Davao City Budget Travel Guide: Where to Go, Eat and Stay

Monday, August 15, 2016 Justin Vawter 2 Comments


Davao City claims itself to be one of the world's safest cities. For a traveler visiting the city for the first time, I can assure you that this claim is true. For some reason, the vibe alone from the city will make you feel secured. Walking late at night, we never felt unsafe. This makes Davao city perfect for backpackers. But what else is there to visit in Davao City? Here's a quick travel guide on where to go, eat and stay.


Going to Davao City


Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

The easiest way to Davao City is via a plane ride. We booked our tickets via Air Asia and Cebu Pacific (we had different bookings, all bought during their respective seat sale). If you'll watch out for their seat sales, you may be able to get tickets for just Php 500-1,000 RT. 

Davao was once the country's biggest province before it was split into three provinces: Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental (Davao Occidental was later added in 2013). Getting in and out of Davao City is very easy. From the airport, you can ride a cab to go downtown. Fare is around Php 120. Main mode of transportation in the city is via jeep while tricycle and habal-habal is used more on the rural side.

Where To Go


Touring Davao City is very easy since everything is near the city hall. For our backpacking trip (Read: (4D3N) Php 4,600 Budget Travel Guide to Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal), we allotted one day for our city tour. Since we're trying to go as cheap as possible, we omitted those that are a bit far to our hotel and requires an entrance fee (will still be including them in this list for your reference).

Davao City Hall, Annex, Plaza and Clock Tower

If it's your first time visiting the city, try to visit the Davao City Hall first since it's the center point of all other destinations. Surrounding it is the city plaza, the Clock Tower which was a gift of the Chinese people to Davao and the Davao Cathedral.

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Expectations

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Reality. Haha!

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal


Saint Peter's Metropolitan Cathedral

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Commonly known as the San Pedro Cathedral or Davao Cathedral. It has a unique curve on the facade (which I honestly find a bit weird) and a belfry on the side.

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Davao Museum

Before you eventually start your tour, you may want to familiarize yourself with Davao first. Go head to Davao Museum just across the city hall. Entrance is free and it already includes a guide. You may also request a pamphlet map of Davao. Be aware that camera is not allowed at some part of the gallery.

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal


Parks

There are 3 main parks in the city: OsmeƱa Park (right across the city hall), Magsaysay Park (right across Chinatown and the wharf) and People's Park. People's Park is the largest of all.

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal


Chinatown

Photo by Sj Casasola

This is the largest Chinatown in the country. Here you'll find a lot of shops and bargain stores.

Cinematheque

If you're a fan of movies especially indie ones, you'll love this place. They offer free screenings of indie films. It's just beside People's Park. We only got to know this place while walking around and was surprised to know it's not that popular. Too bad, I wasn't able to take photos of the place as well as watch some film due to our tight schedule.

Philippine Eagle Center

One must-visit place in Davao is the Philippine Eagle Center. To be honest, the place is not that great. Although it's highly maintained, there are few species of Eagle and other animals such as monkeys and owls in the center which may disappoint you. However, it's a reflection of the reality. The Philippine Eagle is close to extinction and we need to work together to protect it.

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

To go here, ride an fx from the city hall (it's located at the rear side) going to Calinan. Fare is Php 40. From Calinan, ride a habal-habal going to the center. Fare is Php 20. There is an entrance fee of Php 5 upon entering the vicinity. There you will also be greeted by large pythons available for photo ops. While I'm not afraid of snakes (except for those who says "bes!", just kidding! haha), I don't like them either. But since my friends decided to try taking a picture while carrying them, who am I to back out? Photo ops is Php 20 for the albino python. IT WAS CRAZY! Well, just try to look at my reaction. 

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Entrance to the center is Php 150 which also serves as donation.

Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal
Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal


Other Places To Visit

If you have free time, you may also visit these places visited by my friend Sj who extended her stay during our trip (visit her blog too here!)

Lon Wa Buddhist Temple

Photo by Sj Casasola

The Lon Wa Buddhist Temple is considered to be one of the biggest temple in the country.

D' Japanese Tunnel

Photo by Sj Casasola

The tunnel was constructed during the World War II and served as a hideout of the Japanese soldiers. Entrance fee is Php 50.

Malagos Garden Resort

If you love flowers, you'll enjoy it here. The Malagos Garden Resort is a popular nature park in Davao. Entrance fee is Php 100.


Where to Eat


Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

Lechon Manok at a carinderia in Calinan

Davao City is filled with many restaurants as well but since we're tight on budget, we kept everything to a minimum. There are many buffets in the area and price range is around Php 150-300 per head. If you're extremely tight on budget, try the local carinderia. Our best suggestion is the Chick-a-bing-daks. It's all over the city. It's a small eatery serving fried chicken with rice for just Php 25. Trust me, it's really good! It's not your ordinary chicken. After all, we ate here 3 times! 

Where to Stay


Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal

There are many cheap budget hostels near the city hall. Sj stayed at Homitori Dormitel on her first night (she arrived the night before us). Price is at Php 220 for an air-conditioned bunk bed dorm room and it includes breakfast already.


For our trip, since we just need a place to leave our stuff (we traveled to Surigao del Sur by night) for the day, we rented a small fan room at Daylight Inn for Php 250. On our last day, we rented a 2-bed air-conditioned room for 2 pax for Php 800. But since there's 4 of us in the group, we paid an additional of Php 200 (Php 100 per head).

If you're into a more convenient stay, you may check out other hotels and their rates here. Top recommended hotels include Marco Polo Hotel Davao, Waterfront Insular Davao and Seda Abreeza Davao.

That's it for my Davao City travel guide! Don't forget to read our (4D3N) Php 4,600 Budget Travel Guide to Davao-Surigao del Sur-Samal backpacking story!

Cheers~!

- Justin -

2 comments:

  1. Davao is definitely a place to visit in Mindanao. It has a lot of tourist spots to offer and the food there is great. The people are friendly and the city is totally safe.

    Kim - www.condorny.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello ano pong cam ang gamit nyo?

    ReplyDelete