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Subic Bay, Philippines
Subic Bay, Philippines
Subic Bay, Philippines

Philippines Expat Forum

Mindanao province living

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Rickromo
6/25/2022 22:52 EST

What's it like living in Davao or somewhere in Mindanao and safety issues?

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southbayfrank
6/28/2022 11:50 EST

I have been living in Davao city for the last 2.5 years. Davao city is a safe place with less crimes than most other places in the Philippines. Davao city is not as crowded as Manila (NCR in general) nor Cebu. The road&streets are better shaped than in Cebu for sure, wider, streight, and cleaner. Entertainment&night life activities are not as concentrated in certain areas. Less foreigners here. Much cheaper. Locals are more interested in foreigners. If you are looking for quiet life and not crowded beaches, Mindanao is a good place to be. Not far from Davao city, Bukidnon area has lot of beautiful mountain sceneries and resorts. Santa Maria close to Malita has beautiful coastal area and the sea water is unbelievably clear, but not as much sandy beaches. Mati and further east along the pacific coast area has lot of beautiful sandy beaches with few tourists or people around. This is also good surfing area. General Santos is well known for its fish market centered on tuna, but not as much for site seeing. I just came back from a trip to Mati, Bislig, etc. The inland highway is in very good condition with little traffic. We took the coastal road to Mati, Caraga, Baganga, Cateel, and upto Bislig. Beautiful along the way. But road condition is not as good. It is safe in general to foreigners, except certain spots, such as the western and north-western part of Mindanao. Better to have good local friends to provide suggestions for travel and safety.
Motorcycle is the best way to get around, handy and economical. I myself started with a semi-automatic 115cc motorcycle 2 years ago, and upgraded to a 250cc manual classic motorcycle. Car would be a bit high profile among the average locals here. For safety, I am trying to stay low profile. As long as you stay low profile, Mindanao is a safe place. Davao city is very safe.

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Asawa
6/27/2022 00:16 EST

I'd say that depends on your basis of comparison. Are you trying to compare it to a US City, life in another country in general, or to a different region of the Philippines.

I would answer each of those differently.

Comparing Davoto the US -- I personally find Davao to be the "Philippine Equivalent" of Des Moines, IA or Kansas City, Mo. Davao has pretty much everything any city in the Philippines will have, but none of features of either Des Moines or Davao is so outstanding that you'd likely to relocate for them.

Here are the similarities I see: Folks are generally polite and civil. Folks are friendly if you engage, and will leave you alone if you are not approachable. The cost of living is on the low side of average. Weather is decent, but nothing special. Folks will note celebrities, but then shrug and move on. There are some malls with all the anchor stores you'd expect (look at Abreeza). Infrastructure is fair, but not cutting edge. Davao has the occasional Earthquake like Iowa has Tornado. If you get out of the city, you see a lot of Agriculture. There are areas you probably wouldn't want to go after dark, but you should be able to generally move around as long as you are not flash or broadcasting wealth. There are some small garden parks and decent day-attractions.

Much like the Midwest US... most folks are drawn to places like Des Moines and Davao because of family or relatives are already there. Given anywhere you could go in the US or Philippines), Des Moines and Davao might come up on someone's list as a decent place to live and be.... but I doubt folks will be drawn to either without a reason.

My wife's family is all in the Davao and Digo's city area. I grew up in Small Town Iowa, and now Live in Florida (visiting frequently and planning retirement in Davao). I have no concerns moving there after many, many visits. If it wasn't for our family ties, we'd probably look a moving to a different part of the Philippines... or bounce around for a few years renting on different islands for 6-18 months until we found a different place we liked.

I guess I'm saying Davao is perfectly good -- if a bit boring and ordinary in almost every way. No big pluses or minuses. No huge draws or concerns. Davao is probably one of the safest cities/areas of the island of Mindano.

There are a few corners of the island I'd be cautious of visiting, but they've been relatively calm for most of a decade now. I'd mostly hesitate because my relatives would freak out about my safety, but their concerns are based on issues that occurred prior to 2012 on far south and south west areas of the Island. Many of their impressions are stuck in time based on news stories and general fear/rivalry of neighbors.

I respect my extended family's concerns largely out of courtesy and because there is no reason to ever really travel much outside of a 60k radius from Davao up/down the east coast. If you are going to bother traveling, you might as well island hop to Cebu, Bohol or elsewhere. In the US, I lvoe to travel and explore states, parks, etc. On Mindanao, there really isn't enough variety outside of a 40 kilometer coastal sliver of Davao to bother.

I hope that helps.
-Asawa

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