The Philippines is an archipelago in the southeastern part of the world. It is divided into three major sections: Luzon, which is in the northern part; Visayas, which is in the center; and Mindanao, which is in the southern part. Davao is the biggest city in the Philippines, it is located in Mindanao. It is also one of the most progressive provinces in the country. The place has always been admired by many because of the people’s discipline and respect for their local government. In fact, it has been hailed as one of the safest and cleanest cities in the world.
But that is not the only reason why I fell in love with Davao. Despite growing up in the city, I’ve always enjoyed all kinds of outdoor activities, and I have a special spot for nature. Davao is one of those places that lets you enjoy the comforts of the metropolis but doesn’t let you forget the beauty of mother earth as well. Its unique meld of diversity has kept me busy every time I get the chance to visit the place. So, if you’re thinking of going there but you’re not sure what to do, check out the 5 things that I recommend you try.
Visit the majestic waterfalls.
The Philippines is a proud destination for tourists who enjoy the tropical weather. Being below the equatorial line, it tends to be always hot in this country. So, it’s always a good idea to visit places that you can cool off and enjoy a warm climate in. Waterfalls is one of the favorite options for locals in Davao. What I especially love about the waterfalls here is that they are fairly accessible. You can just hop on a motorcycle and be on your way to these beauties. They tend to get really crowded during weekdays, though. Especially on Sundays, since this is the family day for Filipinos.
I was fortunate enough to visit two of the acclaimed waterfalls in Davao:
This is in Tagum City, Davao. They have several waterfalls that you can choose to bathe in. The bigger ones are more populated by visitors, while the smaller ones are more secluded and tranquil.
A proud resident of Samal Island. It is fairly accessible. The water isn’t as deep as other waterfalls, though. Most of just stayed in our cottages and took pictures of the place, which was breathtaking.
Hike in the their mountains.
Davao prides itself with being home to the highest peak in the country, which is Mt Apo. Unfortunately, I still haven’t found time to indulge in a 3-day trek to see the tip of this mountain. I plan to do that in the future. However, I was able to squeeze into my schedule a quick trip to one of Davao’s favorite destination, Samal. Most people visit the Island Garden City of Samal for its beaches, which I will highlight later. But what most forget to check out is their highest peak:
I’ve tried hiking in other places, what I love especially about this trip was the wide variety of fauna to appreciate all around.
There were tree houses, gardens, and even sightings of the amazing flying eagles soaring wildly in the skies. My one and only experience was enough to convince me to highly recommend to my other hiking buddies a visit to any of Davao’s mountains. And if you don’t want to pay for a local guide, you can still explore on your own because the locals put up ribbons for you to follow as you go up, so that you won’t get lost in the forest.
Go to the beach.
The best part about living in a tropical country is getting easy access to beautiful beaches in almost all parts of the Philippines. Davao in Mindanao is no exception. A preferred haven for both tourists and locals is Samal Island.
It hosts several resorts that you can visit when you’re in the city. The island is very accessible and it provides a wide range of options that will suit anybody’s preference. There are high-end resorts that are popular among celebrities. There are also unspoiled beach areas that are fancied by locals. There are also private and more intimate destinations for those who like it quiet and secluded.
And if you want a closer encounter with nature, scuba dive in the waters of Samal and enjoy the abundant underwater riches that it offers.
Eat their food.
Every province in the country has their own unique taste that they are proud of. Davao is no different. I especially like their food because, aside from the fact that they really taste good, they are quite affordable. The city has different kinds of restaurants to choose from. This is the best way to experience the culture of the locals, by trying out their food!
What amazes me the most is that you can find several seafood buffet restaurants around Davao. From where I come from, crabs are usually a very expensive luxury. But here, you could have unlimited plates of it at a very affordable price. This is an indulgence that you should definitely try when you’re in the city.
They also have their own twist to the normally grilled tuna tail that is also popular in other parts of the country. They provide a variety of fresh seafood dishes that are inexpensive and really fresh.
And their fruits are exceptionally fresh, sweet, and cheap!
Davao city is also known as the Durian Capital of the Philippines. If you haven’t heard of the Durian fruit, this is hailed as the “King of Fruits” by most. It is native to countries in Southeast Asia. It is hated for pungent smell, but loved for its custardy delicious taste.
Another favorite by fruit lovers is also the Marang. Closely similar to how a jackfruit looks like, but it has smaller structures inside that holds the seeds. This is one of the healthiest fruits because it fights different kinds of diseases.
Visit the numerous nature parks around Davao.
To complete your Davao experience, you should definitely try one of their numerous nature parks. They offer several opportunities for anybody to enjoy nature in an interactive and fun way. Get to encounter different kinds of animals and delve into the world of flowers and plants. Some parks also let you try their unparalleled outdoor activities that you can delight in.
Animal parks are not just your ordinary zoos. They provide activities that lets you get close and personal with different kinds of animals.
Philippine Eagle Park
They let you observe the majestic birds inside their own gigantic cages. The park fights to preserve these endangered animals from the numerous hunters in the Davao forests. Getting to see them at a closer range was surreal. Everything about them screamed of power and strength.
The local caretakers will let you understand how they fulfill their efforts and they will also give you a chance to do your part by properly orienting the visitors how to do their own parts in the preservation of these amazing creatures. And of course, you can also give your donations to help them continue what they’re doing.
You would also get to try having a close encounter with pythons that are common in their forests. Locals will be closely watching over as you put these huge cold-bloods around your neck. They will also be very happy to narrate to you facts about these animals.
Davao Crocodile Park
It housed several kinds of animals, but the crocodiles were undoubtedly their stars. They have a scheduled show wherein they would help park goers understand the natural behaviors of these predators. If you have any plans of visiting, you should definitely find time to see their performances, which are overseen and played by the crocodiles, their caretakers, and other animals as well.
Plus they would let you hold the crocodiles and take pictures of it, as well. Be careful not to aggravate or hold them too tightly as it would stress them out.
Eden Nature Park
If you’re not really a fan of animals, but are crazy about flowers and plants, try going here. Several hectares of organic heaven for those who enjoy fresh vegetables and plants, this place is definitely for you.
There are about dozens of things to do in this park. See the whole place, which you could only do if you join their guided tours, wherein attendants will drive you around and point out all the different sections of the area. But if you’re feeling a little adventurous, try hiking around the huge vicinity. They provide maps for hikers, both for beginners and for advanced. There are also butterfly sanctuaries, flower coliseum, amazing playgrounds, and restaurants that serve organic food. They also let other wild animals go around the park, like beautiful peacocks that are already used to humans around them. Because of that, they let park visitors admire the brilliance of their tails.
But if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, try out their zipline parks that are available everywhere. Davao takes pride in the safety of their rides that are a common favorite for most tourists. Get your own fix of flying by getting on those harness and taking the bird’s eye view of this amazing city.
There are probably a thousand other things that you could do in Davao, the five I mentioned were just my favorites. So while you don’t have your own list yet, feel free to go through mine. Whether you’re a certified foodie, or in need of a high dosage of epinephrine, or you’re just a laid back beach babe, or a starting nature blogger, this city has just about everything that will suit anyone’s personality.
Get your fix of the ultimate Philippine experience by visiting Davao!