Once known as the largest city in the world, Davao City has now slipped to second place — and that’s still quite a global badge of honor, too.
Consider: In the Asean growth corridor called the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area), the Philippine point of entry is not Manila but Davao City.
It is the home of the monkey-eating Philippine Eagle, whose wing span is a mind-boggling stretch.
Here, you can climb the highest peak in the Philippines, Mt. Apo. Along the way are unbelievably generous harvests of tropical fruits, foremost of which is the durian, from the Malay, meaning, “the thorny fruit.”
We haven’t even mentioned the beaches. And the mouthwatering seafood. Plus the sizzling nightlife.
What’s more, Davao City throbs with its world-class multicultural diversity.
The Francisco Bangoy International Airport is busy with daily flights — not just from Manila but also from all over the world. Davao City truly rivals Manila as the country’s capital these days.
Water taxis will take you from the city to Samal Island or to the other coastal destinations nearby.
When in Davao City, four-wheel-drive rentals are a wise choice, the better to experience the city’s rough edges.
Taxi service here is generally safe, dependable and not overpriced.
Climb Mount Apo. At 10,311 feet above sea level, this is the highest peak in the Philippines — welcoming backpackers and mountaineers from all over the world.
Bask in the very happening nightlife at Matina Town Square, where you can catch performances by the legendary Kaliwat performing arts group and the all-female Mebuyan band, named after the local goddess of fertility.
Have your fill of durian coffee at BluGre Café.
Try the sinuglaw (grilled meats mixed with bite sizes of raw fish seasoned with vinegar and spices) and grilled tuna jaw at the eateries along Roxas Avenue.
Savor superb culinary delights at Balik Bukid, Saging Repablik, Rekado, Tiny Kitchen, Marina Tuna, Cecil’s Snack Inn and Bakeshop, Swiss Deli, Claude’s Le Café de Ville and Lachi’s Sans Rival Atbp.
The Kadayawan Festival at the end of August, when Davao City celebrates its indigenous heritage.
The Philippine Eagle Nature Center. A jungle reserve for the endangered species of the Philippine national bird.
The Crocodile Park, which breeds 18-foot crocodiles.
Samal Island. White-sand beaches to suit every budget, from modest (Paradise) to luxurious (Pearl Farm).
People’s Park. At the city’s downtown area, it offers calming green spaces and unique larger-than-life sculptures by Kublai Millan.
Eden Nature Park. A mountain resort that’s getting a “must” buzz as a wellness hideaway.
Fresh fruits galore: durian, mangosteen and pomelo
Durian sweets — candies, bars, sans rival, tarts, pies, hopia, and just plain jam — from Apo ni Lola or, for the more discriminating, Emerald Durian
Handwoven fabrics, ceremonial malongs, handcrafted jewelry, indigenous musical instruments — at the Aldevinco Shopping Center
Bargain items at Davao Chinatown
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly from the US (Nonstop from LAX, SFO, HNL, GUM, SPN) to Manila (MNL)
Fly from Canada (Nonstop from YVR and YYZ) to Manila (MNL)