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I live in Davao City, and here is what I think about the place

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I got an e-mail from a friend overnight. He told me that he was planning to retire in the Philippines next year, and he is thinking of living in Baguio City when he comes. Somebody told him about Davao, and he decided that maybe he should consider it before deciding too quickly. He knew that I live in Davao, so he decided to ask my opinion. I thought I’d share my response to him, since the topic is relevant to our discussion here.

Let me say first, though, that I have not lived in Baguio, so I am not criticising Baguio, I am only telling what I think about Davao. Here is what I had to say:

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I have lived in Davao City for almost 5 years now. All I can say is that I love it here! I believe that Davao City is the best place to live in the Philippines. I have talked to other ex-pats living here, and they all feel the same way too.

There is such a variety here, I don’t see a way that anybody could dislike it! A few examples of life in Davao:

  • We are outside the typhoon belt, no typhoon has ever hit Davao City.
  • It is rare to even have rain during the day, but it rains probably 250 nights per year, after dark. Everything is green and lush, yet you get to enjoy the sunshine almost every day.
  • You can literally have brunch at the beach, then spend the afternoon on the country’s highest mountain on the same day!
  • While the city is large, it is not crowded like Manila or Cebu. In terms of size, Davao City is the largest city in the world! Yet, the population is small enough that you don’t have traffic problems and such.
  • We are a big enough city that you can readily get western foods and other items that an ex-pat would desire to make your life more comfortable.
  • If you are thinking of going to Baguio for the weather, we have that here too! Just a short trip of an hour and you are in Bukidnon, up in the coolness of the mountains! There have been times in years past when it has been so cool in the mountains of Bukidnon that there was ice on the road!
  • While Davao enjoys many of the amenities that you will find in large cities like Manila, the prices here are much lower than Baguio or Manila! You can live here for about 1/3 of the price that the same lifestyle would cost in Manila!
  • You can be anywhere in the Philippines in less than 2 hours with a cheap flight from Davao International Airport. For under $100 you should be able to fly to any destination in the Philippines! Baguio airport has always had problems with flights – short runway, tough path to the airport, etc. – and flights to Manila are not daily. From Davao to Manila, there are at least a half dozen flights per day, on 4 different airlines!

[note: at this point, my friend had asked about the DDS, which is an acronym for “Davao Death Squad” a group of vigilantes who go after criminals in town, primarily drug dealers. Although it is not officially acknowledged, it is known on the streets that the DDS kills many of these types of criminals.]

Yes, Davao is a law and order town. In my opinion, that is an advantage. The DDS does deal with criminals and keep the streets clean. However, I have never heard of a foreigner having problems with the DDS. I suspect that if a foreigner got into some trouble, they would be given a warning by the DDS to leave town. I have never heard of any problem, though. Yes, there have been a few instances where the DDS has killed the wrong person, but only rarely. It is not something that worries me. Crime would be worse without the DDS. As it is now, Davao City has the lowest crime rate in the country.

Another thing – there is a LOT to do in Davao! There are a lot of resorts around the area (especially on Samal Island), there are the mountains too. Fruits are abundant here, with many varieties of fruit that are not available in other parts of the country (unless you pay a premium for fruit shipped in from here). There are places like Eden Nature Park, the Philippine Eagle Conservatory, Malagos Gardens, GAP Farming, the Crocodile Park, and other such places to visit and learn.

You won’t get bored in Davao, I know that for sure. Before living here, I lived for 2 years in General Santos City, and I was indeed bored there, not much to do.

We have lots of big shopping malls here too – SM, NCCC, Victoria Plaza, Gaisano City Mall, Gaisano South Mall, Chimes, etc. Plenty of shopping for the wife! 😉

All in all, I recommend Davao City highly. I can’t imagine living anywhere else in the country!

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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Natalie
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Natalie

hello… i like ur blog… davao is so great.. we all know.. that.. its just a good thing that a lot of people loves davao..
thank u… by the way i live in davao too…

Mary Bradswaw
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Mary Bradswaw

How much is a one bedroom apartment, furnished in Davao. Thanks.

Bob
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Bob

Hi Natalie – thanks for visiting! I am with you about Davao. Are you living in Davao City?

Eddy Durlak
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Eddy Durlak

Hi Bob, I love your Davao site, I lived there for six months when I went to the Philippines to marry my wife Emmy. Of the many pinoy cities I visited, I loved Davao the best and am tempted to return in retirement even for 3 – 4 months every year.Keep up the good work and hope that it will entice even more non pinoys to settle there. Thanks, Eddy.

Bob
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Bob

Hi Eddy – I agree with everything you said, except that maybe it would be better if not too many ousiders settled here. It might change the place too much! 😉

mike
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mike

hi bob, i am an OFW. i really like your blog…..i'll be back in davao middle of next year…..sorting out on how to make a living in davao….your blog inspire me…..a spanish friend of mine will retire in davao…she will build a small resort and some business but i am not suppose to tell…hehe….for sure i will show off your blog…..and if that business push thro i hope we can meet and help her promote it…..i am so glad we have you promoting davao….your are such an angel…….i post your article here if you dont mind… http://www.vizmin.com/index.php?topic=10.540 and here http://www.vizmin.com/index.php?topic=288.45… Read more »

john
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john

hi bob! tanx a lot for having been promoting my city

Bob
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Bob

Hi John – No problem!

Myra
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Myra

Hello Bob. I am reading about Davao and the Philippines for some time now and i am so impressed with your comments. I would love to do the same (relocate from South Africa) – but i am a single woman – considering taking early retirment from the rat race – but i have no one in Davao – to 'hold onto' just to make this big move. I am a travel coordinator/tourist guide in SA – and need someone – just to give me confidence to take the big step. I visited Manila a few weeeks ago – but were… Read more »

Bob
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Bob

Hi Myra – I lived in South Africa for a couple years when I was a child. We lived in Germiston. I hope I can return there someday!

Davao is much nicer than Manila, in my opinion! You should really come for a visit and check it out. You don't need somebody to come with you, it's a nice place with no real danger. When you get here, I would be happy to take you around the City and show you around, it would be my pleasure!

Steve
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Steve

Hi Bob I know this is an old post. I just wanted to write to you about life there now and how things are. I am 50, Canadian born and raised white. Grew up poor on a farm in Nova Scotia now living in Calgary Alberta. I have a friend she lives about 3 hrs North of Davao. I am torn because I want to buy a fixer upper house near a decent beach and start a business at home. Not sure yet what to do for a business so I am open to current ideas. My girl has no… Read more »

MindanaoBob
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Hi Steve – I have been living in Davao for about 16 years now, and I still love living here. Not everything is perfect, but that is true anywhere in the world! If you are looking for some type of business to get into where you can earn an income here, I would recommend that you check out my book – 49 Ways to Make a Living in the Philippines – it is available in Paperback or eBook, whichever is best for you. That book details 49 ways that I have used myself to earn my living here in the… Read more »

joel
Guest

you're right bob! davao indeed is a great city! a truly blessed city 🙂

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