Davao is an expansive, bustling city located at the southeastern part of Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippine archipelago. It is the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area with its span of 2,443.61 sq km. Davao is also considered as the de facto capital of Mindanao, serving as the region’s center for trade, commerce, services, and tourism. Situated on the Asia Pacific Rim, Davao serves as the Philippines’ gateway to the world in the south, with its international seaports of Sasa Wharf and Sta. Ana Wharf. Export cargos of abaca, coconuts, rice, fruits, spices, and pearls pass through these cargo ports everyday.
Roughly 45% of its economy is dependent on agriculture. Being in a typhoon-free zone and blessed with rich, fertile soil, Davao enjoys a thriving agriculture-based export industry. Two of its largest exports are bananas and pineapple. Other agriculture-based exports are coconut, durian, pomelo , mangoes, papaya, mangosteen, and flowers. The remaining allocation in Davao’s economy is occupied by the industrial sector (15%) and service sectors (35%). This steady movement away from an agricultural economy is largely due to the influx of private investments and a strong confidence in the peace and security in the region. Davao has a multicultural population, where immigrants from other nations and regions live side-by-side with the local ethnic groups. Davao is a city of contrast as well because of the Chinese, Spanish and Islamic influences that are both assimilated and exhibited in its people’s everyday life. An apparent example of this is the shrines and churches that stand alongside with mosques in the city. Living in Davao is also like a combination of two worlds for this bustling city is flanked by the breathtaking beauty of nature. It is home to the majestic Philippine Eagle, the exotic orchid wwaling-waling, and the highest peak in the country, MT. Apo. For all its diversity, richness, and beauty, Davao deserves the title as the “Crown City of the Philippines”.
Residential Places in Davao
Upscale residences in the Philippines are usually within gated communities that the locals call subdivisions or villages. These residential neighborhoods are often enclosed by high walls with a security guard looking after the gate. Entry is granted by displaying a sticker chosen by the members of the homeowners’ association or by invitation from a resident. These gated communities are found in many districts in the city and they feature various housing units to match any clientele’s needs. Empty lots can also be purchased; however, the building of the house is left to the client. One of Davao’s prime residential locations is Bloomfields Davao in Lanang developed by Robinsons Homes Inc. It stands in front of the Lanang Golf Course and Country Club, as well as 15 minutes away from the city’s downtown and from Davao International Airport. The Positano Subdivision is located in the tranquil area of Shrine Hills and only a short distance from the city’s shopping malls, schools, and hospitals. The Villa Josefina Resort Village in Dumoy is a beach-front community located in the southern part of the city. Toscana Subdivision in Talomo is a grand Italian-themed residential neighborhood. It has the majestic Mt. Apo in its backdrop. Las Terrazas with its panoramic view of Davao Gulf and Samal Island. Other upscale residential neighborhoods in Davao are Ladislawa Garden Village which is conveniently located within downtown Davao. Monteritz and Woodridge Park Subdivision in Maa. Robinsons Highlands in Buhangin and Villa de Mercedes Subdivision in Catigan at Toril. For those who want to live in a cooler temperature, bask in the beauty of Eden in Toril, who boasts of Fernwood and Mountain Haven, both being gated and guarded communities.
Hospitals and Universities of Davao
Davao is the educational center for Mindanao with its total of 46 colleges and universities. One of the well-established universities in Davao is Jesuit-Catholic the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) established in 1948 by the Philippine Society of Jesuits. ADDU is recognized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as a regional center of excellence in business, education, information technology, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. CHED is the government agency that exercises authority over institutions of higher education. Its College of Law ranks as one of the top four colleges of law in the country. Other notable private universities in Davao are University of the Immaculate Conception run by the Sisters of the Religious of the Virgin Mary, AMA Computer University, Assumption College of Davao, Davao Doctors College, St. Paul College of Davao, Philippine Women’s College, and the Philippine Nikkei-Jin Kai International School. Prestigious government universities in Davao include the University of the Philippines-Mindanao (UPM) which was established in 1995 and is the newest regional unit in the UP system, University of Mindanao which is the oldest university in the island, and the University of South Eastern Philippines which is the integration of the state institutions of Mindanao State University-Davao, UPM-Master of Management, Davao School of Arts and Trades, and Davao National Regional Agricultural School.
Healthcare in Davao
Davao has a number of private major hospitals in its locality. Among these is the Davao Doctors Hospital which is a newly established institute that specializes in coronary abnormalities and diseases. It boasts of its specialized units in cardiac diagnosis, coronary care, endoscopy, intensive care, neonatal intensive care, as well as centers for oncology, diabetes, and ophthalmology. All of which are dedicated to provide accurate diagnosis and management of these diseases. The Davao Doctors Hospital is located along Elpidio Quirino Avenue. Another well-established hospital in Davao is the Brokenshire Memorial Hospital. It is a modern healthcare facility that has a 200 bed capacity. It specializes in pediatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, ophthalmology, otorhinolaryngology, and surgery. The hospital also offers child and adolescent neuro-developmental services, newborn hearing screening tests, and occupational and speech therapies. Other notable hospitals in Davao are San Pedro Hospital on C. Guzman Street, Davao Medical Center and Nephrology Center of Davao along JP Laurel Avenue, Ricardo Limso Medical Center on Ilustre Street, and Alterado General Hospital on R. Castillo Street.
Commercial Establishments in Davao
Davao has several shopping centers, one of which is SM City Davao situated along Quimpo Boulevard corner Tulip Drive in Ecoland. It is a 3-level structure that carries a department store, a supermarket, specialty stores, restaurants, and cinemas. The Gaisano Mall located along J.P. Laurel Avenue is the largest of these shopping malls. It is a 6-storey structure that features a 3-level department store, a supermarket, foodcourts and fastfood chains, cinemas, entertainment centers, and specialty shops. It has another outlet which is the Gaisano South City Mall on Ilustre Street. Other prominent shopping malls in the city are Victoria Plaza which is also situated along J.P. Laurel Avenue, NCC Mall with a branch located along MacArthur Highway and another in Magsaysay Avenue, and Robinsons place Davao.
Restaurants, Bars and Superb Cuisines
Davao is the best place to taste the local cuisine of the island because of its abundance in sea and land produce. A good place to start is at Harana Family Restaurant on Torres Street. Aside from serving delectable local dishes, the restaurant is regarded as an institution in the industry for its prominence even before Davao became a bustling city. Dining at Jack’s Ridge will provide anyone more than a fill of the local cuisine. This restaurant entices its clientele with a stunning view of the city because of its prime location on top of the Shrine Hills in Matina. Other restaurants can also be found at Matina Town Square, Rizal Promenade, along Paseo de Roxas and F. Torres Street, Magsaysay Park, and in either one of the aforementioned malls. Some establishments found in these areas are Talaba Joe’s for a craving of oysters, Yahong and Ahfat for seafood dishes, Gerry’s Grill which specializes in the delectable Filipino dish sisig, and Mang Inasal which specializes in Ilocano barbecue chicken . Some international restaurants in these areas are the Dutch restaurant De Bonte Koe, Fiorgelato Italian restaurant, Rai Rai Ken for Japanese cuisine, Claude’s that serves authentic French cuisine, and the Sea Urchin Restaurant for Chinese cuisine. Despite of a 2AM curfew, Davao’s nightlife is still well and thriving. There are rows of bars and nightclubs located along McArthur Highway and in downtown Davao City. Two of these establishments are Atchie’s Resto Bar in The Square and Avenue S Bar & Grill at Damosa Gateway.
Service Establishments of Davao
Electric power distribution in Davao is provided by the privately owned Davao Light and Power Co. It is a subsidiary of Aboitiz Equity Ventures and the third largest private electric utility in the country. Its coverage extends all over the city, as well as Panabo City and the provinces of Carmen, Sto. Tomas and Dujali in Davao del Norte. It has its head office and several branch offices in the city.
The Philippine Long Distance and Telephone Company (PLDT) and BayanTel are the primary providers of telephone services in Davao. PLDT offers fixed line and wireless telephone services, as well as internet connection via DSL. On the other hand, BayanTel provides fixed line services and internet connection through BayanTel DSL. Other internet service providers in Davao are Infocom on C. Bangoy Street, Moscom Internet along J.P.Laurel Avenue, Pacific Internet and Sky Internet at the Landco-PDCP Corporate Center on J.P. Laurel Avenue, and Weblinq Philippines on A. Pichon Street. Globe Telecom and SMART Communications are the Philippines major mobile service providers and have the widest coverage. They both provide post paid and prepaid subscriptions, SMS, MMS, 3G, GPRS, and broad bend connection. Globe has its Touch Mobile brand for lower rate prepaid subscription, while SMART has the brand Talk N’ Text.
Security in Davao
The Philippine National Police has the Davao del Sur Provincial Office to exercise jurisdiction over the city and its surrounding areas. For the additional security of the people living and working in Davao, a special military force was formed to provide support for the local police force. Called the Task Force Davao, it is a group affiliated with the Philippine Army and aims to protect the city from terrorist attacks. In addition, Davao ahs an emergency line to report criminal incidents and for fast response to emergencies. Patterned after the 911 emergency response system of the United States and Canada, the city retained the same number for faster recall and association.
Embassies in Davao
Many of the foreign embassies have their offices located in Metro Manila. However, considering the distance between Manila and Davao, a few countries opened their consulates in the city for convenience. Some of these are the Consular Office of Japan at the Plaza de Luisa Complex on Magsaysay Avenue, Consulate General of Malaysia at the Florantine Building on Bonifacio Street, Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia at Ecoland Drive in Matina, Consulate of the Czech Republic on Mintrade Drive, and the Consulate of the Republic of Palau at the Anda Corporate Center on F. Iñigo Street.