My trip to Davao in 2009 with a group of friends was probably the most “sulit” trip I have ever done in 3 years of traveling. We were able to see and do lots of things with a meager budget (around Php5000) for 4days and 3 nights’ jaunt in the largest city in the Philippines. It would have not been possible without the help of Rhoha, a local of Davao whom Mayo met on a mountaineering forum while researching our trip. She graciously helped us in plotting our itinerary and guiding us around during our jam-packed adventure in Davao.
“What do you want to see and do in Davao?” was her first and only question before she came up with an epic itinerary that created endearing memories of Davao in each of us. We all agreed we wanted to see everything there is to see from parks, to museums, to temples, as well as do as many adventures we could within the budget and time we have for this trip.
And that was exactly what we ended up doing. (Here is my best one day itinerary so far that happened on our first day in Davao.)
6:00am – Arrive at Davao International Airport.
We were welcomed by Rhoha at the airport and were picked up by the jeepney that we rented for 3 days. Picture-taking started with the gigantic durian and more…
7:00am to 9:30am – Check-in at Ponce Suites
Ponce Suites is a “must visit” place in Davao even if you are staying in another hotel. It has an overwhelming collection of paintings, sculptures and various art installations. We had late breakfast here and a bit of rest before we set off for our first destination.
9:45 am to 10:15am – Visit Davao Museum
The Davao Museum features handicrafts, instruments and information about the way of life of various tribes like the Mandaya, B’laan, Tiboli, Manobo, Mansaka and Baghobo. It also showcases a collection of artifacts from various historical periods and artworks like ceramics, sculptures and wood carving. (Lanang)
10:30am to 11:00pm – Visit T’boli and Weaving Center
We visited the showroom of T’boli Weaving Center where we bought some souvenirs. They sell tribal jewelry, fashion accessories and bags, belts and clothing decorated with beads and embroidery. Then we visited the handicraft shop/factory where local weavers make their products.
11:15am to 11:45am – Visit the the Lon Wa Buddhist Temple
We were greeted by a huge statue of a smiling Buddha at the entrance of the Lon Wa Buddhist Temple and the smell of incense from inside. It was the first Buddhist Temple I have visited in the Philippines and it’s FREE. (Cabaguio)
11:45am to 12:00pm – Pass by Magsaysay Park Fruit Stands and Davao China Town
It was our first day in Davao so we decided to defer buying “pasalubong” from the market until our last day. We instead spent a bit of time in China Town walking on foot before moving to our next destination. (Roxas Boulevard and Ponciano Street)
12:00am to 12:30pm – Visit San Pedro Cathedral Church and Davao City Hall
San Pedro Cathedral is the oldest church in Davao built in 1847 during the arrival of Spanish Conquistadores. Just a stone throw away is the City Hall. There are few historic sculptures around the area. (San Pedro Street)
12:30pm to 1:30 – Lunch
2:00pm to 2:45 – Visit Philippine Eagle Center
The Philippine Eagle Center was one of the highlights of our visit. We paid 5 pesos to enter the park and another 50 pesos to enter the Eagle Center. There were souvenir shops, a yellow python for photo opportunities, monkeys and several Philippine Raptors. (Calinan)
3:00pm to 3:30pm – Visit Malagos Garden Resort and Orchid Farm
There was an entrance fee of Php100 for the resort so we decided to just check out the Malagos Garden Resort shop and the Orchid Farm in front of it. (Calinan)
3:45 to 4:30 – Visit Holy Infant Jesus Shrine
One of the popular tourist spots in Davao. It has two open-air chapels, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima and the Crucified Christ aside from the Shrine of the Infant Jesus. It is situated on a serene surroundings at Matina Hills.
4:45 to 5:30 – Visit Jack’s Ridge
Located 30 minutes from the town proper, Jack’s Ridge offers a great view of the city, a few restaurants and bars including the famous Karlos’ Cafe which offers durian coffee and the place where it stands used to be the headquarters of the Japanese during WWII. (Matina Shrine Hills)
5:45 – 6:30 – Visit Seawall Times Beach
Located along Times Beach, the Seawall is a beautiful park with a refreshing view of the sea, an imposing naked statue of David and a handful of animals like Ostrich near the mini-park.
6:45pm to 7:30 – Dinner at Gaisano Mall
We had dinner at Gaisano Food Court which offers several choices of cuisine including Persian, Greek, local dishes and the usual fast food chains. We then shopped for some cheap plastic shoes for our river tubing the next day.
8:00pm – Back to Ponce Suites
Day 1 Expenses
Davao Museum: 100
Philippine Eagle Center: Php55
Jack’s Ridge: Php10
Transportation: Php250 each
Guide Pot Luck: Php150 each
This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival with the theme “Best One Day Itineraries” which is currently hosted by Karlo de Leon of The 4AM Chronicles. Scroll down to check out the rest of our itinerary during our 3 full-day stint in davao.
6:00am – Breakfast at Jollibee near Ponce Suites
We walked to the nearest Jollibee outlet from our hotel for our breakfast. It has free wi-fi and free newspaper.
7:00am – Proceed to Layak Outdoor Shop
We waited at the shop for sometime while they were setting up the things we would need for River Tubing. The shop sells mountaineering gear and handcrafted accessories as souvenirs.
8:00am to 11:00pm – Malagos and Apiik River Tubing
From Layak Outdoor shop,we had a 20-30 minute jeepney ride to Malagos and then a 10-minute walk to the river. We had a 3-hour thrilling adventure with the rapids at Talomo River.
11:30pm - Back to Layak Outdoors Shop and Washing up
12:00pm to 1:00pm – Lunch at FattMatt’s Inihaw
On the way too our next destination we stopped at FattMatt’s Restaurant and gorged on a whole lot of grilled seafood.
2:15pm to 3:00pm – Gap Farm & Resort
Strange yet charming, Gap Farm is a verdant and serene park that features statues of animals, Philippine heroes,busts of past presidents, and the amusing Philippine mystic spirits known as “Conferencia ng mga Multo”
3:30pm to 4:30pm – Zipcity (zipline)
Zip lining at Zip City was the second highlight of this day next to river tubing. It was my first zip lining experience, which made it even more memorable.
4:30pm to 5:30pm – Crocodile Park
Davao Crocodile Park doesn’t only house well-cared crocs but it also features snakes, orangutan, small crocs, and trained birds that are available for photo opportunities during the animal encounter. Colorful birds are found around the park as well as the endangered cassowary and many other animals.
5:30 – Tribu Tribal Village
We were just on time for the ethnic show at Tribu Tribal Village. They showcase various tribal dances and customs beautiful performance. The highlight of the night was the well-executed fire dance.
7:00 – Dinner
We had dinner at Toryanos, one of the famous restaurants in the city, I love their native chicken inasal and the barbecue and the unlimited rice
8:30 – People’s Park MTS
Day 2 Expenses
Breakfast – P100
River Tubing- P150
Gap Farm (entrance) – P25
Crocodile Park(entrance) – P100
Tribu(entrance) – P25
Transportation – P250
Guide Pot Luck – P150
6:00am – Breakfast
7:00am – Davao Scuba Dive Office, Sta Ana Wharf
8:00am to 4:30pm – Intro Scuba Diving Session
While others were having their intro dive, the rest of us snorkeled at the Coral Garden. We had our lunch at Babu Santa Beach and we continued the intro dive after.
5:00 – Back to davao scuba dive office
5:30 – Buying of Pasalubong at Magsaysay Fruit Stand
7:30 – Dinner and last night in Davao
-—-> More Pasalubong/Souvenirs
—–> MTS Grounds
—–> Rizal Streets
—–> Roxas Boulevard
—–> See davao at night…
Day 3 Expenses
Breakfast – P100
Fare to sta. ana wharf(jeep) – P7
Scuba Diving Fee – P750
Fare back to hotel (jeep) – P7
Lunch/Snack – P250
Dinner – P150
4:am – breakfast
4:30am – 5:00am airport
6:40am – Flight back to Manila
Day 4 Expenses
breakfast – P100
taxi to airport – P50
Number of people – 8
Round Trip Airfare – P1700 (Cebu Pacific promo)
Accommodation – P400 per night x 3 (P1200)
Food, Transportation and Entrance/Guide Fee – P3600
Total Expenses: Excluding Airfare P4800
Note: Expenses spent on souvenirs and pasalubong aren’t included
Shout out to Rhoha for plotting this epic itinerary and for being an accommodating and fantastic guide, to Mayo for organizing this trip and for booking our tickets and to the rest of the gang for making this possible.
If you need help in making your itinerary or a guide to show you around, you may contact Rhoha at 0917-6062859. For those with extra budget you may include white-water rafting and other destinations that we were’t able to visit like the Japanese Tunnel, Eden Park, Xcelerator Zipline, etc. Most airlines regularly offer discounted airfares so finding cheap tickets to Philippines and cheap domestic flights has never been easier.