March 18-20, 2008
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte
While predominantly Christian, Davao City is also home to Muslims, indigenous peoples and some Chinese. And while the rest of Mindanao is wallowed up in civil unrest, Davao seems to enjoy its relative peace and order, thanks in large part to their two-fisted mayor, Mayor Duterte. In Davao, they say, if you're the good guy, you'd be thankful for having Duterte. But if you're the bad guy, either you leave town or you end up dead. Accordingly, it took 2 years, at an average of 2 to 3 extra-judicial killings everyday, for Davao to rid itself of its snatchers, rapists, drug dealers, and hence regain its peace and order. Of course, the rumored Davao Death Squad was never proven and no one got to jail.
When Davao was bombed, the good mayor appeared on local tv to announce that if he finds the perpetrators, and they happen to be muslims, he will cut their heads off with their bolos. If they happen to be military, he'll take their service-issued revolvers and shoot them on their heads. And if they're Christians, he'll nail them on the cross. Wow! How's that for tough talk?
After descending Mt. Apo, I still had a few days to go around the city with my climbing team. The highlight of Davao City for me is the food - seafood, durian, mangosteen, marang, and native chokolate drink. We would often find ourselves back at Bangkerohan (a market district) and indulge ourselves to their native chokolate drink, using the baterol.
A popular tourist eating place is Luz Kinilaw. An icon for a good many years, it serves grilled seafood - tuna collar (panga), squid, tuna belly, tuna eggs, etc. The best tuna kinilaw can also be found here. You can't miss this bare-bones eatery if you're a food tripper. It's located at Salmonan, Quezon Blvd. Any cabbie knows it.
Aldevinco Shopping Center
For shopping fabric, weavings, malongs, sarongs and handicraft, the place to be is Aldevinco. It's walking distance from Luz Kinilaw so it's a good idea to head here and walk around for interesting stuff. Malongs go for P250.
2 days to be going around Davao is just a primer at best. It's got so much more to offer, and a backpacking itinerary covering the whole of Mindanao would be a nice 'to do' thing for the balance of the year.
- Homitori Dormitel - P180/night, a/c with breakfast, gym, TV area, wifi! www.homitori.com
- Green Windows - P188/night, a/c, TV area, wifi! www.greenwindowsdormitel.com
- Blue Velvet - P180/night, a/c, wifi at lobby; email@example.com
- Frances Inn - P700 - P1800, (082)301.8549, firstname.lastname@example.org, francesinn.webs.com, contact: Jojo Bolseco
- My Hotel - P1237 - P2770, (082)222.2021, email@example.com, myhoteldavao.com, contact: Sam Uy
- CourtView Inn - P1787 - P2588, (082)295.7537, firstname.lastname@example.org, contact: Jo-an
- Casa Leticia Business Inn - P1400 - P2800, (082)296.0501, 0917.700.4105, email@example.com, casaleticia.com, contact: Raymond dela Paz
- Grand Men Seng Hotel - P1800 - P2800, (082)221.9040, 0917.702.2988, firstname.lastname@example.org, grandmenseng.com, contact: George Lim
- Park Square Inn - P522 - P788, (082)295.1594, contact: Raul Breva
- Pearl Farm Beach Resort - P5350 - P28,000, (082)285.0876, email@example.com, pearlfarmresort.com
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