Scenes from Davao City

Davao City offers a wide range of experiences—from relaxing beaches and the country’s longest zipline to cultural attractions and ecotourism activities.

By Abet Lagula
October 05, 2011

Photographer and freelance architect Abet Lagula offers a glimpse of one of the world's largest cities (in terms of land area): Davao City.

I just can't get enough of Davao City.

Davao City, the economic center of Mindanao, is huge. At 2,444 square kilometers, Davao City's land area is approximately ten times bigger than that of Metropolitan Manila.

In my opinion, there is no other city in the Philippines with almost everything you could possibly need for a dream vacation.  It's brimming with cultural attractions. It has an active nightlife. It's a place where you can dive, swim, stroll along the beach, or read your favorite book as you bake under the sun. It's a place where you can wakeboard, ride a zipline, go river rafting, and climb the tallest mountain in the Philippines. It's got a rare collection of flora and fauna, from beautiful orchids like the Waling-waling to endangered species like the Philippine Eagle.

I stayed in Davao City for four days and left the city entirely in awe. The images below capture, in a small way, the breadth of my experience. I was simply wowed by Davao.

How to get there

Davao City is located within the province of Davao del Sur in the southeastern portion of Mindanao, and can be reached via air, sea, and land.

It takes less than two hours to fly from Manila to Davao City, and several airline carriers offer direct daily flights to the Davao International Airport from other major cities in the Philippines. For a complete list of flights to the city visit the Davao City website.

To reach the city by boat, weekly ferry trips are available via the Sasa Port Passenger Terminal. See the listing for ship schedules from the Davao City website here. A fastcraft ferry service transports passengers between Davao City and Lupon, Davao Oriental via the Sta. Ana Wharf three times a day as well.

Several bus connections from Davao City to major cities and provinces in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao are available. Some of these buses board roll-on, roll off transport carriers for over-water crossings and continue on land upon docking at different ports.

From Manila, it takes two days to reach Davao City via the Philtranco bus, utilizing the Eastern Nautical Highway and passing through several provinces in southern Luzon, the Bicol region, and eastern Visayas until finally docking at the Lipata Ferry Terminal of Surigao del Norte in Mindanao. From Surigao del Norte, the bus continues south on the road to Davao City.

It is possible to drive from Manila to Davao using the Strong Republic Nautical Highway. See maps from Department of Public Works and Highways for the Western, Central, and Eastern Nautical Highways. The Department of Agriculture provides additional information regarding roro fare rates, routes and schedules as well.