Your travel in the Philippines won’t be complete without setting foot in the stunning region of Davao. Though the province is relatively far from Manila, a place which any traveler will more likely explore first, visiting Davao is worthy of your time.
Though Davao is located at the end of the country’s archipelago, it is a leading economic driver because of its flourishing tourism. Its provinces and the capital, Davao City, have several attractions in store for every traveler.
Here are some of the many spots you should not miss in Davao.
Mount Apo National Park
A day of exploring Mount Apo National Park and seeing the “King of Philippine Peaks” can wipe away your stress. Mount Apo National Park is a protected area and hailed by the ASEAN as a heritage site. The highlight of the park is the magnificent Mount Apo standing 10,311 feet above sea level.
The area is a favorite trekking destination among Mindanao travelers because of its biodiversity and, of course, the relaxing nature view. More than one hundred bird species in Mount Apo National Park are considered endemic out of the 272 species thriving in the area. If you are lucky, you can also see the Philippine Eagle, the largest bird in the world.
Besides the wildlife, Mount Apo National Park’s 64,000-hectare space is brimming with hot springs, rainforests, rivers, and waterfalls.
Philippine Eagle Center
If you miss seeing the Philippine Eagle in Mount Apo National Park, another spot to go to is the Philippine Eagle Center. Here, you can have firsthand interaction with the largest birds in the world. Davao takes pride in these endangered creatures and sees them not only as of the country’s national bird but a symbol of the Philippines’ rich biodiversity.
Philippine Eagle Center is a non-profit breeding and rescue facility of Philippine Eagles. The organization manages the release and the safekeeping of the Philippine Eagles for breeding. The center also offers a tour to learn exciting facts about the eagle and other animals in the facility.
Other than the endemic species of the Philippine Eagle, you can also find mammals and reptiles in the Philippine Eagle Center.
Samal Island is where you can chill by the beach, eat fresh plates of seafood and enjoy water activities. You can reach the secluded island by taking a ferry from Davao City. Once on the island, there are several accommodations you can choose from luxury resorts to budget-friendly villas.
Samal Island is also called an island garden because of its abundance of fauna and flora species. Other than swimming in its pristine waters, Samal Island is also blessed with other fantastic attractions you should not miss. Among the sought-after spots on the island are Mount Putting Bato, Monfort Bat Cave, Hagimit Falls, Balete, and Mangongawong Cave.
For a thrilling experience, you can try extreme watersport activities in the Maxima Aqua Fun Resort or the 130-meter giant slide in Beach Resort and Water Park.
Davao City is the Davao region’s capital, a venue of the biggest festivals in the country. Kadayawan Festival is a celebration you will surely enjoy. It commences every third week of August, made festive by colorful costumes and giant floats decorated with fruits, vegetables, flowers, and rice grains. The event showcases the 11 tribes of Davao and the thanksgiving of locals for a year of a bountiful harvest.
The time of festivals is also the ideal time to explore the street markets and malls in Davao City since everything is on sale. Souvenirs, fruits, and other items are sold cheaper during the week-long celebration of the Kadayawan Festival. You can also drop by the Roxas Night Market and get a street massage from the nicest “Dabawenyos” or the locals of Davao.
History enthusiasts can also go back in time by exploring the 300-meter long Japanese Tunnel in Davao. Historical accounts state that Filipino prisoners dug out the tunnel during World War II. The tunnel cradles artifacts and weapons, proving that it was a hideout of the Japanese soldiers from the pursuit of the American army.
The Japanese Tunnel is just one of the few tunnels that survived the destruction during the war. There are installed lightings in the tunnel to see the life-sized status of Japanese soldiers, a prison cell, and relics of armaments. A tour guide gives you an overview of the tunnel’s history and answers your questions about the historical site.
Museo Dabawenyo provides its spectators with paintings, artifacts, and historical narration of Davao’s development. It was established in 2006 by the local government of Davao to preserve the province’s identity and promote cultural awareness to visitors.
There are several galleries located inside the two-floored building showcasing the region’s Japanese and American dominion eras. There are also a collection of memorabilia, hand-carved artifacts, and maps from the ancient Filipino tribes of Davao.
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