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2019 Travel Guide to Davao City: Home to the Philippines' Highest Mountain Edit

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Kim Mendoza  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.

Cover photo by Louie Lapat. Graphics by Noodle Donato.

At a Glance

Smoking, glowing sulfur vents make the ascent to the Philippines’ highest mountain intoxicating. Other than Mt. Apo, Davao City is known as the fruit basket of Asia and the biggest producer of chocolates in the Philippines. Yummy! A trip here will definitely swell your appetite for food, culture, and the outdoors.


Only the brave and tenacious will triumph the highest point in the Philippines, Mt. Apo. According to legend, these are the same qualities that depict Apong, the honorable warrior the mountain was named after. It is a three-day journey to the peak but sightings of waling-waling (an exotic wild orchid), the Philippine eagle, and the majestic view of Davao make the hike worth adding in one’s travel bucket list.

More stories will unfold on your travel to the city beginning with Kadayawan Village at the foot of Mt. Apo. The village features home replicas of 11 indigenous and Moro people who were the first few inhabitants of Davao. Each group’s unique history and lifestyle can be learned through the architecture and components of the house. These were built as a village to represent the multicultural roots and the lasting peace amidst diversity living throughout the region.

Located in Poblacion District, meanwhile, Museo Dabawenyo is where you can discover more about the culture and traditions of Davao’s local people. Found here are galleries displaying early Davaoñeos’ clothing, musical instruments, weaponry, and money, as well as exhibitions highlighting local artists and their impressive artworks.

But what better way to experience Davao than their homegrown, sun-cooked food? Dare taste the country’s best exotic fruits at Bankerohan Public Market or Magsaysay Local Fruits Stands, where you can purchase fresh and cheap produce. Juicy and ripe fruits such as durian, rambutan, mangosteen, pomelo, and marang are displayed here from August to September. Davao also takes pride in its products, usually showcased during the Kadayawan Festival.

Finally, make sure to stop by the famed Malagos Chocolate Museum to witness how local craftsmanship produces world-class chocolates. For more one-of-a-kind local food, go see Rekado along Jacinto Extension Street to try the crowd-favorite Kalderobo, a modern twist to two classic Filipino dishes: adobo and kaldereta. If you have time to spare, a day trip to Samal and Talicud Islands in the neighboring province make for a quick getaway to paradise. You’ll leave longing for more.

8 Experiences That Define Davao City

Written by Kim Mendoza and Michelle Tobias

Malagos Chocolate Museum

Chocoholic or not, you’ll have the time of your life in the Malagos Chocolate Museum. Learn about the history and chocolate-making process of the Philippines’ very own cacao, tour the Puentespina Cacao Farm, and see how chocolates are made at the Chocolate Laboratory. Finally, end your tour at the Chocolate Bar to taste the award-winning chocolate yourself! Entrance fee on weekends is P300 per person, which includes a birdshow at 10:30 am. It’s P650 when you count in the lunch buffet.

Fruits Shopping

You’ll definitely go bananas when you get a taste of Davao’s sweet fruits at Bankerohan Public Market and Roxas Night Market. Apart from durian, Davao City is also known for some of the finest pomelo, mangosteen, rambutan, and marang! It’s best to head to the bagsakan area if you want to purchase fruits at the lowest price. Plus, you’ll also get to support Davao’s local farmers.


Photo from Edge Davao.

D’ Bone Collector Museum

With more than 700 specimens, this museum offers a guided tour of one of the largest collections of animal skeletons, fossils, and artifacts in the Philippines. Entrance fee is P100 per person. It’s near the Mosque and Jesus Saves Baptist Church in San Pedro, Brgy. Bucana.


Photo by Nognog in the City.

Museo Dabawenyo

This government-run museum features paintings and artifacts about the culture and history of Davao. These include the region’s indigenous peoples the Lumads, Davao’s local hero Datu Bago, and the city’s most known political icon Rodrigo Duterte. Entrance is free of charge. Just take a tricycle to A. Pichon cor. C.M. Recto Streets.


Photo from Choose Philippines.

Philippine Eagle Center

Managed by the Philippine Eagle Foundation, this is the breeding facility of the Philippines’ mightiest bird, the endangered Philippine monkey-eating eagle. Entrance fee is P50 per person. To get here, just take a bus marked Calinan at the Annil Terminal along Quirino corner San Pedro Extension. Travel time is 1 to 1.5 hours, with a fare of P30 per person.


Photo from TripAdvisor.

Crocodile Park

This park is home to the Philippines’ largest crocodile in captivity, the 18-feet saltwater crocodile named Pangil. The park converves crocodiles along with other animals such as ostriches, orangutans, and bearcats. Entrance fee is P250 per person. Just take a tricycle to Riverfront, Corporate City, Diversion Highway.


Photo from Crocodile Park.

Eden Nature Park

This nature park and resort offers a number of activities and interesting sites to see, including a deer park, bird walk, lola’s garden, and Tinubdan cultural park. Day trips are at P600, buffet lunch included. You can also stay here for P4,350 per night, good for four. Book here.


Photo from Eden Nature Park. Book here.

Mt. Apo

At 2,954 meters above sea level, Mt. Apo is the Philippines’ highest mountain. Scaling this dormant volcano takes about three days, featuring river crossings, hot springs, mossy forests, placid crater lakes, and smoking, glowing sulfur vents. Fees to climb this mountain can run between P1,000 to P4,000 per person depending on the season and the trail.


Photo by Jun Veloira.

Where is Davao City


How to get to Davao City

From Manila or Cebu, the fastest way to get to Davao City is by plane. Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and Air Asia have daily flights to Davao. Once at Davao International Airport, you can simply take a tricycle, multicab, or taxi to get to your hotel. From Manila, a longer and yet more scenic travel is by bus. Just go to Pasay and board a Philtranco bus marked Davao City. The bus will pass through Bicol and down to Leyte, where it will board a ferry and pass by Visayas islands to Davao. This takes 3 days.

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