Destination: Davao

It was the earliest flight I took—ever. At 410 am last Friday, Jen and I were strapped to our seats in the Cebu Pacific aircraft bound for Davao. But not even an adrenaline-pumped run to the boarding area and lack of sleep spoiled my excitement. I have long wanted to go to Davao city. Many wonderful people I know are from there and it was just about time I see their place of origin for myself.


Early breakfast at Taps, Matina Square

Jester, my ex-officemate, kindly served as our tourist guide (and driver and photographer and porter and bodyguard and information officer). After picking us up from the airport, we were off to have breakfast. We needed a full meal to help us get through the long first day at Davao.

Breakfast for me was the standard fare of TapTocisilog while Jen was so thrilled to have the combination of Tocino and Bangus with her fried rice and egg. We should have Taps in Manila!

The Philippine Eagle Center

Weeks before our trip, we were trying to pin down our itinerary. One of the things Jen and I agreed on is that we should see the world-famous Philippine eagle safely tucked in one of the buildings in Davao. We saw the eagles all right, and some other equally interesting animals. (You, dear reader, have probably seen a picture of the above-mentioned eagle so I will save the space for other pictures.)

“What would you like with your coffee? Sugar, cream or peace?”

What an advocacy! What is more delicious than the aroma of coffee in this place is the fragrance of peace that the people behind this company is trying to spread. Here, at Coffee for Peace, I was drawn to the world-class coffee and the ideals that support the building of peace in Mindanao.

Even if I am not a coffee-lover, it was so easy for me to fall in love with this organization that seeks to achieve three goals:

to help alleviate the lives of the farmers and their families; to protect and enhance the environment; and, to support the peacebuilders in the field.

PS: As a bonus, we were able to meet a princess, a direct descendant of Rajah Sulayman. The warm and bubbly manager , Ate Ging, introduced her to us.

Sunset and Sunrise at Paradise

Breathtakingly beautiful. That is what I uttered to myself when the sight of the horizon greeted me when we first set foot on the dock of Paradise Resort. This picture does little to do justice to the beauty of the place. Yes, it might not be the most expensive and most celebrated resort in Davao city but when it comes to God’s creation, it does not take a lot for my breath to be taken away.

What I also appreciated about this place is the excellent customer service we enjoyed. Everyone at the resort—and most probably everyone in Davao—were so accommodating and friendly. There were about 200 employees here who 24/7 make sure that guests like me are satisfied. Where else can you go that will serve you band-aids on a tray when you request for it via room service?

Early the next morning, Jen and I stayed near the beach to have breakfast. The sound of the water lapping the shoreline, the sight of the sun’s ray touching the sea, the congregation of happy people made me feel that there was nowhere in the world I would rather be at that moment. All the stresses I’ve experienced the past couple of days, or weeks even, melted away in that instant. And I have the Lord, the Creator of all things, to thank.

(Not) raining on my parade

If you ask me how the Kadayawan parade went, I can only tell you about the vibrant colors of the costumes, the sweet smiles of the participants, and nothing else. We weren’t able to watch the dancing competition because the area where the show would be visible was packed with people. We tried coaxing the guards into letting us in but to no avail. And so we did the next best thing: Go to the middle of the street and take pictures with the dancers! The kids were more than too happy to pose for and with us.

Back in our room at the Last Resort that same day (not the actual name of where we stayed but it really seemed like it), we were able to watch the Indakan. How can we travel hundreds of miles only to watch what we wanted to watch in a poorly-lit room with a springy bed? But the pictures we took of the dancers were all worth the trouble.

But not all dancers were thrilled to spend hours and hours waiting for their chance to shine on stage. The girl on the right was probably muttering under her breath, “If not for the extra credit, I should just have stayed at home and watched reruns of Marimar.”

“Or Meteor Garden! (Oops. that was me speaking.)”

Aside from the reasons mentioned above, there were many reasons for this Manilenya to love Davao. The biggest city in the world is also home to the friendliest people around. With my very little Bisaya (di gid ko ya mabaligya), I struggled to explain myself to the drivers and vendors and waiters. I didn’t sense any irritation at all on their part while trying to understand what I was saying.

If and when I were given the chance, I’d board another plane to again experience the sight, sound, taste, feel and smell of Davao. Who knows? The next time I might even try to have a spoonful of durian. But then if I fall in love with it, I might never return to Manila. 😉 But no, my heart is still here. In the land of daredevil bus drivers and of buildings along EDSA plastered with tarpaulins.

More (and better) pictures and longer description of our trip can be found in Jen’s blog.

And there’s more! Click here for more great photos of the Kadayawan festival.

8 Responses to “Destination: Davao”
  1. mommy g. says:

    never been to davao. last year sana for our coverage, sobrang excited ako kasi i’d be there more than once-for logistics, then actual coverage. then i’d have extended stay, tour with my boys. pearl farm sana. but for security reasons, the officials moved the event’s venue to manila:-( so you took advantage of GMA’s holiday economics?

    anyway, welcome back to reality, metro manila, that is.:-) do you notice those bayani+phiippine flag stickers on buses? i’m sure wala pa nun sa davao. hehe:-)

  2. Beng says:

    HI Mommy G!
    Maganda sa Davao. Malinis, maayos, mababait ang mga tao. Next time that there’s a chance for you to go there, grab it. Or maybe your family can plan to go there. Jen and I long planned for this trip, having bought the tickets as early as March.

    As for the Bayani, Philippine flag–naku, anong wala pa sa Davao? Sa parade nung Sunday, there were people wearing shirts with the bayani and the Philippine flag! Mukha na tuloy campaign shirts!

    See you tomorrow! 🙂

  3. carlotta says:

    wow, ang ganda-ganda nung beach! feeling ko tuloy parang andun din ako 🙂

    glad to know nag-enjoy kayo ni jen! 🙂

    Yeah, maganda yung beach. Anlapit pa sa city. 🙂 15-peso boat ride away lang siya.
    So when do we see each other again?

  4. pastor bong says:

    hay davao! i sure enjoyed my recent trip there. and guess what? I am going back there by october! aren’t i blessed? hehehe

    You’ll have a busy October then! Well, a fun and a busy one at that. Yes, blessed are you among men, what with all the breaks–literally and figuratively–you’ve been getting. 🙂

  5. Gypsy says:

    I am so so so glad you finally made it to Davao!! And proud that you were properly impressed. 🙂 Do you know, I have NEVER been to a Kadayawan parade? Mainit eh..hehe.

    Jojie! O di ba, dati sabi ko pa pag punta ako ng Davao dapat andun ka din. Well, it’s OK. There’ll be other places to visit.
    On the Kadayawan, yeah, medyo init nga lang. Negra na ako, 3 araw lang ako dun. Malapit ka na umuwi ah. Pag nakasettle in ka na ulit, labas tayo. 🙂

  6. Marnellie says:

    Wow! Nice to know you love our place. Everyone does!~ hehehehe…. Balik po kayo!!:)

    Hi Marnellie. Thanks for dropping by. Andami talagang taga-Davao (and most of you, if not all, are proud of that fact!) Based on my positive experience, yes, it is very much possible that I’ll be back. Just don’t know when.

  7. bernadette says:

    As i see it, Davao along with Baguio and other provinces with strong cultural backbones have managed to keep tourists (both foreign and local) going there for years and years! I have been a couple of times myself and everytime I come, there is always something new to discover whether it be beadwork or a juicy fruit! I find the davao-nuenos also proud of their place—which is the basic attitude for a thriving province. 🙂

    I agree with your observation. Davaoenos are proud, in a good way of course, of everything their place offers. And I understand them. It’s really a good place to be. I can sense their love of Davao and it was very evident how much they care for their surroundings–I didn’t see trash littered around, most areas no smoking zones, etc. I wish Manila looked like Davao. Maybe it will make this place more bearable for us city-dwellers. PS: And yes, the fruits! I can imagine the fruits from the Garden of Eden coming from Davao. (but not the snake). Haha. 🙂

  8. Glad you enjoyed Davao, Beng 🙂 My friends and I loved eating at Taps in high school. I guess it was the only place open when we were pulling all-nighters for the school publication.

    (Ooops, sorry – i accidentally deleted your comment with the Chapman song on my blog. Toink.)

    Yes, it was a good break. There’s always something exciting and refreshing about discovering something new–places, people, or even new ways of doing familiar things.

    I wonder which of the Taps we saw you are referring to. Sana nga may Taps sa Manila, daming choices.

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