I am an American, but I have lived in Davao City for longer than any other place that I have lived in my life! That is kind of unusual, don’t you think? How did it come to be?
Well, when I was a child, my father’s work took us all around the USA, and even to other countries as well. During my childhood, I usually only lived in any given place for 2 or 3 years. We moved a lot, and it meant that I never really put down roots in any certain place. When people ask me “where are you from” it can be difficult for me to give an answer, because i just don’t have those hometown roots that most people have.
In 1990, I married my wife, Feyma. She was from General Santos City, in the Southern Philippines. General Santos is about a 2 to 3 hour south of Davao City. My wife immigrated to the USA and we lived there for about 10 years, but I wanted to move to the Philippines. I was looking for a change in my life, and I thought that living in the Philippines would be a great adventure. Feyma was decidedly less excited with the thought of returning to the Philippines, but I was able to convince her to do it!
So, in 2000 we pulled up our roots and made the move to General Santos City. Unfortunately, just about the time we arrived in “GenSan” the peace and order situation there took a turn for the worse. There were terrorist bombings regularly in the City. With 3 young kids, we decided that GenSan was probably not the right place for us. A friend encouraged me to take a look at moving to Davao City. I didn’t think it was a great option, because Davao was relatively close to GenSan and I just thought that the bombings and other instability would follow us to Davao. However, upon visiting Davao and being shown around by my friend, we decided to give it a try.
Wow, what a huge difference! Davao had (and still has) very strong political leadership. At the time we moved, our Mayor in Davao was Rodrigo Duterte. Mr. Duterte is now the President of the Philippines! He got elected President because of his strong leadership in Davao, and his reputation as a Law and Order President who did not put up with criminals! As you can imagine, we never had a real terrorist problem in Davao!
Over my years of living in Davao City (nearly 15 years in the City at the time of writing) I really grew to love this place. It is a modern city, a place where you can enjoy all of the conveniences of city life, while still maintaining a small town feel. While the City is large in terms of land area (largest city in the world), and has more than 1.5 Million residents, you get the feel that it is not very large and you see people you know at the malls and around the city. It really is a perfect place to enjoy life in my opinion.
What makes Davao Special?
Well, just about everything. Here is a list of things that I feel make Davao different, and special.
- Islands. Well, Davao is on an Island, Mindanao Island, but we are right on the coast, with the Gulf of Davao just off the eastern coast of the city. In the Davao Gulf there are several islands to visit for entertainment. Samal Island is the most popular and has many world class resorts to visit!
- Highlands. You can literally be enjoying breakfast on Samal Island and in just an hour or two you can be up in the mountains! Have lunch up at a Mountain Resort! So, both islands and highlands are right outside Davao’s doors! Whatever type of place you like, you can find it a short distance from Davao.
- Lots to do! We have so many things to do in Davao. Family entertainment. Festivals. Farming. Horseback riding. Whatever interests you, there is a good chance you can find people doing it in Davao City or very nearby.
- Food. Davao has some of the best food available in the Philippines, and also the least expensive! Being right on the water, seafood is abundant and inexpensive here. But, we are also right next to one of the most productive farming/agricultural Provinces in the Philippines, so we have great availability of vegetables and meats as well. Speaking of meats, you can find so many kinds of meat in the City. They even raise Ostrich here and sell the meat! Whatever you like in the way of food, you can bet that you will find it in Davao City.
- Fruits. Wow Davao! It is practically the fruit capital of the Philippines. If you like fruit, you will love Davao. Every kind of tropical fruit that you can imagine. Even the King of Fruits, Durian, a real delicacy in Davao City!
All of this and so much more makes me love Davao. A safe, clean and beautiful place. I have raised my kids in Davao, and my wife and I enjoy life here a great deal!
Why not come and have a look for yourself! I think you’ll love it too.
Davao City is consistently ranked as the Philippines, and even as one of the highest ranking cities for safety worldwide!
Davao has tough anti-crime policies. The crime rate in Davao City is very low, and trends indicate that it will remain low. This is what the people of Davao have come to expect from its leaders.
Have a look at what the website Numbeo has to say about crime and safety in Davao City:
The numbers are clear, crime is low and safety is high.
As they say, Davao City, Life is Here!
Elected in May of 2016, Rodrigo Roa Duterte is he new President of the Philippines.
Duterte is the former long time Mayor of Davao City, where I live.
Duterte is widely respected and even loved here in Davao City. As a matter of fact, in the Presidential race more than 90% of the vote in Davao City went for Duterte. If he is so well loved in the city where he has been Mayor, off and on, since the 1980s, he must have done many things right here in Davao.
The Killing Fields
Back in the 1980s, Davao had the reputation as being the “Killing Fields” of the Philippines. There were a lot of deaths in the city, and a lot of other crime too. But, Duterte cleaned it up. Davao now has a very low crime rate, and the city is very safe.
Another “nickname” that Davao used to have was “Nicaragdao”. That name is a mix of “Nicaragua” which has been a very violent country in the past decades, combined with “Agdao” which is a district in Davao City. It just showed the extreme violence in Davao’s past. The key word there, though is “past”. Those days are gone from Davao.
Peace and safety in Davao
If you are thinking of living in the Philippines, I believe that Davao City is the most peaceful and safest place you can choose as your home in the Philippines. I am an American, but I have lived in Davao City for many years already. I have never felt threatened here. I find it very peaceful and safe. There is no place in the City that I fear or would not go to. And, that applies at any hour of the day.
A booming City
Davao is one of the most economically progressive City in the Philippines. There is so much new construction going up all over the city. New businesses. Lots of jobs available. Many people moving to Davao City to start a new life.
The reason for the change
Former Mayor, Rody Duterte is the reason that Davao turned around so dramatically. During his time as Mayor, Duterte instilled discipline in the people of Davao. He taught the people here that obeying rules and regulations can turn the place around, and make life good for all.
He drastically reduced the drug problem in the city. Many people will tell you that his actions were very harsh. Yes, I agree. Duterte does not take small steps. He goes all out. He has taken extreme action in many cases, but his actions produce results.
If you are a “bad guy” then you would not want Duterte in power. But, if you are a law abiding citizen, then Rody Duterte being in office is the best thing you can hope for. He cleans things up. He makes things better. He keeps you safe. He is the best friend of those who obey the law. For those who choose not to obey the law? Well, he should be feared, and he is.
Now as President
It is my believe that the changes that Duterte made in Davao City can now extend to much of the rest of the Philippines under a Duterte Presidency. I believe that at this time of corruption, crime, drug use, murder and such, Duterte is the man who can turn the Philippines around, just as he has done in Davao City.
Yes, Rody Duterte is now President. For Filipinos who want a more crime free country, this is the man that can deliver.
The Filipino people have spoken. They want the Philippines to follow the example that Rody Duterte created in Davao City.
Why should you choose Davao City as your home in the Philippines?
Let me look at some of the things that attract me to the City.
Islands to the Highlands
Davao City is so diverse in what it offers. We have the Davao Gulf, which is just on the east side of the city. We have Mt. Apo, the tallest mountain in the Philippines, just to the south. Whatever type of climate or scenery you want, we have it here! Fact is, you could go out to Samal Island and eat breakfast at a resort there, and be up in the mountains by lunch time for a totally different type of meal there! Now that is geographical diversity!
Davao is a well governed city. Put in place by former Mayor Rody Duterte, who is now President of the country, Davao is strict about law ans order, and offers a peaceful atmosphere for its citizens and residents.
Davao City is now being lead by our new Mayor, Inday Sara Duterte. Inday Sara is the daughter of former Mayor, Rody Duterte. Mayor Sara Duterte keeps our city moving forward through her good governance.
One of the hallmarks of Davao City is the excellence in keeping the City safe. Low crime rate. Safety for citizens and visitors. That is as important as it can be.
Davao City Central 911
Davao City is one of the only cities in the Philippines that has a central 911 system for handling emergency needs of the city. A full compliment of Emergency vehicles and crews makes Davao City as safe as it can be. All 911 services are free of charge and respond quickly to emergencies large or small.
Davao City has the best public services in the Philippines including a world class 911 service which is completely free!
Davao City Emergency Services include Ambulance, Rescue Units, Fire Fighting, Police and other services. Every service from the Emergency Services is free of charge.
911 responders are on the scene quickly too! Of course it depends on your location, far away remote locations take longer, but the service is very efficient, and you can rely on their quick response!
Davao City was the first and only Philippine City to offer 911 Emergency Services for many years. When our Mayor, Rodrigo Duterte, was elected President of the Philippines in 2016, though, he began rolling out the 911 system to the entire country! Emergency services are now offered in many Philippine Cities, and are on the way to the rest of the country.
Davao stands proud as the innovator of Emergency 911 Services in the Philippines. You can count on these great people to protect you and take care of you when there is an Emergency!
Low Cost of Living
The cost of living in Davao City is very low. Particularly for food. Housing and other costs are not bad either, but food is very inexpensive here, and is also first rate.
Davao City has great drinking water. Even for a foreigner like me, I can drink the water straight from the tap without fear of getting sick. In most of the Philippines you need to buy bottled mineral water to avoid stomach problems, but not in Davao City.
The food in Davao City is among the best and freshest in the world. Seafood is great, since we are right on the tropical waters and fish is caught daily and available in the markets. Crabs, shrimp, all kinds of seafood is easy to get in the markets of Davao City.
Want something out of this world? The assortment of fresh, ripe tropical fruits will astound you! The variety and the freshness will make your mouth water if you just pass by a fruit stand. And the prices for the wonderful fruits? Amazingly inexpensive. Two of Davao’s most loved fruits are the Pomelo and the King of Fruits, the Durian. Pomelo is much like grapefruit, although very sweet instead of sower. Durian is either something you will love or hate, there is no “in between”. Personally, I love Durian, but it is not liked by most foreigners. Give it a try, though, you might just be surprised (if you can get past the smell of it!).
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