Travel in the Philippines can be a challenging experience even for the most seasoned backpackers. In the larger metropolitan areas like Manila and Cebu for instance, you’ll need all your wits about you if you don’t want to get lost, robbed, or fooled into paying a lot more than the regular fare for your transportation.
One exception, however, is Davao City. Although Davao is a big city – indeed the largest in the Philippines in terms of land area and the most populated in Mindanao – getting around is far less stressful than it is in other parts of the country.
Getting to DavaoCity itself is easy. There are international airports in both Manila and Cebu, and both of them provide connecting flights to Davao on a daily basis. Several airports in cities like Cagayan de Oro also have several flights to Davao.
If you’d like to try sea travel, then inter-island ferries and passenger ships are also an option. It’s even possible to get to Davao from Manila via a two-day land trip on a Philtranco bus. This is a great way to travel if you’d like to go by a more scenic route.
Once checked into one of the many cheap hotels in Davao City, you’ll find that it’s a fairly simple matter to get to the various tourist attractions on your itinerary. Some resorts provide shuttle service to and from your Davao hotel. If you’re on a budget, you can also take advantage of the cheap fares on public transportation, usually jeepneys.
Heavy traffic and crowded streets are the norm for most large Philippine cities, but Davao is, thankfully, an exception. Perhaps this is due to the larger roads and spaces that the sprawling city has to offer. It could also be attributed to the fact that laws are strictly enforced in Davao, not excepting those pertaining to traffic.
In any case, driving a rental car is less stressful and definitely a valid option. You can also hire a rental car with a driver, or a jeepney if you’re with a large group and are sight-seeing on a budget.
Of course, one of the best things about Davao are the honest cab drivers. You can always hail a cab from the doorstep of any of the cheap hotels in Davao City. You can also be sure that you’ll arrive safe and sound even if you find yourself returning to your Davao hotel via taxi in the wee hours of the morning.