Why would somebody who’ve been to Davao a lot of times would still look forward to the next visit, which, if at all possible, would be in the immediate future, like, the following month after the most recent visit? Why is a visit to Davao never enough and staying longer would be very tempting if not for some constraints?
In my own experience, whenever I have the chance to go to Davao with my husband or with the whole family, there’s always a wishful thinking that:
1. if only my own town/province is like this;
2. if only I feel safe walking late at night in the streets of Manila, just like here;
3. if only military and police visibility in every corner are also implemented in my own town/province; or to stress this point
4. if only military and police visibility will make me feel safe instead of getting freaked out if it’s implemented in Manila.
Going back to Manila after a short stay in Davao will feel like forcing yourself to go back to reality, that is, the reality that sadly, you’re not a true-blooded Davaoeño.
I didn’t say that the city is perfect, far from it. Traffic in the main roads of Davao is bad, what with the implementation of 30 kms per hour speed limit, add to that the heavy volume of vehicles. The speed limit, which is unreasonable for some, was implemented after a series of accidents in the past. There were complaints especially from the taxi and jeepney drivers who lost a big chunk of their income because it took them longer to reach their destinations, therefore, less opportunities to get more passengers.
Taking public transportation, especially the jeepney, is a challenge. And when we’re there, we don’t take taxis. We ride the jeepneys because that’s how you will experience being a local. The only problem is, some jeepneys have very narrow leg room and it’s very difficult to go up or down, you have to squeeze your body in between the passengers if you want to be able to seat comfortably, that’s why it’s no wonder that my husband always complains of back pain whenever he gets back from a business trip.
But for me, the good side far outweighs the bad, and as a parent, that’s very important.
So, what’s with Davao that you would wish to stay there and settle for good?
1. Parents are not scared that their daughters might be kidnapped after being lured or forced into a van which is becoming to be frighteningly common in Metro Manila;
2. A Mayor who commands respect, admiration and obedience from his constituents;
3. Affordable cost of living;
4. Confidently riding a taxi without fear of sniffing drugs that will make you lose consciousness or worse kill you;
5. Having a curfew in which business establishments are mandated to stop serving liquor by 1:00am. Business establishments have to comply, otherwise, as what Mayor Duterte always say, “you have no place in Davao if you don’t follow the rules of the city”. People have just learned to adjust their party hours.
6. The Anti-Smoking Ordinance which has been in effect for 13 years now. Smokers are only allowed to smoke in their private residences, private cars and designated outdoor smoking areas.
That’s how I look at Davao. First and foremost on my list is the peace and order situation. The other reasons are:
1. the awesome smell of durian as soon as I step out of the airport and eating unlimited durian, of course. Anything durian: shake, ice cream, and the latest is the durian donut by GoNuts Donuts.
2. eating pomelo and mangosteen;
3. riding the ferry boat going to the Samal island, which we haven’t fully explored yet; for now, my favorite is the Hagimit falls;
4. shopping at the Aldevinco shopping center. A visit to Davao is not complete unless I visit this place to buy a little something to take home with me. A piece of shawl, a shirt, or a bag would be enough for me.
5. full body massage at very affordable cost. After a tiring day of walking around the city, a massage is definitely a welcome treat, and this place is my husband’s favorite.
6. eat-all-you can lunch and dinner at Php149 per person;
7. very affordable fresh fruits, vegetables, seafoods;
8. the people and their accent, I love listening to their local dialect;
9. I just love it that for the locals, their preferred mall is their local mall, that is, the Gaisano mall, and not the SM’s big malls. Oh, I didn’t say that they don’t go to SM or Ayala malls, there are in fact different types of crowds in each of those malls, but, as what my husband said, SM or Ayala have no chance of putting the Gaisano malls out of business in Davao or in Mindanao for that matter;
10. Going to the countryside to enjoy the unlimited view of rich forests, untouched, preserved, and well-taken cared of.