If you’ve got enough of what Manila or Cebu — the Philippines’ biggest cities — has to offer, why not head down South and experience Davao City? Being part of Mindanao makes uninformed tourists skip this place.
The fact is that Davao City is even more peaceful than many other cities in the country. The likelihood of becoming a victim of pickpocket or robbery in Manila may be higher than getting kidnapped in Mindanao. Still, we reserve respect for those who wish to play safe. But before you give up on making your first visit to Davao, here are some of the reasons we invite you to come over.
1. Cheaper food
Davao City happens to be close to source of seafood, vegetables and fruits so cost of buying these food items is cheaper than in many parts of the Philippines. For example, tuna is sourced in nearby General Santos City, bananas are from nearby plantations and a bounty of fruit growers provide rambutan, durian, pomelo and many other fruits at much cheaper price. Even dining at malls, buffet dinners or fine dining, cost is cheaper in Davao City. So when you’re on a food trip, this place will never disappoint you.
2. Healthy lifestyle
Davao City has long implemented measures to help its locals maintain healthy living. For instance, firecracker ban has been implemented for more than ten years. As a result, hospitals rarely receive victims of New Year revelry while other cities are perpetually struggling to cope with firecracker and gunshot wound victims. Smoking ban is implemented across many public places so if you happen to be a chain smoker, be aware when you light up your cigar in Davao City.
3. Clean air
Apart from the absence of happy-go-lucky smokers, many of the city’s taxicabs use gas which is more environmentally-friendly.
4. Honest taxi drivers
If you are tired getting ripped off by taxi drivers in Manila, you may be pleased that their counterparts in Davao act more humanely. They charge by the meter and most of them (at least by our experience) don’t keep the change unless you want them to. Such attitude makes passengers more willing to tip them.
5. Less risk of typhoon
Davao City doesn’t belong to typhoon belt so there is less worry on that aspect. Rains can come and may cause flash floods but in general, like any other place in the Philippines, it is warm and sunny which is perfect to hit the beach nearby.
6. Very accessible
Davao City is the biggest city in Mindanao. And for that reason, the city is served by several domestic (Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, Zest Air, AirPhil Express) as well as international (SilkAir and Tiger Airways from Singapore). A network of buses also links the city with nearby cities such as General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, Tagum and Cotabato. That means you can make Davao City your initial stopover for your Mindanao getaway.
7. Very convenient
Whether your a tourist who doesn’t sleep (24-hour convenience shops are available), beach buff (the popular Pearl Farm beach resort and Paradise island is so close), an adventurer (zip line, Mount Apo climbing is nearby and white water rafting facilities are available), history lover (Japanese markers and local culture is on display) or wildlife enthusiast (Philippine eagle sanctuary or crocodile park is for you) there is always a place you’d like to come to.
8. Decent nightlife
We acknowledge that Manila or Cebu has better night life than Davao. But if you prefer quite time at the bar, overlooking the city and serenaded by a local band, Davao City is a great fit for you.
9. Great festivals
Araw ng Dabaw and Kadayawan highlight this but just like in any other city, Christmas, Easter and other holidays is a great time to observe authentic Filipino culture.
Davao City is proud to have Public Safety Command Center, a 704-million project aimed at monitoring road traffic in the city. It links the local police, traffic police, health and social services, fire protection, 911 services and Red Cross. So in case of emergency, you’ll discover that response teams in Davao City moves quicker.
Davao City is peaceful partly because authorities are better equipped to monitor order in the city (see #10). You may occasionally see checkpoints and road blocks and feel reassured of your safety. Unless you have bad intentions.
We hope you are convinced and ready to book your next journey to Davao City.