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Davao Tourism – Just my two cents

I was just talking with a close friend who hasnt been to Davao City. I was enticing him to visit our city when he threw this query to me “What does Davao have that he cant find in other cities”?

I have talked about our beaches, our festivals, ziplines, fruits, mountains, resorts, parks and farms, culture, diving sites, city scenes, malls, bars and bistros, and the like. But come to think of it, these are the same tourist destinations being offered by other cities in the country (plus the fact that it will cost less for travelers from Manila to reach these cities than Davao).

And it makes me wonder, what do we really have that’s eccentric and that we can offer to the rest of the country and even the world?

Ziplines? Well, most of the cities now are setting up their own facilities. And i’m not sure but I heard somewhere that our zipline is no longer the longest and fastest in Asia. Correct me if im wrong but the same operator is also currently constructing (if not completed) a longer zipline facility somewhere in the north.

Beaches? well it will cost lesser for people from Luzon to visit the Visayas area or even white sand beaches in some Luzon provinces.

Culture and Festivals? Well, for just an average traveler, our Kadayawan Festival would look similar to other photocopied festivals in Mindanao. And I admit, for back packers, they would really have a challenge unraveling our so called “culture of the indigenous people” if they’ll visit the city during ordinary days. I believe we have cultural villages right? are these open everyday? Can someone just walk right through and roam around the park or village.

Philippine Eagle? May Phil Eagles na rin sa ibang provincial zoos (although iisa or dalawa lang eagles nila) but atleast people will not pay that much just to see an eagle.

Crocodile Park? Well kahit dito sa Metro Manila, may Crocodile Park na rin sa Star City thanks to our very own Davao Crocodile Park who decided to open up shows here in Manila.

Chinatown? Why go to Davao’s when there’s a chinatown in Metro Manila? Smaller but yet more vibrant (i guess, satin kc majority ng nasa chinatown are hardware stores )

So this is just my suggestion, maybe our city tourism council can also capitalize on our history as a city? (on top of the other areas which we are promoting – and by the way our city’s tourism council should be commended by its efforts).

Throughout the country, the city’s known for its “discipline”, economic and sustainable growth (inspite of the lack of assistance from the national government) and our ironfist mayor who managed to convert a so called chaotic city in the 80s to one of the organized (if not the most organized) cities in South East Asia today. Most of the people are so into the before and after scenarios Maybe we can also promote that. Do we already have some tours packages that promote the history of the city? Like how the city was like in the 1800s, in the early 1900s, in the 70’s and today? Building our city museum was really great, but is our tourism office strongly promoting it? Do we have historical landmarks? Are they being taken care of? Are these being promoted to our tourists? Are the locales and tourists aware of the stories behind these landmarks?

I havent been traveling that much lately but these are what Ive noticed with the cities ive been to before. Singapore is known for its Sentosa, commercial districts, shopping destinations, etc. When we went there few years back, the tourguide was so enthusiastic telling us what Singapore was before and how they managed to be like what it is today. And I believe we even went to this remarkable museum (i forgot the name) with mannequins on display depicting the history of the island. In HongKong, they also have numerous exhibits that highlight the history of the city and its people. And even here in the Philippines, Cebu – considered as one of the top destinations of the country, included in their packages are visits to historical sites such as Magellan Cross, For San Pedro, Sto Nino Church, etc – and tourists are being briefed of what’s the stories behind these landmarks.

I know we have included some historical sites in our promotions and even in some tourism websites but I think it isnt that much. I guess we should let the people and tourists know what’s the stories behind San Pedro Street, or our very own city hall, the old San Pedro church, the Japanese Obelisk in Mintal, Bankerohan area, and our old buildings (if there are still some which are existing) in Davao City.

Just my two cents.


Filed under: Travel Guide

6 Responses

  1. pinoysatimog says:

    Actually sir, everytime I am in Luzon and they learned that I am from Davao, they have this impression about our city how it managed to be prosperous amid the chaos happening around the country. The only city outside of Luzon who is on top of the business profiles. I agree with you that we should tell the stories of our forefathers who first landed in Davao as migrants and made it successful with the lumads. Our counterparts in Luzon island always say na sa ibang bansa lang tayo matino dahil sumusunod sa batas without mentioning that they need not to go abroad to witness it. We have it in Davao na disiplinado ang mga Dabawenyos where laws are applied to everyone.

  2. Migs says:

    I agree with you 100%!

    Though foreigners really love it here sa Davao, we are not attracting local tourists.

    Sana nga may gawin ang local government to boost local tourism.

    naka ready naman tayong mga bloggers to help spread the info to the world!

  3. Jcs says:

    Really Great!

    Thanks for helping our Metro Davao…

  4. nandy says:

    Excellent observation and suggestion. I agree, that we need to make our sites more appealing to tourists and even to locals by telling stories about them, just like what they are doing in other countries. I am not even sure if I agree with your observations in Cebu’s tourists sites. I’ve been here for almost 2 years and I’ve not been to a site where there are tour guides who brief visitors on the significant stories behind landmarks, unless maybe if you go with some guided tours. In most cases, tourists just go to places like Magellan’s Cross or Sto. Nino Church and take pictures. I’m sure it’s still the same in Davao. San Pedro St. may just be ordinary but if somebody is going to tell stories about it, the surrounding areas, the San Pedro Cathedral, City Hall, etc, the area can become very interesting to tourists. Stories of migrants and lumads during the early days of Davao will surely delight any tourists more so if there are protraits, piantings or sculptures to show, like in a Museum. (I always love to listen to the stories of my mother when she arrived in Davao from Bohol during the ’50’s.). I guess that’s the part that Philippines, not only in Davao, should improve. We have so many things and places to show, yet we just leave most of the tourists by themselves without fully understanding the historical significance of those sites. I believe a comprehensive tour itinerary should be developed in Davao especially that the city is quite wide/big in area. In other countries, you will be amazed at how they promote seemingly ordinary areas with much fanfare. In one place I visited, a guide was so passionate about the story of one building, the materials that were used, the decorations, etc. They even have video showing for those who are waiting for their turn to tour the site. But to be honest, the site/area was just ordinary to me because I was thinking that there are more similar places in the Philippines, even far more beautiful than that place/structure. But they are just able to package it well, complete with audio-visuals, stories, etc. In contrast, our sites are often left rotten, unclean, not maintained and madalas mabaho ng ihi. But if we take a serious look at them, they have comparable or even more tremendous historical and “touristic” values than many other popular places in the world. One more example lang…Lapu-lapu Shrine here in Mactan Cebu. It’s the place were Magellan was killed. It should have been a very important tourist site. But go there, you just walk around, take pictures and leave. You don’t even have slightest feeling that it’s a great place to see. Another example..Chocolate Hills in Bohol, wala man lang mag-explain kung bakit nabuo ang mga hills, may mabasa ka lang, pero its not enough to get tourists excited about the place.

    I apologize that my reply maybe out of relevance as far as Davao is concern. I love Davao, I was born and raised there (Davao province nga lang). But I live in Davao City and I still consider it my home even if I’m now in Cebu. My opinion is not just for Davao City but for the country.

  5. clismicky says:

    Fantastic affair, did not thought this was going to be so interesting when I saw the link.

  6. nvision says:

    Davao’s History? I tend to be independent minded and prefer to do my own personal research rather than to rely solely on the conventional, colonial mentality induced mainstream history lessons tend to shoved on our educational system.

    Here are some of my personal discoveries:

    Did the nation’s ancient history originate from Southern Mindanao?

    Did ancient Humanity originate from the foothills of Mt. Apo?!

    Of Davao’s Cibolan River, American Indians, and the “city of gold”

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