Davao

Population:1.5 million

Philippine Eagle

Located in the province of Mindanao is the city of Davao, the third largest city measured by population of the country. To put things further in perspective; it covers a whopping 2440 square kilometer or 944 square mile and is one of the largest city in South East Asia measured by area.

Jose Cruz de Uyanguren founded the city in the midst of the 19th century and named it Nueva Vergara, in honor of his home town Vergara in Spain. He immediately started converting the local population to Christianity and  as a result nowadays over 95% of the inhabitants of Davao are Christian. In the beginning of the 20th century the Americans arrived and established large plantations in the southern Mindanao. During WWII, heavy bombing caused havoc in the city and destroyed most of the infrastructure. After WWII, the Filipino's them selves took control and the city got quickly back on its feet. Stimulation by the government has attracted a large number of immigrants from the Visayas and Luzon and nowadays the native inhabitants make up the minority of the population. These days, Davao is the economical and political center of Mindanao and forms the gateway for most visitors to nearby attractions. 

The main traffic artery is the C.M. Recto Avenue running through the center of the city and most of the tourist attractions are within walking distance from the street. The city itself has a good number of attractions for visitors including the People's Park -a nicely landscaped park, a crocodile farm and Philippine Eagle Center. However within reach of the city are great beaches, good diving spots and the highest peak in the country, the majestic volcano which is Mount Apo. 

Safety

Although Mindanao has been the sight of skirmishes between government forces and Muslim activists, the city of Davao is pretty safe. As elsewhere in The Philippines use common sense, avoid displaying expensive items, take a taxi at night and don't go wandering alone in the poorer areas and dark, dimly-lit roads..

Internet & communication

The city is well covered by the countries two major telecom operators: Globe and Smart. Internet Cafe's can be found in the malls as well as around C.M. Recto Avenue and People's Park.

Immigration & visa extensions

38 day visa extension can be obtained from a field office of the Bureau of Immigration in Davao. The office is located at J.P. Laurel Avenue, right across the street from Victoria Plaza Mall. Operating hours are from 9am to 5pm. A dress code applies so be sure to dress neatly.

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