Another work-related travel

Davao City, August 25-27, 2009

I already told you about the work-related seminars/conventions that many of us use as an excuse to travel/go sightseeing on official time. (If someone from work is reading this, I’m not who you think I am. On second thoughts, read on.) In August 2009, seven of us hopped on a plane to Davao City.

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One of us has relatives in Davao City and offered her deceased grandmother’s place for us to stay in. (I mentioned “deceased” because my friend probably wouldn’t have made that offer or we probably wouldn’t have accepted the offer had Grandma been alive. We can be, true to our regional stereotype, raucous. That stereotype will be discussed later, or in some future blog entries if I forget to write about it in this one.) We graciously accepted her offer. We took a cab from that place to the convention venue but it wasn’t much cause for concern as it would have been in Manila because the Davao City cab drivers we encountered were honest and gracious, i.e., they would use a taxi meter to determine our fare; they would give us back change if we were entitled to any; and we didn’t seem to be in danger of getting mugged inside their vehicle.

The initial idea was to present ourselves at the convention venue to listen to speeches, lectures and such only for a few minutes and then, stealthily get out of the room for sightseeing, but one of us was the Vice President of the employee association that organized the whole thing. Nah, who am I kidding? She didn’t have to be there the entire time. What really enticed us to stay and brave through other people talking was the food. It happened more than three years ago and aside from the tuna sushi, I don’t remember what food we ate, but we sure ate! Fruits, fish, meat, they just kept ’em coming, and we couldn’t have been happier. I applaud you, convention organizers, for knowing how to get to this girl’s heart! Who needs to see the sights with the sight of those delicious dishes already upon us? Yes, we were one of the few who religiously attended the seminar.

The one thing about Davao City that all of us, except my friend Mae who has relatives in Davao, didn’t warm up to was durian. Mae and her cousin took us to this fruit stand for live tasting of the fruit. I’ve been around it and, although people say it doesn’t smell good, I only know it to have a strong, sort-of-sweet, not-necessarily-foul, smell. Up until that time, I didn’t know what it tasted like. Langka (Jackfruit), now that’s something I can eat all day, and since they seemed to belong in the same category, I was prepared to like durian, too.

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NO. No, no, no, no, no. I wanted to be polite to my friend and her cousin but the moment that fruit touched my mouth, I spit it out and didn’t give it a chance. My brother, ever so polite, not only gave this fruit a chance but put some more in his mouth. As a consequence, he suffered longer and more intensely.

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Durian aside, Davao is heaven for us who love our food. Aside from the food at the convention site, we also had our fill of tuna and other poor sea creatures (cooked, of course) at Times Beach…

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…and Jack’s Ridge.

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In summation, Davao (minus the durian, except in candy form) is a food paradise. We loved it so much that some years later, Glenda and I (and new bestie Monette, who loves durian!) would find another excuse to visit again.

(A note on regional stereotypes: I’m not into stereotyping really, but some of what people might say about us from Batangas (Batangueños) may be true. Of course, all generalizations will always lead us to a lot of exceptions but in the case of the group that went to Davao, we can appear like we’re always trying to out-talk each other, in terms of speed and volume. The Batangueño has been depicted in Philippine history as a raging warrior, and although we aren’t warriors, our regular conversations may be easily mistaken for heated arguments.)

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