Davao City, Philippines
Davao City, Philippines
Davao City, Philippines

Davao, Philippines

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Jul 30, 2021

Summary: With a population of 1.8 million, Davao is a coastal city (the 3rd most populous in the Philippines) with year-round daily highs in the upper 80s to low 90s. In this article, expats, retirees and digital nomads talk about the quality of healthcare in Davao, the lack of local job opportunities, the benefits of living in a subdivision and more.

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What are medical services in Davao like?

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When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Davao, they replied:

"Public health care is minimal. Private is more expensive but covers a lot more and is needed in the Philippines," said another expat in Davao.

What do I need to know about living in Davao?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Davao, they said:

"The best is to have some work over internet from outside the country. It is more an investment country over here than a job finding country," remarked another expat in Davao.

What do I need to know before moving to Davao?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Davao, they said:

"You can view homes on line! Contracts are usually in English, Most people are polite here. So be polite. Put yourself in their place. They are trying to make a living, too. Choose a place with security. When you find a side of town you prefer, drive around the neighborhood. Our first year everyone on our street had dogs and chickens. Very noisy at night. Subdivisions and condos have animal laws so you can get some sleep," said another expat in Davao.

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How do I find a place to live in Davao?

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We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"We found a corner 2br condo (pool) on facebook under Davao House Rent. The neighborhood is central to most things; malls, easy taxi service, resto’s, Security is a must. Remember expats cannot own land. That is important if you are going to build," explained one expat.

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We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies. Search rental properties in Philippines.

What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Davao?

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"Fairly typical for city life; 2br condo, weight room, pool, kiddie pool, wifi, AC, hot water, furnished, elevators. Most expats have either a decent condo with amenities, build/buy a house or rent in subdivisions. Some choose the subdivisions with clubhouse and pool. Those are more room, usually also furnished with wifi. We had a house for a year. It was nice but more money and it usually takes a car. That means driver's license at the DMV (LTO here), insurance, repairs, gas and all the other goodies. You can taxi anywhere in Davao for $5. It's a consideration," said another expat in Davao.

What is the average cost of housing in Davao?

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If you are thinking about moving to Davao, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"Housing costs run about 40% of US prices and are usually furnished with linens and silverware (flatware). Most have a few cups and plates to get you going, a rice cooker, micro, fridge and a pot and pan are almost always included! We buy a few things as we need them," explained one expat.

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Search for Rentals

Need a rental in Philippines? We've partnered with Explorastay, the largest aggregator of 1-12+ month stays. Compare listings and rental rates from 20+ accommodation sites in one search, including: Booking.com, VRBO, Expedia, UniPlaces, Spotahome, HousingAnywhere, Zumper and over a dozen more accommodation companies. Search for Rentals in Philippines

How do I meet people in Davao?

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When we asked people living in Davao about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Diving, rotary, NGO like tree planting or animals or street children. Church groups," explained one expat.

What to Bring When Moving to Davao (and what to leave behind)

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When we asked expats living in Philippines what they wish they had brought when moving to Philippines and what they wish they had left at home, they replied:

"Wish I had brought: Golf clubs, Ecco shoes, long sleeve polos, a few decent wide brimmed hats, and golf shoes (really). Wish I had left: Scuba gear (no fish, no corals), a few pair of long pants, dress shoes, prescriptions, short sleeve polos," explained one expat living in Davao.

Will I be able to find a job in Davao?

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When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Davao, they reponded:

"Fruits! Fruits! Fruits! Vegetables! Shipping, tourism, BPO/callcentre, The most people find jobs just asking around," said another person in Davao.

What is life like in Davao?

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When we asked people living in Davao what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Socializing, eating, drinking, living a nice and happy life in and surrounded by nature," said another person in Davao.

Is there a lot of crime in Davao?

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We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"There are scams in bars, and some places I would not walk at night. I avoid the Muslim areas. I am not easily intimidated. Foreigners cannot own guns. But my wife can. Our house has very effective perimeter security," said another expat in Davao.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Davao accepting of differences?

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"They are diverse and they accept differences. Majority is catholic, then Muslims and Buddhist. Not so much atheist. People pity the atheist over here," said another expat in Davao.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Italy, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and the Living in Panama Guide. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Davao, PhilippinesGuide to Living in Davao, Philippines

Davao, Philippines: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in Davao

Philippines Forum Philippines Forum
Join our Philippines forum to meet other people living in Davao, Philippines.

ContributeContribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Davao.

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Expats in the Philippines have a lot to say about the quality of medical care, hospitals, prescription medicine availability and health insurance in the Philippines.

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An expat in the Philippines talks about what it's like moving to Davao City. He wishes he had brought his golf clubs and shoes and left his scuba gear at home (no fish, no corals). He offers great advice about the pros and cons of typical types of expat housing.

Expat Report: Living in Davao

An expat who has lived in Davao, Philippines for 10 years says that life in Davao revolves around socializing, eating, drinking and living a nice and happy life -- in and surrounded by nature. Although there is some work to be found in Davao, he explains that it's best to have remote Internet-based work from outside the country.

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A Canadian married to a Filipina appreciates the low cost of living in the Philippines, the beautiful weather, the friendly people and that he can afford to live in a house that is a 5 minute walk to the beach. The poverty and bar scene bother him.

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