I live here. When people in anywhere get together for coffee, or even strike up small talk when they first meet; one of the first questions that comes out is “Where do you live?” I regret that I cannot share with you dear readers, where I live in person. So I’ve decided to share what I can about Davao, its’ sights, smells, traditions..as well as the people who live here, with you over the internet. 15,000 miles away and I hope that I can give you some sense of the people I live with everyday, a small snapshot into the lives of the Davaoians, the largest city of Mindanao and for right now, my home.
Well, where to start. Davao is the second largest city of the Philippines, second only to Metro Manila. It is an independent city, meaning it’s not part of any province, much like the Bundestaadts of Germany. If you spoke to anyone in Manila and asked them the first thing they thought of when asked about Davao, 9 out of 10 would say Durian. Actually 10 out of 10 would say Durian.
Durian is a magical tropical fruit. As far as I know it only grows in the Philippines and in Indonesia. Durian is common ground. It is a bonding experience. I can now connect with every filipino, because I’ve had Durian…in some ways I imagine it’s like being through a war. Except not only have I tasted it..but I like it. There is a saying about durian…people will speculate at lengths about its origin: “Durian: smells like hell, but tastes like heaven.” It smells rotten. If you can get over the smell, and you enjoy a blend of unique texture and a slightly oniony taste, you will also join the ranks of the proud who love Durian. Durian is also a treacherous fruit to harvest. It grows in tall trees. They often weigh more than a kilo, and are armored with spikes. People sustain very serious injuries from ripe Durian falling off the tree. And, due to trade regulations, Durian are not (as far as I know) allowed to be exported due to their hellish smell.
Just talking about it makes me want some. I’ll write some more about Davao later, right now…it’s Durian time.