Living in Davao & Not Getting Your Head Cut Off

The idea of living in Davao can be a bit scary because some Muslims kidnapped and beheaded a Canadian tourist at the nearby Samal resort. Davao is in the Mindanao region home of Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.

On the other hand people say Davao is one of the safest cities, previously run by Duterte when he was mayor. The city itself is ~500km from Mindanao. When I went there I felt as safe as anywhere else.

Davao date

Wouldn’t have realised if I hadn’t heard things about it, or driven through a quick military checkpoint on the way out of the airport (they just asked my surname then waved me on).

I just stayed in Davao city, my genius plan was to avoid the beaches as that’s where kidnappings happen (bandits turn up on boats) and Samal. The religion of peace recently tried to attack Bohol too.

K-9 Unit at Davao mall

There aren’t that many foreigners in Davao obviously, whether tourists or expats, there isn’t much to do even if you aren’t put off by the bad press. It’s a bit boring of a vibe, what little nightlife it has closes early.

Some blogs act like Davao is an untapped pussy paradise as a result of less white dudes being there. I’ve always been skeptical of that line of logic as remote provinces can also be quite shy / conservative.

Davao pier

Province girls tend to move to the bigger cities because there are no jobs where they live, they want to work in Manila and send money home, maybe meet a guy too. There ends up not being many 18-40 year olds left.

I need to stay longer to find out really how good the Davao dating scene is but so far I’ve done one brief trip to Davao and did manage to score.

Davao jeepney

I kept getting messages on FilipinoCupid from Davao girls even though I wasn’t there. They must’ve set the location filter to anywhere in an effort to meet guys.

I flew out to meet one who offered to pick me up from the airport and be my tour guide. Province girls are more enthusiastic to meet, sometimes I search for girls in other cities and import them to wherever I am.


This time I went to meet her, to get some intel on Davao and snap some pics for the blog. I flew there from Cebu on a Manila -> Angeles -> Cebu -> Davao -> Manila trip.

Cebu Pacific is cheap if you book in advance and catch promos at the right time.

No sign of bandits

Living in Davao – First Impressions

Davao was a bit more developed than I expected, they have some big malls (Abreeza mall the main one) and high rise condos (Abreeza place). Living in Davao could have some potential.

But it might not take long until you’re handing out numbers to the same Pinays over and over like Dante ended up doing in Cebu City.


Abreeza mall

Basketball in another mall

Abreeza mall

Taxis lived up to what I’d heard, being better than elsewhere in the Philippines, always using the meter and never refusing passengers.

It’s quite a walkable city as well, parks dotted around, clean uncluttered sidewalks, not many street vendors, I saw some ‘no vendors allowed’ signs.

Davao streets

Davao parks

No vendors



We checked into Grand Menseng Hotel for $50 on Agoda, it sucked for the price, the internet didn’t work.

Next time I’ll try to stay at Abreeza place condo on Airbnb as it’s right next to the mall and should have PLDT wifi put in.

Check in


Grand Menseng

It was raining so we stayed in for a bit and ended up banging pretty quickly. Then we went on a date / tour of the city at night, more on that in the next post.

23 Responses

  1. Sir Jspill,

    Is it really that conservative in Davao? Will I stick out as a very pale foreign man? Are there at least any American expats I can make friends with? The draw to Davao is the costs imo. That city is too unpredictable.

    • jspill says:

      Sir Mikey, not sure yet only did a brief trip, scored though and got a lot of interest on online dating. Maybe it’ll make it easier for them to come directly to your place 😀

      Saw hardly any white faces walking around and got a lot of stares.

      The lack of guys will probably override any conservativeness and you’ll still be able to get tons of casual sex, my only reservation with small cities is if you’re walking around with a different girl every day and stand out, eventually some local guys who have nothing to do might get pissed off at you. Whereas in a huge city you have anonymity and everyone’s busy with their lives, it’s harder to bump into people who recognise you, etc.

      And if a girl is in her 20s and hot she’d prob go to work in the Manila, in small cities you end up with just university age girls and older girls who are married already, both of those are kinda dangerous to be seen hitting on all the time

      Then again Davao still has a population over a million, I may be overthinking it

      • John says:

        Why is it dangerous to hit on university age girls?

      • jspill says:

        I mean like in case local guys see you as preying on teenagers, pumping and dumping them, and you stand out like a sore thumb in a small conservative province, they see you out and about with girl after girl… or if their parents find out. The occasional one discreetly is of course ok. I was thinking of extreme cases (some commenters here banging 30 virgins :D)

  2. thibault says:

    they really call you sir all the time? when you re older than them it can put a psychological distance….
    thank god duterte cleaned the place, sometimes all you need is a good old fashiobed dictator that points a gun at your balls for smoking.
    bringing a sister to the airport is fine as long as she leaves after. if shes not thzre for the actual date… how did you manage that part. pay a taxi for her home…. fuck herf i stead if she s hotter, ask for a trio… she probably tries to grab ameal no

  3. Jobo says:

    The no wifi at the hotel when they advertise wifi included drives me nuts. Does all the bullshit drive anyone else nuts?

    • jspill says:

      I try to avoid hotels and go for Airbnb unless it’s short notice and no rooms available. It gets to me too sometimes but I just take a few days off, stay in and watch youtube then I’m good.

  4. PJ says:

    I lived in Davao for a year. The average girls on the street are definitely far more conservative than other big cities in the PH. If you wanna smash two or three different girls every day, Manila is where you gotta to be. I’m not saying it’s impossible in Davao, but it will take a lot more work, especially if you want to tap quality pussy. But Davao is a big city so even though it’s more conservative, in any city that size you will find some sluts, and that’s where the online girls come in. The online birds will give it up very easily. Just send them a message and let them know you’re in town and a few of them will be down to meet. Take them on a cheap date and the legs always open up the first night. But like I said you can have far higher quality and more options in Manila if that’s what you’re looking for, but the attraction to Davao is cheaper cost of living and the fact that it’s less chaotic than a lot of other places.

    By the way, the first picture with the caption “Abreeza Mall” under it is actually SM Lanang Mall.

  5. Roger says:

    I was three days in davao in July and was really disappointed. I thought Davao lacked vibe and that the women were reserved and not as attractive or open-minded as Cebu girls. I also could not find good night clubs or meeting spots for meeting women. I had a taxi driver take me places and he might not been the most well-informed. I don’t think I will go there again. Cebu was much more entertaining for me. Seems a really boring place.

    The Cebu girls seems more fun and curious and outgoing. I don’t know if renting is less expensive, I won’t waste my time going there again.

  6. John says:

    “It’s a bit boring of a vibe, what little nightlife it has closes early.” ….well that sucks. What’s the vibe and nightlife like in Cebu? Is Cebu the alternative to Malina? If not what Is?

    • jspill says:

      It’s the main alternative, along with Angeles. More nightlife in Cebu than Davao but still not a great deal, everyone pretty much ends up at the Mango Square discos / Mango Avenue bars. A dozen gogo bars that aren’t great. Liv Club and some KTVs dotted around. Vibe is fun, but I prefer Manila.

      • John says:

        Ok, so to sum it up if a person doesn’t mind the hectic traffic of Malina one should go there to get the best Philippines has to offer (excluding beaches) but if you want more relax environment and cheaper prices go to Cebu or Angeles city, or?

        Are the people/women any different in these locations, friendliness and attitude wise? Are these cities good for hooking up with young petite women (18-25)? I’m not looking for 30+ year olds. Thanks again.

        • jspill says:

          That about sums it up. And just avoid rush hours, then traffic isn’t much of an issue.

          You’ll find girls outside central Manila (Makati / the BGC) are a bit more receptive. So outside the richest parts of the capital. But it’s hard to generalize it’s just a numbers game, good and bad attitudes everywhere.

          Yep all cities are good for that.

          • John says:

            Ok, so what is the cost of living like over there? Is it generally cheap, expensive or what? When I was in Patong, Thailand I thought big C supermarket was actually more expensive than where I live, I was a bit surprised because it is not cheap where I live. Shopping in the malls was not cheap either, sandals sold at the mall were even pricy. I heard that rent is more expensive than Thailand and the standard is worse.

            • jspill says:

              Most fall between spending $1-$3k a month, some manage a basic life on less, some live the high life on more. I average about $2.5k. Search cost of living on here Dante did monthly budget breakdowns. I only spend about $400-$700 on rent plus all bills and at least $1k on partying/dates/hookers, so that’s most of the budget, if you don’t party much you can live very cheap. Then I spend about the same as rent on food and transport including flying around for visa runs.

              Yes rent is lower value for money compared to TL, and electricity and internet. And food, but visas are cheaper than TL (3 years at a time with no border runs). And alcohol.

  7. John says:

    Ok. Btw I’m not getting the responses to my email, I have to read them directly from this site.

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