Graziel Mae G. Ramat, Jolina I. Bado, John Brien C. Nisperos
Region I

The sun is taking its rest in the west, and its soft and golden rays momentarily blinded my eyes as I stare and watch the surroundings outside the taxi window.

People continue to roam around the city, and the cars are as just many as I remember from the very first time I set my foot on Davao City almost two weeks ago.

I released a deep sigh, thinking this is now my last day in Davao. I closed my eyes, and sadness dwelled in my heart. I can’t believe that it’s time to go home and go back to my normal routine this summer. I looked at my friends, and on their faces were etched the same sentiment.

The sun sets deeper as we continue our ride to Davao International Airport, and as darkness claims the moment, the street and car lights in different colors lifted up my mood and eased the baggage in my heart.
We are going to miss this.

We are going to miss traffic congestion in Davao as traffic lights command the cars to a stop–the moments where we spent most of our time looking around–amazed at the giant buildings and billboards, and awed at how we cannot even see one single plastic garbage on the streets of Davao City.

We are going to miss the mouth-watering grilled fish or squid, barbecue, and other street foods in Roxas Night Market. I will miss their pastil–a rice with meat or fish as ulam packed in banana leaf. We will miss their tapioca drink, their sweet black ice cream with activated charcoal, their soft and sweet pomelo, and all the food Davao City has to offer.

We will miss the pungent yet sweet smell of durian in the air of Davao, or in our breaths after eating one. We will miss the language and accent of the people, or when they greet us maayong gabii when we all decided to eat in a carinderia for dinner.

We will also miss the tourist spots of Davao. The Philippine Eagle Centre–the moment we saw one Philippine Eagle spread its wings with might and pride, our heart broke for the sad reality that these King of Birds are now close to vanishing. Witnessing their gray eyes for the first time, we were made aware of our responsibilities as Filipinos.

The Eden Garden is like a representation of my heart during our stay here in Davao–colorful and in bloom. There’s still beauty in these cruel world, and Eden Garden, from its name, is a world planted with flowers of hope; Hope that makes us keep our faith in Him no matter how many typhoons rage through our lands.

Of course, we will miss the Davaoeños. The people who make the city alive. The people who make the city one of a kind. We will miss their genuine smiles, their hospitality, and the sense of security they made us feel as we stayed here. Within the short two weeks of being here in the city, the Davaoeños made us immediately feel at home and our hearts warm.

We will miss their “Welcome to Davao!” whenever they learn that we were from the northern island of the archipelago. We will miss talking to them. We will miss everything about them. We will miss everything about Davao City. The Durian Dome.

For me, I will miss the Davao rain. I remember how magical it is to experience my first rain of the year during our third day stay in Davao City. I remember how the cold raindrops touched my skin. I remember how my heart bloomed with color when I smelled the earth, and then, after a very long time, my empty soul is alive and full again.

In a short span of time, we have proven why “Life is here.”

Because life is really here.

I was snapped out of my reverie by car horns and airplane engine.

I remember the time when we arrived here–sleepy and tired, but it was then gone the instant we heard the voices of some police officers singing and serenading us. I remember the cold Davao air at night, how I breathed it in, and from that very moment I knew… Davao is something.

It’s not the end but we now have to say goodbye.

It’s not the end, and not the last time… and I know we will come back to this place.

Because a part of us will always, always be here.

A part of my life will stay here.

I bring my pen and paper out, and as I cherish my last moments here, I started to scribble.

  • This Philippine eagle. It reminds us to love, care, and have concern for our nature. It symbolizes the rich Filipino heritage that we must treasure. Photo by Aijeleth Shahar B. Contaoi

To the People of Davao,

Five days ago, we were then used to waking up to your warm morning sun and bright faces.

Four days ago, gratitude filled our hearts when one of you helped us get back to our routes to our quarters.

Days we were staying here, we did not know your ways of transportation, and that little thing that you did was a big one for us.

Three days ago, you played your aces and helped us draw one of the best cards that we can ever have.

Two days ago, the eagle in our hearts flew to where it should be–happiness–as you uncovered the real wonders of Davao and let us experience that Davao life is here.

Until a day ago, you did not stop making us feel at home.

Today, after days of familiarizing ourselves with Davao, we are now about to go home, and I can’t help these tears from falling because we have developed this friendship that only we, Filipinos, can understand.

Thank you for the love and care.

Siguraduhon namo nga mobalik mi dinhi sa Dakbayan sa Dabaw.

We will surely come back here in the City of Davao.

P.S. The journalists of Region 1 in the Palarong Pambansa 2019… now signing off.

Hantod sa sunod natong pagkita.

Until we meet again.