Secrets to Traveling in Davao – Even When On a Budget

Davao is a perfect South Asian getaway when you are on a shoestring budget. Representative of the progressive governance by Rodrigo Duterte, Davao is also among the top recommended locations in the Philippines. The city is cleaner than Manila and more importantly, it has boats of the second lowest crime rate when it comes to Southeast Asian destinations. However, it does take a little bit of work on your side to make your budget trip in Davao a memory that you would like to look back to.

Time of the year

This is quite important when you are planning your stay in cheap budget hotels. Unlike other destinations in the Philippines, Davao can get extremely hot, with temperatures soaring beyond 90s in some recent years. Extreme summers are then followed by extreme monsoons between May and October. The months between December and February are however cool and dry and gets the maximum number of tourist footfall. High tourist demand also increases the rates of accommodation. If you are not planning to face weather extremes or high hotel rates, go for months like November when the weather is pretty cool and the tourist season is yet to start! There would be plenty vacation apartments for rent in Davao City that will be easy on your pockets.

Getting around

The common mode of travel within the Davao City is the taxi. However it is important that you hire a metered taxi rather than one with fixed fare. In the later case, you would be paying 2 to 3 times the charge of a metered taxi. The fare from the airport to Davao City Center would be about PHP240. Mind what you pay! Jeepney rides is also a cheap way to get around but in this case, you would be sharing the ride with other passengers. If you are okay with waiting, there couldn’t be anything cheaper.

What to see?

There aren’t many Davao tourist spots that can be recommended for a budget traveler. Most of the top spots are usually islands and resorts that require spending a bit. However, Davao should be more about the authentic Philippine experience. Go for locally produced cheese like the Malagos Farmhouse Cheese, enjoy some fresh Durian at the Bankerohan Market, check out the unique D’Bone Collector Museum and contribute to the cause of the endangered Philippine Eagle. These will be the experiences that will completely change your travel experience.

Whether you are traveling alone, with your partner or a close group of friends, your stay in Davao should be more about the cultural experience. While other cities like Manila popular for their happening beaches. Davao is more laid back. Take a stroll in the butterfly sanctuary at Malagos Garden Resort, enjoy the local chocolate and lie back in the calm beaches of the Samal Islands to get closer to pristine nature. Davao on a budget can be a great experience if you are ready to explore experiences rather than destinations!

Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.