5 Nice Things You Might Not Know About Davao City


Davao City is the largest city in Mindanao. In terms of population, it’s the fourth largest city in the Philippines. But in terms of land area, it’s actually the largest city in the Philippines.

If you’re planning on visiting Davao City, you might be in for a few surprises. It’s not your typical “big city.”

Read on for a list of things you’ll be happy to know about Davao City.

1: We have a super low crime rate.

Here, going home late is not a scary thing. Even for girls. Even unlocked car doors and home backdoors are a common sight.

This is because the crime rate is so low, and the local government pays good money to keep it that way. For years, Davao City has been awarded “Most Child-Friendly” and “Most Peaceful” because of how peace and order has been relentlessly fought for.

There are surprise check points, surprise drug tests for policemen, increased police visibility at night and our favorite: extravagant rewards for criminal intel. Here, the mayor operates with this principle in mind: it’s the criminals that should be afraid of living here, not our honest citizens.

2: A vacation is a mere 15 minutes away.

Davao Samal Island

Photo from Global Drifter

If you’re downtown, you can spend 15 minutes and get to a nearby inland resort with a lavish pool and a café that serves great food. If you’re near the wharf, it only takes 15 minutes to get to the pristine white sands of Samal, Davao del Norte.

Want to get to a city zoo? Visit a premiere mall? Go to the city’s art galleries? Spend the night partying to electronic dance music? All 15 minutes away from downtown.

If you’re up for a mountain resort experience and have a little more time, take 30 minutes on the road and you’re there. Your choice of recreation in Davao City is just a short drive away.

3: It’s the perfect mix of urban development and rural comfort.


Photo by Will Chin

Since we’re located down south, a lot of people may not know just how developed Davao truly is. We are currently home to dozens of BPO companies, hundreds of multinational corporations, several agriculture ventures, import-export transactions and international brands located in our shopping malls and high-end offices. Today, some banks even operate on Sundays!

Despite a lot of urban development, Davao is one of those cities where you can still see patches of greens along roadsides, where traffic doesn’t turn you into a potty mouth on your way to work, and where fruits are sold on almost every corner. Sounds like just the perfect cocktail of cozy and corporate.

4: We have clean air and water.

Davao Eden Nature Park

Photo by Zack Lee

Unlike in other urban cities, a big thing your lungs will quickly notice is how clean the air is.

Smog is something we’re not familiar with and smoke belching is very rare. The city also has a strict public smoking ban which contributes to the cleanliness of the air. Some people even say that in Davao, you don’t have to pick your nose as often!

Aside from clean air, we also have clean water. The water here is safe enough for you to drink it right out of the faucet! When dining at restaurants, you can just request for tap water and not have to spend on drinks. If you’re storing your water in a pail, no dirt or residue will form on the sides. Like most Dabawenyos, when you’re used to drinking safe and clean tap water, you’ll really miss it when you leave.

5: Our taxi service is a fairy tale of its own.

Stories about honest cab drivers who returned cash, jewelry, and gadgets left inside their cabs? Almost an everyday occurrence in Davao.

Our taxi drivers’ honesty and professionalism are truly worth-sharing. Our local government keeps close eyes on the taxi drivers and operators so that this reputation remains one of our city’s best kept treasures.

Davao cab drivers are also known to give you your exact change instead of rounding off to the nearest ten and keeping the change for themselves. They’re also kinder and more courteous. Ride one and you’ll see. Our cabs even come in bright colors: orange, pink, yellow, sky blue, etc. There are even cabs that let you pay through debit cards, cabs with TVs, Wi-Fi and karaoke!

Indeed, Davao’s tourism slogan lives on: Life is here.

And with these quirky trivia items in mind, we’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

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About Author

Karla Singson

A hyper active twenty-something Davao Event Coordinator who gets out of bed for Marketing and PR Consultancy, events management, and chocolate. On the side, she also writes, hosts events, accommodates speaking engagements, and manages an online-based flower shop.


  1. From a Kagayanon POV, ako lang dili ganahan sa davao is magtravel ko ug gabie, kay walay makaonan na nice na pagkaonan sa ecoland terminal, tapos ang CR kay sirado man magabie, ang ipagamit kay kato baho na CR tas naa pa bayad. Medyo pangit lang ang experience nako sa inyo terminal and I hope mabag-o siya. Try visit CDO and see Bulua and Agora Terminals. Mao ra na so far ako dili ganahan sa Davao.

  2. Nice article, congrats. But I’m sorry to burst the bubble about the eutopic fantasy of unlocked car doors. Street crimes is as commonplace in Davao as anywhere else in the Philippines. Pls REALISTICALLY advice people to always BE CAREFUL, wherever they are.

  3. Justin Jonas Jocom on

    And the food, its so cheaaaap! Your P500 will go so far in Davao!
    But no, I still curse on the road because of the very low speed limit. I have a clear road ahead of me, but nope. Can’t go over 40kph in the city. Or was it 30kph. I forgot.
    Dang, Davao’s the place to be. But kind of scary if a Tsunami, or a Storm Surge occurs as it’s really close to the ocean… *knockonwood*

  4. I reside in Singapore and often travel to Davao. I’m proud to say that the feeling of being safe is the same for both places. The only thing that makes me uncomfortable in the city is lack of sidewalks and poor transportation system.

      • Later on? Like 30 years later? Seriously? Be realistic. How fast can infrastructure change be done in Davao. Even the streets look the same as it was in the 1950s. Sure the sidewalks might be easier to change, I would like to see that, BUT, there will be no action right away.

  5. Atty Juliano Jelly Nacino on

    Yes, Davao City is really great. I have lived and worked there for two years when I was younger. The people are also friendly and the quality of the air there is superb. With Mayor Duterte’s no nonsense governance, Davao City continues to be one of the premier cities in the Philippines if not the whole Asia. I miss that place called Marakesh!

  6. I just visited Davao City and I am disappointed. The internet exposure of Davao City is just super hype, a let down. It’s clean and the nature spots outside the city is quite nice,most people are friendly but beyond that there is nothing special. Warning, it is only safe in the city center, on the way to the Eden Park we stopped to have lunch at a restaurant when we came out my laptop bag was stolen from the van we hired,luckily I brought my laptop inside with me. It is just like other small towns in the Philippines with the addition of big malls and empty condominiums,streets are narrow,traffic is slow, drivers undisciplined. I was expecting all the good things they were saying online and it seems they were dishonest or biased reviews. Samal Island is fantastic but they say it is not part of Davao city.

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