Moving to Davao

Moving to Davao City has been a pivotal moment in my life.

Not only have I found my partner here, it has also made me a better and much happier person.

There’s just something about the sunshine, ocean, pleasant natives and relaxing style of living that brings out the best in me.

Wanting to share this massive upgrade in my life with other people has been one of the key reasons for starting up Serenity Relocation.

Moving to Davao has been great, but there are definitely things that I would have enjoyed during my first few months here, such as home-cooked meals, a nice place to stay, a pool, assistance with finding my way around,…

If you’re like me, and you just wing it (buying a plane ticket and making no plans other than a hotel for the first 3 nights), you might end up with some stress and headaches and not make the most out of your first month here.

Especially if you’re a bit older, you might not have the patience or ‘fuck it’ mentality you once had, and finding your way through life in a rather different culture than the West could get overwhelming and not as pleasant as it could be.

But no worries.

If you’re considering moving to Davao (which I thoroughly applaud), this article will shed some light on what to expect here, and how to deal with it.

Hopefully it will also show you exactly why our Relocation Package is ideally composed for foreigners that want to move to Davao with as little hassle as possible.

What can you expect upon moving to Davao?

In a nutshell: sunshine, sweat and stares.

Just kidding, there’s way more to it, but yeah those three will definitely be present.


Let’s start with the obvious: the climate.

It’s hot here, and almost every day of the year you’ll get sunshine. If you’re moving to Davao, you’ll have no need to bring sweaters!

The average temperature is around 30 degrees Celsius (nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit). And it’s humid, so you definitely feel it and you will sweat your ass off if you’re very active during the hottest parts of the day.

If you’re at all interested in talking long walks around noon, moving to Davao is not for you.

The temperature drops to a more pleasant 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) after 6pm and throughout the night until 8 am or so.

The strong sun means you’ll have to apply sunscreen lotion if you’re going to be outside for a prolonged period of time, otherwise you’ll get burned fast.

Physical outdoor activities are best avoided during the day; apart from swimming (even then you’re best off staying in the shade).

Going to the gym at noon is a great idea though, way less people than in the mornings or evenings!

This might sound like a big negative, but sunshine provides you with vitamin D, something that is essential for your health.

Sunshine also greatly increases your happiness, as long as you don’t overdo it.

The people

People in Davao are generally pleasant and interested in foreigners (especially the girls).

Filipinos in general are a friendly bunch (there are always assholes, of course, just like everywhere) and they’re very eager to interact with you if you’re a friendly foreigner.

Even more so than in Manila and Cebu, the people in Davao are honestly some of the nicest human beings I have ever met.

Davao is a second tier city, and there are fewer foreigners here than you would have in the capital city, so you’re more of a novelty.

Foreigners are viewed as confident and rich, so you will often be treated with deference and respect.

If you’re a man, you will definitely get way more attention from girls (and gays) than you’re used to. It’s very easy here to find a relationship with a sweet girl.

The downside of the people here is that education is severely lacking in quality and quantity. There’s a lot of emphasis on dancing (and other performance nonsense) and religion, so the average 12 year old in the West will have a much broader level of education than the average adult here, especially about science and global history.

Most people here do speak English at a decent level. Almost everyone can speak it a little, and almost every single person with a higher education is fluent enough to carry on basic conversations.

Cost of living

Moving to – and living in- Davao City is generally cheap. You can live like a king in the Philippines for a very reasonable sum per month.

If you earn a low to average Western salary, you are earning 10 times as much as the minimum wage is here.

If you earn a decent salary in your home country, you will not be lacking for anything upon moving to Davao.

Depending on your required levels of luxury, you can find a moderately sized house for a few hundred dollars per month.

Transport here is extremely low if you take the local Jeepneys (about 20 cents per ride). If you take taxis, you usually won’t spend more than a few bucks.

Eating out at fancy restaurants every day will add up quickly, though. But if you’re buying your own food and preparing it (or have someone prepare it for you), you can eat a LOT and very healthy for a low price.

From a day at the beach to a night at a club, from going to churches to getting a prostitute, almost everything here is cheaper than you’re used to.

Tips for moving to Davao

Moving to Davao has been a great decision for me, and for hundreds of other expats currently living a happy life here, but it’s not paradise here.

There are a lot of things to love about my (and hopefully your) move to Davao, but definitely some disadvantages as well.

I’ve tackled a lot of topics in my book A King in the Philippines: 49 tips for an Amazing Island Life, which you get for free upon purchasing our Relocation Package. You can also find it on Amazon here.

Here are a few of the more general tips of that book that you need to aware of when you’re considering moving to Davao City:

  • Expect people to stare or wave at you
  • Send your kids to an international school
  • Dumb it down
  • Expect a lower level of competence
  • Take advantage of the low-cost possibilities
  • Let your girlfriend arrange/buy stuff for you
  • Only transfer money if your currency is at a high point
  • Open a local bank account
  • Do not throw toilet-paper in the toilet
  • Accept the bureaucracy – prepare online
  • Look out for gold-diggers (or a gold digging family)
  • Make your own food
  • Drink at least 3-4 liters of water per day – avoid UTI
  • Register at your local embassy (do the same for your kids)
  • Morning-after pills are illegal, so use condoms

Moving to Davao: in summation

In short, moving to Davao is a good choice because of the nice weather, the cheap cost of living, the friendly people and the generally happier lifestyle.

There are some downsides to living here, and especially if you’re new to living in Asia/the Philippines it could get overwhelming.

That is exactly what Serenity Relocation aims to alleviate. Through our Relocation Package, we offer foreigners that want to move to Davao one month easy living.

We basically arrange everything for you, starting from the moment you leave the airport, until one month later.

For more information, check out our front page, our FAQ page, or just contact us!