WHY RETIREES FLOCK TO DAVAO
If one is from Metro Manila (or in some highly urbanized areas) and he intends to move out because he is about to retire (or has retired already), chances of transferring to Davao is an exciting proposition.
That is right, Davao. You heard it correctly. Not Dubai. Not Boracay. Not Davos. Not elsewhere.
Let me put this in perspective first.
Metro Manila may have pursued policies favorable to its senior citizens. Of course, most cities and municipalities in Metro Manila have ordinances protective of the rights and privileges of senior citizens—from buying medicines, waiting lines in banks, bus station, groceries to watching movies. Restaurants, public utilities even department stores respect the considerations due the ageing customer. The humanitarian practice has been legislated and eventually adopted nationwide. And of course, here is usually where their residences are situated and where their children, even their children’s family are virtually positioned. While moving out is some kind of a wishful plan, the thought of starting all over is a challenging scheme, if not a difficult strategy.
On the other hand, there are even those who have worked then settled abroad and adamant to return principally because of the hassles in relocation. Cold weather and cultural difference notwithstanding, they would still remain placid and unaffected. Even if their pension alone could spell a big economic difference, they would rather stay where they are. After all, their children and children’s children have already made the foreign land their very own.
Then why move out if the practical side is to stay put where you are. I met a lot retirees in Davao, all of them from Metro Manila and I was also perplexed by their justifications at the onset. It was when my term exceeded the institutional tradition as head of Davao Penal Colony that I learned the reason behind, of course, on top of their explanations. There was former Chair of Civil Service Commission, Patricia Sto Tomas. She haled from Manila and completed her term as Chairman of CSC. She eventually landed a consultancy post in UN but nevertheless had chosen Davao as her residence. And then there was Civil Service Commission Regional Director Leticia Competente. She is from Bulacan and her children are established professionals and one is even a chief executive of a municipality in said province. She chose to reside in Davao.
Former PNP Chief and former Director of Corrections Oscar Calderon understandably and personally chose Davao. A number of high ranking PNP officials have their own residential houses in Davao. I know a number of businessmen, politicians and those from the academe who preferred to have their own properties and retreat houses in this place too.
There is indeed something that is attractive if not mystical in this part of the country.
Let me count the advantages. Davao is the de facto capital of Mindanao and its business district is therefore as stimulating and big as any major city in South East Asia. As a matter of fact, it is one of the safest cities in the world. Enterprise is peaking all year round; there is employment everywhere and crime index the lowest in country side count. Food is the big difference actually. Vegetable, meat and fruits are great and abundant. It’s cheap and fresh too. Talk about increasing the purchasing power of your peso without holding the banner of activism or dreaming of the good ol’ days.
And then, there is the constant peace and order. No one messes around with the town’s Terminator unlike in some urban areas where the senior citizens are the favorite milking cow if not target of criminal elements. Criminality is on the verge of extinction.
Over in Davao, life is stress free. There is healthy vegetation everywhere from mountain tops to side streets to refresh the eyes and lungs, no traffic headaches, the roads are dedicated to leisurely driving and beaches abound at every turn. Pollution is even unheard of like storms and related calamities.
And if one is born in Metro Manila, one would surely be amazed at the honesty and trustworthiness of the provincial folks in Davao, unsullied and undisturbed by the gross and deceptive character of transients from other urban areas. Manila is just an hour and a half plane ride, faster than commuting from Cubao to Makati.
I have stayed almost a decade in this place and I am still awed at this tropical place. In other parts of the country, when its rainy season, it would be wet for months on end. When it’s dry, it is parched all through out. In Davao, there is sun in the morning until noon and rain in the afternoon and evening—-daily, all year round. If there are days, say four days without rain, it is almost called a drought!
If a retiree intends to live up until he reaches the centennial mark, then Davao must be his destination.