Davao del Norte is one of the Philippine’s rapidly developing tourist spots. The province is filled with stunning beaches, exciting hiking trails, and rich diving spots. This makes it one of the hottest destinations for adventurers and casual tourists alike.
As a coastal province, Davao del Norte is an ideal tourist spot. Thanks to its beaches and forests, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities you can do. The nearby resorts offer island hopping tours, while some are built right over waterfronts, allowing you to hit the beach whenever you please.
And if you’re looking for local landmarks, you can check out the Giant Rosary Garden or the Monfort Bat Cave. The latter is recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest fruit bat colony in the world.
The fastest way to get to Davao del Norte is by flying to neighboring Davao City. Once you land in Davao International Airport, you can either book a cab or take a bus in the Ecoland terminal to your hotel. The airport is the region’s major gateway to the rest of the country. So rest assured that daily flights going to and from Davao won’t be in short supply.
Jeepneys, buses, and taxis are common modes of transportation within Davao Del Norte. For convenience, you can also hire some tricycles for traveling short distances.
Tagum City and Samal Island are two of Davao del Norte’s top attractions. One of Tagum City’s notable landmarks is the Christ the King Cathedral—the biggest cathedral in the country. Upon inspection, the façade is just that of a modern church with simple linear architecture. But its main feature is the largest rosary in the world, which is displayed in the church’s prayer garden. Another landmark is the San Agustin Botanical Park, a nature escapade located just a few minutes away from Tagum City proper. It features a viewing deck that lets you see the whole countryside, making for scenic selfies.
And if you’re looking for something more adventurous, the Monfort Bat Sanctuary in Samal is a cave that’s open for tourists. This place also holds a title in the Guinness Book for holding the largest colony of fruit bats, definitely a must-see.
The island of Samal in Davao del Norte hosts several underwater wildlife preserves. One of these is the Giant Clam Sanctuary, where you can get a rare peek at the eponymous giant clams. Another great place to dive in is the Coral Garden Marine Park. Here, you’ll see different kinds of colorful saltwater fish and a rich variety of corals.
If you’re the type who prefers hiking, then the slopes of Mt. Puting Bato is for you. For both beginners and experienced climbers, there are two different trails to select the right amount of challenge. Both are scenic routes that offer great views of the region.
Being a coastal province, Davao del Norte’s restaurants boast a large collection of seafood. One of the best places to try the local cuisine is in Punong Restaurant and Nature Park, which is situated above a fish pond. Its menu is a combination of Filipino, Chinese and American dishes. Those looking for a unique dining experience can even catch their own fish straight from the pond and have it cooked just the way they want it.
Miko's Brew Restaurant is another great place to visit if you’re looking for a good lunch. From sizzling seafood to noodle dishes, it has one of Tagum City’s most extensive menus. It even has coffee blends for you to try if you want to beat the heat. Meanwhile, those who want an all-you-can-eat-buffet can try out 1 Oak Cafe Restaurant.
Bar and grill restaurants are the main spots for a fun night out. Notably, the Pick and Grill Restaurant in Tagum City serves delicious barbecues and other Filipino-style roasted food. It also has a relaxed atmosphere, letting you relax with your friends after a long day of exploring, diving or hiking. Yet another option is the Ro-see' Restaurant, which serves both steaks and Japanese cuisine.
Many of the hotels and resorts are close to the beach, where makes for an ideal swimming spot. One of these is the Red Parrot Inn, which also offers free Wi-Fi and air conditioned rooms. It also has a bar and lounge for those who want to chill out after diving under the island’s waters.
Another place to book is Hijo Resorts Davao, which is right at the heart of Davao Gulf. Another beachfront hotel, it provides plenty of scenic views that any tourist can appreciate. Finally, there’s the Pearl Farm Beach Resort, one of the most talked-about hotels in the area. Located in Samal, it boasts one of the finest standards in hotel services and hospitality.
Bring your own snorkeling gear. The colorful marine life in Davao del Norte is a sight worth exploring. And while there are establishments that allow you to rent diving gear, it’s best to bring your own for hygienic purposes.
Get to know the local tide predictions to catch Samal’s Vanishing Island. True to its namesake, this place is only visible during low tide. It’s also one of the most visited tourist spots and a great diving site too.
If you’re going snorkeling or spelunking, make sure to avoid touching coral reefs and rock formations. These natural wonders are easily destroyed by human contact and are near-irreplaceable when damaged.