The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Davao City, Philippines

Mention “Rodrigo Duterte” to any Filipino and you’re guaranteed to get one of two reactions – fierce adulation or bitter disgust. Without question, he is a polarizing figure. Ever since he won the Philippine presidency, there seems to be no middle ground when it comes to how people feel about him.

But regardless of where you stand with this man, one thing isn’t in question – the city which he governed as mayor for 22 years is one of the country’s best and most progressive. We had heard many good things about Davao before our trip and it was nice to find that all of it seemed true. The city was indeed cleaner than Manila and it felt safe to walk around. What struck me most was how the pawnshops in Davao looked more like retail jewelry shops compared to the mini-fortresses we have in Manila! Davao has the second lowest crime rate in Southeast Asia, behind only Singapore, and the relatively lax security was proof of that.

Most important of all, the citizens…

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