A Stop at the Melting Pot of Mindanao: A Heady Mix of Provincial and Urban Lifestyle that is Davao City

Since the new Philippine president is from the South, I wanted to visit his hometown, Davao City.  They say that Davao was among the safest cities in the world,  ranked 5th according to the data released by Numbeo.com. It was also consistently awarded as a child-friendly city, and one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the world. In 2013, Davao was also recognized by the international community as the first 100% smoke-free metropolitan city in the ASEAN region.

Davao City is consistently named as one of the cleanest and safest cities not just in the Philippines but in the world. 

I started my tour of Davao by going to Calinan District which is home to the famous Philippine Eagle, residing at the Philippine Eagle Center. Then I went to Malagos Garden Resort, where a lot of waling-waling, also known as the “Queen of Philippine Flowers” can be found. These flowers are endemic in the area. There, the host gave me mangosteens (known as the “queen of fruits”) and pomelos to eat. And when I was thirsty, they told me that I can get a glass of water straight from the faucet because the water here in Davao is the 2nd most potable water in the world. Well I guess they have a lot to boast!

Behold! The Philippine eagle also known as the monkey-eating eagle, is considered as one of the rarest and most powerful birds in the world. (Google Images)
Waling-waling also known as the “Queen of Philippine Flowers”

Then I visited Davao Park District which is Megaworld’s first township development in Mindanao. It is an 11-hectare integrated development along SP Dakudao Loop, which was used to be the Lanang Golf and Country Club. This is Megaworld’s vision of a central business district and a major information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) in Mindanao. I heard that this township will have a lifestyle mall, commercial and retail shops, parks, a lagoon, and a school. I also saw ads of One Lakeshore Drive around the city. From what I saw, it is the first featured residential development at the heart of Davao Park District and will be designed for those who have an active and modern lifestyle. Wow, I can’t wait to see all that!

My friend Angela who’s also from US, a true Davaoeña and a “golden girl” just like me (peace, Angie! haha) told me about the Kadayawan Festival, a celebration of life and thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, that happens every third week of August. Too bad I wasn’t able to join in the fun. Oh well, more reasons to come back again, right?

The Kadayawan Festival which happens every third week of August. I will surely come back to see it myself! (Google Images)

As I travel along the streets of Davao City, I really did not see any litter on the gutter or sidewalk. Hmm, really clean! I went up to Jack’s Ridge where I was able to see the whole city while enjoying my lunch of fresh tuna and seafood, fresh durian and pomelo for dessert, and just my luck… I had the durian-flavored ice cream too! Oh my, it’s heaven in every spoonful. Just don’t mind the awful smell, the taste makes up for it anyway.

The must-try Lola Abon’s Durian Ice Cream. Anong sinabi ng Haagen-Dazs!? Haha.

By the way, did you know that Davao is the only city outside of United States and Canada that has its own version of the world renowned 911 Emergency Response System? Uh, cool right? The Davao City Police is also a 7-time awardee as the Best Performing City Police in the Philippines.

Since this was my first time in Davao, I really did not know much about this city. So I vibered and rang Angela. Angela quickly sent me her personal list of where to eat, what and where to buy pasalubongs.

Where to eat:

  • If you want to taste the best tuna in town, head on to Marina Tuna in Sasa. From Bagaybay (tuna milt) to Inihaw na Panga ng Bariles (grilled tuna jaw), it was truly a tuna indulgence at its finest
  • Lachi’s in Marfori and Tiny Kitchen in Torres are also popular dining hotspots in the city
  • Dencia’s Restaurant is popular for their tokwa’t baboy. Angela made a side note that my Davao experience won’t be complete without a stop at Dencia’s – and yes she was absolutely right!
Dencia’s Restaurant is located at Poblacion District, Davao City
Arguably the best tokwa’t baboy I have ever tasted! Na-miss ko to. 😦

What and where to buy for pasalubong:

  • If you love durian just like I do, go to stalls at Magsaysay Park and Torres Street for their fresh and frozen durian
  • Tried and tasted: try Golden, Nenita, Dizon and Vic’s brand for suha and pomelo
  • Make a stop at Bankerohan public market or at Madrazo fruit stand for the best mangosteens! Mangosteens are cheap during the months of July and August by the way
  • Claveria Avenue or C.M. Recto St. is famous for its row of cheap barbecue (pork, chicken) and puso (rice cooked in coconut fronds)
  • Go to AhFat seafood restaurant in Bajada for the most affordable delish lobster salad
Heaps of mangosteens at Madrazo fruit stand

After lunch, I would have gone zip lining in Zip City, but I was scared to throw up. So I just went on a pasalubong shopping spree instead. I went to Aldevinco Shopping Center and bought malong, pearls and some other native products to bring back to my friends in the US. I also bought mangosteen and durian to eat while watching movies back in the hotel. Imagine how lucky I was that the room I booked via Airbnb had a majestic view of Mt. Apo. The host probably gave it to me as a surprise.

…. and of course, the “King of Fruits”, Durian!

That night, I dreamt of a fast-paced life back in the metropolis. Young people clad in business suits going in and out of offices, cosmopolitan women shopping for signature bags and dress in lifestyle malls, young couples trying to start a family in a modern, posh condominium, kids in pretty school uniforms waiting for their school service to pick them up – what does this all mean?


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