I was expecting this trip to Davao City in the Philippines for quite some time. I had gathered all the information that I could, booked for the cheapest hotel I could find and even bought a monopod to take selfies. Lol.
Okay, so I was all set and ready to go, but I almost didn’t catch my flight. Anyway, I got a Php1 fare from Cebu Pacific, arrived almost late at NAIA Terminal 3. After one and a half hours, I was at Francisco Bangoy International Airport. The airport looked fine. It was still early. The airport was not that busy yet despite the “Kadayawan Festival” season. Anyway, it’s still Wednesday.
A lot of cab drivers awaited passengers. Airport taxis charge fixed rates. Don’t take them. Look for a regular taxi and just tell them your destination. I booked for 4 days/3 nights stay in Daylight Inn, a very cheap hotel worth Php840 (around $20) for my entire stay. It’s a non A/C single bedroom with a common toilet and shower but with a sink inside, a table, a mirror and a closet ideal for backpackers or travellers with a limited budget. Contrary to its size, the room and standard toilet are well maintained except for sometimes, I had to look for the dippers.
Here are some quick facts:
- The flag down rate of taxis is Php40, and Php3.50 is added after the first 500 meters and every 300 meters after that. When you stop, the exact amount will be added, so better tell the driver to avoid busy streets. Taxis are available everywhere. Enjoy different coloured taxis also.
- Daylight Inn is located at the heart of the City, along San Pedro Street. It is quickly accessible by jeepneys, multicabs (there are more multicabs than jeepneys) and taxis. It is also near San Pedro Church and other famous landmarks and parks. This is across an old building that says “Regional BIR Office”. You may book here.
- Based on my observation, there are several routes within the City and outside, all of which pass through city roads and make the traffic heavy. Avoid rush hours on the road.
I took a short rest, unpacked and prepared my things. All set for day 1!
Davao City First stop: Red Corner Burger Cafe
This is not part of my initial plan. I just accidentally saw their Facebook fan page and got really excited when I learned that they are located in Davao City. Red Corner Burger Café is a boxing-inspired burger restaurant. They offer a wide array of burgers with names derived from boxing. Check out their menu with interesting burger names. I bought a mid-priced one. I wanted to try the most giant burger, but it’s too hot outside. Also, I was worried about my blood pressure. Lol. Anyway, one of the owners was there when I visited. She was very nice to answer my questions regarding must-visit places in the City.
From my hotel, I took route 8, which is the cheapest way to get there. You will not drop off in front of the café. You still have to walk one block as they don’t pass that street. Tell the driver where you’re going, the landmarks and they will tell you how to get there once you drop off. In case you want to cut the hassle, take a cab. Their mouth-watering open-faced burger with fries on the side and iced tea will definitely feed your hunger and will make you want more (which I did. Why not? It’s 3:00 pm, and I haven’t had anything aside from breakfast.) If you want the best burger but cannot afford it, why not try their challenge? Order “The Greatest Muhammad Ali”, a two ½ pound charbroiled beef patties, topped with honey-cured bacon, country-fried bacon, overflowing with cheese sauce and served with 300g of fries. Finish it in five minutes alone, and it’s free! You’ll have your picture posted on their Facebook page, plus free fries and a glass of iced tea on your subsequent five visits.
You might also want to try their other equally delicious burgers.
- “El Terrible”
- “Lights Out”
Davao City Second stop: The Bone Collector Museum
After replenishing my strength, I went to find a jeepney going to D’ Bone Collector Museum with a signboard San Pedro. Just tell the driver the address. You have to drop off at the street corner of Barangay 76-A and walk your way through until you see a non painted two-story building on the right side with the banner saying its name.
D’ Bone Collector Museum is a collection of animal bones from all over the world. Owned by American enthusiast Darrell D. Blatchley and his Filipina wife, this museum was constructed to promote environmental awareness. Ann-ann, the official guide, was very nice. She knows everything about each species and will gladly tell you their names, what types of animals they are, causes of death and where they came from. She told me the history of the animals like a teacher telling a story which I really enjoyed. There are over 200 species available for viewing. Skeletons were grouped accordingly and displayed so that they are connected to each other, making her storytelling more interesting.
Some of the museum attractions are two skeletal remains of sperm whales, one of which is a 41 feet sperm whale displayed on the ceiling. It feels like hardened wood when you touch it. There’s also a skeleton of a Cambodian python, bears, dolphins, fish, birds, which can only be found in other countries. According to Ann-ann, they also have lions and elephants but are not displayed due to space constraints.
Davao City Third stop: San Pedro Cathedral and Nearby Parks
After the fun, I retook a San Pedro multicab, dropped near San Pedro Church, prayed, and took some photos. San Pedro Cathedral, the oldest church in Davao City, was named (obviously) after Saint Peter. I then went to Rizal Park nearby. I noticed a dirty ice cream vendor and bought one worth Php10 with assorted flavours – cheese, ube and wait for it…durian! Yes! Durian is a classic ice cream flavour in Davao city. You can find it anywhere!
Cheese, purple yam and what I thought was vanilla was actually durian flavour! Dirty ice cream for only Php10!
Rizal Park is located near the Sangguniang Panglungsod ng Dabaw and features a covered stage with a Philippine Eagle’s head. Other than that, there’s nothing much interesting in the place. I also went to see Osmeña park. Also, it’s like any other park you’ll see, but if you’ve gone tired of walking, you may take a rest here and find a masseuse for a minimum fee.
Davao City Fourth stop: Lyndon’s World’s Worst Ribs and Awful Chicken
It was already dark, and I was desperate to eat at Lyndon’s, but I couldn’t remember which mall. I resorted to taking a cab and asked him to take me anywhere authentic, delicious and cheap. He then decided to take me somewhere I don’t even remember until, along the way, I saw the sign of Lyndon’s. Finally!
I ordered a rather heavy meal (which is actually good for two), 250-gram ribs that came with rice, sauce and a side dish for Php125 and a quarter-sized chicken (leg) with the same for Php95. Contrary to its name, the ribs and chicken were probably one of the best I’ve tried. The ambience was also cool and very inviting.
I asked some locals how to get to San Pedro, and I think I took route 16. So if you’re heading the same direction from here, better ask the locals or wait for a multicab that says San Pedro.