Above video: A couple hiking through the countryside in Davao, where they come across a variety of flora and fauna. As the couple clamber from one boulder to the next, the rocks morph into hot stones on the back of a lady enjoying a traditional massage. Davao is indeed a place where you can explore, relax and repeat!
Where to stay
- Bahay ni Tuding Inn & Resto, 160 San Pedro St; +63 82 295 2487; www.bahaynituding.com. A clean and modern inn located in a quiet compound downtown.
- Seagull Mountain Resort, Buda National Highway, Marilog District. A highland resort offering a breath of fresh air (quite literally!) from the city, and picture-perfect mountainscapes. Situated a two-hour drive away from the city proper.
- Seda Abreeza, J.P. Laurel Ave, Bajada; +63 82 244 3000; www.sedahotels.com/abreeza. Its proximity to offices and commercial establishments makes it ideal for business travelers.
- The Apo View, 150 J Camus St; +63 82 221 6430; apoview.com. This local icon was built in 1948, making it the Philippines’ second-oldest hotel.
- The Royale House, 34 Claro M. Recto Ave, Poblacion District; +63 999 888 3630. A centrally-located, two-star hotel with air-conditioned rooms.
Where to eat
- Abuelo’s, Circumferential Rd, Marfori St; +63 922 394 5185; facebook.com/Abuelossisig. Abuelo’s is where you can savor Filipino comfort food at very affordable prices.
- Ahfat Seafood Plaza, Bajada; +63 82 224 0002. Fresh and reasonably-priced seafood served Chinese-style, such as steamed crabs and slipper lobsters.
- Balik Bukid Farm & Kitchen, Quimpo Blvd; +63 917 302 1208. Serves up fresh Filipino fare made with organic produce from its own garden.
- Belito’s Vineyard, Palm Dr, Bajada; +63 82 227 6726; facebook.com/belitosvineyard. The kinilaw (seafood ceviche) at this rustic backyard restaurant is a must-try.
- BluGre Coffee, DSR Compound, Ponciano St; +63 82 285 3073; bluegre.com. Try the restaurant’s durian-infused coffee for a uniquely Davao experience.
- BU Tapas, Pelayo St; +63 82 284 6364; facebook.com/BUtapasbebidasybodega. For imaginative seafood dishes, such as grilled tuna flakes in a deep-fried bun.
- Davao Dencia’s Restaurant, General Luna St, Poblacion; +63 918 319 4425. This establishment, which serves up hearty Filipino-Chinese fare, is popular among locals and tourists alike.
- Ellen’s Tuna Queen, 494 South St, DBP Village, Ma-a; +63 932 986 3989; www.ellenstunaqueen.com. Home to Davao’s best tuna tail baksiw (fried tuna tail cooked with vinegar and spices) and laing (taro leaves with coconut milk).
- Glamour Resto & Caterer, No. 386 Padre Gomez St; +63 82 222 0045; www.facebook.com/glamourcrabsbuffet. Feast on all-you-can-eat crabs, tuna and more at this popular restaurant. Your go-to place for crabs in Davao City!
- Huckleberry Southern Kitchen and Bar, Rizal St corner Bangoy St; +63 82 285 2586; facebook.com/HuckleberrySouthernKitchen. Specializes in modern Americana cuisine with dishes from the Deep South. Try the Cacao Old Fashioned, where nib rum infused with Mindanao coffee beans is used in place of whisky.
- Jack’s Ridge, Shrine Hills, Matina; +63 82 297 8830; www.jacksridgedavao.com. Try the nilasing na hipon (shrimp marinated in liquor) and spicy pork ribs at this restaurant with a view.
- Lachi’s Sans Rival, Door 1-H Values School Building, Ruby St, Marfori Heights Subdivision; +63 82 224 5552. Tuck into savory fare like lechon and pork ribs, before rounding off your meal with an impressive array of desserts like cheesecakes, mud pies, and of course, sans rival.
- Palo Vince The Pakfry King, Dacudao Ave, Poblacion District; +63 82 225 4019. Serves tuna in different ways — kinilawd (ceviche), grilled and pakfried (simmered in vinegar, then fried).
- Rekado Davao, 1050 Jacinto Extension, Brgy. 11-B; +63 82 284 2136; facebook.com/rekadodavao. This industrial-chic restaurant, which serves up Filipino comfort food, has earned rave reviews from locals and tourists alike.
- Roxas Night Market, Roxas Ave. Dine like a local at this bustling market, where you’ll find food stalls selling grilled meats and even all-you-can-eat durian.
- Sea Green Cafe and Lifestyle Shop, Circumferential Rd, Poblacion District; +63 82 305 4765. Head here for “soul food” (a.k.a healthy pescatarian dishes) and awesome coffee.
- Siggy’s Davao Lechon Liempo, No. 11 J.A. Sarenas St, Marfori Heights, Poblacion District; +63 82 284 1548; facebook.com/siggys.davao. The lechon liempo (roasted pork belly) at this popular establishment is extremely tender and flavorful.
- Tess BBQ, Agdao. The perfect place for a rib-sticking meal, with made-to-order barbecued dishes and puso (rice wrapped in coconut leaves).
- Toryano’s Chicken Haus, Legazpi St; +63 82 221 5556. This carnivore shack specialises in dishes like lechon manok (skewered poultry) and a mean sinigang (meat and tamarind soup).
What to do
- Aldevinco Shopping Center, Claro M. Recto Ave, +63 82 226 4715. More of a market than a mall, with stalls selling everything from antiques to jewelry. At sundown, the market fills with food, ukay-ukay (second-hand goods) and more.
- Eden Nature Park & Resort, Bo. Eden, Toril; +63 82 296 0791; www.edennaturepark.com.ph. An idyllic resort with gardens, water features, sports facilities, private cabins and a spa, as well as wildlife strutting around as if they own the place! Try sky cycling, horseback riding, fishing and other activities while enjoying the mountain breeze.
- Gap Farming Resort, Green Meadow, Ma-a; +63 82 244 0156. This mountain resort is a popular weekend destination, with horseback riding facilities, picnic areas, various orchards, a campsite, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
- Hagimit Falls and Nature Park, Poblacion Peñaplata, Samal Island; +63 999 705 5330. Admire the beauty of the Hagimit Falls. You can choose to stay overnight in the park, either by pitching tents or renting cozy cottages.
- Island hopping. Carabao Dive Center (+63 82 300 1092; www.divedavao.com) usually organizes an island hopping/diving trip to neighbouring islands, such as Talikud Island, every weekend.
- Mel’s Davao City Food Tour, +63 947 361 3544. A six-hour adventure that will take you to various food stops and historical sites.
- Outland Adventure, Ma-a; +63 82 224 5855; facebook.com/outlandadventurePCFI. This adventure park boasts the largest ropes course facility in the Philippines.
- Pasalubong Center, Palma Gil St. Take home locally-produced textiles, baskets, bags and other handicrafts at this one-stop shop.
- Philippine Eagle Nature Center, www.philippineeagle.org/center. A conservation breeding facility for the critically endangered Philippine Eagle. View these majestic creatures up close, along with other birds, mammals and reptiles endemic to the country.
- Samal Island, www.samal-island.com. A popular beach paradise that’s just a ten-minute ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle of Davao City. Hike up Mount Puting Bato and enjoy beautiful views of Davao Gulf at the summit.
- Seagull Mountain Resort, Brgy. Buda; seagullmountain.comuf.com. Rejuvenate your senses at this highland resort, which boasts picture-perfect mountainscapes.
- Whitewater rafting. Arrange for a day of fun whitewater rafting on the Davao River; contact Davao Wildwater Adventure Rafting Company (+63 82 221 7823; crocodilepark.ph/davaowildwateradventure).