First off, every city is good for travel! Davao City is my favorite city in the Philippines. At the same time, I would be lying if I said it was my favorite recommendation for tourists. But it’s still a good one!
Would I recommend Davao City to friends and family over Palawan, Siarigao or Bohol? I don’t think I can, but there is actually plenty of fun stuff to do and I think it’s definitely worth visiting Davao!
Where you go on your weekends off or holidays is really a personal preference. What makes a place a good vacation spot is obviously subjective. We don’t have dozens of white sand beaches within an hour’s drive like Cebu (I think Cebu has 6 of my top 10 places). We don’t have night clubs that are still open when the sun comes up like Manila or Angeles. We don’t have Palawan’s natural wonders. But the Durian City still has a lot to offer!
Of course Davao does have the world’s most famous Mayor (now president) and we have the Philippines tallest mountain a few hours away (Mount Apo) and a simple boat ride can get you to see some nice beaches at Samal Island. Love Durian? We have a lot of it! It’s my favorite fruit.
Davao is a very nice, functional city. It is a great place to live.
I will try to highlight some of my favorite things to do in Davao. Just recently, I had some really great outings here in Davao that are as fun as you can expect just about anywhere and of course Davao is not as expensive as a lot of the other tourist cities.
Secdea Beach Resort
This has quickly become my favorite beach resort. Sorry Pearl Farm. You’re still great.
Secdea has two really nice swimming pools, the buffet lunch is top notch (on par with Marco Polo and Pearl Farm) and it has a really private lagoon of sorts for water activities with kayaks, jet skiis and an inflatable floating park in the middle of the water. Oh and you can rent an ATV or UTV and go on a 90 minute ride through Samal which is a lot of fun!
In all, even though it’s “far” from the wharf, I found it pretty easily accessible and once you’re there, it’s super clean and you’re in your own little world. I did find it more chill when I went on a Monday than Saturday since there were less people, but both days were great. It’s a big place and even on a Saturday, it didn’t really feel over crowded to me.
White Water Rafting
Not too far from downtown Davao, you can go rafting! I tried both the popular companies in Davao recently and had so much fun with both. One is located right next to Marco Polo (BASE Camp) and the other is located within Crocodile Park ( Davao Wild Water Adventures).
Everyone in both groups I went with had a blast.
Below is us hitting one of the many rapids on Tamugan River, Davao City!
Island Hopping Around Samal and Talikud Islands
This is one of my favorite things to do. I have done this dozens of times and it’s never ever boring! Never the same and never boring.
A few times, we even added scuba to the package!
Scuba in the waters near Davao City with Carabao Dive Center[/caption]
So…. plenty to do in Davao City.
Some special places I love which I didn’t have time to mention and post pictures about, but which I will add to this article in the future:
Nearby Banana Beach in Tagum (relaxing place with some activities)
Pearl Farm (One of the nicest resorts in Samal – very upscale and nice)
Crocodile Park tour (If you have kids, animals to see)
Davao Eagle Sanctuary (Fantastic trip to see Eagles and nature)
Eden Nature Park (Been there a few times and always relaxing)
Restaurants in Davao
My personal favorites are Bon Appetite, Claude’s, Tiny Kitchen, Outback Grill and Surf & Turf. Also I have to give a special mention to Tong Yang at SM City Davao and Vikings SM Lanang Davao since they have fantastic buffets. Marco Polo has great food as well.
While none of the above are Pinoy Cuisine, Outback grill has Filipino favorites like ribs that fall off the bone in addition to American style burgers and steaks.
I don’t eat a lot of Filipino food only because most of the time, I don’t eat pork, fried foods or sweets. I love the durian and all fruits here! Better than anywhere else. And adobo is probably my favorite. I can eat bicol express and kinilaw by the buckets. Harana at Torres street has amazing Filipino cuisine.
That’s my quick take on Davao City. Good place to see for travel when in the Philippines? Yes! Great people? The best!