The Philippines may be known to have the world’s most beautiful beaches and islands, but not many know that it’s also home to one of the safest cities in the world, Davao City.
This is based on Numbeo (the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide), which gave Davao a safety index of 80.31 , with a low crime index of 19.69 (source)
Where is Davao?
Davao is approximately 946 kilometres southeast of Manila over land, and 971 kilometres by sea. It is the third most populous metropolitan area in the Philippines (next to Manila and Cebu), and with a total land area of 2,444 square kilometers, it is the largest city in the country in terms of land area.
For a city that is the third most populous in the Philippines, my initial observation of Davao (from the plane window anyway), was how organised it was:
There’s a clear access to waterways, and more importantly the housing/residential areas are segregated from industrial zones.
Davao: Life is Here
When we arrived and landed in Davao airport, we learned the fun way about the city’s flora and fauna. Davao is known for its fruits, particularly the Durian, and also for being the natural habitat of the Philippine eagle, among many other wildlife.
We first had a quick dose of Davao’s history as we headed to Museyo Dabawenyo.
Museyo Dabawenyo is an entrance-free museum that has an extensive display that showcases Davao’s history from it’s 3 main inhabitants : Muslims, Christians and the Indigenous people.
The peaceful co-existence of the three groups is proudly shown in the mural above.
And it was to the fruit market we went, to sample the fruit the Davao is so popularly known for – the DURIAN (above left). Durian is a large spiky fruit whose musky odour is much stronger than its taste. What I favoured much more though, was the mangosteen (above right), which had a sweeter, more citrusy taste.
Another fruit that’s exclusive to Davao (and the Mindanao region) is Marang (above), probably a second cousin of the Durian. It has a milder taste, and the spikes are also softer.
Eden Nature Park & Resort
My ultimate favourite activity in Davao (and probably this whole Philippine trip) would be our visit to Eden Nature Park & Resort. This is a giant adventure playground for all ages set in vast natural environment.
We all had an absolute blast racing at the Skycycle, cycling several metres above ground, on a WIRE. I can tell you that I’ve never done something like that before! It was exhilirating, and also because it was a race, I didn’t really have time to get freaked out. (we placed 2nd on this race!)
We all enjoyed a really fun relay race that involved going on the “Indiana Jones” swing, a zipline, and the skycycle. We also had a go at this swing-drop thingy (above) that was as terrifying as it was exciting!
I was really impressed with the grounds of Eden Nature Park & Resort. It’s a mountain resort 3,000 feet above sea level so the temperature was also much cooler.
Where to stay in Davao
With 245 rooms, The Marco Polo Davao is situated in the heart of Davao’s shopping and business district. The hotel is also just 12 kilometres away from the airport (a 20-minute drive) and offers shuttle service (with a fee).
Claude’s Cafe de Ville
For a unique dining experience in Davao, you might want to try Claude’s Cafe de Ville, a French restaurant whose unique location at the Oboza Ancestral house has made it popular.
I’m really impressed with Davao City- it’s organisation, the residents’ discipline and passion for healthy, outdoorsy living (no smoking zones everywhere, and a very safe speed limit for vehicles). Life is indeed here in Davao – not just wildlife, flora and fauna but people’s health are also put in a priority. For me, this makes Davao a very liveable city.
How to get to Davao:
Cebu Pacific, the Philippines’ largest national flag carrier, has a number of flights daily from Manila to Davao. Based on the current flight schedule and departure, it has various departure times available throughout the day (almost 25 flights a week), making it perfect for transiting passengers coming from an overseas flight.
Cebu Pacific currently flies from 28 international destinations to the Philippines, and operates the most extensive network in the country.
Its international network includes Sydney, Seoul, Busan, Beijing, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Shanghai, Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka.
Eden Nature Park & Resort Bo. Eden Toril, Davao 8025, Philippines http://edennaturepark.com.ph/ -- The Marco Polo Davao C. M. Recto Street, Poblacion District, Davao City, 8000 Davao del Sur, Philippines http://www.marcopolohotels.com/marco_polo/hotels/philippines/davao/marco_polo_davao/index.html
Claude's La Cafe de Ville Rizal St, Poblacion District, Davao City, Davao del Sur, Philippines http://www.claudescafedavao.com --
I visited the Philippines and Davao as a guest and participant of Cebu Pacific's #CebJuanderers Challenge. Special thanks to Tourism Promotions Boards (Philippines) for making our trip amazing!