I was going to Davao with a mindset that I would want to enjoy this trip because of the company and a new place to explore.
When we arrived at the airport, I immediately felt the fresh breeze, the warm sun and eery sense of the world that nature has to offer you. The weather was just perfect. It was windy. The sun was up. It was a sign that things are bound to be better.
Just like Cebu, the taxis in Davao has a report slip in the case that your taxi driver decides to be a bitch to you. I think that this provides security to both local and foreign travelers. The good thing, too, is that the local flag down rate is still Php 40 and the same additional rate for per minute or per distance traveled still applies. This is as opposed to the metered taxis of Manila which start at Php 70.
As we made our way to the city, I can feel the rural vibe of the area. Although there are establishments, you see less of the more commercial ones that abound Manila. They still like the old-fashioned home-cooked meals. They like their vegetables and fruits fresh off the farm.
We arrived at Downtown Davao City and I must say that the city is orderly. There are a lot of one-way streets, there isn’t much pollution, there is a strong smell of durian in the air. They also have effective urban planning. In one of the streets you will find all of the commercial establishments like McDonald’s and Shakey’s. Then, the rest are all local businesses that strive in the bustling and progressive city.
What also struck me is the abundance of cheap places to eat. Nowhere will you find buffet lunches that only cost Php 150 or less. This is quality food at its cheapest. You would also find diners that serve really cheap fried chicken. I don’t say that this is just one, on every street and street corner, you’ll find a lot of these places. You’ll never run out of places to eat even if you’re a bit short on cash.
One thing I like about Davao is that you can walk to anywhere you want. That is because the weather is just right and there isn’t any type of pollution. The streets are well-maintained. The city is clean. Traffic is almost non-existent and people don’t just cross the street whenever they feel the need to. The drivers are a lot more courteous.
Night time at Davao is truly different from Manila. There are districts where nightlife is available. However, for the other establishments, they close at around 7PM – 8PM. It is rare to find a shop that is open at 9PM except for convenience stores. The streets are really quiet and you’d feel like the place is deserted. This is a nice attitude for Dabawenyos. They also have an alcohol ban from 2AM – 6AM.
I think that the city ordinances are strictly in place and that the citizens are willingly abiding them. This translates to a city where you feel a lot safer and cleaner.
Davao will probably one of my choices if ever I decide to relocate. The place has a laid back vibe to it which I really like. You have everything that you need in a small amount of space – the church, city hall, places to eat. Then, if you’d like an adventure, Samal Island is a boat’s ride away or go to the nearest white water rafting venue. There is a bustling night life, a park for everyone and markets that are not only clean but also offers goods at low prices.
Davao is definitely one of the best places I have ever visited.