This weekend was a great LiP get together! One of our popular LiP writers, John Miele, and his family came to Davao for the weekend. John was accompanied by his wife, Rebecca and their son Juanito.
John came to Davao to sort of enjoy a get-away from the city, and all that is associated with it. John and Rebecca chose a great time to visit Davao, because this past weekend was the climax of the famous Davao Kadayawan Festival! John and Rebecca, along with Juanito were able to watch the Kadayawan Street Dancing festivities right from their hotel, and from everything John said, I think they enjoyed it! I am not going to get into details of other things they did in Davao, as I believe that John is also planning to write an article about their trip down south, so I will let him share those details. I will try to stick with our meeting between the two families.
A couple of days before flying down, John asked me if I could arrange for Rebecca to get some Durian, as she had told him that she wanted to sample the Durian from Davao. One of the things that Davao is very famous for is that it is the Durian place of the Philippines. No problem on that, I was happy to make arrangements, as Durian is also something that I really love.
We went to the hotel at 5pm and picked up John, Rebecca and Juanito. My first plan was to take them to the Waterfront Insular Hotel, because it is right on the Davao Gulf, and the grounds there are beautiful. I thought that Insular would give John and Rebecca a nice taste of what Davao was all about. Unfortunately, because of the Kadayawan Festival, as we tried to head to Insular, the traffic was terrible. What is normally a 30 minute trip could have taken hours, so I decided to cancel that. Instead, we headed to “D’ Farmer’s Market” just off of F. Torres. D’ Farmer’s Market is one of the places in town that features many different varieties of Durian, so I thought it would be a good place to visit.
There are many varieties of Durian available, and I have my favorites. My three favorite varieties are 101, Puyat and Arancillo. Of the three, I will go for 101 any chance that I can find it. 101 is a relatively new variety, and it is very hard to find. I find it to be a rather smooth flavor experience, and I like the texture a lot too, it is a bit more firm than some other varieties. So, choosing D’ Farmer’s Market was kind of a natural, because they always seem to have a pretty wide selection of Durian Varieties available.
When we arrived at D’ Farmers’ Market, you could really smell the aroma of Durian in the air! I was loving it, as I really love the fragrance of Durian. John, though, was almost gagging! For those of you who don’t know about Durian, a common saying is that it “smells like hell but tastes like heaven”. Well, I personally love the fragrance of a good durian! Rebecca seemed to be OK, though! 😆 I immediately went to one of the workers and started asking him about which varieties were available. I was surprised, as some of the varieties that he named were new to me – I had never heard of them. I asked if they had 101, though, and sure enough, they had it! So, we bought one piece of 101, since only Rebecca and I were planning to eat.
We chose a table and sat down, and in no time the waiter brought our Durian to us, already cut up and ready to enjoy! Rebecca and I dug in and started eating. John and Feyma were just watching, though! Soon, John said that he wanted to see if Juanito would eat Durian, so we got a little piece and put it in his mouth. Suddenly his face got kind of sour looking and he spit it out! Oh well… it left more for Rebecca and I to enjoy!
After having Durian, we all went to the Martin household for time to sit down and talk for a while. It also gave Juanito a chance to meet our kids (and a niece and nephew who are visiting right now). Our kids love little kids, so they enjoyed playing with Juanito and entertaining him a bit. Chris, in particular seemed to form a nice friendship with Juanito.
After a short time at our house, we all went to the Lotus Court Chinese Restaurant at Marco Polo Hotel for our dinner. John had generously offered to take us out for dinner, and I thank him for his kindness. Lotus Court has always been a favorite restaurant of mine. Recently, they closed it down for a full renovation, and it had been a while since Feyma and I had been there. The newly renovated restaurant was beautiful, a real show place. Unfortunately, both the service and the food, though, were not up to par. It seems that most of the food that we ordered was “OK” at it’s best, and several of the dishes were downright poor. One thing that disappointed all of us in particular was the soup. We ordered a “Pumpkin and Crab soup” which seemed to have neither pumpkin nor crab in it. It did have the “fake” crab sticks in it, which were flavorless. We all came to the conclusion that this was nothing more than a packaged instant soup with water added – that’s how it tasted. This being at a 5 Star Hotel, and one of the best restaurants there. Sorry, Marco Polo, but I doubt that I’ll ever go back to Lotus Court again. Not only did the food taste bad, they tried to charge John for food that we ordered, but was never served to us. Very poor service and food. But, the important thing was the people that we shared our dinner with, and that more than made up for the food problems.
Feyma and I really enjoyed meeting John, Rebecca and Juanito! We hope that we’ll have the opportunity to spend more time with them in the future too, because they are very nice people. My only problem was that the evening just went by too quickly, I wish that we had more time to share together!
Thank you again, John! Your generosity was greatly appreciated!