Davao is hailed as the melting pot of cultures where people of different languages, tribes, and races meet. It is an economically, culturally, and environmentally rich city in Mindanao. Although people from outside Mindanao fear the existing conflict between the left-wing and the government, Davao City continuously bags international recognition for being one of the safest cities in the world – debunking false security threat claims.
Davao City has been famous for decades as one of the best eco-tourism and cultural tourism spots in the Philippines, but lately started to gain more attention as an all-around awesome tourist destination. Hotel accommodations and other amenities are teeming all around the city, so wherever you are, you can always find a place to stay.
Aside from being known as the home of Philippine Eagle and President Rodrigo Duterte, Davao has a lot of great things to be known for. For this week’s Car Rental Davao blog post, we are listing down the must-do activities while you’re in Davao City.
Experience the colorful Kadayawan Festival
Immerse with the culture so diverse you wouldn’t even notice they are apart, and that’s because the city achieved ultimate harmony among its populace. Don’t miss the annual “Indak sa Kadalanan,” a festival dance competition showcasing the theme and message of the Kadayawan festival. Feast with your eyes with the parade of grandeur floats created from raw materials rich in Davao City with the “Pamulak sa Kadalanan” – an annual float competition.
What’s more, experience the life and culture of the 11 tribes in Kadayawan Cultural Village. Here, you can buy carefully handcrafted ornaments, traditionally weaved fabrics, and delicately cooked delicacies unique to each tribe. Make sure to fully charge your smartphones and cameras because there are innumerable photo opportunities during the festival.
The city’s slogan “Life is Here” can be manifested in this festival, so don’t miss this one.
Explore Davao’s Chinatown
Davao’s Chinatown is a go-to place for shoppers who are tight on budget and business owners buying wholesale products from their trusted suppliers. It is situated in Uyanguren St., famously known as “Uyang,” so whenever you ask a local where it is, they will point straight to Chinatown.
From restaurants, hardware stores, supermarkets, department stores, and many more, this place is huge, and they have everything you are looking for. Aside from being a marketplace, it also has a cultural significance to the city’s rich history. This place is significant in understanding the life of Davaoeño-Chinese that Macariu Tiu, a literary giant in the Philippines, created the story “The Nanking Store.” If you haven’t read the story yet, I highly suggest you do so.
Overall, this place is one of the busiest in Davao City.
Buy raw products at Bankerohan Public Market
Bankerohan Public Market is the center of agricultural and raw materials trade in the city. Locals, as well as buyers from nearby towns, flock to this big wet market.
You can also find delicious food here — most of the people from parties sober up with its famous balbacua, bulalo, and hinalang.
Unwind at Malagos Garden Resort
Often described by visitors as the best place to unwind and relax while in the city, the Malagos Garden Resort is perfect for travelers looking for a place that lets you commune with nature. It also has delicious food, and commendable arts and architecture.
Situated at Malagos, Baguio District in Davao, this place isn’t just your mundane resort experience. To know more about why you should unwind at Malagos Garden Resort, read our blog here.
Visit the Davao Crocodile Park and Zoo
Home to thousands of freshwater and saltwater crocodiles, Davao Crocodile Park and Zoo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, and this is for the right reasons.
This place offers educational tours and lectures to interested visitors. They are also taking actions to raise public awareness about wildlife conservation, highlighting the importance of maintaining the balance of the predator-prey relationship in nature.
Aside from the crocodiles, this place also fosters snakes, birds, monkeys, and other reptiles. What’s even more remarkable, you can visit the incubator room where you can see crocodile eggs turning into hatchlings.
Buy your pasalubongs at Aldevinco Shopping Center
Situated just right across two famous buildings, the Marco Hotel and Ateneo de Davao University, the Aldevinco Shopping Center is a perfect place to buy authentic pasalubongs. From local handicrafts, Mindanao textiles, jewelry, batik, carvings, and traditional weavings, this place is perfect for both locals and foreigners looking for Mindanaoan products.
Aside from that, it is also a reliable place to convert money to whatever currency you want as you can find many money changer stations here.
Taste street foods at Roxas Night Market
Who would’ve thought that a peaceful road in the daytime turns into a night market bustling with hundreds to thousands of visitors every single night? Yes, you’ve read it right. The vendors here are disciplined that no traces of garbage can be found.
Roxas Night Market offers Filipino’s all-time favorite street foods, delicacies, and cuisines. This place also offers cheap products and ukay-ukay.
This is a very Filipino night market because here, you are going to use your bare hands covered with plastic while eating the street foods you ordered from your chosen stall. Food is guaranteed to be clean and safe because all stalls in the night market pass the sanitation standards set by the City Government of Davao before they can start to operate.
Eat freshly picked fruits at Magsaysay Fruit Vendors Association
Guaranteed fresh and high-quality fruit harvests are sold here in Magsaysay Fruit Vendor Association, just beside the entrance of Magsaysay Park. Taste the blast of flavors with affordable marang fruit, pomelo, mango, mangosteen, lanzones, bananas, and, of course, the famed durian fruit.
Growing up in uptown Davao, I can guarantee that prices of these fruits can go as low as P15 to P10, especially during harvest season.
Experience the serenity and beauty of Eden Nature Park and Resort
If you want to escape or take a break from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis, Eden Nature Park and Resort is one of the accessible places that provides serenity and the beauty of nature. It is situated at Brgy. Eden, Toril, in Davao and it offers leisure activities with amenities and guests’ accommodations perfect for visitors traveling with their family or friends.
Visit the Philippine Eagle Center
Witness the amazing stature of one of our nation’s national treasures, the Philippine Eagle, here in Philippine Eagle Center. This institution is built to conserve our national symbol for peace and pride. Meaning, every penny spent upon visiting this place is put towards Philippine eagle conservation.
Establishing this institution also brings forth awareness to taking care of our endemic wildlife. Aside from being a symbol of peace, the Philippine eagle is also revered as a sacred animal for tribes in Davao Region. This effort produces a great result throughout the years by repopulating the protected forests with Philippine eagles where you can find their enormous nests.
Huge snakes and monkeys, as well as endangered plants, can be seen in this place. Visitors can watch up close while these birds eat raw meat by cutting them into pieces with their beaks and claws.
What’s more, you can also witness these eagles flying freely inside the property, where you can take photographs of them. Remember not to get very close to avoid unforeseen accidents – they are still top predators in the animal kingdom.
One of the places that really epitomizes the beauty of Mindanao is BuDa – a short term for Bukidnon-Davao. This place lies in the boundary that links the Bukidnon Province and Davao City.
It is dubbed as “Baguio of the South,” a fair comparison, as this place is shrouded by fog and elevated 4000m above sea level. It is also surrounded by mountain ranges, lush forests, and a stunning view of the tallest mountain in the Philippines – the Mount Apo. Due to its breathtaking landscape, relaxing scenery, and a number of restaurants and resto-café that serve palatable food and local delicacies, BuDa has become a favorite go-to place for tourists and vacationers.
To know more about what BuDa offers, read our blog here.
Trek Mount Apo – the highest mountain in the Philippines
Complete your Davao City travel experience by trekking the tallest mountain in the Philippines and King of Philippine Peaks – no less than Mount Apo. Listed as one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia, this dormant mountain boasts wonders and stands proud with an elevation of 10,311 feet.
On your way to the summit, you’ll surely see wild boars and deer. Just a reminder, do not try to harm these animals because they are protected by law, which means any action that violates Mount Apo and its inhabitants is a criminal act. Do not also make loud noises while at the summit because that is the burial place of Apo Sandawa – a great tribal leader. This means that Mount Apo is a sacred place to indigenous peoples in Davao Region. Let us be responsible climbers and tourists.
Before reaching its peak, you can witness and appreciate the beautiful crater lake created from its previous volcanic activities. Upon reaching its summit, you can spot the other seven mountain peaks at the top when you wander your eyes.
Island hopping tour
This is one of the favorite activities of visitors and locals here in Davao City. Aside from beach resort hopping, this activity is particularly popular with divers who love exploring famous diving spots in Samal Island. Beginners and pro divers are welcomed to try this.
Be amazed by the pristine water of Samal Island and appreciate the lush corals found in its water inhabited by flourishing marine life.
Experience Beaches in Samal Island
Just across the Davao Gulf is the famed Samal Island. From its breathtaking views to sophisticated resort accommodations, you shouldn’t miss paying a visit here.
If you want a luxurious experience, Pearl Farm Resort is just a drive away from Davao City. For visitors who wish to experience fun and thrill with a scenic beach view, of course, try Canibad beach – the hidden paradise of East Samal.
Aside from its undeniably scenic and pristine white-sand beaches, there are plenty of other tourist destinations and activities on this island. Relax while dipping in the fresh, calm, and clear water of the multi-tiered Hagimit Falls. Trek Mt. Putting Bato to break some sweat and get an amazing overlooking view of Samal Island and other areas of Davao City. Get in awe of the innumerable bats at Monfort Bat Cave and understand the behavior of these species and their importance to nature.
As Samal Island is very easy to reach, visitors flock to the island, especially during the holiday season, summer, or weekends so expect a long queue of vehicles on your way back to Davao City.
Visit Museo Dabawenyo and D’Bone Collector Museum
These two museums serve a different purpose; one is for Davao’s rich history and culture, while the other is for educating the public through bones of dead land and marine animals.
The Museo Dabawenyo, also known as the Museum of the People of Davao, is one of the country’s most famous and known museums. Inside it, visitors can see the city’s rich culture through the stilt house replicas, weapons, and musical instruments used by indigenous people.
Museo Dabawenyo is located on Fr. Salga Road, just behind the Osmeña Park across Bonifacio Rotunda. It is open from 9AM to 12NN from Tuesday to Sunday and from 1PM to 6PM on Mondays.
Moving on to the second one, D’Bone Collector houses bones of dead marine mammals such as whales and dolphins and endemic species in the country.
This museum was founded by American Bone Collector Darell D. Blatchley, commencing its lifelong purpose of educating the people to take care of the environment in 2012. With not less than 700 specimens, this has the largest collections of animal bones in the country.
D’Bone Collector Museum is situated on San Pedro St, Poblacion District, Davao City. It has an entrance fee of P180 for kids and P200 for adults. The museum is open Monday to Friday from 10AM to 5AM and on Saturday from 1PM to 5PM.
Visit and explore nearby tourist destinations
Aside from Davao City, some nearby towns and municipalities have off-beat travel destinations and must-see attractions hidden from the eyes of extreme development, and others remain undiscovered up to this day. Not to mention Davao Region teems with scenic tourist spots such as Aliwagwag Falls, Carolina Lake, Cape of San Agustin, and many more. To get to know more about these tourist spots, follow our Travel Guide Series here in Car Rental Davao blog posts.
How to get around Davao City
You have to compete with commuters during rush hour while it can be quite challenging to find public utility jeepneys, motorcycles, and tricycles at night. The easiest way to get around the city is by renting a vehicle. So, for example, if you are staying in the downtown area of Davao and have decided to get to Samal Island, you’ll have to take multiple modes of transportation. Just imagine the hassle and inconvenience it causes. Not to mention, the amount of money you are allotting for this.
But worry no more, because going in and around the city is just so easy, just rent a vehicle from Davao City’s best car rental agency: Car Rental Davao.
We have all the high-quality and affordable rental cars you need ranging from sedans, SUVs, and vans. Renting a car from us also guarantees you get 24/7 roadside assistance.
For future travel guides and car rental promos, as well as new offerings, follow Car Rental Davao online: