Things to do in Davao never seem to run out. From exciting food crawls to intriguing attractions, the King City of the South overflows with life and excitement. Here is just a fraction of what to expect when venturing into Davao.
Things to do in Davao for its culture and history
1. Visit People’s Park for a diverse set of attractions
For a good summary of things to do in Davao, visit People’s Park. This cultural park spans about four hectares and has attractions for young and old alike. Areas inside People’s Park include a man-made forest, light fountains, a learning centre, a children’s playground, and a large durian dome. Of course, the park’s large open spaces are open for physical activities such as dance practices or jogging.
While inside the park, visitors might see some colourful sculptures, most of which are several feet taller than the average man. All of them display a creative but insightful snapshot of the population of cultures found in Davao. Make sure to take photos of these impressive works!
The great thing about People’s Park is that it lives up to its name. The entrance is free! However, park rangers will require inspections of visitors before entry.
2. Unwind and reconnect with nature at Eden Eco Park
Retreating to the mountains to seclude in nature is one of the best things to do in Davao. Not only will Eden Eco Park give refuge to its visitors, but it also provides an opportunity to rediscover common ground between man and nature. Good thing the park has cabins for accommodations. That way, every waking moment is a breath of fresh air.
Apart from the beautiful mountain scenery and its inherent flora and fauna, Eden Eco Park is also famous as a thrill-seeker’s destination, albeit in a smaller and more reserved capacity. Some of its trees may have zip lines or suspended bike tracks attached to them so that visitors can enjoy the views from a near-death-defying perspective. For a more reserved time, saddle up on a horse and ride on Eden Eco Park’s many trails.
3. See Philippine eagles fly in the Philippine Eagle Foundation
The intense deforestation in Davao has greatly threatened the existence of the Philippine eagle’s chances to reproduce and survive in the wild. With this, the Philippine Eagle Foundation dedicates its efforts to protecting these majestic birds by providing them shelter and care inside their facilities. To spread awareness, the Philippine Eagle Foundation is more than happy to accept visitors inside their aviary. In this way, the shelter can impart lessons and reflections on propagating these endangered raptors’ populations. Visiting the shelter is one of the most insightful things to do in Davao. Plus, seeing something as rare and grand as the Philippine eagle in the flesh is incomparable.
4. Observe crocodiles from a distance at Davao Crocodile Farm
Unlike the Philippine eagle, crocodiles are almost countless at the Davao Crocodile Farm. These reptiles are separated into different age groups and sizes through pens. Be sure to look out for Pangil, the oldest crocodile spanning over 18 feet in length.
Aside from the crocodiles, they also have other animals held captive in their facility. Numerous birds and reptiles can be seen inside their terrariums and cages. They also have the mischievous orangutan and the highly aggressive cassowary, both of which are enclosed in safety, thankfully. They even have lions and a tiger. The diversity of their animals makes every visit to Davao Crocodile Farm an enlightening experience.
By the way, if you’re looking for an activity that’s a bit unconventional, you can try eating their cooked crocodile meat!
5. Reflect inside the fascinating Christ the King Cathedral
Christ the King Cathedral is an intriguing but undeniably beautiful church. Unlike most churches in the Philippines that follow traditional Spanish architecture, Christ the King Cathedral’s architecture draws from more modern inspirations. Nevertheless, it is still a popular place of worship.
It also happens to have a big bronze statue that depicts Jesus Christ. Named The Risen Christ, this towering figure also happens to have the longest rosary in the Philippines resting at its feet. These sights in Christ the King Cathedral are a shining example of faith exemplified.
6. Learn more about the Japanese community at the IMIN Philippine-Japan Historical Museum
For more than 100 years, the relationship between the Japanese and Davaoenos has only improved. Some Japanese labourers went to Davao way back in 1903 to engage in the abaca industry, and most of them settled in the King City of the South. Today, this history can be seen at the IMIN Philippine-Japan Historical Museum.
Most exhibits inside the museum have machines and tableaus of the thriving abaca industry during the time. There are also numerous remnants preserved to learn of the struggles and triumphs of the Japanese-Davaoeno community. Visitors can also listen to any of the attendant’s testimonies about life before, during, and after the war.
7. Swim in a resort on Samal Island
While Samal Island is world-famous, it holds a special place in every Davaoeno’s heart. On most weekends, boarding a ferry from either Sasa Wharf or DavSam while swimming and partying by the beach is the thing to do in Davao. And at only a few minutes away, every trip to Samal Island is an inexpensive way to experience the tropical treasures between these places.
There are numerous resorts on Samal Island that you can enjoy, all of which are beautiful in their own distinct way. There are public beaches where admission is cheaper, and there are also developed resorts which could cost a bit higher. Whichever you choose, there are always quality options for a grand beach experience on Samal Island.
8. Shop for souvenirs and fruits at Bankerohan Market
One of the best things to do in Davao is to eat and shop for fruits. Almost any fruit bought from this city seems sweet and tasty. Some of them may not smell appetising, such as the notorious durian; others are perfect, like tender and juicy pomelos. But if there is one thing that locals can agree on, finding fruits in Bankerohan Market is an exciting and mouth-watering task.
Things to do in Davao to stimulate your gastronomic senses
9. Eat something new at the Roxas Night Market
For a taste of Davao’s sophisticated culinary profile and exciting nightlife, Roxas Night Market is an excellent destination. There is just so much food here that trying out something new could well be a regular occurrence. Something easy like grilled skewers or little snacks like tteokbokki to eat while you move? Look to your left. How about a flavourful broth with some delicious sinugba? Turn to your right. With all the choices available in Roxas Night Market, the possibilities of an epic gastronomic quest will be endless.
10. Indulge in the best seafood dishes available at Marina Tuna Restaurant
If you truly want the best of seafood dishes, a smart choice would be to head to Marina Tuna Restaurant. This restaurant is a legend among locals of Davao, possibly because of the consistently superior quality of the tuna they prepare and serve. It definitely helps that a well-balanced marinade just tightly infuses the tuna with a robust flavour to balance its firm freshness. Every bite, even every scrap of meat on its bones, tastes luxurious.
For even more of Marina’s best, order a bowl of sinigang na salmon or sinugbang pusit. They’re guaranteed to make you forget your name once you bite it because they are that good.
These are just some of the few things to do in Davao to get excited about. The city doesn’t hold back on the thrills but especially on the food. In some ways, durian is the perfect fruit to describe the city: The husk has a tough layer, but beneath that lies a delicious and nourishing treat.
Featured image: Alexpunker via Canva Pro