Davao - Do & See
Davao is famous for many things – eagles, gold, exotic flowers, eye-popping attractions and landscapes to name just a few. Look out for the Puentespina Orchids and Tropical Plants centre where the colours and scents will leave you bewildered, or the shops selling beautiful works in gold – the city is a major producer of gold and crafts.
For adventure seekers there’s the Davao River where white water rafting is a popular and the Crocodile Park where it’s best to keep a distance from the residents. No visit to Davao would be complete without sampling some of its great local fruits, the durians are especially good, or enjoying one of its colourful festivals. Visiting the Araw ng Dabaw Festival in March, the Padigo San or the Sambuokan in September or the Banayan Festival in October is an excellent way to see local tradition at its best.
The native home to the Philippines’s largest known crocodile at nearly 20 metres in length, the Crocodile Park is an important breeding centre as well as a popular tourist attraction. There are picnic areas and activities like horse-riding offered too. Shows start at 4:30pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Mount Apo National Park
The country’s tallest peak dominates this treasure of a park. Experienced climbers can head for the Sibulan and Cooland Trails in Sta Cruz or the Kapatagan Trail in Digos to begin their ascents. The tourist office organises gentler climbs and tours too. Open from 9am to 4pm daily.
San Pedro Cathedral
Enthusiasts of Spanish architecture will be captivated by the beautiful and highly original San Pedro Cathedral. Dating from the 19th century, it is the city’s oldest church.
Puentespina Orchids and Tropical Plants Centre
Some of the world’s most exotic orchids, including the famous Waling-Waling and the Vanda Sanderiana, are on display and can be purchased at this sprawling flower and plant centre. The colours and scents are a delight.
Shrine of the Infant Jesus
This open-air shrine to the Infant Jesus of Prague and Our Lady of Fatima is a wonderful place to escape the bustle of city life and reflect, as well as enjoying an outstanding panoramic view of Davao.
Eden Nature Park
Located on the outskirts of the city at the foot of Mount Talomo, the Eden Nature Park is a delight for visitors keen on walking, hiking, bird-watching and seeing native plants. It is peaceful and a great way to relax away from the city centre.
Philippine Eagle Conservation Centre
The Philippine Eagle is the national treasure of the country, but an extremely rare and endangered species. The conservation centre has a breeding programme to protect this, one of the world’s largest eagles. Visitors can see them in special habitat areas.
The Davao River is famous for its 30 or so rapids spaced along a stretch of water that starts in the Baguio district’s highland areas and flows to the lowlands. It has become ‘the’ place to enjoy extreme white water rafting.
T’boli Weaving Centre
There are a number of museums and craft centres in the Davao area, but the T’boli Weaving Centre is one of the best. Tribal women in traditional colourful dress demonstrate the skills of the T’boli tribe. See jewellery, cloth and rugs.
Offering a mix of beautiful white sandy beaches, superb diving and snorkelling waters, waterfalls and heritage sites, sports and top notch holiday resorts, Samal Island is a tourist hotspot. Visitors can stay or visit for the day.
Tribal Villages and Plantations
Be sure to visit some of the tribal villages that are dotted around Davao City, including the B’laan Cultural Tribal Village at Matanao and the Tagakaolo Cultural Tribal Village at Digos, along with plantations like those at Hagonoy and Padada (banana and other tropical fruits) and the durian farms at Sta Cruz.