Davao Travel Guide For First-Timers

It may be considered as the Mindanao region’s center of commerce and industry, but Davao City in the southern Philippines has maintained its tradition and values. It remains home to Filipinos who lead simple lives even if it has evolved as a progressive city and top tourist destination.

For travelers, Davao is known for the Kadayawan Festival, delicious local dishes, and white sand beaches. If you plan to visit for the first time, here are five things you can do for the ultimate Davao experience that will make you fall in love with it more:


Visit The Philippine Eagle Center

via Pixabay

Established in 2007, the Philippine Eagle Center is home to some 30 Philippine eagles and other birds that need a natural sanctuary to thrive and multiply. Aside from the preservation of these endangered creatures, the Philippine Eagle Foundation-managed center also aims to educate the visiting public about wildlife protection.

A short walk from the Philippine Eagle Center is the Malagos Garden Resort. It also houses some animals, but the best part is its chocolate museum where the world-famous Malagos chocolate is produced. You purchase some of their creations and bring them home as souvenirs.



Eat Durian

Gliezl Bancal via Unsplash

When it comes to fruits, Davao City is widely associated with durian. Many may not like its distinct smell, but the flesh “tastes like heaven,” as the popular description would say. You can see durian being sold around Davao any time of the year, but it is most abundant, not to mention affordable, from August to October.

Durian comes in different forms in Davao for those who can’t tolerate the smell. Durian candies, ice cream, cookies, and coffee are sold in various shops and restaurants.



Explore Eden Nature Park

via Eden Nature Park and Resort Davao

If the city heat becomes unbearable, then head to the much cooler Eden Nature Park. This 80-hectare recreational site situated near the foot of the majestic Mt. Apo offers visitors with various activities to try, as well as a playground, amphitheater, seven different gardens, and cabins for those who wish to stay overnight.



Have Dinner At Roxas Night Market

via City Government of Davao

After a long day of exploring parks and bird sanctuaries, fill your hungry stomachs with budget-friendly yet delicious food sold along Roxas Night Market. The entire stretch of Roxas Avenue in Poblacion District becomes a giant food court where you’ll find stalls selling grilled meat, fresh fruits, and other meal ideas. A dedicated area hosts sellers of clothes, souvenirs, and other items at affordable prices. You can even get a massage here!

Before you enter the night market, you can drop by Aldevinco Shopping Center, one of the oldest shopping centers in Davao City. This complex was built in the 1960s but remains to be the go-to place for unique Davao products like the locally produced ‘malong’ cloth and well-designed handicrafts. You may even test your haggling skills here if you buy in bulk.



Swim In The Waters Of Samal Island

Lester Casio via Unsplash

Escape the bustling city of Davao by heading to the nearby Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS), more popularly known as Samal Island. Just 30 minutes away from Davao City by boat, this island paradise is a far cry from the metropolitan area that it is a part of. When you arrive, you will be welcomed by white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and the tranquility that you may not find in the fast-paced urban jungle.

There are a lot of beach resorts to choose from in Samal island, the most famous of which is Pearl Farm Beach Resort. If you only plan to do a day tour, there are many water sports and activities that you can do to maximize your stay. Some of these are riding a jet ski, banana boat ride, free diving, snorkeling, island hopping, and exploring the island’s waterfalls.


Whether you are staying for only a few days or more than a week, Davao City has something in store for you. Follow this guide and discover other interesting things to do in this thriving city of the Philippines!