Phweekly Manila

List Of The Best Places To Visit In Davao City

Nestled in Mindanao, Davao City boasts of having the third most populous city in the country and largest one in terms of land area.  Beyond this, Davao also serves as a trade for commerce and other industrial systems within Mindanao, making it the center point for many cities or municipalities within its surrounding area.

Davao’s economy has been booming these recent years, attracting hundreds of visitors monthly to either witness Kadayawan (August) or climb Mount Apo – the highest mountain in the Philippines. Beyond usual tourist attractions, many visitors also like discovering small gems within the city and newly-opened restaurants to share.

Living in Davao for the past 22 years, I’ve seen the city progress slowly (but surely) to the tourist hub it is today. In terms of getting around, you’ll find beaches which are only 15 minutes away from the city and a 10-minute boat ride across neighboring to Samal Island. You’ll also find adventure sports up in the mountains at Eden Nature Park, and mountain villas all the way to Buda.

Which is why I’ve decided to write a guide for you on all the great coffee shops, restaurants, and activities you can do during your stay here! It can go as fast as the weekend or as long as a week’s worth of adventures.

Where to stay:

With a small budget:

Green Windows Dormitel

Address: 1034, Mt. Apo Street | 5th Floor FTC Tower

Website | TripAdvisor

El Bajada Hotel

Address: J.P. Laurel Avenue

TripAdvisor

With a ‘medium’ budget

Grand Menseng Hotel

Address: Magallanes Street

With a big budget:

Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao
Address: J P Laurel Avenue Lanang
Marco Polo Hotel Davao
Address: CM Recto Street | P.O. Box 81540

the sleeping dinosaur photo taken from the hill in mati davao del sur

How to get around:

It’s easier to get around the city with a car such as; SDT Car Services, or 24-Rent A Car. However, since the locations aren’t as far if you’re traveling only within the city, you can easily take the taxi which usually does not cost more than 150 pesos to get around (that’s considering the distance between Ateneo de Davao University to SM Lanang).

Moreover, if you’re planning to commute inside downtown, you can also take the jeepneys or tricycles to go around which usually cost at most, 20 pesos. Personally, I’d much rather walk around when exploring Downtown as there are many small coffee shops or cheap restaurants you can easily find.

Recommended experiences:

1. Eat at Roxas Night Market

Despite recent accidents concerning the Roxas Night Market, there are still a ton of vendors, students, and tourists who go to the nightly market. I’d like to think it’s because of the happy vibes the market sends your way while pushing through tons of people to get the best barbecue or dirty ice cream in town.

2.Try Durian at Ahua Durian Stand near Magsaysay Park

A personal favorite — the Ahua stall near Magsaysay Park has been around for years. They have durian for you to try, bring home, and also frozen!

3.Take a day trip to Eden Nature Park and the Philippine Eagle Sanctuary

You can hit two birds with one stone if you’re in town! The Philippine Eagle Sanctuary houses the Philippine’s eagles and owls for you to see. Pro tip: If you know a guide (or can get one), ask them to take a photo of you with the eagles! They know how to make sure the eagle looks straight at the camera!

4. Spend a day or overnight stay in Samal Island

Samal is about a 10-minute boat ride from the Sasa Wharf (this also varies on which beach you plan to go to). You can go the more tourist route and spend a day in Paradise Beach Resort or explore cliffs at Canibad and explore smaller (better) beaches like Dayang Beach.

5. Have durian coffee at Bluegre

Obviously, I needed to put coffee in the list! But really, you can try so many coffee shops in the city but no one serves durian coffee quite like Bluegre. It’s one of the longest standing coffee shops in Davao to date.

black and white chairs edited in sepia of coffee grounds in davao city

Recommended Coffee Shops/Dessert Places:

Coffee Grounds

My favorite hidden gem. It’s a new coffee shop with a vintage design, where you can ring bells to get your coffee, and lounging around at night never felt so good. You’ll have to walk to find this place as there’s barely any parking in this area, especially at night.
Address: Roxas Street, Purok 2, Barangay 31-D

Manga Toshokan Cafe

For Japanese or Anime fans, Manga Toshokan is a little cafe near Royal Mandaya Hotel which has walls adorning a variety of mangas you can read. The cafe also sells art supplies and has this little corner where you can post your drawings at.

Address: Doors 4 &5, Belfran Building, Palma Gil St., Barangay 34, Poblacion

Green Coffee (24 hours)

For many students, Green Coffee is a sacred place. It has so many branches all over the city with students staying inside finishing their projects until the wee hours of the morning.

Address: F. Torres St, Poblacion District

Cafe Blooming Days

A dainty-themed cafe that has a Korean touched. Many of the cakes here are made only during the day and aren’t regularly found anywhere else.

Address: Loyola St, Poblacion District

Lachi’s Sans Rival Atbp.

There’s nothing more classic in Davao than Lachi’s. They have not only the best Sans Rival in the city but dessert as well. Lunch is usually packed too that’s why I recommend you make a reservation first. Or wait in line for hours.

Address: Door 1-H, Values School, Ruby St, Marfori Heights

Ice Cream & Cookie Cafe

A new player to the game, Ice Cream and Cookie Cafe brings you injected sweets and tons of ice cream flavors for you to choose from!

Address: Door 2Aasahe 4 building Mabini cor, Araullo St, Poblacion District

Confex and Co. Bake House

If you’re in love with freak shakes, Confex and Co. Bake House is the go-to stop for that in Davao City. While it may be difficult to find, the small bake house’s goods make it instantly worth the troubles.

Address: Door No: 27, Madrazo Compound, C. Bangoy St, Poblacion District
Hours: 3–9PM

Margie’s Bakeshop

Another Davao classic comes in the form of Margie’s Bakeshop. You’ll have a variety of classic sweets to choose from and even more, one of the best cakes in the entire area.

Address: Torres Street

Recommended Restaurants:

D Little Dynasty Kitchen

A personal favorite, Little Dynasty has an array of Chinese food to choose from. All their servings are good for at least 2 people while the price stays right.

Address: Door 19 & 20, Plaza del Carmen, Loyola St, Bo. Obrero

Bon Appetit!

If you love classic French films, Bon Appetit will serve you salmon steak, coffee, and a chance to watch one of those black and white films every Tuesdays. More than that, the owner is a French expat which make his food as authentic as possible.

Address: Plaza del Carmen, Loyola St, Obrero, Davao City

Huckleberry Southern Kitchen and Bar

Huckleberry has quickly gained traction over the years with its Southern style appeal and simple food that you didn’t know could taste so good. More than ever, Huckleberry also boasts great drinks from all over the world and a music selection that brings great vibes for everyone.
Address: Oboza Compound, Rizal Street, Corner Bangoy Street, Poblacion District

Tiny Kitchen Creations

Owned by a Spanish family, Tiny Kitchen has been a crowd favorite since its inception years and years ago. From their paella and pastas, they have now expanded to serving their own cakes and coffee.

Address: F. Torres St, Poblacion District, Davao City

La Toscana Italian Bar and Restaurant

Although it’s a bit pricey, you’ll be able to try one of the best Italian places in the city! It’s like a small home inside the downtown area where you can have the chance to try different pasta recipes to suit your taste buds.

Address: Tionko Building, Arellano St, Poblacion District, Davao City, Davao del Sur
There are many things great about Davao but nothing comes close to learning about a city from a local. These suggestions are only a few crowd favorites as many more restaurants and shops open in the city! Hope you enjoyed!

About the Author:

Kiara Mijares is a travel writer at Via Isabelle. She’s lived in Davao City her entire life, constantly travelling around the world and sharing her experiences. She has contributed in various local and international online magazines while also sharing guides, narratives, and funny anecdotes from people all over the world. For more of her adventures, you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


 

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