When visiting Davao there are many places to explore such as the Eden Nature Park, Philippine Eagle Foundation or the white sandy beaches of Samal Island are perfect for people that want to get some sun. If it rains however or if you just fancy adding to your wardrobe or bringing back something authentic to the Philippines, then there’s more than one shop to do so.
More than one is a slight understatement as Davao is basically the south’s shopping capital, the individual malls alone have hundreds of shops and there are loads of stores on the high streets too. Because the city is a hub for business and trade there are plenty of high end stores to cater to those with a larger wallet but everyday brands and affordable options are even easier to find. Bargain hunters won’t be disappointed either as nearly every week there seems to be a sale going on somewhere so there’s really no excuse to go home with your suitcase just that little bit heavier.
To get to the major places to shop when travelling from Davao hotels, taxis are obviously the easiest option and make it simpler carrying all the shopping bags back. Alternatively the colourful jeepneys are a flamboyant way to travel and should definitely be tried at least once.
If looking to combine shopping with eating then Gaisano Mall is a good choice. The restaurants here serve a good selection of international food for whichever national dishes you crave. Whether Japanese, Italian, hamburgers or just ice cream, the mall has all the famous chains and the shops have favourite brand names to match.
Another good place for food while you shop is the NCCC Supermarket. As a supermarket it has all the regular groceries but shopping for other goods like clothes and electronics is cheap here too. If you want to try some of the more exotic fruits from the Philippines and South East Asia then go for the durian sold here, the smell is slightly pungent but it’s a favourite with the locals and should at least be tried once. The slightly sour pomelo and sweet mangosteens are two other good options and for more conventional palates are easier to handle.
To buy souvenirs to take back home, Aldevinco is a shopping centre that has hundreds of stalls selling thousands of gifts and many of these are handmade. Wood carvings, embroidery, art and toys are just some of the souvenirs that are created by hand. Sarongs can also be found in so many different colours and patterns it’s difficult to choose. Real antiques are another highlight as there are a number of dealers and they’ll be able to explain the history and the dates when each piece was made but expect a bit of exaggeration to justify the price tag. As with all the goods here, the prices aren’t set and the shop owners will anticipate a bit of to and fro so remember to wear your business hat and try to negotiate like a local.
For familiar comforts Abreeza is a new centre that has the big chain restaurants, familiar coffee shops and fast food place that can be found in every major city but it is entirely new having opened in May 2011. There are just over 300 stores and diners to grab a bite so even the fussiest of eaters can find something.
If you have a hankering for Chinese food Chimes Mall is found within Chinatown meaning there’s dishes from Hong Kong to Peking to fill up on in the nearby restaurants. The mall itself specialises in imported products and luxury goods so is ideal if you’re having trouble finding something in the regular malls and want something a little less ordinary.
Lek Boonlert is an editor and content reviewer at DirectRooms and is responsible for all Davao Hotels content.