I felt like I just got off the plane at Incheon Airport on a Wednesday night, but that was already more than 12 months ago. A lot of things could happen in a year which may seem short to some, but may be a struggle to others especially those full of negativity. As for me, I enjoyed my first year in Korea. I learned a lot about adjustments, independence, culture, family and marriage. A multicultural life of an expat wife is indeed not that easy. But, I thank God for always being there for us even though there are times (in all honesty) we forget to acknowledge and give praise to Him.
Before I start with my vacation story in my hometown, I’d like to share a short conversation I had nearly 2 years ago with a young lady from Luzon. I remember she is about 5 years younger than me, and was one of the applicants for the certificate of legal capacity. In other words, she was also a fiancée of a Korean citizen. By the way, I forgot her name and I don’t know of her current whereabouts. So, let me refer to her as “Miss A”.
- Miss A: Taga saan ka? (Where are you from?)
- Me: Davao.
- Miss A: May airport ba doon? (Is there an airport in Davao?)
- Me: Meron. (Yes.)
- Miss A: Umakyat ka pa ba sa tutok ng bundok para sumakay ng eroplano? *chuckles* (Did you climb the mountain just to ride the plane?)
- Me: … (Ugh. Seriously?? That’s not funny at all, girl!) Ikaw taga saan ka? (How about you, where are you from?)
- Miss A: ******
- Me: Pano ka lumusong ng Maynila? May airport din ba roon? (How did you come to Manila? Is there an airport at your hometown?)
- Miss A: Wala. Sumakay kami ng bus higit na tatlong oras. (No. We took the bus and traveled for 3 hours.)
- Me: Ah Okay!
I hope she found out that Davao Airport is considered an international airport. International direct flights to Singapore via SilkAir are catered once daily and Davao-Xiamen flights might open this December. Correct me if I’m wrong. Currently, there are rumors circulating that they’ll also open direct flights to Japan and Korea within this year or next. That’ll be great news!
Back to my short stay, Danny and I planned the trip about 2-3 months prior to our departure from Korea. Of course, I was full of excitement and anticipation. I’ll be able to meet and bond with the people I missed the most. I already planned what to do and what to munch too. I was craving for mom’s home-cooked meals for the longest time and for the abundantly fresh, cheap tropical fruits.
After you leave home, you may find yourself feeling homesick, even if you have a new home that has nicer wallpaper and a more efficient dishwasher than the home in which you grew up.
Stepping again into my hometown, it wasn’t surprising that on some days I randomly crossed paths with few acquaintances on the streets, in the malls or anywhere I went. I’m not bragging, I bet every Dabaweño shares the same experience. That’s how small Davao is. I also felt my sinuses were happily dancing to the humidity of the city for I suffered acute rhinitis starting the cold season in Korea. I was also sweating a whole lot even without moving. I don’t need to visit a steam house because Davao itself is a huge sauna place. I missed the fresh air, the all-day summer breeze, the white, fluffy cotton candy clouds painted on the clear blue sky and the twinkling stars at night.
In 52 weeks, there are few things that have changed. They say the citizens of Davao and the Philippines are experiencing economic crisis but, numerous new infrastructures could be spotted anywhere. A couple of known universities are undergoing expansion. Not to mention, reconstruction of roads aren’t finish as well. By these repairs, unfortunately, traffic is affected. The number of vehicles is rapidly increasing, too. I also noticed that most drivers seem hot blooded and always in a hurry. It’s sad that I rarely seen kind drivers who yield. I hope for the next coming years, traffic in the city wouldn’t become like the Philippines’ capital – Manila, where we could spend 2 hours on the road for a 10-kilometer distance. Oh the horror! As for my fellow Dabaweños, some of them cross the street when the green light for cars turns on and they’d give you a stern look if you blow the horn. Sigh!
During my stay, it made me rethink about writing reviews for the newly opened restaurants. I was hesitant yet, I still wrote anyway. Some restaurants I reviewed last year have either closed, transferred or changed management. But, it didn’t stop us from trying the newest gastronomic hubs around town and of course, patronized some old favorites. One of the latest is the talk-of-the-town, creamy, “dirty” ice cream by a local vendor named Mang Danny. It was once discovered on a night market last year in Roxas Avenue and became viral thru social media. They say the long queue is worth the wait but, I couldn’t wait at least 30-45 minutes for it. Thank goodness I found a store that sell 1L with free 5 cones for Php250. Unfortunately, for one flavor only.
7eleven, an international convenience chain store opened everywhere in the metro, too. I found it amusing that people actually buy snacks there rather than at the small bakeshops beside some of the branches.
Nevertheless, the best news happened was, our former city Mayor was elected as the country’s 16th president and the first ever from Mindanao. Somehow, it made us (Dabaweños) proud to see Mr. President Duterte’s inauguration live on Philippine TV last June 30th and his first state of the nation address (SONA) on the 25th of July.
However, before he was seated as the nation’s leader, some coiled electric wires around the city hall are no longer visible. Now, it looks neat and tidy.
Monorail and coastal bridge are two of the several urbanization plans for the city, they said. I can’t wait for these developments to take place in the near future. Regardless that some Filipinos see our city as a “province”, we Dabaweños are still happily living in our humble abode.
Hence, if I have to choose another city in the Philippines to live, I’d still choose Davao. My first home will always be my comfort zone and no matter how small or drastic the changes are, there’s still no place like Davao City.
Note: No hard feelings. This is based on my observation only.