Breakfast of Champions

Diet ruined. Yesterday, buffet. This morning, buffet. I think it’s going to be another long day. 


Buffet to End Today

After a whole day of visiting branch facilities and conducting an awareness session, I am now, officially, famished. 

Glad to have found this buffet, Chippens, that offers Korean food. Oh, yes.

Early Morning Obstacle

I arrived just in the nick of time. With the Uber not listening to my requests, we got into an early traffic jam with trucks.

But, nonetheless, I made it to my flight with the Uber driver in one piece.

Off to Davao for work. That sounds so grown up. I will probably sleep the whole time of the flight. Or not. I am on the side of the sunrise, I would love to catch a glimpse of that.

Davao Adventure: Day 2

1:00 AM

I wake up from all  the drunkenness that was last night. I felt the need to vomit and I went directly to the bathroom. I was successful in that endeavor and when I felt that I was at my worst, I learned that he was still awake. I asked him to call me and he did. All I heard was a reprimand that I should not drink if I cannot handle it. That was sweet, I thought. We bid each other good night.

9:00 AM

I wake up from a good night’s sleep – one of the better reasons was he called me. I shout to my friends that we should go find breakfast immediately.

10:00 AM

We leave the hotel looking for food. We walk aimlessly as we follow our sense of smell. In one of the corners, we found TAPS. It probably is the one recommended for breakfast. They have a variation of silog (fried rice and egg)  meals imaginable. They can include lechong kawali and corned beef and chorizo and the usual tapa or longganisa. The breakfast was filling and I couldn’t have it any other way.

We receive a call an our later that they have arrived at Clark International Airport.

11:30 AM

We get home and prepare ourselves for the tour of the day.

1 PM

They arrive at the hotel. We check them in and we immediately left for lunch.

The sumptuous seafood platter!

1:15 PM

We eat at the Yellow Fin Restaurant. It’s a seafood restaurant and it’s probably one of the best known in the area. We ordered a seafood platter and rice and fish laing. I must say that they have delicious rice and it is really filling. It’s like you need not order more because one serving is just enough to cover a complete meal. The seafood platter is composed of a variety of seafood. That was way obvious. It includes eel, tuna, clams and squid. The tuna tasted so good and the eel and squid aren’t rubbery. Our first meal together as a group was a blast! There are a lot of noise and name-calling. But that’s just us as friends. The service, though, is a bit slow or maybe it was the rush hour for lunch traffic. The long time to serve us our food is very noticeable.

There was a statue of David. We don’t know why.

2:30 PM

We arrive at the bay walk. The park would have been nice if it was maintained. There is clearly lack of maintenance on the part of the government. The trees are dying. There is no water in the fountain. The walkways are dirty. All the money must have gone to the People’s Park which is sad because the place is really a good venue to unwind and just relax. Here, you have a good view of the sea and the breeze is just heavenly.

3:00 PM

We arrive at Lola Abon’s place. If you want to buy candies for your loved ones, this is the place to be. They have a lot of experimental stuff with durian candy like durian-pandan and durian-mango and durian-chocolate. There are assortment of durian food stuff too like ice cream and bars and pastillas and yema. They also have langka and mangosteen variants.

The entrance to the eagle conservatory.

4:00 PM

It was a long ride to the Philippine Eagle Center. The venue is located at the Davao-Bukidnon Highway is already part of the mountainous part of Davao. They have a water treatment complex inside the compound which was a bit ironic because there aren’t really water to be found. I wish that they would also fund for the maintenance of the place because it’s such a waste that the venue looks old and neglected. The area is cool because it’s in the mountains. There are a lot of trees and might be able to garner a lot more tourists if it was upgraded.

We didn’t enter the conservatory itself because of the high entrance fee and we were able to see the eagles even if we’re not in. One of our friends decided to take a picture with an albino snake. I don’t really know if it is albino or it is just its natural color.

The monkey cage.

5:00 PM

The Japanese Tunnel is one of the historical parts of Davao. It is the hideout of the Japanese during the revolution of 1945. The date may be variable to 1-2 years because I didn’t really get to hear the exact one. It has a Buddha which was probably worshipped by the Japanese during those times. It also has the monkey cage which is used as prison for captured Filipinos. It has a wishing vault where all the old and vintage weapons are displayed. It’s a bit short but they’re creating a longer one that will end at the Philippine Eagle Center. I hope that when I come back that trek will be available.

We tried to cram ourselves into the monkey cage. The guide said that 5-6 Filipinos are put into the cage when they are caught. I realized that my height is not of the normal Filipino during that time. They also have life-sized Japanese soldiers inside and I must tell you that they aren’t tall.

The tribe that is obsessed with fire.

6:00 PM

The Crocodile Park was about to close when we arrived. But, we were lucky enough that the Tribal Dance Troupe still has one more performance to show. What fun. I call them the fire-obsessed tribe of Mindanao because everything they did included fire. I am at awe with the effects of the materials they have especially when the night is suddenly falling on us. I must say that the guys were a lot better than the girls when it comes to showmanship. They have made fire-dancing look easy or easy enough.

We also went into the Crocodile Park itself and was sad that they couldn’t open the lights for us. So we just accepted the fact that we will be seeing the crocodiles in the dark. There were other animals inside like snakes and deer and lizards. There were also different kinds of birds.

Dinner on the side of a cliff.

8:00 PM

We were just all hungry by the time we ended the tour of the park. So, we asked our driver to bring us to Jack’s Ridge. Jack’s Ridge is like a group of establishments on a hill that overlooks that city. We weren’t disappointed when we saw the venue and the restaurants that make up the compound. We decided to eat at Taklobo as it was recommended by our driver.

The place is nice. The wind is chilly. The restaurant is big and you’d realize that there are really a lot people eating there. Despite that number of people, their service is a bit fast. They have great iced tea. Their sinigang is really sour which is a good thing. Everything seems to be cooked perfectly, especially the chicken. My only comment, though, is that the sisig seemed to be made of onions more than pork. That was my only complaint.

Dinner was really nice. Even though we were all tired from the travel and exploring of the day, we still had the energy to enjoy each other’s company. Also, at the end of the meal, we decided to do something nice for our driver and we bought him a sandwich as a thank you.

10:00 PM

We arrive back at the hotel and say thank you to our driver. The gang wanted to go out to drink so all prepared ourselves.

11:00 PM

Apparently, people wanted to take a bath so it took a long time before we were able to get out of the hotel. We decided to go to Nobi’s which was beside Yellow Fin. There was a live band and the girl was just so good. We wanted for her to sing a lot more songs because we only heard her sing once. Unfortunately, it was the boy’s turn. We didn’t have much complaints too as he also has a soothing and relaxing voice.

Learning from the experience of the night before, I swore that I wouldn’t drink much beyond my normal tolerance. We ordered Tanduay Ice. I thought that I will be able to handle it but by the middle of the night, I was striking my head because I was getting headaches.

Plus, a friend told me that my special friend misses me. I don’t believe what I just heard.

Davao Adventure: Day 1

12 MN

I was a little bit stressed because he just left out of the blue. I tried not to think of things by reading my new book The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. It was a nice read. But, soon enough, I was asleep on my friend’s couch.

2 AM

I hear Aaron come in from work. I think that for a teacher, taking a long vacation will be really taxing. You cannot stay away from school for too long because everything will go awry. I try to get some more sleep because I feel like it’s going to be a long day.

4 AM

I wake up again. This time, it’s to prepare for the long trip to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. As usual, I had a hard time waking up the lovers. What time did they sleep again? And Erwin did not have any sleep at all.

I took a bath before going to RC’s house so I just changed clothes and prepped myself. Put on some deo and cologne. I tried to weigh my back to make sure that I am within the range of check-in baggages.

4:30 AM

After thirty minutes, we were finally able to get out of the house and make our way to the bus terminal. We rode on a taxi and surprisingly our bags was able to fit in the trunk.

5:15 AM

We arrive at the bus terminal and purchased tickets for a bus bound for Dagupan that leaves the soonest. We are to go down at the Dau Bus Terminal. By this time, I feel the pangs of hunger. The last meal I ate was the night before and it isn’t something that will get you through the whole day.

The trip to the Dau Bus Terminal was all too familiar. It was the usual route when the family comes to visit our relatives in Guagua. The bus, though, turned towards Angeles instead of San Fernando.

The bus we were in had wifi. I was amazed, yet again, despite the fact that I was able to ride one when we went to Zambales last summer.

6:50 AM

We arrive at the Dau Bust Terminal. It was earlier than what I expected it to be. I thought that it’s going to be a long 2 hour drive to the venue. But since we’re talking about a flight, it’s better to be early than late.

We took our bathroom breaks and looked for vehicles bound for the airport. We were able to get the airconditioned jeepneys which cost Php 100 per person. I was sure that we should have went with the use of public transportation options. We would have saved a lot more money.

7:30 AM

We arrived at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. There aren’t a lot of people and our check-in counter isn’t open yet. We wait / sleep. Now, I feel how it is to have lots of travel involved in their work.

8:20 AM

The check-in counter opens. YAY.

The sad thing is that Aaron had excess baggage so he had to purchase an additional 15 kilograms of check-in baggage. That is just so sad. Which reminds me that I am a very light packer. I was able to put 5 days worth of clothing in less than 7 kilograms. How good am I?

Then when we were to enter the pre-departure lounge, a security personnel stopped me and wanted to check my bag. The scanner, apparently, saw the containers of the stuff April asked me to buy. I diverted the attention of the checking security personnel to my toiletries bag where she realized that I only have small amounts of liquid in my bag.

9:30 AM

We board the plane! I am so excited to ride an airplane again.

The view from where I was seated.

10:20 AM

And then we fly to Davao!

12 NN

We arrive at Davao International Airport. The moment I open my Globe phone, he called. I cannot hide my happiness and I lose the bet I have with Erwin. With that call, he gets a free meal. That situation both sucked and brought joy to me. I am a lot confused then.

We made our way to the taxi stands and hired a taxi to take us to our hotel. We see that Davao is also a beautiful city. It does not have the high skyscrapers of Manila. It has a homey and laid back vibe to it. It doesn’t have awful traffic.

We see a school named Wireless Elementary School. We are all at awe. We were surprised with the name because it is a bit out of the ordinary for a province to name the local school, Wireless.

12:30 PM

We find our hotel and checked-in. We drop our bags, rested for a little and looked for food.

The very heavy first meal in Davao.

1 PM

We discovered this buffet – Kuya Ed’s. It offers eat-all-you-can lunch for Php 150. We immediately took the offer because we realized that there will be no other place that you will find a buffet for Php 150. We were wrong when we found out that Davao has plenty of these places.

That was probably one of the most filling lunches ever. For a buffet, I saw that the diners were from all walks of life. There was one person who still has paint all over his hands and clothes. There are businessmen. There were families and there were friends who were just having a nice chit-chat over lunch. That was probably one of the coolest things I experienced.

The food was also phenomenal. I loved the fish which tasted like half-milkfish, half-tilapia. The rice was very filling. The laing was cooked differently. They had fruits for desserts and the occasional banana cakes.

That was probably the sign of what we’ll be doing in Davao – eat.

2:30 PM

We decided to sleep because of the filling lunch and that we don’t have enough sleep at all.

The big eagle of Davao at People's Park

5:00 PM

Erwin and I decided to go the nearby People’s Park. It’s like a very big park for runners, lovers, families and friends. And, speaking of friends, I met my then officemate, April, for a quick meeting. I brought the stuff she asked me to buy and I gave her our gift – a nail art set. We walked around the park and learned that the government spend hundreds of pesos just to get it done. I must say that it is a nice investment because the people will have a place to enjoy and relax within the city limits.

7:30 PM

Aaron called and asked where we were. We said that we are at the nearby People’s Park and they wanted to eat dinner. Along the road towards the park are a lot of food establishments and we decided on eating at Toryano’s. They say that they are best known for their native chicken dishes. Despite that fact, I ordered a plate of liempo. Like other fast food chains in Manila, they also offer unlimited servings of rice. That was the best bit. They have a small serving of liempo but I was able to consume about 3 cups of rice. That’s the best I can get. I also ordered a glass of calamansi juice which was a bit sour but that was the point of it, really.

We had a nice chat over dinner with April. Then, by the time someone called Erwin on the phone, we decided to leave while he was not looking.

We were thinking of going to a bar and drink the night out. But, we decided on buying drinks instead and do it in the comforts of our rooms.

9:00 PM

We set ourselves to look for drinks. The place looks deserted. We found a convenience store nearby and filled our basket with Antonov Vodka. I was not feeling good about this because I know that I have low alcoholic tolerance.

Then, what was bound to happen, happened. I got drunk. At first I was really enthusiastic about it because I couldn’t feel the effects of alcohol. When my head started to hurt, I could handle myself anymore. I know that I said things that I shouldn’t have. I exaggerated feelings that I shouldn’t have.

11:30 PM

I went back to our room, pulled the covers and slept.

Impressions of Davao

Welcome to Davao International Airport

I was going to Davao with a mindset that I would want to enjoy this trip because of the company and a new place to explore.

When we arrived at the airport, I immediately felt the fresh breeze, the warm sun and eery sense of the world that nature has to offer you. The weather was just perfect. It was windy. The sun was up. It was a sign that things are bound to be better.

Just like Cebu, the taxis in Davao has a report slip in the case that your taxi driver decides to be a bitch to you. I think that this provides security to both local and foreign travelers. The good thing, too, is that the local flag down rate is still Php 40 and the same additional rate for per minute or per distance traveled still applies. This is as opposed to the metered taxis of Manila which start at Php 70.

As we made our way to the city, I can feel the rural vibe of the area. Although there are establishments, you see less of the more commercial ones that abound Manila. They still like the old-fashioned home-cooked meals. They like their vegetables and fruits fresh off the farm.

We arrived at Downtown Davao City and I must say that the city is orderly. There are a lot of one-way streets, there isn’t much pollution, there is a strong smell of durian in the air. They also have effective urban planning. In one of the streets you will find all of the commercial establishments like McDonald’s and Shakey’s. Then, the rest are all local businesses that strive in the bustling and progressive city.

What also struck me is the abundance of cheap places to eat. Nowhere will you find buffet lunches that only cost Php 150 or less. This is quality food at its cheapest. You would also find diners that serve really cheap fried chicken. I don’t say that this is just one, on every street and street corner, you’ll find a lot of these places. You’ll never run out of places to eat even if you’re a bit short on cash.

One thing I like about Davao is that you can walk to anywhere you want. That is because the weather is just right and there isn’t any type of pollution. The streets are well-maintained. The city is clean. Traffic is almost non-existent and people don’t just cross the street whenever they feel the need to. The drivers are a lot more courteous.

Night time at Davao is truly different from Manila. There are districts where nightlife is available. However, for the other establishments, they close at around 7PM – 8PM. It is rare to find a shop that is open at 9PM except for convenience stores. The streets are really quiet and you’d feel like the place is deserted. This is a nice attitude for Dabawenyos. They also have an alcohol ban from 2AM – 6AM.

I think that the city ordinances are strictly in place and that the citizens are willingly abiding them. This translates to a city where you feel a lot safer and cleaner.

Davao will probably one of my choices if ever I decide to relocate. The place has a laid back vibe to it which I really like. You have everything that you need in a small amount of space – the church, city hall, places to eat. Then, if you’d like an adventure, Samal Island is a boat’s ride away or go to the nearest white water rafting venue. There is a bustling night life, a park for everyone and markets that are not only clean but also offers goods at low prices.

Davao is definitely one of the best places I have ever visited.