Archive for davao

(lg2a) city of life

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, health, history, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, news, people, technology, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2010 by mijodo

It has definitely been a privilege to crisscross North America, and see some great cities in this part of the world –  from the flashy glitz of Las Vegas to the can-do character of New York City. However it seems that there is a place in Canada which is esteemed to be the “most livable” among all the cities in the world. And if you happen to be living in Vancouver City, British Columbia, then you are one lucky dude.

However if you just happen to visit Vancouver, it is not difficult to be impressed with what it has to offer –  a working, thriving, and clean metropolis in the bellows of scenic landscapes and sea vistas.  People may be working hard in the city, but the city is not working hard on its people.  The city seems to be aware on how it  can assist its dwellers in making life accessible to convenience and prosperous growth. There is a web of trains and trams that bring its people to work and home – even right to its airport. Passengers don’t need to box out fellow passengers for valued commuter space, during rush hour as commuter crowd is quite sparse. 

It is quite possible  not to even own a car, if a bike ride (or even skateboard) is sufficient (and certainly efficient) for you. There is a bike lane that goes around the city. And however way you explore the city, there are always the surrounding mountains and Fraser River that accompany you, and make your stay, in awe of Vancouver and its environs such as Surrey, Richmond and New Westminister.

The temperate climate even during winters make the whole place bearable, particularly that one can delightfully see from the city snow capped mountain sites, around Vancouver.

Our Version Apparently, it is not only the transport infrastructure or the sceneries that make Vancouver on top of the surveys (one of which is Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey) as “most livable.”  Of course, prime importance are the economic viability of the place and the secured neighborhoods.  Such criteria may be applied on the cities within the Philippines.  And among such places, Davao stoodout, beating out Manila and Cebu City, as “most livable city” in a survey (http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideLifestyle.htm?f=2010%2Faugust%2F24%2Flifestyle3.isx&d=2010%2Faugust%2F24).

Just like Vancouver, Davao City is a bustling megapolis (considered the biggest city in the world in terms of sheer size) with a progressive economy, almost zero percent crime rate, and significantly less traffic hassle compared to that of Manila, Makati and Cebu City.  Since it is located in Mindanao, its weather condition has been mild and almost typhoon free.  Also like in Vancouver, Davaoenos enjoy the short distance access to many beaches, particularly in Samal Island, and the rustic settings of its many mountains, such as Mt. Apo, the tallest mountain within the Philippines.

City of New Life It is no wonder expatriates and newcomers, looking for  opportunities, with a kinder way of life, gravitate towards such cities, such as in Davao, but more particularly in Vancouver.  You right away get the impression that the city of Vancouver welcomes people from all over the world, but more particularly the Asians – Chinese, Indian, and yes, of course the Filipinos, wanting to have a peaceful, rewarding life.

The Vancouverites don’t discriminate. In fact they encourage the people from different nationalities and ethnicities to profess and manifest their own cultural identity without much hesitation.  There is no need to assimilate. Vancouver  wants its people to add on to the vastness of customs and conventions to form a “mosaic” instead of a “blend.” 

The city government offers all the aid and help to new settlers – particularly, to couples with children.  You are given housing assistance, especially if the family’s income may have difficulty with coming up with rental money.  If you are just starting out, this indeed is a sweet deal.

It is not sure if Davao does the same to its new lifetime guests, but for as long you are able to work, contribute and be a good partner in building both cities, then you and your family may just have the life you have been wanting for – a great and productive one. Welcome to the Cities of Life – Davao and Vancouver.

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two tall

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, history, locales, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by mijodo

Lapulapu of Luneta Park. David of Davao City.

Two behemoth structures that call attention from their territory’s populace and guests. Two gigantic personas that awed and inspired their respective people at their respective time and place. One is from the pages of Philippine history; the other is  from the books of the Bible.

There is a replica of Michaelangelo’s statue of King David at the beachfront of Davao City. As written in the Old Testament, King David was the one who slung a rock at the forehead of the taller and much heavier Goliath who had been a menace  to Israelites.

And this tall structure made a commotion, a few years back among the politicians and the citizens of this economically progressive city of Davao. As the reproduction has David, nude and looming above the reflecting pool, some quarters wanted it removed; some, as a compromise, just required it to have some pants.

Apparently until now, the statue still depcits David in its naked glory, perhaps, just cooling his heels for the another round of fight, against censorship and prohibition, after the local elections this year.

Another controversial behemoth statue is the one at Rizal Park in Manila. Supposedly, this park should only honor, Jose Rizal, the Philippines’s national hero, and no one else as the park’s name implies, but apparently there is the great bronze figure of Lapu-Lapu, lording it over between the Department of Tourism and Department of Finance Buildings at the then known, Agrifina Circle of Luneta Park.

Some knowledgeable people of history and even landscape architecture raised voices against Lapulapu’s monument inside the national park. Some historians and chroniclers cited that Lapulapu had lead against the foreign invasion of the Spanish conquistadors, when the Philippines as a nation was not even created yet, hence Lapulapu should not be exactly called a Philippine hero yet. 

And some just didn’t like how the sculpture blends in with the aesthetics of the park, itself.  Lapulapu’s figure was too tall, and just did not create the balance and proportion with Rizal’s monument.

Apparently, regionalism deepened the controversy as some Cebuanos have taken the opposition to the marker as an insult to Visayans since Lapulapu had been a datu from Mactan, Cebu.

Whether such monolithic statues of King David or Datu Lapulapu have served well, in terms of beautifying and enhancing their respective places or not, there is no doubt such great people have affected other men and women to be wilfull and assertive against supposed enemies and antagonists.

faces of the gentle

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, locales, people, tradition with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2009 by mijodo

In a four hectare land area in Davao City, at the vicinity near the Pan-Philippine Hiway and just some distance away from, the Gaisano Mall, the city government boasts its relatively new, Davao City People’s Park, a worthy must-see for first-time travellers.

Using the old PTA grounds, Davao City’s Mayor Duterte spearheaded the newest urban attraction that impresses its people with thoughtfully designed landscaping which employs the Philippine bamboo and rainforest trees, from different parts of the world, particularly from Africa and Asia.

Perhaps all throughout the day, the park becomes a haven for joggers and health buff. The old oval track, which used to be all muddy during the rains, is now restored, utilizing bricks and mortar as pavement. Runners should appreciate the greens and foliage surrounding the area, and be pleased with flocks of pigeons, fluttering above.

People will not miss the vignettes of statuettes of cute children, in traditional costumes scattered strategically in the park as part of the garden plan.  These are sculptural representations of Lumad children doing different life activities, such as fishing for meal, harvesting and farming, and balancing on stilts as part of their traditional games.

 The Lumads are the indigenous people of Southern Philippines, and have been descendants of the original inhabitants of the areas in Mindanao. The Lumads such as the T’boli, the Mandaya and other cultural groupings dot the vast Mindanao island, and have contributed to the rich and diverse cultural identity of the Philippines.

Kublai Millan, young Davao based sculptor, ably provided the sculptures of the young native kids having cherubic faces, including their buggy eyes.  Definitely, heart warming and adorable, such depictions illustrate the gentle and tender nature of our ethnic brethren.

 

through a foggy road to gethsemane

Posted in lifestyle, locales, nature, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by mijodo

picturesque gethsemane

It was an early morning drive. My cousin and travel partner, Ate Mae Hipolito were en route to Bukidnon from Davao City. Ate Mae’s sister, Ate Betsy and her husband Dr. Ezranelson Alojado (Nong Nene) volunteered to drop us off near the quaint Seagull Inn and Resto at Kitaotao area along the Davao – Bukidnon Hiway. But just before we reached the inn, we had planned to have a stopover at Gethsemane, the Alojado family retreat area, nestled in the boondocks of Marilog District of Davao City.

The trip should probably take an hour to the Garden of Gethsemane, using  the beautifully cemented road going up the mountain area. It had been an easy drive until about 20 minutes just before we arrived at the junction where an adjoining road at the right proceeds directly to my cousins’ place.

As the sun slowly appeared on the horizon, the road was blanketed by heavy dense fog. There was practically zero visibility for the drivers still zooming along the road. Driving in such condition could be dicey, but for me, it was an exciting and thrilling ride, reminiscent of those treks to Baguio and Tagaytay.

We were lucky that it was not raining thus we opted to roll down our car windows.  Here I got to experience right away the brisk, nippy weather as the car gradually advanced to our destination, thanks to the good driving skills of Nong Nene.  Even in September, it was Christmastime climate in Marilog Hills.

It almost bewildered me. The fog was so thick that I could not remember if I had experienced the same in my travels to climate cold places in the Philippines, including Banaue.  In that substantial mist up in the hills, I could sense a difference in the ways of living in the area.  Children, in woolen sweaters, amble about towards school in an almost deserted road as jeepneys and other small public conveyances don’t ply the route. Young men still on the same road brought pots and vats of potable water as some of the residences in the area have no  access to clean water yet.  “These scenes could be featured on a National Geographic tv documentary,” I told myself.

Along the road, the area was so oozing with remarkable and natural beauty such that the place seemed remote and alien to citydwellers. Yet let it be known that  Datu Salumay is just one small locality of one big Davao City.

Amidst the fog, we tried to locate the access road that forks out from the main hiway. It was tricky, yet we found it  (a waiting shed would be the landmark to make that right turn). But what was trickier was the short drive, through rocks and gravel. A four-wheel drive car or truck was deemed necessary to get to the place. Then all of a sudden, the smooth cemented road appeared until we reached exactly the destined place, Garden of Gethsemane.

Pepito, the caretaker, welcomed us warmly, and told us that classes had been suspended in the area. I never thought that fog could even stop classes.

But at the place of my cousins, the gods of  Gethsemane perhaps cleared the fog for me. Immediately I got enthralled with the postcard prettiness of the place. The meandering stairway steps. The cascading waterfalls. The several pools and ponds – for swimming and for koi watching. The hanging bridges. The faux logcabin. The soaring pine trees.  The hundred blooms of dahlia, sweet honey, and lillies all over. The biting cold temperature (even during summers, I am told)  just enhanced the picturesque location, considered to be more than one hectare in land area.

I felt proud of my Ate Betsy, who has judiciously tended their resthouse gardens almost on a weekly basis.  I was told that people in Davao City have been wanting to stay for a night or two to camp out in the area. “Almost every weekend, particularly during summers, there were people renting our place. There is a hut that can accommodate ten to twelve people. But some would still opt to put up a tent, ” she said with glee.

“Some would use the karaoke machine until early morning. But if it were me, I would rather commune with nature in silence,” Ate Mae interrupted.

But I knew if I had the chance to stay, I would read lots of books, and commune with the interesting folks in the area, and forget for a moment my tv.

Too bad, Ate Mae and I had to cut short our visit at Gethsemane, as we wanted to be in Malaybalay, just before noontime. Nong Nene and Ate Betsy brought us at Seagull  Inn, about a kilometer away from the junction. At the inn, it was easier to take the bus. The fog was a little less dense at that time, but still considerable. We bade our good hosts goodbye, and were able to take the public ride in no time.  We were off again, still through the same foggy road, but this time – to Bukidnon.

 (For those wanting to have a weekend getaway at the Garden of Gethsemane, please call (082)2271628 or 09178119641 (Ms. Betsy Alojado).)

fashion salvo

Posted in events, lifestyle with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2008 by mijodo

It is another round of Philippine Fashion Week for all style afficionados. Last night, with the kind help of Davao clothes genius, Ronan Opina, I was able to get inside SMX and take a sneek peek on what could be fashionably exciting for months to come. Twelve were able to present their collections. They were Benjie Panizales, Butz Fuentes, Catherine Cavilte, Czarina Villa, Emi Alexander-englis, Happy Andrada, Jerome Lorico, Nholie Pilapil, Nicky Martinez, Noe Reyes Nolie Vineza, and Ronan Opina. It was a mixed bag of ethnic inspired, retro, avantgarde, couture, and a lot of in-betweens. Pretty interesting.