Davao is the place to get a variety of ethnic arts and crafts: handwoven cloth in dazzling colors and patterns like the t'nalak and dagmay weaves which are also made into shoes, bags, purses, accessories and decor items; beaded T'boli ornaments; colorful Muslim fabrics and clothing (malong); ); exquisite brass ware and shellcraft. Collectors and souvenir-hunters have so much to discover in the many handicraft and souvenir shops, tribal villages and department stores. Aside from traditional designs, Davao's cross cultural artisans have fashioned ceramics, woodcraft, jewelry and home accessories into unique contemporary adaptations.

Of course one shouldn't forget the exotic orchids and fruits of the province. Orchid farms have a wide selection - from the rare, indigenous waling-waling to the vibrant vanda, mokara and kagawara hybrids. At fruit centers all over the city, one can get the famous durian and a host of other tropical fruits.

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Dining in Davao is a delightful experience because of the culinary expertise of its cross-cultural population. The gourmet will have a grand time sampling the varied gastronomic fares, from native to Chinese, Japanese, American and European cuisines. Davao is known for its seafood, particularly the "bariles" yellow fin (tuna) which is cooked over hot coals. "Inihaw na panga" (Grilled tuna jaws) is a favorite dish even in Manila. Other tuna parts like bagaybay or assorted internal organs, bihud or roe and tails are skewered and barbecued. Other specialties are pigek, a marine fish delicacy of Mindanao; pusit (cuttlefish), sugpo (large prawns) and kinilaw or marinated raw fish. Of course, Davao's exotic fruits should not be missed: the odoriferous but delicious durian which can also be enjoyed in candy preserves; the hairy red rambutan; the mangosteen; the green mandarin; and the perennial Davao sweet pomelo.

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Festival and Events

The Davaoenos love to celebrate. There are Catholic processions, tribal dances, parades, ethnic shows and horse fights held throughout the year.

Santo Nino de Praga Festival is held on January 14 and 15 to honor the Infant Jesus of Prague.

inulog, a thanksgiving festival in honor of the Santo Nino (the Infant Jesus), where a Mardi-gras atmosphere prevails, is celebrated in Digos (59 km. south from the city) on January 15.

Araw ng mga Natibo (Day of the Natives) on January 28 is a celebration of the Tagacaolos, B'laans and Manobo associations with horse fights and presentations of ethnic songs and dances.

Araw ng Dabaw is celebrated from March 10-16 to commemorate the city's charter day. The week-long festivities feature ethnic rituals, horse fights, an agro industrial fair, a grand parade and a beauty eontest.

Lanahan, or oil-making is a ritual of the Bagobo tribe who converge in Balabag from May 13 after a pilgrimage to Mt. Apo.

Summer Island Festival on the third week of May offers aquasports competitions, banca racing and cultural presentations at Samal Island.

Santacruzan, a colorful procession of costumed young ladies and men reenacting the discovery of Christ's cross by St. Helene, is staged on May 29 in Belisario Heights and Lanang, residential areas located north of the city center.

Tabanogan Festival is a kite flying competition held on June 29 which is also the feast of St. Peter in Davao City.

Araw ng Davao del Sur on July 1 is celebrated in Digos. It is also Araw ng Davao Oriental with observances in the capital town of Mati. Araw ng Davao Province is he]d in the capital town of Tagum.

Kadayawan sa Dabaw is held on the second week of August and features a fruit and flower show, tribal festivals, ethnic cultural shows, a native products fair and a beauty pageant.

Orchid and Fruit Festival, from August to September, showcases many fruit and flower varieties.

Gin-Em is a major Bagobo thanksgiving festival for the "gimokods" or spirits. Two bamboo poles are erected outside the house of a "datu" or chief where offerings are laid. The men of the warrior class then recount past exploits, recite poems, dance and feast till early morning.

Paskuhan sa Dabaw from December 15 to 31 is Davao's half-month-long Christmas celebration featuring a Lantern Parade and Contest and a performance of various rondalla groups.

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Where to Stay

Davao City has a choice of hotels, inns and pensions to suit every budget. There is also a variety of beach resorts, from the luxurious to the spartan. In other parts of the province, one can find comfortable accommodations but with limited amenities. Another option is the Homestay Program of the Department of Tourism which allows visitors the chance to experience living with a typical Davaoeno family.

Evening entertainment

The city's nightlife is exciting with pulsating discos, scores of cocktail lounges, night clubs, excellent bands and great entertainment.

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Sports and Leisure Activities

Davao is a sportsman's dream paradise. One can play golf or tennis, go diving or fishing and enjoy spelunking or mountain climbing.

Diving. Davao Gulf dive trips can be arranged through Scuba Davao (c/o Fishpenn Davao, Anda St. Davao City Tel. 62812), Coral Reef Resort, Paradise Island Beach Resort, or Davao Insular Intercontinental Inn (For addresses and telephone numbers, refer to section on Accommodations). Popular sites are around Samal and Talicud Islands for beautiful corals, drop offs and sea life-filled slopes. In front of the former Aguinaldo Pearl Farm off the western shore are World War II shipwrecks. Off the gulf 's northeast section are the Ligid Islands made up of Big Cruz and Small Cruz. These are rimmed by narrow coral shelves and a few pinnacles. The more adventurous can go to Nangan Bay on the east side of the gulf. Here are more corals, fish and sharks. It is possible to dive year round, though March till July would be the best time.

Golf. Davao is a favorite golf destination. Lanang Golf and Country Club in the heart of the city, (Tel. 75952) is an 18hole layout in a plantation setting with challenging situations. It has a clubhouse, restaurants, tennis court, golf sets and caddies. Apo Golf and Country Club, located in Dumoy (l l km south Tel. 81944), is an 18-hole championship course with views of Mt. Apo on clear days. Also laid out in a coconut plantation setting, the famed course has a clubhouse, conference hall, swimming pool, pelota court, restaurant and golf sets. New Davao City Golf Club in Matina (3 km south Tel. 81845) is a 9-hole course with golf sets for rent, caddy service, a clubhouse and canteen.

Climbing Mount Apo takes four days. There are many trails so climbers often ascend and descend through different routes to see more of the place. Before climbing, contact the Department of Tourism Office in Davao (Magsaysay Park Complex, Tel. (82) 221-0070/221-6955) or the Mt. Apo Climbers Association of Davao City ( c/o The House of Lord Anthony San Pedro St. Davao City Tel. 62062/78247) where tents, camping, gear, provisions and guides are available. The Davao Tourism Office also organizes Holy Week climbs called "Conquer Mt. Apo" and semestral break ascents in October called "Octotrek" where large numbers of climbers join in.

Spelunking in Samal Island and Tibangao Caves in Sanghay, Malita can be arranged with the Department of Tourism.

Tennis can be played at the Davao City Tennis Club on A. Pichon Street, Capitol Tennis Club along Bolton Street, and Davao Insular Intercontinental Tennis Courts in Lanang.

Game Fishing action is at Cape San Agustin where marlin and tuna abound.

Horsefights are staged during summer months from March to May in Malita, 150 km south of Davao City. The fighting stallions are trained by Tagakaolo and B'laan tribesmen and brought down from their settlements to an arena.

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Useful Information

Davao City is served by the Davao International Airport, 15 minutes by car from the city center. It has adequate traveler facilities: souvenir shops, tourist information center, hotel and travel agency representatives, and car rental services.

Taxis are available from the airport to downtown. Hotel Car- Hotel transport can be arranged with hotel representatives at designated counters at the arrival lobby. Car Rental - A trip to the city proper by hired car can be arranged with representatives at the airport.

Major international and Philippine credit cards are accepted at most hotels, shops and restaurants.

Tipping is expected for many services (waiters, bellhops, taxi drivers, hairdressers). The standard practice is 10% of the bill. Most hotels and restaurants include a 10% service charge, so tipping is optional.

Shops are open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday (Although most department stores stay open Sundays and holidays); banks 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday to Friday; government agencies and offices, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, private firms from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon, Saturday.

International direct dialing, telex facsimile, worldwide express delivery, postal service are available. Newspapers, radio and TV are in English, Pilipino and Cebuano.

Most areas in Davao City are supplied with 220 volts, 60 cycles. A plug with 2 flat prongs is the norms, but pack a universal adaptor to be safe.

The water is potable. Bottled mineral water is available in most hotels, restaurants and supermarkets.

The bright coloured jeepneys are popular in Davao. They provide an easy way to go around the city. Pedicabs or tricycles (motorcycles with sidecars) are often used outside the main city streets. There are taxis servicing the city and environs. Bus companies ply the routes from Davao City to other municipalities of the province. Car Rental services are available.

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SH Tours | Hotels in Philippines | Davao Travel Information

Last updated : 06/03/01 1717hrs