Anybody who reads this site regularly knows that I love Davao, it is a place really close to my heart. I consider myself a Dabawenyo at heart, no doubt about that. I am starting to get a little bit concerned about Davao, though. I am seeing a Davao that is developing quickly – too quickly. In the afternoons, if I choose to go out anytime between about 4pm until 7pm, even up to 8pm, it can take a long, long time to navigate around the city. Roads are being widened, new roads built, etc., but traffic congestion is getting bad here.
I used to really love Cebu City. I stayed in Cebu many times during the 90’s for a few days at a time. I remember my first time in Cebu, it was in July 1990. I stayed at the Montebello Villa Hotel in Banilad, Cebu City. The place was out in the middle of nowhere. The area surrounding the hotel was just bare land with grazing cattle and goats. It took 30 minutes to get to the City. Now, if I go to Cebu, the Montebello is right in the middle of the sprawling City. The City has grown to surround the area. Traffic is terrible. Pollution is getting worse in Cebu. I am seeing this same kind of develop in Davao. What happened to Cebu in the 1990s is ongoing in Davao right now.
I have a contingency plan for myself, though. As most of you already know, Feyma and I own a piece of land on Samal Island, just a 10 to 15 minute boat ride from Davao City. That 10 or 15 minutes, though, brings you to an entirely differnet place. No traffic. Pollution free. Clean water. A total lack of hustle and bustle that you find in the City. It will be a while before we will live there, but by the time we get there, I think that living in Davao City will be an entirely different experience than it is now.
I moved to Davao City in 2002, after living 2 years in General Santos. Davao was a much bigger City than GenSan, but still relaxed and easy to navigate. Now, though, just 6 1/2 years later, I am finding Davao to be much more developed, a lot more traffic, generally not the same Davao as I moved to in 2002. I am sad about that. Funny thing is, when we see new development going on in Davao, we are happy to see the City expanding, and improving. But, in day to day life, when it takes 2 or 3 times as long to travel the same distance as it used to, the happiness about the development fades away.
I still love Davao, I am just getting concerned. As I have written about in the past month or so here, we have 3 new shopping malls under development, maybe 4 or 5 condo developments in the City, etc. It is making Samal look better and better!
The thing that is inviting about the future of living on Samal is that it is close to the City, so we can still take advantage of the amenities here, yet being separated by a boat ride makes it seem that it is so far from civilization. I like that idea. There has been talk about building a bridge from the City to the Island… to me, that will only help transfer the development accross the Gulf. I don’t think that will be a good idea.