Posted 23 June 2009 - 05:39 AM
I would be careful about Davao, as fightings between various groups against government are going on all the time, and not far out of Davao. For example in Compostelo Valley, still a part of Davao, maybe 150 km away or so from the inner city.
It's a wide area, not that dense populated, buildings generally rather low, already far down in the South of Mindanao.
Quick flight connections from/to Cebu all the time, no problem with that.
Before exploring Davao, I recommend you go to CEBU first, and continue from there. Also many cheap ships to Mindanao from Cebu.
ORMOC (Leyte Island)
In Cebu, you can use the speedboat to Leyte, Ormoc City. This is a nice place, nothing to worry there. Accomodations/some hotels available.
Also connections to BOHOL island all the time, if you look for a more remote, silent place.
Manila, I have not been there since a long time, as flights are direct between Tokyo and Cebu 5 times a week.
There are some threads here in the Philippine section, with pictures -, I think, I know that city quite well because of my fostergirl there.
Cebu, I think, it is OK, but question like, 'the cheapest'? are difficult to answer. Generally, real estate is NOT cheap in Philippines, too much land is owned by too few people, Philippines failed totally to carry out a reasonable land-reform. Also construction material is not cheap, typical for a nation on islands, where all and everything has to be transported using ships.
To meet people for all and everything, this cannot be a problem in Cebu, I think, there are now around 1.5 million people or so. BASIC English widely spoken.
Food shortages did not exist anymore, when I was there in April this year.
Food is often Western style, if you come from US or EU you can pay for that bill easily. There are clean food-courts in the shopping malls and department stores, like SM, Robinson, Ayala etc.
Water supply out of public supply was always OK in Cebu due to much rain.
Cebu is deeply into Catholic Christianity, feminism a la US-style is not appreciated. Still no legal divorce in Philippines, registration of children in or out of wedlock, father's rights truly respected
(otherwise I would not take care of my fostergirl in Mandaue near Cebu City)
I do not know about any 'farang prices' in Cebu. Not like in Thailand. Taxis have meters within Cebu City, and if not ON when getting in the car, get quickly out again.
Fixed pricing for a route is not illegal however, when getting out of the city limits, airport should be around php 300,- and Mandaue City, like Canduman district not over php 150,-
Receipts are common in hotels/pensions, also credit cards accepted, and Citibank has 2 offices in Cebu which I used myself, Ayala and FuenteOsmena, internationa ATM working within a few seconds.
Restaurant-menus have only one price, and often all in English. Same for entrance fees etc, shopping etc.
I think, only market, street vendors etc. are for negotiation sometimes, like used items.
Be aware, that beach hotels in Mactan Island, on the other side of the int'l airport are often under foreign administration and they are truly expensive - and there is nothing around the hotel ... nothing.
About Cebu, please come back with any question.