|Davao is not your ordinary cosmopolitan city.|
"Don't judge my brother, he is not a book." There goes the famous line of Melanie Marquez. It had gained fame because (1) it's funny, and (2) it's ridiculously funny. However, that particular quote makes sense at some point. Let me rephrase her quote by modifying some words: "Don't judge a place if you haven't been there." For the past years, I have met people from different provinces in the Philippines - Metro Manila, Baguio, Legazpi, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, and etc. And whenever I inform them that I am from Davao, they'd often tell me all those out-of-this-world claims based from premature judgments. Here are the seven misconceptions about Davao City.
1) It's a mall world, after all!
I had a friend who's from the Kingdom of Pili Nuts. In the middle of our highly intellectual conversation, he suddenly asked, "Do you have malls in Davao?" I got caught off guard by his question. I replied, "Yes, we do have malls in Davao, in fact we have two SM Malls in which one is a premier mall. We also have an Ayala Mall. It's like Greenbelt, but on a smaller scale. And we also have lots of homegrown malls strategically located at the downtown area.
|Inside SM Lanang Premier.|
And then poof, he became Koko crunch!
2) Electric Dream
This story was shared by my mom. Back in 1988, she went to Manila to attend her board exam review. Her roommate, who's a resident of Manila asked her, "May kuryente ba sa Davao?" (Do you have electricity in Davao?). My mom lost her consciousness for three nanoseconds.
Davao City is the main gateway of Mindanao. It has an international airport accessible to other major points of the country, and as well in Asia. Business is thriving in the city and is clearly evident due to numerous infrastructures such as recreational areas, business centers, hotels, and a whole lot more. The city is also a melting pot of different tribes, cultures, and beliefs. Truly, Davao is a diverse city.
Despite its unique feature, people outside Mindanao tend to judge Davao in general (and this also applies to different cities and towns in Mindanao). I am not denying the fact that there are religious and political conflicts in Mindanao. But, those conflicts are usually very far from the city and don't happen everyday. Consider this: It's really impossible to totally eradicate crime in a city. To say that Davao is unsafe because it's in Mindanao is an ignorant and an irresponsible statement. I pity those who have this kind of mentality.
4) Rules of the Air
Back in college, I went to Quezon City to attend a conference held at one of the most prestigious universities of the country. My seat mate, who was also from the host university asked, "So like, you're from Manila ba?" To which I replied, "No, I am from Davao."
|PAL B747-400 service.|
|Davao International Airport.|
"So like, how did you get here? Like, did you ride a bus or barge or something?" I was not sure if she's mocking me or if she's really serious. "I had just arrived yesterday and the Boeing 747 flight took me an hour and thirty minutes to reach Manila. And yes, we have an international airport in Davao."
"Oh, talaga? I thought Davao is just a very big bukid!" She exclaimed. Guys, take note of the word bukid. BUKID. Wow, big word!
5) Let's have a coffee break!
I remember two years ago when I met up with a friend in Makati. Her friend was also with her. After some informal introduction, he got surprised when he knew that I am from Davao City. We decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at Starbucks 6750. My friend's friend was a bit loud and nosy but tolerable at some level.
My friend's friend thought that I am ignorant to such that I haven't set foot to a coffee shop. He overwhelmingly said, "You know, Starbucks is really good! You should try their Coffee Jelly (seriously, Coffee Jelly?!) and their pastries as well. And oh! The shop has free wi-fi connectivity which allows you to connect to the world wide web." He even added, "I'd love to have your photos taken with your orders later. Di ba wala kayong Starbucks sa Davao?"
I just smiled and replied, "I am aware of that, thank you. And we have Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Bo's and some homegrown coffee shops like Green Coffee, Basti's Brew and Blugré in our city, offering similar services. You haven't tried our very own Durian coffee, have you?"
He will never be my friend.
6) Religious Battle
On the second day of the conference, I was tasked to lead the morning prayer. After that, my group mate who hails from Mandaue approached me with a puzzled look. "You're from Davao, right? I thought you're a Muslim." I was really surprised by his claims. I told him that Davao City is predominantly Christian. At least, he did not give any racist remarks. Very good!
7) Rainbow Cab
Some of my friends who were planning to to visit Davao often ask me about the things that they shouldn't miss. However, the most common question was this: Do you have cab services in Davao?
|Black and white. Photo by anythingaboutdavao.blogspot.com|
Yes, we do have a cab service in Davao, in fact it comes with different colors - white, yellow, orange, blue, sky blue, pink, lavender, silver, and black. Taking a cab is the most efficient way to tour the city. And oh, Davaoeño cabbies are known for their honesty. There's nothing to worry about when you take a cab in Davao City. You can also pay the cab driver through your debit card. Isn't that convenient to the commuters?
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Davao is truly a great place to live in. It was even named as one of the most livable cities not just in the Philippines, but also in the southeast asia region. Peace and order coexists with each other, and the Christian and Muslim communities interact well because the two groups respect each other's beliefs and traditions. The people of Davao is the main reason why the city is such an extraordinary place. Davaoeños are peace loving and friendly, but intolerant to erring ways. Lastly, we are law-abiding citizens. People outside Davao may find the city too stiff due to numerous city ordinances. But for Davaoeños, we learned to live with the laws because we firmly believed that discipline is the key to success. Everyone strives hard to make Davao a better place to live.
|Downtown Davao at night. View from Jack's Ridge.|
Truly, Life Is Here in Davao!