Road Trip Tips – Manila to Davao City

With the 16th President of the Philippines , Rodrigo R. Duterte, hailing from Davao City, I noticed that this blog has gotten a lot of hits on our road trips from Manila to Davao.  Since my previous articles were written based on our daily trip, I decided to compress such stories and come up with a practical tip based on our experiences.

Those who are new to this blog, please note that my travel buddies are my direct family. Sometimes, it’s just me and my husband. Sometimes, with my parents , siblings and their families. And sometimes, all of them with our staff. We are all boring people who take joy in traveling and enjoying places together in a clean, fun way. 🙂

In 2014, my family and I , flew to Manila to pick up the 2 vehicles we bought there.  After picking them up from Mitsubishi and Nissan respectively, we visited some places for a couple of days before heading back to Davao.  I was told that this trip can be done in 2 nights. But since it was summer and the nephews are off from school, we made a one week trip out of it. So I guess, this is for those who want to enjoy the Philippines by road tripping. 🙂

Our Itinerary included the following:

Day 1 – Arrival in Manila, pick up vehicles.

Day 2 – Manila Ocean Park

Day 3 – Day Tour in Tagaytay. Sleep in Lucena City.

Day 4 – Visit Mt. Mayon. Sleep in Legazpi City.

Day 5 – Travel to Samar , Leyte. Sleep in Calbayog City.

Day 6 – Travel. Sleep in Leyte.

Day 7 – Back in Mindanao. Sleep in Butuan City.

Day 8 – Home.

Okay so I am an O-C traveler. I have a print out of all our schedules, prepaid hotel vouchers, etc. They are neatly filed in an orange clear book. I have been road tripping    here and the US/Canada for years now that I can plan one even when I’m asleep.  🙂

So here are the excerpt of that trip:

DAY 1 & 2 – If you’re from Manila, I think you will not need tips on these days anymore. But if you’re from somewhere else and you’re buying vehicles in Manila, this is for you. We took Cebu Pacific from Davao. And stayed in Prince Plaza II Condotel in Makati the first night. I chose that hotel because its entrance is just across Greenbelt. I love that Mall. Plus there are so many restaurants to choose from, so you won’t get hungry. On our 2nd day, I booked several rooms at Rothman Hotel since it is nearer to Manila Ocean Park, where we will be spending the day. You will find the details through these links:


DAY 3 –  From the hotel, we took the Manila-Cavite Expressway and Emilio Aguinaldo Highway via Roxas Boulevard on our way to Tagaytay. It took us 2 hours or so only to reach Tagaytay using that route.  We had a stop over at Dencio’s Restaurant for lunch. It was my parent’s first time in Tagaytay. And I was glad that they loved the place. The view of Taal Volcano and the lake is very pretty even on a cloudy day. From there, we proceeded to Nuvali so the nephews can feed the fishes.  After buying some take away goodies from Conti’s , off we went to our hotel in Lucena City – the Queen Margarette.  This is a long trip so be prepared.

More details can be found here –


DAY 4 –  I am reiterating this againthe Queen Margarette Hotel –   is a really good option, specially when you’ve had a long day.  The free breakfast that came with our booking was convenient because it saved us time in looking for food before proceeding to Albay.  The trip from Lucena City to Legazpi City is about 7 hours. The view is fantastic, specially the coastal areas of Quezon Province. The mountains and the rice fields in between look beautiful too. Be prepared to be impressed. 🙂 Unlike in America though, we don’t have rest areas in the Philippines. So when you buy fuel, use their bathroom if it’s clean. If not, then you’re out of luck. Sorry. Another thing to consider, the restaurants are few and far between. Hence, make sure that you have snacks and drinks in the car. If you have space, bring a cooler.

For more details of this trip, you may check –


lucena to albay


DAY 5 – The highlight of this day is our visit to Mt. Mayon.  This is the 2nd time for the whole family except my youngest nephew, Wemce, who wasn’t born yet the first time we visited the place. The thing with family travel is that everyone has the same memory. And that bond will never be broken. I am glad that my nephews love nature as much as I do. So they are great travel buddies, as far as I am concerned. 🙂 More photos can be found here –

Again, this is a long travel. It took us at least 6 hours including the ferry trip of about 2 hours. The fare for each vehicle was about P2,000.00 including one passenger. The rest were charged about P120 per head. I remember paying about P20,000.00 for both the Montero and the Nissan van. That included the ferry fare (vehicle and passengers) and fuel from Manila to Davao.

Reminder – Samar has repair works all the time. So be prepared. Give an allowance for such to ensure that you will be at your hotel before the sun sets. In our case, we stayed at Ciriaco Hotel and Spa Resort.  For more details of this trip , read :


Albay to Calbayog


DAY 6 –  Was a gloomy looking day. But despite that, it wasn’t able to dampen our spirit. The Philippines is a very beautiful country. Samar and Leyte, are testaments to that. We stayed at Ciriaco Hotel and Spa Resort. I am glad that we did because we loved it.

The travel time from Calbayog, Samar to Sogod, Leyte took at least 6 hours.

Read more of this day’s account here –


calbayog to sogod


DAY 7 – Ahh.. this was a beautiful  day.  I loved the sceneries from Sogod, Leyte up to our arrival in Butuan City. Sunset in Lake Mainit ,  Surigao was very pretty too. You know, I really hope that you get to experience this trip as well. Yes, it is tiring. But it is worth it. I have been telling everyone for the longest time, seeing the Philippines’ country side is one of the best experiences you could ever have.

Total Land Travel was 5 hours plus sea travel of an hour. Check the details here –


DAY 8 – is when we go home. There’s a bittersweet feeling within me. The fun is over. And time for a reality check, so to speak. 🙂 It has been an awesome adventure for the family. Specially for my nephews. All thanksgiving to God for this blessing and for his protection.

Butuan City to Davao City is a mere 6 hour trip. And it is safe if you know the road. If not, then I suggest that you travel during day time. There’s a winding road before reaching Tagum City and the ridges there are pretty deep. So you need to drive carefully. And of course, be attentive to crazy drivers on the road. 🙂

Check this link for the final story of this road trip here –


To enjoy your trip better, I suggest that you book everything in advance. Make sure that all your hotel vouchers are intact. Most importantly, take the trip with people who love to see new things as much as you do. And if at all possible, do it with your family. Specially with the children. If you expose them to nature, they will grow up appreciating the things around them better.

Ciao everyone! I hope that you enjoyed this blog. Thank you for traveling with us. 🙂





Lea C. Walker






About leawalkerblog

Businesswoman. Realtor. Photographer. Traveler. Blogger.
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6 Responses to Road Trip Tips – Manila to Davao City

  1. James Ang says:

    Hi Lea

    I am planning my first Manila to Davao Trip, do you always take the AH26 route or do you follow Google or Waze , just want to know which route is better, and from makati, which is a better 1st stop, Naga or Legazpi, , is it advisable to go from Legazpi straight to Tacloban on the second day, we’re not planning on too much sight seeing just familiarizing the route first then plan a future trip with the family later, then from Tacloban to Butuan on the 3rd then butuan to Davao on the fourth, tnx in Advance , “Paisano”, dili ba hadlok sa dalan 😀 ?



    • Hi James,

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      Yes, we always use AH26 route, plotting first our destination using either google or waze.

      From Makati, we stopped in Lucena City. But then again, we made a detour in Tagaytay. Hence, it was too late for us to proceed to Legazpi the same day. Plus, that’s a very long drive. So I don’t think you would want to do that either.

      Legazpi to Tacloban is okay in one day. Start early (8-9am), that way you have an allowance incase you want to stop for food , bathroom break, photo op etc.

      From Tacloban to San Ricardo Pier, that’s about 4 hours only. After an hour or so, you’re in Surigao already. So Tacloban-Butuan is doable in one day.

      Butuan to Davao is 6 hours only on a leisurely drive. So that is not a problem. 🙂

      Dili siya hadlok. 🙂 Just don’t travel at nights. We make it a point to stop before it gets dark. And make sure that we are already checked in at the hotel.

      Hope this helps.

      Thank you again.


      PS. Gwapo kaayo ang country side nato! 🙂


  2. Zaldy says:

    wow.. I will try this road trip soon……


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