Sunday, July 25, 2010

Magsaysay Fruit Market in Davao City

Davao Delight

Davao City is home to Mt. Apo, the Philippines' tallest peak, as well as the Philippine Eagle Nature Center, and other mountain and beach resorts. Though my companion and I wanted to explore these spots, we couldn't because we were there briefly for official work and little time for recreation. But surprisingly, Davao City still gave me some reasons for a delightful short stay.

For a start, the city is a No Smoking Zone. The stewardess reminded us early about this before disembarking from the plane. A city ordinance prohibits smoking in public establishments, and for someone who's exposed to second-hand smoke, this is a great relief indeed.

It surprised me that roads in Davao City are wide, and the common mode of transportation is the taxi. We were pleased that taxi drivers are courteous, and returned our change, even if it's just a few coins.

After a day's seminar, I walked around the block of our hotel and noticed a number of restaurants serving grilled chicken. People here seem to have a fascination for this kind of chicken! But what excited me was the discovery of a small fruit shake stand near People's Park. I heard from my friend Raissa from Davao, that durian shake tastes great. So immediately, I refreshed myself with a medium glass of durian-apple-mango shake--for only P20!

Speaking of durian, we couldn't leave Davao without tasting this celebrated king of the fruits. At Magsaysay Fruit Market, my companion and I, together with friends from The Master's Link Travel and Tours ( were initiated into the rites of eating durian. Although I've warned about its unpleasant odor, I wasn't really bothered by the smell. I even liked the sweet taste and creamy texture of the native durian. But instead of eating it with our bare hands, we opted to eat it with our hands wrapped in plastic so the odor won't stick to our fingers. (But, it still did!)

Another must-visit for us of course, is the Aldevinco Shopping Center at the junction of Claro M. Recto and Manuel Roxas Avenues. Aldevinco is the place to go to for shopping souvenirs like batik and Davao products. The colorful display of shawls, bags, slippers, dusters, table cloths and other souvenirs is truly a visual feast. Any shopaholic will find Aldevinco a haven!

Because of Aldevinco, durian, and the other reasons mentioned--Davao City, I would say, has been a delight. I would love to come back soon.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Majestic Mayon

For fifteen years, I lived in a valley where I had a view of the distant mountain ranges. Now, in the province where my family and I currently live, I see hills and mountains whenever I move around. I enjoy the view of the mountains and it's a blessing that I see them most of the time, even from afar. Yet, I've only climbed hills perhaps twice or thrice in my life.

My fascination for mountains was reflected even in my childhood drawings. I would draw two mountains, with the sun rising from the twin slopes. I would color them green and blue, but it puzzled me as to why mountains look blue from afar. Up to now, I still don't know why.

My experiences with mountains were not always pleasant. There was one embarrassing and frustrating experience I had back when I was in Grade 4. We were supposed to make a diorama, I think, for a Science project and I chose to make a miniature mountain out of dirt. On the day of submission, my mountain collapsed. I crumbled to pieces, and tears washed away my hopes for earning a good grade. I didn't know how to make a mountain.

That is why when I saw Mayon Volcano when our plane passed by before landing at the Legazpi Airport in Albay, I was speechless and frozen. I've seen Mayon Volcano in postcards but I never thought I would have the chance to see it face-to-face. The world's perfect cone and the Philippines' most active volcano has captured my heart.

After landing at the airport, I gazed at Mt. Mayon standing almost 8,000 ft from the ground. Clouds drifted by its side and tip, as smoke came out of its mouth. It stood majestically, unmoved and visible for all to see.

When darkness fell over the city, we climbed the nearby Lingnon Hill Nature Park to have a night view of Legazpi and its neighboring municipalities. After enjoying the view of the city lights, my companions and I set our sights once again to Mt. Mayon. Though it was dark, Mt. Mayon's silhouette was still clear. Glowing red cinders burst out of its crest. We kept muttering how beautiful the volcano is, how majestic it is, and how great its Creator is. For a moment, we stood still, basking in the quiet statement of the mountain: God created this beautiful mound, and it is a reflection of His power and grand design; He molded it by His own hands.

I don't know how to make a mountain, and I can never make a mountain. But I know God created this beautiful mountain.

For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry lands. Psalm 95:1-3