Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown, is a highly urbanized city in Mindanao, Philippines. As of 2015 it is the third most populated city in the Philippines and the largest in the country in terms of land area. I had a great experience with this well-run city and it's kind, friendly and helpful people. Davao City is called a "City in Bloom" due to the vast plantations and garden resorts that grow rare and exotic orchids and other plants.
During my three-day stay I was able to spend a day at Eden Nature park, spend an afternoon at my friend's family house in Astorga Beach enjoying the view and their hospitality, dine at Jack's Ridge Restaurant and visit Abreeza Mall. Davao city has a lot to offer to visitors and I really enjoyed my time there. I am looking forward to my next trip to this culturally diverse city.
Orchid Capital of the Philippines
Eden Nature Park
Eden Nature Park is an impressive 80 hectares, 95% man-made park with over 100,000 pine trees and other types of plants, flowers and trees.
Allow yourself at least one or two days to explore. I suggest taking the 45-min guided shuttle tour so that you will not get exhausted easily. It is a beautiful place to visit and get away from the city. And a wonderful park for families to spend time together. It is clean and very well kept. The staff is friendly.
The sky rides and zip lining are not to be missed. If you are adventurous, ride the sky swing and the sky cycle. Sky swing will take you up 80 feet above the ground. In its highest position, the ride reaches a maximum height of 95 feet. You will feel the adrenaline rush for sure!
Astorga Beach, Santa Cruz
Astorga Beach is located in the province of Davao del Sur, about 40 kilometers (an hour) from Davao City. It is a tranquil and beautiful beach. I spent an afternoon there enjoying the company and hospitality of my friends, their family and the local kids. Not enough time to go swimming this last visit; but next time I will definitely get in the water!
Jack’s Ridge Resort and Restaurant
A popular tourist destination in Davao City is Jack’s Ridge. It is located on the mountain slopes of Shrine Hills. Taklobo restaurant located at the upper level was busy and there was a waiting list. It was worth it to pay a nominal fee and be seated immediately at Kai's Bar and Grill at the lower level. The menu was extensive and the singers created a warm atmosphere for the guests. The resort features restaurants, swimming pool and cottages for overnight stay. From downtown Davao a taxi can get you there in about 20 minutes. Recommended.
The restaurant's web site says this about Jack's: "The land on which Jack's Ridge now stands once formed part of the headquarter of the retreating Japanese forces towards the end of the World War II. The Americans had landed in Davao on May 1, 1945, forcing the Japanese to beat a path to Matina Hills where they had a commanding view of the Davao Gulf where the American ships were anchored. Fierce fighting soon erupted between the two forces, and as history shown us, the Japanese lost".
Shopping malls in Philippines are always great to visit and Abreeza Mall is no exception. It is a large shopping mall complex located at J.P. Laurel Avenue, Bajada in Davao City. It was the first Ayala Shopping Center located in Mindanao. It is a well-run shopping center and is definitely worth a visit when you are in Davao City.
My hotel was across from the mall. I went there twice to eat. A Zumba class was in progress on the first day that I visited the mall. The instructor was an American. Music filled the air and the place had good energy. I dined at Bigby's and Grab A Crab restaurant.
If you are looking for western style dishes, Bigby's offers steaks, chicken, salads, pastas, sandwiches and family platters. The food was tasty and the staff accommodating. Recommended.
Grab A Crab Restaurant
The restaurant offers a unique, modern and inviting atmosphere. Crab, vegetable, noodle, seafood, rice and chicken dishes were priced reasonably. Remember to read the signs on their wall! Recommended.
Seda Abreeza Hotel
The hotel is next to Abreeza mall which is a great place to shop and eat. Hotel is modern and clean and the staff was welcoming, well trained and went out of their way to help guests.
I had a very nice stay at this hotel and would definitely consider staying there again next time I'm in Davao. Recommended.
Next Visit to Davao City...
Time constraints prevented me from visiting many places in this wonderful city. Here is a partial list of the places I would like to visit next time:
Philippine Eagle Centre
D' Bone Collector Museum
Mount Apo and Lake Venado
Malagos Garden Resort
Tribu K Mindanawan
Maxima Aqua Fun
Davao Butterfly House
Davao Baywalk (Seawalk)