Boasting of a massive land area, Davao city is one of the most beautiful and the largest city in the Philippines. Both a business and tourist destination, Davao gives every visitor the chance to enjoy the hustle and bustle of a Metro combined with the laid-back atmosphere of a province; which amenities, commercial districts, and tourists’ spots are practically and strategically located 30 to 45 minutes away from each other. Regardless if visitors are there to enjoy the new commercial destination, or on a gastronomic adventure, or simply for rest and relaxation, they will definitely be impressed with what the city has to offer. These and more are the reasons why in 2008 Davao was named by the Department of Tourism as “The Most Livable City” and enlisted in FDi Magazine as the “10th Asian City of the Future.”
Sometime ago, iSTORYA.NET was fortunate enough to have been given by Cebu Pacific Air the chance to explore Davao city. And we have compiled a list of what to do and where to go when in Davao, you have the option to try one of each category to completely grasp the spirit of the city;
WHERE TO STAY
Because of it being a metropolis, Davao is swarmed with a number of business hotels, inns, cost-effective suites and beach resorts. If you are travelling on a budget, then the most perfect place for you to stay is the Ponce Suites
. Designed and owned by one of MindanaoÂ’s pride, the artist Kublai—this budget inn takes you on an art journey. This budget inn is located within the downtown district of Davao city and it's just a walking distance away from the malls, restaurants and cafes’.
Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao
is also another perfect place stay when in Davao. The hotel boasts of having the ambience of a resort (note: this is the only waterfront hotel property that is actually in front of a body of water) and the amenity and ease of a business hotel. Upon arrival, you will see how this hotel features the unique and rich cultural heritage of Davao, from the intricate decors and art installations at the lobby to its vast collection of art pieces, artifacts , potteries and antiques. You may check out their website at http://www.waterfronthotels.com.ph/w...r-hotel-davao/
or for information and booking, you may contact them at (082) 300 8881.
WHAT TO DO
Due to its vast land mass, one can never visit Davao in its entirety. You have to be more than clever to cover as much tourist spots as you can, when you can. One of the most famous and must-see place is the DAVAO CROCODILE FARM.
The croc farm of Davao breeds crocodiles both for show and export (read: leather and croc meat). There you will have the chance to witness the shows which usually starts around 4:00 PM, this is where you get to see the bird shows – featuring birds with comprehension skills comparable to that of a kid (a raven who collects trash and segregates them as biodegradable or non-biodegradable – I see we can learn a thing or two from this avian as there are more of us who could not even distinguish the difference) — another part of the show, and an exciting death-defying part that is, is the “dancing with the crocs, where a bunch guys with no regard to their limbs goes inside the cages of the juvenile crocs and run around with food to entice the young chomp-ers to follow them on a mad dash or should I say, a contest between death and amputation.
And the finale is a firedance by the Davao Firedance Troupe (my favourite by the way), this group has a conceptual take on poi dancing with an occult, hiphop, R&B element to their performance. This one I have to say will give Cebu’s firedancers and Boracay’s poi performers a run for their money. From the blazing hula-hoop to a man-made fire explosion, these group has clearly put a serious thought process to their performances.
Another must when in Davao is the quaint island called SAMAL ISLAND. A 15-minute boat ride from Davao, Samal island, is a truly magnificent water sanctuary. It also has a lot of nearby resorts, Pearl Farm being one of my favorites. Either you are there to enjoy the sun and the sea or rest under the shade of a tree while reading a book while bathing in the breeze of the afternoon wind, this island is the most perfect place to be at.
Finally, this one for the shopaholics and the mallrats—the AYALA ABREEZA MALL of Davao. I am sure that there are cynics who would question why I included a mall as one of the tourist attractions, well I have just three names for you to ponder; Calvin Klein, Armani Exchange, and Dorothy Perkins, nuff said.
WHERE TO EAT
Davao is littered with gastronomically delightful places. Evidence on how the people love to eat in Davao, the smorgasbord or commonly called “eat all you can” bistros are a dime a dozen. Our favourite places are the following; CafÃ Andessa, a home-grown restaurant owned by a relative of one of iSTORYAs youngest ally, Carlo Corominas-Jesalva, they serve the best Filipino fusion dishes and amongst the food on the menu, my favourites are; Kare-kare (ox tail boiled to tenderness with crushed peanuts and served with bagoong hipon) and the grilled vegetable aptly called deconstructed chopsuey.
Tiny Kitchen, also a home-grown brand that serves Spanish dishes with a Filipino twist, we ended up ordering a huge helping of Paella (which we finished in a split second), the Pollo con Jamon is also a must have and then finally plates of tres leches cakes as desserts.
And finally, AH FAT is perfect for you if you are craving for Chinese dishes.
For the coffee and tea lovers, scattered around town are the numbers of coffee and tea shops that serves specialty coffees, snack items and other beverages. Blugre Café is a must if you want to enjoy the flavour of Davao, they serve the best durian coffee called Durian Gatchpuccinno (trust me, it is easier written than said). Another must try is the Green Tea Mousse of Green Coffee and finally Kasagingan offers a wide variety of banana based snacks and banana flavoured coffee. You must order the deconstructed turon, the banana soufflé and pair it with a banana Frappuccino.
It is already an imprint of a true Filipino where one must carry a bagful of goodies for friends when you get back home in Cebu. Trust me, usually your friend will emotionally blackmail you if you don’t hand them with anything to gnaw from your trip.
DURIAN is Davao’s main produce and a fruit not for the faint of heart. It is known to be an aphrodisiac (ironically, dragon breath after eating it is a major turn-off) and a fruit that is high in cholesterol but when you get acquainted with the fruit and learned to eat it, trust me the old adage “once you pop, you cannot stop” is the best description as it is highly addictive and can be as sweet as a can of condensed milk with pulpy texture.
You may go adventurous and bring a sack of durian on your way home, but you have to consider packing it well because the spikes of the fruit are deadly and the smell will definitely stick to your clothes. Other people will go to the extreme of removing the pulp and putting it in individual containers — however, this proves to be tedious and work intensive. If you do not want to pay extra on overweight baggage or spend the entire vacation de-fruiting a durian but still want to bring something from Davao, worry not – there are pasalubong centers that sells durian candies and other variants of the fruit, like tart, bars, etc. The most engaging and the best amongst these candies are; Lola Inda’s Durian Bar and Durian Yema also from Lola Inda. Usually they sell these goods at P 30-60 apiece.
HOW TO GET TO DAVAO
Cebu Pacific Air offers direct trips to Davao daily. A trip to Davao from Cebu takes an estimated time of one (1) hour. Return trips from Davao to Cebu are also daily.
If you plan your trip ahead, you might chance by the on-going promo fares of www.cebupacificair.com
, thus saving you more money for your travel and more pasalubong for us. So what are you waiting for? Book now at www.cebupacificair.com
and enjoy your Davao trip!
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