Davao City doesn’t smell of durian anymore. Unlike when I first set foot here two decades ago, the scent greets you even before you can get off the plane.

And we had a hard time finding one in Bankerohan. The locals have conflicting views in this occurrence.

A Mindanaoan colleague, Joel Medado, stumbled upon a stand of durian and bought a kilo, have it diced and packed airtight in a tupperware to keep the “gym sock” smell trapped. Not everyone enjoys the aroma.

Fresh durian is prohibited on flights. If he can get this pasalubong to his home in Cagayan de Oro, I wonder.

Even Davaoeños themselves don’t share the same delight in durian’s odor.

They have a tootsie in President Digong now. Not durian anymore. If PRRD is their unifying force, durian could be the G-force.

But is he a fruit of Davao city?

“You Manileños don’t understand” — a taxi driver interrupted me. “Digong is not from Davao. His birthplace is Leyte. The old man’s grit is rooted deep from his Waray blood.”

I asked if Digong is around on this Araw ng Davao celebration. He should be, the man replied. He wouldn’t be president were it not for the Davaoeños.

May hugot.

I get the drift. I believe in taxi drivers. If you really want to know the real state of the nation, you talk to cab drivers. Also to motorela drivers, or trike drivers, or pedicab drivers.

They can engage you in interesting poli-talk and domestic affairs and legislature you’d wish you hadn’t arrived at your destination.

But that’s if you can keep your opposing political science behind.

In other words, sakay lang.

Davao drivers are basically nice. (But not necessarily disciplined.) One trike driver went out of his way to help me get to Davao Doc.

Another fellow tried his best Tagalog in showing me the way to Sta. Ana pier. I can’t speak Cebuano. Their extra efforts are exemplary.

Only three close encounters with Davao city drivers all in all. The rest of my trip I turn to my own two feet. I walked this town inside out.

I walked from Chinatown to Bankerohan.

From F. Torres to Magallanes.

From Magsaysay Park to People’s Park.

I walked Davao City till I can’t walk no more.


  1. right, sir. the simple yet practical views of cab or rela drivers are sometimes to me worth listening – yup, sakay lang! real travelers need to walk and walk….

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