When it comes to bragging rights, few cities in the Philippines have as many notches on the belt as Davao. It’s the country’s largest city by total land area; is home to the highest Filipino peak...
Yet another of Davao’s claims to fame is its reputation as ‘the sashimi capital of the Philippines’. Be it on the street, in a restaurant or behind closed doors, raw fish is the flavour of the month - every month. A local favourite is ‘kinilaw’, a dish made from raw tuna or swordfish marinated in vinegar and citrus juice and served with chili, ginger, onion and salt.
The best place to explore the many culinary offerings of Davao all in one place is Rizal Street. Just as Filipino cooking borrows flavours and techniques from all around the world, Rizal Street is a concoction of many different cuisines and culinary experiences. With Chinese, French, Spanish, American and of course Filipino food on offer, as well as plenty of popular bars to visit afterwards, Rizal Street promises a great night out.
It doesn’t take long exploring the streets of Davao to come across that inescapable waft of rotting meat. But fear not - it’s far less likely to be an animal carcass around the corner than it is the favourite fruit of Davao, the durian. It remains a mystery why mother nature gave this delicious fruit such a rancid odor; but for those brave enough to endure the smell, a tasty treat awaits. To track down a Durian, simply follow your nose to a street corner or public market, where durian vendors tend to abound.
It’s no secret that Filipino shopping is synonymous with bargains - and Davao is no exception. Bargain hunters need look no further than Aldevinco, a marketplace where tourists and locals come together in a common quest for all things cheap - clothing, accessories, souvenirs, arts and crafts, household items and everything in between. Don’t be afraid to commence haggling at around one-third of the initial asking price.
A more upscale shopping experience can be had at Gaisano Mall, or G-Mall for short, located on J.P. Laurel Avenue in Bajada. The four-story complex offers everything one would expect from a modern shopping centre - cinemas, an arcade, department stores, specialty stores, food outlets and banks. However, what sets G-Mall apart from the rest is The Peak - a stylish rooftop precinct offering high-end restaurants, stunning modern architecture and panoramic views of Davao including the picturesque Mount Apo.
Mountaineers and trekkers in need of new equipment before taking on Mount Apo should pay a visit to Nooksack Outdoor Shop, located on C Bangoy Street in the heart of the city, just two blocks from Rizal Street. Prices here are considerably lower than in the big shopping malls, yet the range is just as good. For those staying on the other side of the river, there’s a North Face store in the SM City shopping mall.