Mother Nature takes centre stage here – Davao is diverse and beautiful in equally generous measures
Where? Davao City is on the southern island of Mindanao, near Mount Apo (the country’s loftiest peak).
How? Fly to Davao from Singapore or it’s a two-hour flight from Manila to Davao International Airport. You can also fly here from other domestic destinations (including Cebu, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa and Zamboanga).
Why? Davao’s charms could have been dreamed up by an explorer with a vivid imagination: this city’s varied highlights include a crocodile farm, banana plantations, rare orchids, mountain peaks and an eagle sanctuary.
What? Admire the mighty Philippine eagle at the Eagle Centre, which breeds the birds in captivity to prevent their extinction. Gawp at their mighty wingspan, which can reach 7 feet. Wake up and smell the orchids at Malagos Garden Resort; keep an eye out for the rare waling-waling variety. Go and visit the crocs at the Crocodile Farm, a half-hour drive from Davao, or try whitewater rafting at Davao River. If your muscles are aching after white-knuckled excursions, treat yourself to a massage from a nimble-knuckled therapist at Lazuli Spa. Beach bunnies can hop to Samal Island, half an hour away, and take their pick from more than 50 ravishing resorts.
Try… Durian fruit: 90 per cent of the country’s love-it-or-hate-it fruit is grown on Mindanao, with 70 per cent hailing from Davao. It has a bittersweet flavour, a strong smell and rumoured aphrodisiacal qualities: consider it the Marmite of the fruit world. Try it – along with pomelo and mangosteen – at the fruit stands in Madrazo. Seafood-fans, rejoice: the city has plenty of excellent (and good value) restaurants, where you can munch on the catch of the day: try Glamour Crab, Ranch & Reef and Penong’s Barbecue.