With 81 provinces and 7,107 islands, the Philippines is indeed blessed with countless amazing tourist destinations. Davao City is one among the long list of must see places in the Philippines. Located in Mindanao, Davao City is the center of trade and commerce of Davao region and is one of the most progressive cities in the Philippines.During my short yet memorable DIY tour in Davao City, I could not help but compare Davao City to other tourist destinations in the Philippines. Here are my top 5 reasons why I find Davao city a tourist friendly destination:
1. Davao City Airport is the 6th Most Efficient Airport in The World
In 2015, Francisco Bangoy International Airport or popularly known as Davao City Airport was awarded by Airport Council International (ACI) as the 6th most efficient airport in the world.
ACI is an organization that acts as the voice of the world’s airports and the communities they serve, and promotes professional excellence in airport management and operations.
2. Davao City is the 9th Safest City in the World
In 2015, Davao City was ranked 9th safest city in the world. Being the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area, with its good governance, Davao has managed become the safest city in the Philippines and eventually the 9th safest city in the world. The peace and order in Davao city is credited to Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
I stayed in a relatively cheap motel with no security guards. The only person manning the front desk is an old lady who owns the place. I was a bit hesitant to check-in until I realized that I was actually in the safest city in the Philippines!
There is no “you always have to look at your back” factor when walking alone in the city, be it during daytime or late at night. Davaoenos and tourists alike can freely walk in the streets without worrying about their security. At night, police mobiles patrol the Davao streets to ensure the city’s peace and order is maintained. I experienced walking alone late at night and felt very secured. Besides the roving police mobiles, the entire city is also equipped with hundreds of CCTV cameras. It is the one and only city in the Philippines that has a command center dedicated for the people’s safety and security (Public Safety and Security Command Center).
3. Davao City Cab Drivers Give Exact Change!
If you are living in Manila, you have surely experienced choosy cab drivers or experienced being charged on top of the metered fare. These kind of disappointing cab drivers are nowhere to be found in Davao City!
If you pay more than the metered fare, a Davao City cab driver will surely hand you the exact change. It is not surprising why Davaoeños still prefer cabs over Uber or Grab as their very own cab drivers also provide superb customer service.
4. Davao City Values Senior Citizens and PWDs
Being a Person with disability (PWD) myself, I rarely use my PWD discount card during my out of town trips. This is to at least help small local businesses in the province that I am visiting.
It was only in Davao I was given a PWD discount without me asking for one. On my way to the Philippine Eagle Conservation Center, I was surprised that the van driver asked me transfer in the front seat – a reserved seat for PWDs and Senior Citizens in jeepneys, vans and buses in Davao City. He also discounted my fare to Malagos, a baranggay where Philippine Eagle Conservation Center is located. During my second day, I made a quick visit at Davao Crocodile Park and was automatically given a PWD discount by the front desk personnel.
5. Davaoeños are Friendly and Disciplined
Along with Iloilo City and Ilocos Sur’s Vigan City, I am putting Davao City on my top 3 list of friendliest places I’ve visited. Everyone in the city was friendly and was willing to help any traveler DIY-ing Davao City. I was able to visit several tourist destinations by merely asking locals for tips and directions. I survived my DIY Davao tour without using google maps!
What is more amazing is the discipline Davaoeños show. In public transportation terminals, people fall in line properly. You will not see a single Davaoeño littering or spitting in the city streets. There are no jaywalkers in Davao as people cross the streets on pedestrian lanes. I have not seen any vehicle beating the red light. Drivers strictly abide the 30 KM/hour speed limit in the Davao City downtown area. At bars, last order of alcoholic drinks is at 1 AM and all convenience stores do not sell alcoholic drinks beyond 2 AM. You will not see any tambays drinking or minors loitering around past 12 AM. Being a no-smoking city, people do not smoke in public places.
Being a solo traveler, I always look forward in seeing beautiful places, befriending locals, and learning different cultures. But traveling alone entails danger. Most of the time, you will just have to use common sense to secure yourself. Like you, I had a share of not so good experiences in some places I visited (overpriced fares for tourists, security concerns). Just like my previous trips, I flew to Davao city thinking that it was like any other cities I’ve visited. I was wrong. I went back to Manila realizing that it is possible to live in a safe and progressive city with law-abiding citizens secured by an exemplary leadership.