I am an American, but I have lived in Davao City for longer than any other place that I have lived in my life! That is kind of unusual, don’t you think? How did it come to be?
Well, when I was a child, my father’s work took us all around the USA, and even to other countries as well. During my childhood, I usually only lived in any given place for 2 or 3 years. We moved a lot, and it meant that I never really put down roots in any certain place. When people ask me “where are you from” it can be difficult for me to give an answer, because i just don’t have those hometown roots that most people have.
In 1990, I married my wife, Feyma. She was from General Santos City, in the Southern Philippines. General Santos is about a 2 to 3 hour south of Davao City. My wife immigrated to the USA and we lived there for about 10 years, but I wanted to move to the Philippines. I was looking for a change in my life, and I thought that living in the Philippines would be a great adventure. Feyma was decidedly less excited with the thought of returning to the Philippines, but I was able to convince her to do it!
So, in 2000 we pulled up our roots and made the move to General Santos City. Unfortunately, just about the time we arrived in “GenSan” the peace and order situation there took a turn for the worse. There were terrorist bombings regularly in the City. With 3 young kids, we decided that GenSan was probably not the right place for us. A friend encouraged me to take a look at moving to Davao City. I didn’t think it was a great option, because Davao was relatively close to GenSan and I just thought that the bombings and other instability would follow us to Davao. However, upon visiting Davao and being shown around by my friend, we decided to give it a try.
Wow, what a huge difference! Davao had (and still has) very strong political leadership. At the time we moved, our Mayor in Davao was Rodrigo Duterte. Mr. Duterte is now the President of the Philippines! He got elected President because of his strong leadership in Davao, and his reputation as a Law and Order President who did not put up with criminals! As you can imagine, we never had a real terrorist problem in Davao!
Over my years of living in Davao City (nearly 15 years in the City at the time of writing) I really grew to love this place. It is a modern city, a place where you can enjoy all of the conveniences of city life, while still maintaining a small town feel. While the City is large in terms of land area (largest city in the world), and has more than 1.5 Million residents, you get the feel that it is not very large and you see people you know at the malls and around the city. It really is a perfect place to enjoy life in my opinion.
What makes Davao Special?
Well, just about everything. Here is a list of things that I feel make Davao different, and special.
- Islands. Well, Davao is on an Island, Mindanao Island, but we are right on the coast, with the Gulf of Davao just off the eastern coast of the city. In the Davao Gulf there are several islands to visit for entertainment. Samal Island is the most popular and has many world class resorts to visit!
- Highlands. You can literally be enjoying breakfast on Samal Island and in just an hour or two you can be up in the mountains! Have lunch up at a Mountain Resort! So, both islands and highlands are right outside Davao’s doors! Whatever type of place you like, you can find it a short distance from Davao.
- Lots to do! We have so many things to do in Davao. Family entertainment. Festivals. Farming. Horseback riding. Whatever interests you, there is a good chance you can find people doing it in Davao City or very nearby.
- Food. Davao has some of the best food available in the Philippines, and also the least expensive! Being right on the water, seafood is abundant and inexpensive here. But, we are also right next to one of the most productive farming/agricultural Provinces in the Philippines, so we have great availability of vegetables and meats as well. Speaking of meats, you can find so many kinds of meat in the City. They even raise Ostrich here and sell the meat! Whatever you like in the way of food, you can bet that you will find it in Davao City.
- Fruits. Wow Davao! It is practically the fruit capital of the Philippines. If you like fruit, you will love Davao. Every kind of tropical fruit that you can imagine. Even the King of Fruits, Durian, a real delicacy in Davao City!
All of this and so much more makes me love Davao. A safe, clean and beautiful place. I have raised my kids in Davao, and my wife and I enjoy life here a great deal!
Why not come and have a look for yourself! I think you’ll love it too.