This article is about a very dear friend of mine. My friend, Jon, is a Dabawenyo (he is from Davao), but has lived much of his life in the United States. While Jon has given me permission to write about this, I have decided not to use the family’s last name for the sake of their privacy.
Jon and I met each other back in the early 1990′s. At the time, Jon was living in New York City, I was living in Vancouver, Washington. We met quite by accident, through the Internet. You see, I had just gotten on the Internet for the first time, and I found a webpage about Davao City. It turned out that Jon was the person who produced the page. I contacted Jon and we quickly became very good friends. We would send each other long e-mails many times every day. This went on for a long time.
Over the years, I had expressed my desire to move to the Philippines when talking to Jon. Jon also felt the same, he really wanted to get back to Davao for good. For many years, Jon and I were close friends, but had never met each other in person. Well, in 1999 (perhaps it was 1998?), Jon made the move back to the Philippines. I was still in the States. In 1999, Feyma and I came to the Philippines for a vacation. In previous visits, I had always stayed in General Santos, where Feyma is from. But, on the 1999 trip, I already had a lot of friends around Mindanao, because of the Internet. So, on the 1999 vacation, I ventured out and visited a number of cities around Mindanao. One of the places I visited for the first time was Davao City, and of course Jon took me around and showed me the city.
After we moved here in 2000, I had an opportunity to see Jon more frequently. Feyma and I would visit Davao from time to time, and Jon’s family always gave us a place to stay here, in their guest house outside the family home. Jon’s family is a rather well known family in Davao, pioneers of the city in fact. Every time that Feyma and I visited Davao, Jon’s family always made us feel that we were part of the family. It wasn’t like we were visitors, it was honestly like we were returning family members. I always felt very grateful to Jon for the way his family treated us. Jon’s mother, Mommy Cora, is such a nice lady, a very charitable lady, and just all around a very good person. We were told, from the first time that we met Mommy Cora, that we were to call her Mommy. That was an honor.
When we moved to live in Davao in 2002, as it turned out, just a few days after we arrived, Jon went back to the States to take care of some business. As it turned out, Jon decided to stay in the States (family reasons), and while I expected that Jon and I would be able to spend much more time together, it just didn’t work out that way. But, over the years, Jon did visit Davao every few years, and Jon and I did get to spend time together on each visit. Like me, Jon is a businessman in the USA. He is quite successful, and I feel like we have many connections… Davao, business, family…. Somehow we just really hit it off all those years ago.
Over the years, Jon and I keep in touch, but we are both busy. Sometimes we are out of touch for months at a time, but we both know that our friendship is strong, and we will always be there for each other.
A couple of months ago, I got a voice mail on my US phone number. When I checked my voice mail, I found that it was Jon calling, so I called him back right away. We had a nice chat, and Jon told me that he was calling to invite me to a special event in Davao, which was to be held on July 1.
What was that event? Come back tomorrow and find out. Tomorrow, I’ll be telling you about the event that we were invited to, how wonderful it was, and how much Feyma and I enjoyed ourselves.
See you tomorrow? I hope so!