It’s the Kadayawan Season once again in Davao. And that means a lot of visitors will be coming over to Davao City to see the best of what the city can offer.
Frequent visitors are expecting some of the usual things they always see during the Kadayawan Festival:
- Good Fruits (Durian, Lansones, etc) and Orchids
- Good Deals (A lot of businesses are coming out with their gimmicks)
- Good Vibes (Just have fun with friends)
For the first time visitors and travelers, it is also the best time to visit Davao! And by “best time”, I mean you really get to “feel” what the city is all about.
While it is generally safe to just stroll around the city from your hotel, having a sense of where you want to go would save you from encountering the unexpected – unless, getting lost in the city is your definition of an adventure. 🙂
To this end, we have prepared a list of spots where you can possibly go for a city tour and what you can expect to see if you go there.
Stopover #1: The San Pedro Cathedral — Where The Heart Is
There’s really not much to see once you are there at the church.
Am I crazy to even suggest that this place should be the first stop? Well, not really. Consider this: Once you are there, you’ll be standing (or sitting – it’s really up to you) at the heart of the city. Hey, that’s the very center of Davao City!
On top of that, the San Pedro Church is a historical place. Wow!
But, don’t go around asking people to give you lecture about the Church’s place in history. They can’t recall anymore. And besides, who ever wants to remember High School History, huh?
Actually, if you are really into that kind of stuff, there’s the right kind of people to ask. Just across the street (or streets, if you may) is a place called Museo Dabawenyo. You know what that place is? It’s a museum! Oopps, sorry for the obvious answer! I know you know that.
And speaking about “across the street”, don’t you forget to drop by the following nearby places:
- The City Hall of Davao
- The Davao City Council
- The Osmena Park
They are good places to take photos from; especially the Osmena Park where you get to see some magic tricks, live massage, palm reading, gospel preachers, etc.
Stopover #2: The Aldevinco Shopping Center — Where Native Crafts Abound
If I were to describe this place in a few words, it would be these:
- Forex — the Aldevinco is a popular place to exchange a foreign currency to the Philippine Peso.
- Native Crafts -– sometimes you can find antiques there, but mostly, you’ll see native crafts which are good for souvenirs.
- Pomelo Stores – yes, those sweet, little balls you want to bring back to your place as pasalubong.
Stopover #3: The Magsaysay Park — In Search Of Excellent Durian?
This is perhaps the most popular destination for anyone in search of the Durian Fruits all year round. Just before you enter the park, there are small stalls that seem to never run out of durian fruits to sell — even during their off seasons. I’m still amazed to think where these vendors are sourcing their durian fruits from.
Now, Durian is not really for everyone; some just couldn’t take the smell. If you are that type, the Magsaysay Park is really a good place to stroll around — it’s a park, you know — and have a nice little talk with your companion about whatever topics you want to talk about. Maybe you can talk about your next destination? Well, you better print this article because it’s going to be your handy cheat-sheet for your city tour. Throw away that map, because the taxi drivers are all familiar with these places.
Next thing on the To-Do List: Eat, Pray, Love — or something like it.
Stopover #4: Jack’s Ridge Restaurant and The Shrine Hills
Have you read the book entitled “Eat Pray Love”?
Well, I haven’t, but I’ve seen the movie and yes Julie Roberts still looks cute — and Ketut was even more cute.
I’m not really a movie critic, but anyways… at these places, you can basically Eat, Pray, Do whatever it feels like doing.
The most popular place at the Shrine Hills is the meditation center and church known as the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague. It’s one of the best places to pray, meditate, relax or just feel the fresh air and have an overlooking view of the entire city.
If you started this city tour at 9 o’clock in the morning, by the time you reach the Shrine Hills should be the perfect time for lunch.
And you don’t have to go that far just to satisfy your gastronomic trip. The Jack’s Ridge Restaurant could just be the perfect place to Eat and have your version of “La Dolce Far Niente”.
The good thing about dining at Jack’s Ridge is that you get a good view of the city from high altitude (imagine if it’s night time) while you enjoy the good food being served. Plus, there are other amenities there too that you can enjoy.
Stopover #5: The Crocodile Park
To just say that this place is awesome would be a disservice. The Crocodile Park is like a mini-zoo and a little bit more. To describe the place would be to combine the following words: exotic, wild, fun, colorful and… well, I’d rather want to see you describe this place.
Go there and see these things:
- Crocodile – they claim to have the largest croc in the country.
- Large snakes, Ostrich, and other animals
- Butterflies — your kids will love it.
Well, here’s a short video clip to show you what’s there at the Crocodile Park
You’ll definitely like it.
Stopover #6: The People’s Park — By The People and For the People
You should have been tried by now. If you want to relax in an open air and watch people go by, one of the best places to be is the People’s Park.
As it turns out, someone has made a video of the place. Here, get a virtual tour of the park before actually going there or deciding to skip the place for the next destination.
Stopover #7: The NCCC Mall – Davao’s Homegrown Mall
There are a lot of malls in Davao. There’s the ever popular SM, the old-timer Gaisano Mall, and just recently, the Ayala Group has a joint venture with Anflocor to put up the Abreeza Mall — positioned to be a high-end mall in Davao.
Not to be left out is Davao’s very own NCCC Mall – known as Davao’s Homegrown Mall. I don’t know what it is with the NCCC Mall, but the people of Davao just love to buy their grocery items there. But of course, there’s more to be found at this little mall than just the grocery shop. They have a bakeshop, a number of restaurants and dinning centers, cinemas, specialty shops, old books, pawnshops, and much, much more.
You could be there shopping at night, which is perfect just before you go back to your hotel. Wouldn’t it be nice to be shopping for the things to bring back to the hotel? You can do just that at the NCCC Mall.
“Davao City Tour: A Do-It-Yourself Guide” is written by Carlos Velasco.