Davao experiences a tropical rainforest climate, with temperatures staying steady all year round. The average low temperature throughout the year is 23 degrees Celsius, while the average high is 32 degrees. April and May are the hottest months but only by a few degrees.
Rain falls throughout the year, especially from April through November and although there is no true dry season, the months of December to March are slightly drier. These months are also marginally cooler, which combined with less rain and a lower chance of tropical storms, make this a popular time with tourists. The height of the peak season is December, which is when the city is at its busiest and flights and accommodation rates see an increase. Weather-wise, this is the best time to visit, but make sure you book in advance to try to get the best deal. The months of April to November can still be a great time to visit, just make sure you pack for all weather eventualities. You may be able to find cheaper flights to Davao and discounted hotel rates if you look at booking your holiday away from the peak season.
Whichever month you decide to fly to Davao, you’re sure to find plenty to do, whether it’s visiting the Tudaya Falls or Crocodile Centre, mountain biking at Kalinawan or attending one of the many festivals. Plan a trip in August if you’d like to take part in the annual Kadayawan Festival. This event is a colourful celebration and thanksgiving of life, culture, harvest, gifts of nature and serenity of living. A whole host of festival activities take place in Davao, including a food and beverage market, cultural exhibits and shows, local produce market, music and street dancing competitions, concerts and the grand parade of floral floats. Get in the festive spirit by attending the Pasko Fiesta, which brings together a variety of Christmas activities. The city comes alive during December for this event, with exciting sights and sounds, food festivals, night markets, visual arts competitions and exhibitions, carnival rides and much more.
Davao is one of the safest and friendliest cities in the Philippines, and is on the main island of Mindanao. Its remarkable scenery and wide range of local attractions such as clean island beaches, some of the world’s best dive sites, mountain areas and wildlife sanctuaries appeal to all ages. Excellent shopping and dining also make it an exciting destination that combines the charm of the countryside and a bustling cosmopolitan metropolis.
The city boasts the country’s highest mountain, Mount Apo. Don’t miss Tudaya Falls which is in Davao del Sur, close to Mount Apo – this 150 m waterfall is one of the highest within the Mt. Apo National Park area, and is widely held to be among the country’s most beautiful.
Jack’s Ridge is one of the city’s most famous attractions, and during World War II the area was the headquarters of the Imperial Japanese Army. Today, you can explore crash sites and tunnels, or relax in the pool and bar area. There are also several trails where you can see prehistoric Taklobo or clam shells that are relics from the millions of years the area was underwater.
Historic highlights of the city include San Pedro Cathedral which was built in the 19th century, and the beautiful Lonwa Buddhist Temple. The Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus, or Santo Nino Shrine on Shrine Hills road is a favourite stop for visitors, and you can learn more about the city at the Dabawenyo Museum.
Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy extreme sports like zip-lining, mountain biking and rock climbing at Kalinawan on the east coast of nearby Samal Island. You’ll find several of the best snorkelling and diving spots here too, and swimming and kayaking are also popular.
Visit unique wildlife destinations; as well as the amazing Crocodile Centre where you can see indigenous Philippine crocodiles, animal lovers will adore the Philippine Eagle Centre which is home to the country’s national bird, the Philippine eagle.
The best way to get around the city is by taxi, and local drivers are said to be the most honest in the country. They won’t haggle if they realise you’re a tourist, so you’ll be charged the same regular fares as locals. You can pay for black taxis by card, and be sure to say ‘salamat’ (‘thank you’) at the end of your journey. There are buses, but they mainly operate on the north to south routes in and out of the city. Locals take the colourful jeepneys which cover all parts of Davao and are available 24 hours a day, and they’re an excellent choice for more adventurous travellers.
Davao International Airport (DVO), or Francisco Bangoy International Airport as its formally known, is 13 km from the centre of the city. Most international visitors choose to travel from the airport by taxi. Taxis are available from outside the terminal, and fares are reasonable. Alternatively, you can catch a jeepney, a colourful jeep which has been converted to carry passengers. To do that you need to take a short walk to the main road.