I’ve heard so many things about Davao especially from two of my friends who relocated there. Since I had the time, I went to visit my friends Hans and Deb to see and experience the city myself.
Davao is a city in Mindanao. It is the 4th most populous city in the Philippines with a total land area of 2,444 square km, the city is the largest in the country in terms of land area. The word davao came from the phonetic blending of three Bagobo subgroups’ names for the Davao River, a major waterway emptying into the Davao Gulf near the city. The aboriginal Obos, who inhabit the hinterlands of the region, called the river Davah (with a gentle vowel ending, although later pronunciation is with a hard v or b); the Clatta (or Giangan/Diangan) called it Dawaw, and the Tagabawas called it Dabo. To the Obos, davah also means “a place beyond the high grounds” (alluding to settlements at the mouth of the river surrounded by high, rolling hills). When asked where they were going, the usual reply was davah (pointing towards the town). Dawaw also refers to a trading settlement, where forest goods are bartered for salt and other commodities.
My friends already gave me a background of Davao in one of our conversations. They take pride living in it because it’s the safest city in the Philippines and upon arriving, I fully understand what they meant. At entry points in Davao, you will see army men wearing their uniforms. I’m glad my friend Deb and her daughter Hermoine picked me up from the airport and they were such a generous host to let me stay in their home for a few days. Taking advantage of my visit, we went straight to Eden to have lunch there. My friend says that the entrance fee at Eden includes a meal. It’s at least an hour from the airport and while in the car, I can’t help but notice how great the city is just seeing how clean the roads are and how the residents follow the rules strictly especially when driving.
Eden Nature park rests at the foot of Mt. Apo. The scent in the air is amazing! It feels like spring all year round. My friend Deb says it’s owned by one of the wealthiest families in the Philippines, the Ayalas. She adds, in the early times, people claim lands and just point at whichever land they want to own. Upon researching, It was discovered in 1971. The resort used to be a logged-over area covered only by a blanket of wild grass. They built the land from scratch making it as rich as possible, throwing pine seeds on the ground making a secondary forest. Later on they planted flowers, fruits and vegetables.
The land is abundant. For 550 Pesos, I have a buffet lunch and then a tour of the rest of the estate. They really made a good use of the land and made a good profit out of it. The estate also has lodges so people can stay overnight and enjoy more of nature.
My first day in Davao is turning out great so far. Before we ended our tour of Eden, I did air cycling. I thought it was a great idea cycling in the air and Deb took some good shots of me suspended in the air.
I’m smashed at the end of the day but before I crash, I wanted to try the durian so we went durian picking. It’s great that we get a good taste of the durian before taking it, I will never forget that day discovering the variety that I like is called Cob.