Davao City
DIY Travel,  Mindanao,  Philippines

Davao City For First Timers
Tourist Spots, DIY Itinerary & Budget

The City of Davao, situated in the provice of Davao del Sur, is a first class highly urbanized city in Mindanao. It is the third populous city in the Philippines aside from Quezon City and Manila. It is also tagged as one of the safest cities in the entire world!

Davao City is the home to the highest peak in the Philippines (2,954 m) – Mount Apo – the “grandfather” of all Philippine mountains. Mount Apo is an active volcano that is famous for mountaineers. The city also has numerous beaches and islands perfect for the ideal tropical getaway. The City of Davao is also tagged as the “Durian and Mangosteen” capital of the Philippines.

The best time to visit Davao City is during the fruit season from August to October. Durian, Mangosteen, Marang, and Rambutan are just some of the many tropical fruits that are abundant in this season and cost really cheap too.

August is also the time for the Kidayawan Festival. This is the most popular time to visit Davao City. Due to high volume of tourists, hotels / accommodations are usually on a higher cost and needs to be booked in advance.

Mangosteen
Mangosteen

How to Get to Davao City

There are several direct flights from Cebu Pacific, PAL, and AirAsia that will transport you to Francisco Bangoy International Airport from Manila, Clark, etc. From the airport, you could take a metered taxi to your hotel or destination.

Where to Stay in Davao?

We opted to stay at OYO 150 Davao Airport View Hotel last November 27 to December 2, 2019. The hotel is very close to the airport, and that is the main reason why me and friends booked here. Last November, there was a series of earthquakes that hit Davao/Mindanao region, and we wanted to have the easiest possible escape route from the city in case anything happens. Thankfully, we did not experience any earthquake during our stay.

*As of writing, magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit Davao del Sur (12/15/2019) once again.

OYO 150 Davao Airport View Hotel (Editor's Choice)

Address: 2nd Level Airport View Commercial Complex, C.P. Garcia Highway Catitipan, Buhangin, Davao
Cost: P5,452.13 for a family room (good for 4 pax) for 4 days/3 nights (price may vary)

Photo from Booking.com

Pros & Cons

  • Near the airport
  • Friendly staff
  • Fully airconditioned room with hot and cold shower
  • Equipped with a flat screen TV, mini fridge, electric kettle
  • Free toiletries, towels provided
  • Complimentary coffee & unlimited supply of drinking water
  • No elevator available
  • No in-house restaurant (they only serve breakfasts at a certain cost)
  • No restaurants / establishments near the hotel
  • Location is far from the majot tourist attractions

Other Top Accommodations in Davao

  1. RedDoorz
    Address: Priscilla Estates 2, Cabantian Buhangin District, Davao City, 8000 Davao City (many locations around the city)
    Rates: P700+ / night / condo unit
    BOOK HERE

  2. One Oasis Condominium
    Address:
    Eco West Drive ONE OASIS DAVAO, 8023 Davao City
    Rates:
    P3,000+ / night / Deluxe Room
    BOOK HERE

  3. Go Hotels
    Address: Km 7 J.P. Laurel Avenue, Lanang, 8000 Davao City
    Rates: P1,700+ / night / Standard Queen Room
    BOOK HERE

  4. Seda Abreeza
    Address: J.P Laurel Avenue, Bajada, 8000 Davao City
    Rates: P4,200+ / night / Deluxe Room
    BOOK HERE

  5. Park Inn by Radisson Davao
    Address: J.P. Laurel, Lanang, 8000 Davao City
    Rates: P5,000+ / night / Standard Room
    BOOK HERE

  6. Marco Polo Hotel Davao
    Address: Claro M. Recto Street, 8000 Davao City
    Rates: P5,000+ / night / Superior Room
    BOOK HERE
You can check more options here:
Booking.com

Things to do in Davao City

1. Museum Tour

Museo Dabawenyo

This is located on a temporary venue as the new building inside People’s Park is currently on-going. The modern museum will have 5 floors and is inspired by the iconic durian fruit. This is perfect for history geeks as this museum showcases the rich heritage of the city and its people. Do not miss the guided tour and look for Sir Randy.

Location: Corner A. Pichon and C.M. Recto Streets, Davao City
Admission: FREE
Opens: 9 AM – 6 PM

Museo Dabawenyo

D'Bone Collector Museum

It is a natural history museum & education center showcasing preserved skeletons of various animals. Most of the animals featured here died due to human wastes and errors.

Location: San Pedro St, Poblacion District, Davao City, Davao del Sur
Admission: 150 pesos
Opens: 10 AM – 5 PM

2. Wildlife Tour

Davao Crocodile Park

Small zoo & crocodile farm with outdoor habitats, live wildlife shows & educational exhibits. Perfect for kids and kids at heart. The park enables visitors to interact with some animals by feeding them with a certain fee.

Location: Diversion Road, Riverfront, Corporate City, Davao City
Admission: 350 pesos
Opens: 8 AM – 6 PM

Philippine Eagle Center

Forest-like conservation center & breeding facility for endangered Philippines eagles with educational tours. The admission costs will go directly in rehabilitating the eagles.

Location: Malagos-Baguio Road, Brgy. Malagos, Davao City
Admission: 150 pesos
Opens: 8 AM – 5 PM

Philippine Eagle, photo by WikiMedia

Malagos Garden Resort

A spacious park and resort with various activities and amenities including a butterfly garden, animal encounter, animal feeding, chocolate museum, chocolate factory, restaurants, hotel, and pool area.

Location: Brgy. Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City
Admission: 250 pesos (day tour) + additional 450 pesos for the chocolate making
Opens: 8 AM – 5 PM

3. Davao City Tour

People's Park Davao

An urban public park that could be visited for relaxation, jogging, playground for kids, or simply for people-watching.

Location: Uy Building, 49 Jln Palma Gil St, Davao City, 8000 Davao del Sur
Admission: FREE
Opens: 5:30 AM – 11 PM / 12 midnight on weekends

People's Park Davao

Roxas Night Market

Located at Roxas Avenue (beside Marco Polo Hotel), this famous strip is known for numerous food stalls, cheap finds and Davao’s tastiest delicacies. There are plenty of tables and chairs to choose from, but no matter where you sit, your food is surely freshly cooked or grilled right in front of you! You can eat with your hands using thin plastic hand gloves! The busyness & noise from the crowd, the smoke from the grilled seafood, the yelling vendors – street dining experience at it’s finest!

Location: Roxas Avenue, Davao City
Admission: FREE
Opens: 6 PM – 12 AM

Roxas Night Market

4. Samal Island Tour

There are numerous activities to do in Samal Island such as island hopping, swimming, various water activities, hiking / trekking, and ofcourse, food trip!

There are many tour packages to choose from starting from 2,000 pesos, depending on your preferred activities and your length of stay in the island.

You can check this out from Klook which includes a tour in Samal and Talicud Island: Samal and Talicud Island Tour

Probably one of the most famous destinations in Samal Island is a trip to Pearl Farm Beach Resort. This luxurious resort is perfect for a tropical getaway with family or friends. You can check out their rates and availability here.

Samal Island
Photo by WikiMedia

Sample Itinerary in Davao City

  • Arrival at Francisco Bangoy International Airport

  • Check in at hotel

  • Dinner at Roxas Night Market

  • Back to the hotel / socials

  • D’ Bone Collector Museum

  • Museo Dabawenyo

  • Lunch at Jack’s Ridge

  • Explore Jack’s Ridge

  • SM Lanang

  • Back to the hotel / socials

  • Malagos Garden Resort (full day excursion: Lunch at View Deck restaurant, Butterfly Garden, Animal Encounter, Animal feeding, Chocolate Museum, Chocolate making at the Chocolate Factory)

  • Fruit shopping at Bankerohan Public Market

  • Dinner

  • Back to the hotel / socials

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Check out

  • Departure, bound for Manila

Estimated Budget for Davao

  • P1,300 - hotel stay for 3 nights (per head)
  • P1,000 - transportation fund (taxi)
  • P2,000 - food
  • P750 - entrance fee
  • P450 - chocolate making (could be split in two)
  • P600 - 7 kilos of pomelo / one box
  • P600 - Malagos chocolates
  • P1,000 - durian candies, bags, wallets, tshirts, cap

Total Expenses: P7,700 (airfare not included)

Travel Tips in Visiting Davao

  • Book your accomodation in the city center. Almost all tourist destinations are far from each other, so the closer you are to these locations, the more savings you will have in commuting.
  • Choose a metered taxi to avoid fixed priced drivers.
  • Do not be afraid in walking the streets of Davao City. The city is very safe and there are police officers wandering the place especially at Roxas Night Market. We never felt unsafe even once during our stay.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and put sunblock. We visited last November and it was very hot & sunny.
  • Don't forget to bring your reusable water bottles for hydration.
  • Try to visit the city's numerous museums. Mindanao's culture and heritage is rich and very interesting to learn.
  • Go to Bankerohan Public Market for the sweetest fruits! Drop by in August as this is the fruit season. Mangosteen is priced 20 pesos per kilo! We went there November and the Mangosteen is priced at 300 pesos per kilo 🙁 If you love pomelos, do not worry as the pomelos are priced very cheap all year long. I bought 7 kilos worth for only 600 pesos! And I promise you, Davao's pomelos are the sweetest
  • Add extra baggage when you depart Davao City. You will surely need this for all the pasalubongs you will bring back to Manila.
  • And lastly, enjoy & travel safe!

Our Final Thoughts

I personally had some apprehensions and doubts going to this city. Due to the recent series of earthquakes in the region, plus the area’s stereotyped image associated with war and violence, you could not blame other visitors to think twice before planning a trip here. I am thankful that I braved these thoughts and continued to go.

One thing I learned from many years of traveling to various destinations, is to never judge the place by what you hear in social media. There is nothing wrong from being cautious and alert, but also remember that travel is a very personal experience. What others may have encountered may not be similar to yours. One trick in having the best travel experience is having an open-mind to embrace new adventure in unfamiliar places.

I hope that these fixed & oversimplified ideas regarding Davao will never stop you from visiting this wonderful city, or any other city for that matter. Davao is a very safe place that should be added to your bucketlist! So the next time Davao waves at you, wave back and book that flight!

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*Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.*

Hey there! My name is Krista and I am a travel duchess, a wanderess, and a gastronome. I love to collect memories by seeking adventures one city / country at a time. Join me as I venture across various destinations with a sole mission to explore the world.

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