Over the weekend, I had a little mini-adventure. I didn’t set out for an adventure, but it kind of turned into one. On Saturday morning, I was headed downtown for a meeting. I regular LiP reader, a person who had also purchased some of my books in the past was visiting Davao, and I wanted to meet him. He invited me for coffee on Saturday morning at the Grand Men Seng Hotel, which is in downtown Davao City.
I left the house a bit early. I had a couple of reasons for leaving early. First, just in case I ran into heavy traffic, and secondly in case I was unable to find parking. Parking in the downtown area can be kind of tough to find, so you just never know. So, I left about 40 minutes ahead of my meeting schedule, although it only takes about 10 minutes to drive downtown from my house.
When I got downtown, after having not run into any traffic pileups, something looked different. Hmm.. what was it? I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I had not been down in this part of town for probably a couple of months, but I could just sense that something wasn’t quite the same as it should be. Somehow the city looked cleaner than I was expecting.
As I drove past buildings, I was surprised because concrete walls had been freshly painted. Buildings themselves were newly painted, or washed. Wow, Davao was looking really nice that morning. It made me feel kind of proud of my adopted City.
I was still about 30 minutes early for my meeting, so I decided to park a bit of a distance away, and take a walk around the downtown area on the way to my meeting. After I got out of the car and took a breath, I suddenly realized why things were looking so nice! It’s Kadayawan Festival time in Davao!
How did the smell tell me?
Well, Kadayawan is the Harvest Festival for the region. It is the time when Davao Region’s luscious fruits are at the peak of the season! When I stepped out from the car, the air was filled with the fragrance of Durian! Ah, the fruit that smells like hell, but tastes like heaven, or so they say. But, for me, I really don’t agree with that assessment of Durian, because I personally love the smell of a nice ripe Durian fruit. For me there is nothing that says “Davao” more than the fragrance of Durian. There is no food or activity that is more typically Davao than Durian!
A few months ago, my friend, Dave Starr was visiting here in Davao with his family. Dave’s sister in law likes Durian, and since she was in Davao, she wanted to get some Durian and enjoy it. Feyma and I took Dave and his wife to Magsaysay Fruit Vendors Association, as that is really one of the prime Durian spots of the City. At that time, I was quite surprised at the price of the Durian. The first vendor, as I recall, quoted me a price of P130/kilo for Durian. During Kadawayan season you can sometimes find Durian as low as P15 or P20/kilo, so this price was shocking. As I talked to other vendors at the fruit stand, I was able to get the price down to P100/kilo, but no less. We bought a fruit, and ate some of it there, even getting Dave and Mita to enjoy some of it. The rest was brought back to the hotel for the Sister-in-law to enjoy, which I am told she did.
Well, the Durian on Saturday was not as cheap as I expected. I was quoted a price of P70/kilo. I’m not sure if the vendor was trying to take advantage of me, or if the price is just high this year. I expected less since it was Kadayawan season already. I didn’t buy any, thinking that I’d visit one of my Suki vendors (Suki is a vendor whom you have a regular relationship with) and I know that they will give me a fair price. When I do that, I will know if the other price quote was fair.
I enjoyed walking the City on Saturday, though. Kadayawan is a special time of the year in Davao City, and if you are in town during Kadayawan, you really owe it to yourself to roam the City a bit, talk with the people, and just enjoy the spirit of Davao!
If you see me, be sure to say hi!