A while back, I wrote an article here on LiP based on an e-mail I had received. The e-mail asked me why I chose to live in Davao. I interpreted the meaning to actually be “why did you choose to live in the Philippines,” and I based my answer on that interpretation. But, a smart reader picked up on the fact that I really did not answer the exact question asked… “why Davao,” in particular.
Well, today, I thought I would answer that exact question, for those who are wondering, and based on the comments in that last article, it would see that some people really are wondering, so here we go.
Truth is, I did not choose Davao when I came to live in the Philippines. I chose (I should say “we chose,” because Feyma and I were equally involved in making the decision) to live in General Santos City, which is about 3 hours drive south of Davao.
Come on Bob, so why did you choose GenSan?
Well, primarily, we chose GenSan because that is where Feyma is from. That is where her family lives, and part of our whole plan in moving was to be closer to the extended family. As I explained in my earlier article, our oldest son has special needs, and we felt that living near the extended family here in the Philippines would provide the opportunity for assistance with our son.
For the most part, we enjoyed living in GenSan. It’s a much smaller city than Davao, which has it’s pluses and minuses, overall we liked it, though.
But, back in 2000 until maybe 2006 or 2007, GenSan was a real target for terrorist bombings. We never really felt unsafe there, though, but the bombings were certainly an inconvenience in our lives. Before we moved to GenSan, there had never been a bombing there. On the first day we arrived in the Philippines, there were 7 bombings in GenSan on a single day! Wow, talk about a wake up call!
We really did not let the bombings bother us too much, though. We took extra precautions with our kids, sheltering them a bit. For Feyma and I we pretty much went along with life as normal. Some time in early 2002, though, there was a big bombing just outside one of our businesses in GenSan, our Internet Cafe called FB Net. As I recall, 14 people (maybe it was more, I have forgotten) were killed in that bombing. People dripping in blood were rushing into our Internet Cafe asking for help. It was a real wake-up call for us, because previous bombings had not happened so close to us, and not really had an impact on our lives.
When that bombing happened and hit so close to home (not really home, but just outside our business), we took note a little more than we had previously. Our fear was for our kids. Both Feyma and I decided to look into relocating to Cebu. We both had a soft spot for Cebu – that is where Feyma and I first met each other in 1990. We felt that Cebu would make a nice home for us, so we decided to make the move.
Come and let me show you around Davao
I had a very close friend, Jon, who is from Davao, and was living in Davao at the time (he is now residing in the States). Jon and I had been close for a number of years, primarily over the Internet, but we had also met in person a number of times. When I told Jon that Feyma and I would be moving to Cebu, he asked me:
Bob, why don’t you guys come up to Davao and let me show you around, I think you would enjoy living here.
Well, to be honest, I was not keen on moving to Davao, nor was Feyma. I mean if the terrorists can strike in GenSan, they could certainly take the short ride up to Davao, right? But, Jon insisted, and because he is a close friend, I said yes. It would not hurt to go check out Davao. I had been to Davao many times previously, but never with the thought of moving to Davao. So, we took a trip to visit Jon, and he showed us around the city. We spent time seeing the place, and also looking at houses that we could possibly rent. We liked what we saw. Jon explained to us that Davao was a real “peace and order” place, and that we would not be seeing those kinds of bombings and acts of violence in Davao.
So, we jumped and moved to Davao. Really, honestly, we have never regretted making the move. It turned out that Davao was, and still is, an excellent place for us to live.
Are we in Davao for life? Maybe, maybe not. Right now we are leaning against that. We are thinking that we may leave Davao when our kids finish school, but that is still a ways down the road. Why would we leave, if we like it so much? Well, Davao is changing. It is becoming more congested. It’s getting bigger. Traffic is starting to look like Manila. Right now, our thinking is that we will do one of three things, when the kids have graduated from high school:
- Move to the outskirts of Davao, maybe Calinan or Toril, maybe even Eden or somewhere like that.
- Move to Sarangani Province, down near GenSan.
- Move to Bukidnon Province, maybe in the town of Buda.
To be honest, my preference would be Buda. Feyma’s preference is Sarangani. We can both agree on the outskirts of Davao, though.
There are a few reasons why we both might settle on moving to the outskirts of Davao:
- Reliable electricity in Davao.. the rest of Mindanao is experiencing a lot of brownouts.
- There are a lot of conveniences in Davao.
- A lot to do in Davao.
- Since we have different desires on where to live as our first choice, settling on something that makes us both happy is a good way to keep peace! 😉
So, now you know why we chose Davao, and what might be in the future.