“There’s no place like home” this adage is so true. I was born in Davao, but I grew up in Manila; and for some reasons, I’ve never had a chance to come back to my home town (Panabo) and meet my relatives for many years, until I luckily booked a cheap flight for Davao.
I flew at 6PM and arrived at Davao International Airport at 9PM. My mom (whom I haven’t met for 3 years) fetched me.
* You can take taxi or bus from the airport going to your destination. In my case, I used Grab going to Panabo where our house is. Before the cab exited the airport, the cop took our name and the plate number of the car for security purposes (my mom told me later on); that’s how they ensure people’s security in Davao.
- Davao Crocodile Park
- Butterfly Garden
- Panabo Night Market
Davao Crocodile Park
The park is just 8km away from the center of the city. Entrance fee is Php 250.00 for adult and Php 150.00 for kids. The park houses various species of crocodiles and aligators. It’s not only a home for giant reptiles, but also a sanctuary for other animals like; birds, farm animals, wild mammals, and fishes.
I was elated to see the innocent kids enjoying the animal talent show; their smiles were priceless.
It took me a tons of courage to wrap a snake on my body, but I’m still afraid of snake.
Few meters away from the Park is the kingdom of different species of colorful butterflies.
(Some of the photos taken in the garden were accidentally deleted 😢)
Famous People’s Park is located at the center of the City. The park is somewhat historic for it was used for some local and national events in the past.
Numerous statues and sculptures depicting the history and culture of Davao are situated around the complex. They also represent the tribes living in the whole Davao Region. (Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental)
Panabo Night Market
On my first night, my cousin brought me to the nearest night market in the town of Panabo. I tried some of the street foods and shop a little. You can also buy cheap clothes ukay ukay (thrift store) and fruits in wide variety.
On my third day, another cousin toured me around the City of Davao.
- Ateneo de Davao University
- Davao City Hall
- Davao Museum and San Pedro Church
- President Duterte’s House
- Jack’s Ridge
- Roxas Night Market
- Magsaysay Avenue
I was surprised when the bus stopped along the boarder of Panabo and Davao City. There were some military men who embarked on our bus. We were asked to disembark the bus and pass through the check-point. I asked the lady why we needed to do so. “It’s for security purposes”, she said; “and all vehicles entering Davao City should proceed to the check-point”. I then realized the effort of the local government to protect its citizen.
Ateneo de Davao
My cousin met me at her school and toured me around the campus. It’s situated along Roxas St. in Davao City.
Ateneo de Davao was founded in 1948 and it’s the 7th Ateneo Campus opened in the country; and the alma mater of many Filipino achievers.
Davao City Hall
Built in 1926, the city hall of Davao has been a home of 21 mayors including the former mayor of Davao City, now the president of the Philippines, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, and his daugher, the current mayor of the city, Sara Duterte. The building bears stories of its past, and became more historical when the former mayor (Pres. Rodrigo Duterte) won the presidential election in 2016.
No need to visit France to experience feeding wild pigeons for Davao has its own version of it. A pack of corn costs Php 5.00 will allow you to feed and play with friendly doves in the area.
In front of the city hall is the old church of San Pedro Cathedral.
Davao City Museum
If you are somewhat fond of ethnography, you might want to visit the wee museum of Davao City. For the region is rich in history, culture and traditions, the local government initiated the efforts to preserve and nurture its priceless remnants. The museum houses multiple artifacts from different areas of Davao. It also showcase the artworks made by the tribes living in the region.
Entrance fee is for free. Everyone could come and learn the ancient stories that have molded the modern Davaoeños.
Like in other establishments, Davao City Museum also has some restrictions; one of them is taking photos inside the museum.
* Museum can be found across San Pedro Church.
President Duterte’s House
At a first encounter, you wouldn’t notice the house as something special -it’s very simple and bare.
The obscurity of this house had suddenly became a talk-of-the-town after the former mayor, Rodrigo Duterte became the president of the country. Since then, many local tourists have dropped by at his house to take photos.
This iconic house is located inside Doña Luisa Subdivision in Mati, Davao City. The premise is open for public; you just have to register and surrender a valid ID.
Across Pres. Duterte’s humble house is the house of his youngest son, Baste Duterte. Their neighbors were very simple yet proud that they are neighboring the most powerful official in the country. According to them, whenever the president is at home, he would roam around the neighborhood to greet and socialize with them (nangangapitbahay) like a normal person.
By riding a jeepney and a tricycle, my cousin brought me to a nice dining resort up the Shrine Hill of Davao City. From its view deck, people can have a 180 degree view of Davao City. The place is nice and sirene.
The place is not only known for mouth-watering local dishes (like seafood, grilled meats and vegetables) and astounding views, it’s also popular for its historic past. The hill was a part of the Japanese headquarter during the World War II. To this day, there are still war remnants present in the place and some remain undiscovered.
I did not waste the chance to visit and experience the largest night market in Davao -the Roxas Street. The famous night market is easy to locate since it’s situated at the center of the City.
This market has no big difference from what we have in Manila and other parts of the country, but the price of the foods and other merchandise was way cheaper than the rest. A stick of barbecue cost only Php 5.00. I told my cousin that a stick of barbecue in Manila could buy 3 sticks of barbecue in Davao.
Enticing street foods are not only the attractions of this particular night market for it’s also popular for cheap branded clothes (ukay ukay) from abroad. Well, Roxas Night Market is a must-try.
Durian fruit is one of the symbols of Davao City. Best Durians of the city can be found in Magsaysay Avenue. There were plenty of fruit stalls along the road that offered wide variety of Durians from the cheapest to the most expensive ones, from the fresh fruit to the frozen ones.
They said that you haven’t been to Davao until you’ve tasted Durian fruit. Durian is a tropical fruit commonly found in tropical countries like Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. It has sharp thorny skin with acrid smell, making it awful to other people. The taste, however, is worth trying.
Is is also the place where the president kills his time by eating Durian.
Note: You have to mix Durian fruit with sofdrinks or any soda, which will help digest the fruit faster; and if you are diagnosed with hypertension, minimal consumption is advised.
Gloves will be provided when you dine in since the fruit has a strong smell that will stick and last for awhile even after washing. If you have no guts to try the fruit itself (because of its foul odor), you might want to try Durian ice cream and candy which have lesser smell.
Not only is Davao about history and good taste, but it also offers win win escapades to its beautiful white sand beaches.
- Samal Island (Isla Reta)
Samal Island is a town physically separated from the bustling city, and only 15 minutes away from it (by boat).
There are lots of beach resorts to choose from in the island. In my case, I chose Isla Reta Beach Resort (I was impressed when I saw the photos in the internet).
ASK ME HOW
📍Ride a jeepney or bus going to Magsaysay avenue and drop at Magsaysay Park.
📍Walk towards Sta. Ana Port
📍Ride a boat going to the beach resort of your choice. (Php 80.00)
Entrance fee is Php 100.00 for day tour and Php 200.00 for overnight stay (entrance fee includes free use of cottage). Isla Reta has a private boat that sails everyday at 9AM. So, you have to arrive at the port early to catch the boat.
We were immensely awed when we saw the beauty of the place. A milk-like sand impressively welcomed us.
Upon arriving, we set up our tent and started preparing lunch.
I fell in love with the pureness and tranquility of the place. I did not expect that it was going to be that beautiful.
Adorable starfish sprawling along the shore and wiggling fish under the sea are a proof that the waters of Samal Island are well preserved and pristine.
The beauty of God’s creation is indeed unequivocal; His perfect artworks represent His infaliable love. Everything was made wonderfully for our own pleasure.
It was 5AM when we woke up the next day. We took a final deep in the water prior to eating our breakfast.
I flinched to plunge into the water for it was cold; I did not want to chill, but my mom forced me to join them.
To catch the first trip of the boat (8AM), we packed our things early (last trip is 3PM) and prepared for departure.
Samal Island is shortlisted to the beautiful beaches I’ve been to. Philippines has lot to offer.
We reached home in the afternoon and spent the rest of my time with my family and relatives.
It was an amazing opportunity for me to revisit my homeland and rediscover my roots and become more proud of it.
“Traveling is like a dream, you catch it to make it true”.