to the governance of any province. The city is subdivided into the following components: three congressional sectors, which in turn are separated into 11 districts comprised of 184 barangays.
Half the landmass (totaling 2,400 sq. km or 1,500 sq. miles) is categorized as forest areas, several hectares of which are protected.
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There are several fascinating landmarks in Davao City, ranging from historical monuments to natural wonders to man made marvels.
These include the Fort of Datu Bago, where the Muslim ruler Datu Bago reigned over the River Tagloc, now known as the Davao River; there is also the Memorial to a Brave Son, in honor of Armando Generoso, who sacrificed his life defending the bridge that now bears his name.
Other tourist attractions in Davao are the Philippine Eagle Center, the People’s Park (designed by the local government to be a showcase of the culture of the indigenous tribes in the city) and Talomo Beach, a dive site sought after by scuba divers owing to the numerous sunken ships in the area.
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There are several delicacies in Davao that you should not fail to savor when you visit the city. One of them is grilled tuna, which is served in most of the restaurants there. Another one is kinilaw na malasugu, a sizzling mixture of raw marlin spiced with vinegar sauce.
Fish is served in a variety of ways: some are grilled over charcoal, or peppered with some lemon grass and ginger. Other favorites are fresh liempo, which are served with tuna panga, steamed rice, suka, and some chili. Other fine cuisines in Davao City are Guprito nga Tilapia, which are laden with mango ginger sauce; the Puso ng Saging Bola Bola is mixed with umami, and some ginger.
Desserts come in various shapes and sizes, and one of the most popular is Cassava Dumplings and Durian covered with cream and various fruits.
The most commonly spoken language in Davao City is Cebuano, A close second is Tagalog, the dialect spoken in Metro Manila. Most of the residents in the city actually speak an amalgam of Cebuano and Tagalog (called Bisalog). There are also a lot of people who speak and understand English well.
Other dialects spoken in various forms in Davao City are Bilaan, Bagoboo, Hiligayon, Manobo and Waray.
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Davao City is not only the third largest city in the country (next to Cebu and Manila) but it is the single biggest factor responsible for the economic boom being experienced in Mindanao.
The fact that a significant part of the land is perfect for agriculture have led to the development of plantations and industries dedicated to the growth and nurturing of coconuts, coffee, pineapple and other fruits.
The export sector is another important instrument in driving Davao City’s economy. Local products like the Durian, mangoosten, pomelo and bananas are distributed and sold to various countries all over the world. The business friendly environment has encouraged both local and foreign investors to set up business in the city, leading to a rapid expansion of industries and services.
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While most of the Philippines fell under the influence of Spain from the 15th century onwards, Davao was largely insulated from this until the 1840s, when Jose Oyanguren went with a group of missionaries to Christianize the natives living in the area.
With the American presence in the late 1900s, Davao City became a leading center of trade as transportation and infrastructure were developed alongside school facilities and other buildings. After the city was freed by the Allies in 1945 from the Japanese occupation, Davao City was rebuilt and started on its march to peace and prosperity, which continues to this day.
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The Philippine Eagle
There are very few things in Davao City that draw more attention and attract more people than the Philippine Eagle. Although there may be some subtle variations, most are brownish in color, and also possessing grayish eyes. At an average of 3 ft long and a wingspan of nearly 7 ft, it is the biggest eagle on the planet.
A bird of prey, the Philippine Eagle had faced the threat of extinction, and had it not been for the concerted efforts of the citizenry and the government, the species might have disappeared altogether. However, organizations like the Philippine Eagle Foundation in Davao City have made great strides in breeding more of these creatures in recent decades.
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Originating from the Durio genus (Malvaceae family), the Durian has become the most well known of all the fruits exported from Davao City, and indeed the Philippines.
Dubbed the “King of Philippine Fruits”, the Durian is exemplified by its sharp odor and also its appearance, with the shell or husk surrounded by thorns. They are also noted for its size; some have been known to grow up to six inches in diameter and a foot long. It can also weigh in as much as 7 lbs. The Durian can come in various colors, from red to green to yellowish hues.
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The Waling Waling
The Waling Waling (scientific name Vanda sanderiana) is widely recognized and accepted as the finest orchid in the Philippines, and can be found in Davao City. This exotic flower, was threatened by extinction in the past but efforts to breed and reproduce it have been quite successful.
Since its discovery in 1882, the Waling Waling, and the other orchids related to it, have become not just sought after in various parts of the Philippines but is now being exported and grown in other countries.
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At over 9,700 ft (3,000 meters) Mount Apo, situated a little to the northeast of Davao City is the highest peak in the Philippines.
It is classified as a stratovolcano and is characterized by its surface, which is nearly flat, and the presence of three separate peaks. There is also a crater measuring some 500 meters (1,650 ft), which also contains a lake. It is very popular among tourists and yet despite its being well known very little about its past can be ascertained. In fact scientists are not even sure when it last erupted.
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Davao Del Norte
Davao Del Norte is made up of seven municipalities and three cities, namely Tagum, the seat of government, Panabo, a growing business center and Samal, which is one of the premiere tourist destinations in the region.
The livelihood of the people in Davao Del Norte is centered primarily on farming and agriculture, with the production of Durian, mango, coconut, rice and corn the main source of income of the citizenry. The fishing industry is also growing, owing to the abundance of tilapia found in its coastline.
Based on statistics, the province has a population of over 600,000 and the most commonly spoken languages are Cebuano, Tagalog, Davaeno, and other local dialects.
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As with the rest of the Philippines, several newspapers are in circulation in Davao City. Among the most popular newspapers in the city are Sun Star Davao, an English broadsheet, and its sister publication, Sun Star Superbalita, a tabloid. Both papers are published by the Sun Star Davao Publishing Inc.
Another reputable newspaper is the Mindanao Gazette, which has been in publication since 1950; the Davao Catholic Herald is a weekly newspaper published by the Archbishop Mabutas Media Center Foundation, Inc. Also circulating widely are the Mindanao Insider Daily, Metropolitan Gazette and the Mindanao Post.
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Internet Service Providers (ISP)
As one of the most prosperous cities in the Philippines, Davao City does not lag behind in Internet connectivity.
All the leading ISPs in the National Capital Region have branches in Davao City. These include Bayan Internet (or Sky Internet), Infocom Technologies (a subsidiary of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone company), Philcom and Mozcom.
Besides these Internet providers, there are also more than a hundred Internet cafes found throughout the city, several of which utilize DSL and broadband technology.
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Expats in Davao City
The adjustments that one has to make when living in another country can be daunting, but the friendly and secure atmosphere prevalent in Davao City has made it an attractive option for a growing number of expatriates.
If you are planning on living in the city, you should have no problems interacting with the people, as most can speak English and are friendly, warm and very hospitable especially towards foreigners.
If you plan to live in Davao City for a while, you have several options. You can rent a condominium unit in Ecoland near SM City Mall. Most of the units are brand new and furnished with all the necessities you may need.
Alternatively, you can choose to rent an apartment or purchase a two to three bedroom house. When purchasing a house, two factors will have to be considered: the location and whether it is furnished or not. The general rule is that the closer it is to the city center, the more expensive it will be.
While it is easy enough to determine a house that is not furnished or fully furnished, the semi furnished one can be difficult. Make sure that you meet with the landlord and everything is in writing to avoid confusion.
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Davao del Sur
On the border of Davao is Davao del Sur, which for a time was the home province of the aforementioned city until it became an independent entity. Today the capital of Davao del Sur is Digas, and bordered by Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, and Sarangani.
There are currently 14 municipalities in the province segregated into 337 barangays. The population is estimated at over 800,000 and the main source of their livelihood are farming and fishing.
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Davao Oriental is in Region XI, and surrounded by the Compostela Valley on the western front and Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur on the northern end. There are ten municipalities and they have two representatives in Congress.
With a total land area of 5,164 sq. km (approx. 2,000 sq. m), it is estimated to be the 18th largest in the archipelago. The population is estimated to be less than half a million.
With historical sites Davao has plenty. Davao figured prominently in both the Spanish and Japanese times. The Bagobos in Davao fought Spanish invaders who tried to dislodge them from their seaside settlement which is now Davao City, particularly the Osmena Park site. There’s also the Camp Domingo Leonor along San Pedro Street where Spanish soldiers camped.
But the Japanese left more memories in the province which have now become Davao tourist spots, like the Battle Memorial inside the Mintal elementary School, the Furukawa Plantation in Toril District, and the Lon Wa Buddhist Temple, the biggest of its kind in Mindanao.
For collected historical relics and artifacts (costumes, weapons, tools, musical instruments, and the like) the Davao Museum inside the Davao Insular Village keeps and displays them. There is also the Davao Historical Society Museum near the Magsaysay Park, the Japanese Museum in Calinan, and the Old Japanese Houses in Mintal and Toril districts showcasing authentic Japanese architecture. These are very educational Davao tourist spots.
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