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Thursday, November 24, 2016

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DIY Davao City Tour: Walking in the Heart of the City

Davao's tourism has long been booming, but only when the new president  Rodrigo Duterte who is a strong political figure in the city, started promoting about the safety and beauty of the place, the number of tourists have skyrocketed in an all time high, leading to fully-booked hotel rooms and sold out flights. I highly suggest booking your hotel in advance through online booking sites like Traveloka, otherwise you may not find a place to stay when you arrive.

For starters, the best way to see Davao is to explore  the heart of the city on foot.   The center of the city is where many prominent landmarks are located close to each other, such as the City hall, the Rizal Park, Quezon Park, the Davao Museum or Museo Dabawenyo, San Pedro Cathedral, and a popular accommodation, Grand men Seng Hotel, which is gaining popularity because it has been featured to be one of the places where Rodrigo Duterte, during his mayorship, would hold lunch meetings with his constituents.

After going around these landmarks, you could start walking down the San Pedro street, where you could find an array of stores selling cheap items,  from clothes, fake DVD's, cellphones, toys and just about anything.  It's pretty much the  counterpart of divisoria in Manila.  Also if you're feeling a bit hungry, you could indulge on siopao ( Chinese meat bun), and lomi (noodle soup), at Kusina Davao, which is one of the oldest restaurants in the city.  Right across it is My Hotel where many tourists who are looking for a cheap and decent place to stay within the city.   Another budget-friendly option is Las Casitas Inn, located along J.P. Rizal Street.  The place has a pretty homey vibe and the room has all the basic amenities that any budget traveler would need.

Okay so maybe by then you're feeling a bit tired, and worn out from walking and you want to have a blast of aircondition to awaken your spirits, don't worry because just few minutes ahead is JS Gaisano.  The mall is one of the first malls in Davao city thus it's small and a bit beaten down, however davaoenos still visit it because it offers cheap and fair quality products which would run from clothes, toys, make up and the likes.   It's pretty much a haven for budget shoppers.

To continue the last leg of your tour, you may want to walk for about 5 to see People's park, one of the biggest and grandest park, which showcase the murals of our National artist kublai and the beautifully landscaped endemic plants.  Drop by here early in the morning for a free zumba class or just have a quick sprint around the park.   At night, you'll see a play of lights and water along the fountain area.

To cap your tour, why not hit the Pasalubong center located just outside the park.  There you could find different kinds of trinkets, native wallets, Davao t-shirts, and even durian and durian candies,  which Davao is also famous for.   One standing brand is Lola Abon which has really chewy, creamy and soft durian candies, a far cry from the regular durian candies that we have known.
If you get lucky, you could also score a free viewing in Cinemathique, which features local movies made by promising film directors in our city.

So that's it, guys. This is an insider's guide of Davao city, one that I would suggest any tourists to do.  There are much to see and do, but this is my go-to guide for anyone who would want to explore the city on foot.  Some landmarks are quite far from each other that's why I suggest this because tourist areas are closer to each other, and thereby are more practical and worth going to.


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