How To Enjoy Davao City Like A Local
by Rose Soriano
Davao City is one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines. Plus, this is my hometown! I could write a book about this place for endless things you could do or places you could visit. For those of you planning for a short trip to Davao, here are my recommendations for the best things you can do to maximize your experience.
Have a Fruit Basket in Bankerohan Public Market
Davao City is known for providing the best produce in the country and internationally as well. This is the best place to eat a basket full of fruits – from the famous durian, pomelo, mangosteen, lanzones, rambutan, and so much more! Durian buffets are also famous in Davao City for as low as 99 pesos. Imagine all the durian you could eat for only $2! If you have not eaten durian fruit yet, this is a must-try when you are in Davao. Many people pass this opportunity because this fruit has a pungent smell that it turns them off. I admit it is rather stinky especially for a first timer, however, it tastes very delicious. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be called the King of Fruits. As the saying goes, “tastes like heaven, smells like hell.” This definitely nails it down. Bankerohan Public Market has always been a famous attraction in Davao City. A practical one, I would say.
Eat Out at Roxas Night Market
Night Markets have been popular dining experiences for tourists all over the Philippines, and Davao is not an exemption. I just love night markets as they are a great avenue for you to taste authentic local cuisine, but at the same time allow you try out dishes from other places that are also popular to the locals. As sundown approaches, make your way to Roxas Night Market. This place has become a famous attraction in Davao City. There you will find an array of local dishes and different cuisine from other parts of the Philippines. I take pride in our barbecues – especially the barbecue sauce! Make sure you try one and I am pretty sure you will be asking for the sauce to be poured all over your rice, too!
Enjoy the Beach at Samal Island
Samal Island is one of the top places to visit when in Davao. The island is a famous attraction in Davao City for its pristine white beaches and most resorts offer a very affordable price. Since I graduated, I moved to Cebu City which is an hour flight away from my hometown. I make sure to visit at least once a year. When I do, I almost never fail to visit Samal Island for a relaxing day at the beach. My favorite resort is Paradise Island Beach Resort as it is the most convenient and most accessible resort to go to. It only takes you more or less 5 minutes to get there from the wharf. If you are bringing a car with you, you may also take the barge for a very cheap price. This will enable you to go around the island to your heart’s content.
Experience and Climb Mt. Apo
If you are feeling adventurous, then I suggest you pack your hiking gear and take a trek to Mt. Apo. Mt. Apo is an active volcano and it is known to be the highest point in the Philippines. As this is quite a famous attraction in Davao City for adventurous tourists, there are multiple established trails that make it easier for you. This does not mean though that the climb would be an easy one, but skilled tour guides will most definitely be available to help you out on this journey. What an achievement it would be for you to climb and reach the peak. If you are one lucky person, you might even get a glimpse of the Philippine Eagle, our national bird.
Go to Davao’s Neighboring Cities
There are multiple places to go outside of Davao City. A two or three-hour bus ride can give you a whole new experience. If you are up for a hot bath, you may go to Nabunturan. This place houses Mainit hot springs. The natural hot springs there are very relaxing and refreshing. If you are up for surfing or skim boarding, you may go to Mati, Davao Oriental. This place is a bit farther though. It takes you about 3-4 hours to get there. This destination has been quite popular lately because its smooth, long shoreline and waves are perfect for beginners. About 3 hours away from Davao City, is General Santos City, home to our famous boxer, Manny Pacquiao. It also happens to be the country’s tuna capital so don’t forget to eat to your heart’s content.
Don’t Forget the Souvenirs
How could you? Whether you are buying for yourself or for your friends and family, never leave a place without taking the goods with you. Bring home a Davao chocolate bar, or lots of it. Davao chocolate is made from 100% cacao beans farmed locally. If you loved your durian experience, take home with you something made from it. Durian candy bars, durian yema, durian pastillas, durian hopia, durian pie, durian jam and many more. These products are also offered with mangosteen and pomelo too if you haven’t become fond of durian just yet. I know it takes getting used to. Of course, food is not the only thing you may take home. You can visit Aldevinco Shopping Center where you can find a bazaar of fabrics, clothes, bags, purses, jewelry, and other Batik products. This place is also interesting because the shops have mostly been handed down from one generation to another. Most of the products you’ll see showcase the culture of Mindanaoans. You may also find other items here from neighboring countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
As the title goes, enjoy Davao like a local. Do not limit yourselves in the suggestions I listed above. Think of Davao as a door to endless possibilities and wonders you could find in Mindanao. You can wander around and may find yourself in a similarly amazing place that is also a famous attraction in Davao City.