Information about Davao
Davao is a region located in the southeastern coast of Mindanao and consists of Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, and Davao Occidental. When visiting Davao, one of the best places to include in your itinerary is the beautiful Samal Island that sits in Davao del Norte.
On Samal Island, you will find stunning powdery beaches, breathtaking waterfalls, and even a mountain where you can get scenic views of the surroundings. Along with Samal Island, the Davao region is also home to one of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Mount Hamiguitan Wildlife Sanctuary. Nestled in its diverse ecosystems and numerous habitats are species endemic to the Philippines such as the Philippine eagle and the Philippine cockatoo.
When traveling to Davao, you won't have to worry too much about a language barrier as most locals can easily speak and understand English. The majority of the residents also converse in Cebuano and Tagalog. Don't hesitate to ask for help as well when you are in need of directions or tips as Davaoenos are generally hospitable towards tourists. In terms of religion, most of the local population subscribe to the Roman Catholic faith, but other residents also follow the teachings of Islam, Buddhism, and Shinto.
Best time to visit
Davao's best attractions are located outdoors, so visiting during the dry season is highly recommended, which usually begins in December and ends in June. These months also have lower chances of rainfall, making it easier for you to get from one attraction to the next.
Cheapest time to visit Davao
For anyone looking to save on costs, it is better to travel during the rainy season when the airfare and hotel rates are lower. In the Philippines, the rainy season starts in the early weeks of July and ends in November. Due to the higher chances of rainfall and tropical storms during this time, you should always monitor the weather before your trip.
Weather in Davao
The Davao region has a tropical climate as well, similar to the majority of the Philippines. This also means that you can visit the region and any of its provinces all year round, but it is still best to travel here during the dry months to avoid any heavy rains or storms. If you prefer to travel when the weather is colder, you should schedule your trip from December to February because this is when the Philippines experiences a generally colder climate.
Peak Season in Davao
Expect larger crowds in late December and Holy Week as these are the months when most Filipinos flock to the region for the holidays and long weekends. If you plan on visiting during these months, it is recommended to schedule your trips weeks in advance.
Main festival/events in Davao
Davao's most popular festival is the annual Kadayawan Festival that takes place every third week of August in Davao City. This celebration is held in honor of the region's indigenous communities, especially their contributions to the region's heritage. Along with this, the locals also consider it as a means of thanksgiving for a fruitful harvest every year.
During the celebration, you will witness many flower floats and street dancers in various parades. The public squares will host a number of trade fairs where you can see the creations of Davao's local artisans.
When to avoid visiting Davao
It is recommended that you visit Davao during the dry months and avoid going during the Philippines' typhoon season, which spans from July to November.
How to get to Davao
You can get to Davao either by riding an airplane or a ferry. If you're coming from outside of the Philippines, you can look for a flight bound for the Davao International Airport in Davao City for a hassle-free trip. Domestic tourists coming from Luzon or Visayas can also find flights from Manila City or Cebu City headed for Davao International Airport.
The other option is to take a ferry. If you're coming in from Manila or Cebu, you'll dock in Nasipit Port in Agusan del Norte, around 300 kilometers away from Davao City.
Safety in Davao
Davao has a low crime rate and is generally considered as a safe place to visit. Despite this, it's still a good idea to follow standard safety precautions, such as keeping an eye on your valuables when traveling here.
Getting around Davao
The easiest way to get around Davao is by hiring private vehicles such as vans and taxis or renting a car. For cheaper options, taking a jeepney is the best way to get to where you want to go in the region. Each jeepney follows specific routes so make sure to figure out which route you will be taking before getting on a jeepney. Other popular public transport options in the region are multicabs, buses, and tricycles.
Food and Drinks
Davao is best known for its abundance of fresh fruits, especially the local durians that are grown here. This tropical fruit is characterized by its strong, pungent scent and thick savory-sweet yellow meat, giving it the title of "King of the Fruits." Throughout the region, you will also find different delicacies centered around durians, such as durian candy, durian tarts, durian ice cream, and more.
As a melting pot of cultures and a region home to families of various religions, Davao also features a wide selection of restaurants and cuisines. Among them are delicious Filipino street food, Halal dishes, and Chinese platters.
Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Davao
As a region comprising of five provinces, there are various establishments that you can stay in depending on your preference and budget. If you're heading for Davao del Sur, Davao City features many accommodations that range from budget to luxury stays. On the other hand, Davao del Norte is home to Samal Island, where you can find various beachside properties that are perfect for beach lovers.
If you want to visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you should head to Davao Oriental, where you can find the Mount Hamiguitan Wildlife Sanctuary. Meanwhile, travelers who prefer off-the-beaten-path spots should look for accommodation within Davao Occidental, which boasts some of the most beautiful hidden gems of the region. Lastly, Davao de Oro is a sanctuary for inland attractions such as towering mountains, pristine lakes, and majestic waterfalls.
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