Monday, June 22, 2009

Wow! Davao!!!

The home of the Philippine eagle, Davao is also known for the durian, the waling-waling, Mt. Apo. I've been to Davao several times already. I had a few projects there before. I remember its beautiful women and peaceful and safe nights. I watched a PBA road game there in 1992 and saw Tony 'the Hurricane' Harris score 82 pts. I walked the whole way from the gym just outside the city back to my hotel in downtown. It was more than 3 kms, and past 10pm, but I made it back safely. I will not have that luck in Manila or Cebu.

The man credited with this safe and livable environs is Mayor Duterte. The no-nonsense lawyer, law professor, and government prosecutor, has been the mayor for much of the time since the EDSA revolution. With Duterte at the helm, Davao continues to be beautiful, safe, and proud. He is very much like Dick Gordon and Bayani Fernando in transforming their respective cities to prime examples of discipline and growth. The only difference is that Duterte is much more respected by his people (less opposition) and much feared (by lawless elements). Despite bombings and terrorist threats (who doesn't have them in Mindanao, anyway?), Davao is still considered safe.

The highlight of this recent trip is the food. More gimikans have sprouted. There is a lively strip of ihawans along Ilustre and also on Torres. The Venue is still going strong late in the night. I did not have time to check out the Aquarium Bar, reputedly the sosyalan place.

There is a new Sampaguita Inn along Quirino in the heart of downtown. It is bigger than the old one. The rates are reasonable. They have cable, aircon and hot shower. They have WiFi in the lobby too. And it's a short walk to the office.

What is immediately noticeable in the city is its clean, pollution free air. An anti-smoking ordinance in public places is strictly enforced. Drivers follow traffic rules, pedestrians too. The people are proud of their city and their mayor. Other politicians posturing for the mayoralty post will need a major miracle to depose the well-entrenched Duterte clan.

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