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Considered as one of the top 20 most liveable cities in Asia, Davao is the Philippines' premiere city in the south. The largest city in terms of land area, it has become the center of business and international trade in the southern island of Mindanao and has about 1.4 million inhabitants. Aside from its beautiful beaches and dive sites, it is home to the country's highest peak and the world's largest eagle, the Philippine Eagle.
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Davao does not usually get any typhoons (hurricanes). The rainy season extends between June and September, while from October to May the weather is generally sunny. The tropical climate means that temperatures year round are around 30 °C during the day and around or slightly above 20º at night.
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The Davao International Airport (DVO) serves as the main gateway into the city.
You can reach Davao City by bus to and from all of the major places in Mindanao like General Santos, Isulan, Tacurong, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Surigao, and Butuan. Even Cebu and Manila have connections by boat/ferry.
Another alternative ride aside from the jeepneys and taxis, is to rent a car. There are many cars for rent. If you don't know the routes you can hire drivers by asking the attendant of the rental company. Local companies tend to be cheaper than the national ones.
Alternatively, if you opt for more adventure, then do as the locals and catch a colorful jeepney. Simply ask around for which route to take to avoid getting lost. They are usually available 24 hours and cover most of the nooks and crannies of the city. This is the cheapest option for getting around. The usual cost for a jeepney ride is P8.00 for every 3-kilometre ride, and about a 1 peso increase per kilometer when going beyond the 3 kilometres (for regular passengers).To pay, pass your fare to the person next to you, all the way to t e driver or the conductor, by saying "bayad po". Paying the exact amount is highly recommended. To stop at a certain destination, say "lugar lang", "para", or knock your coins hard on the steel handle.
The simplest way to get around is by hopping on a taxi. A typical trip can cost about P70-95 or approximately US$2. Unlike Manila, drivers in Davao do not normally bargain if they notice that you are a tourist, hence the cost of the trip is the same in price as a regular. Davao Taxi Drivers are regarded as the most honest taxi drivers in the Philippines. Taxi Drivers in davao city do not charge tourists extra fare unlike their counter parts in Cebu and Manila. If you know the name of the building, establishment, area or street you wish you reach, this is still the fastest way to get to your destination. You can also call or send an SMS to the cab company directly to have a cab driver pick you up. Taxis start their fare at P40.00 and will add P3.50 per few hundred meters. Please do say "thank you" or "salamat" once you have arrived to your destination. Davao Taxis issue fare receipts that list the name of the taxi company, the plate number, and the taxi number which could come in handy if one leaves valuable items or documents inside a cab. Just tell your taxi driver if you want to get a receipt. New to Davao is the acceptance of ATM cards in taxis. The service, however, is only available in "black" colored taxis.
A new mode of transportation around Davao Gulf is through a water taxi. Water Taxis service the daily commuters and visitors of Davao City, Samal Island, and other neighbouring coastal municipalities around Davao Gulf. It will get you to the island, waterfront restaurant, or beach resort you wanted with comfort and ease. The pioneer water taxi service in the Philippines is found in Davao City and has the swift, safe and secure water transport, the best and most professional skippers and has a customer friendly and positive attitude, all incorporated to make your transfer easy and pleasurable. Visit their website for more information
One food that is a must-try in Davao (and the Philippines in general) is durian, a fruit with a strong, distinctive odour.
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There are a number of internet service providers nationwide: PLDT-Smart Communications, Globe Telecoms, BayanTel and Sun Cellular and each have their signal strengths in various locations. Internet access areas of broadband speeds are plentiful in city malls, much less so outside the cities, but are growing at a rapid pace. Internet surfing rates depend primarily on where you surf and the medium used (e.g. WiFi or wired). Internet services offered by hotels and shopping malls are expensive and can go up to ₱200/hour (approximately US$5) but neighbourhood cafes can be as cheap as ₱15/hour (approximately US$0.35).
Public place WiFi services in the Philippines is provided by Airborneaccess.net and WiZ is likely to cost ₱100 (approximately US$2) for up to an hour. But if you want cheaper, there is a internet cafe chain in SM malls called, "Netopia", that has a landline internet connection for around 20P an hour (about 0.46 US). Coffee shops as well as malls usually carry WiFi service some are free to use. Certain areas may also carry free WiFi. The SM chain of malls offer free wifi, so you can sit virtually anywhere in the mall and access free wireless.
See also International Telephone Calls
The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company commonly known as PLDT is the leading telecommunications provider. It is also the largest company in the country. There are three major companies operating GSM 900/1800 networks: Globe, Smart and Sun Cellular. Your home provider at home should have agreements with one of these providers so check with them before leaving home. Roaming may be quite expensive just as elsewhere however, pre-paid SIM cards of these networks are easy to acquire and cost as little as ₱30 and provide a cheaper alternative.
If you don't have a phone to begin with, a complete pre-paid kit with phone and SIM can be purchased for as little as ₱1,500.The usual cost of an international long-distance call to the United States, Europe or other major countries is $0.40 per minute. Local calls range from ₱ 6.50 per minute for prepaid calls.
Due to the wide use of mobile phones, pay phones are increasingly becoming obsolete. Some malls and public places still do have them and they usually come in either the coin or card operated variety. Globe and PLDT are the usual operators. Phone cards are usually sold by shops which sell cellphone pre-paid loads and cards. Note that phone cards of one company can not be used with the other company's card operated phones.
The Philippine Postal Corporation, or PhilPost, is the provides the postal service throughout the Philippines. PhilPost is pretty reliable, but one can hardly call it fast services. It is fine for sending postcards and letters though, both domestically as well as internationally. Prices for sending postcards or letters within the country start at around P7, while most international post costs at least P20. For sending parcels to and from the Philippines it might be wise to use companies like FedEx or UPS. The opening hours of post offices in the Philippines differ from one place to another. Usually, post offices are open from 8:00am to 12 noon and from 1:00pm to 5:00pm on weekdays. And for those that operate on Saturdays, the business hours are from 8:00am to 1:00pm.
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