22 May 2006

Davao pasalubong!

Davao is part of a bigger island called Mindanao located south of the Philippines. It is one-third of the country itself, the other group of islands being the Luzon and the Visayas grid.

I had the rare opportunity to visit Davao del Sur last week. It was a business trip, but we managed to take a couple of days off to see the land of the Philippine eagle and the Durian!

Inspite of its reputation as being an island that's a rather dangerous place to be in (due to insurgency), our vacation at the Davao del Sur region was relatively peaceful. In fact, the people were friendly, and the place is one of the cleanest I have ever seen!

Taxi drivers don't choose their customers. Simply get in, tell them where you want to go, and you're off. Plus, they give back your change to the last peso. Ain't that grand?

And going around the place is relatively easy. People speak Filipino as the major language! I was expecting them to speak a Visayan dialect of which I know nothing about. But I had very little difficulty going around and interacting with the locals.

By the way, there are non-aircon taxis too! And i thought those exist only in Baguio. They use the compact Kia cars. It's okay to drive around without aircon because inspite of the heat, you don't get that icky sticky feeling when you sweat here in Manila.

And since there's little or no traffic at all, you can get to your destination in a jiffy!

I will blog about our nature trips and the food in future posts. Today, I would like to talk about pasalubong items!

Aside from the foodies featuring durian-based delicacies and sweets, there are lots of other trinkets and apparel you can choose from. In fact, these goodies are so nice you want to take some home for yourself! Mindanao has a strong Muslim influence , along with its clothing and culture. Ethnic designs make pasalubong items truly unique.

The malong is a cylindrical, long piece of cloth which, when twisted, turned and knotted this way and that, can become a bag, or a dress for women, or a kilt-like thing for men.

Here's Princess Em showing off the malong I bought for myself :-) Thanks Em for being our gracious host to discovering the delights of Davao!

There's also the tubaw, a scarf-like clothing used to cover the head and neck part. It can have a simple design, or can be very intricate, like those for the ladies.

And then there's the sahal, which looks like a bandanna used to wrap around the head.

And of course, there's an assortment of keychains to choose from.

I picked up this small wooden chest as well. This is for my wife. It now contains a few simple delights for her. I hope she'll like this litte surprise when she gets it this coming weekend!

Another wonderful thing with Davao is that the place is so laid back, you got a lot of time on your hands! Us busy Manila folks who are so accustomed to rush hours tried to do many things at once there. Imagine our surprise when we would realize we still had four hours or more til dinnertime, or we would be lounging around watching TV and still we'd have a couple more hours before lunch. Ah yes, our schedule revolved around food. It's in abundance and relatively inexpensive too! I will share that with you in a future post.

We had sooo much time on our hands that we even managed to take a breather and be kids again!

Philippine map photo credit: Wikipedia
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