THE DAVAO THAT I KNOW
When I visited Davao for the first time in 1985 and eventually settled in late 2000s, there was nothing extraordinary to speak of, well, except for the fact that its native citizens were already before and up to the present, the same honest, hardworking and truthful kind.
It is a far cry from any other urban area or from the metropolis (Manila) where I came from. There was little abuse, so insignificant an exploitation and no flagrant harm on the psyche of the people and its vast environment. In Manila, one must be shrewd to survive and succeed. Over in Davao, there is no need to outsmart anyone because the playing field is level whether one is native or a migrant. In Manila, aside from hard work, one must also be wise. In Davao, hard work is defined with honesty.
In Manila, if you buy a watermelon, the chances are, the fruit to you pointed at will be replaced through sleight of hand once it is wrapped. In Davao, if you pointed at a fruit and the storekeeper noticed that it is about to get spoiled, would warn you immediately and would replace it with a good one.
The people of Davao have retained their old school mentality despite social, cultural and political changes. They can be trusted upon; they are reliable, consistent and unfailing. These are qualities which may have been bred by the bountiful resources within their reach, the unspoiled natural geographic and physical assets it is surrounded with and the eclectic retention of good values from different religious and ideological influences. The bad ones are easily discarded and the good ones instantly absorbed.
Politics had nothing to do with the good quality of Davao except that its greatness can only be enhanced through good local government leadership. If there is a good leader, Davao’s profile is amplified. If it has a bad leader, Davao folks would just coast along unaffected. Business is thriving because the workers are its principal strength. People just love to work and their workplace treated as a sacred ground. There is no other facet of management worth appreciating than human resource development. Employment is held as an important segment of social life and nobody fucks around to destroy that revered labor climate.
Davao has a number of ethnic tribes within its fold. And one finds it very interesting to note that the Lumad, the group that camped out in Baclaran sometime ago during the Papal and Apec events, were the same Lumad ethnic group who came all the way from Mindanao complaining about the abuses they were exposed to from Military-NPA operations in their mountain lair. It has been said that the Lumad tribe is genetically linked to an extinct specie of humans that thrived 41,000 years ago in Sibera and South East Asia. DNA test yields that Lumad shared a common nuclear genome with that of the so-called Neanderthal man. Ang dugo pala nitong mga natibo dito sa Davao mas matanda pa sa mga characters sa Biblia!
No wonder, modern man of Davao derives its collective strength from indigenous people who survived from centuries of fatal social, political, cultural changes, wars, calamities, epidemic, human folly.
It’s interesting to reside within this background after all.