Way back 2008 when one of my friends informed me that she'll visit Davao and other cities in Mindanao, I immediately reprimanded her that the place is full of terrorists and rebels. I told her that she might encounter accidents if she travel to Davao. I always thought that Davao, being a part of Mindanao is rebel infested and bombings is just a normal occurrence in the city.
This probably is what millions of people living in Luzon and Visayas think.
Due to a career move, I "forced" myself to move to Davao last 2009. Again with all those silly thoughts about Davao being a dangerous place playing in my mind when I disembark the plane. However, after a few minutes, my perception about Davao changed drastically.
Davao has one of the most honest cab drivers in the country. I took a cab from the airport to my dormitory accommodation and the driver used the shortest route (checked this out after a couple of weeks in Davao) and gave me my change up to the last centavos. The cab drivers are polite and accommodating and would even return bags, phones and other stuff that people leave in their cabs. I am not saying that all of the drivers are honest, most of them though, follow the law.
Davao is a clean city. When I arrive in Davao, I was amazed how the city looks really clean. Water can be drink right out of the faucet, the air is clean, we have effective waste management. We rarely see people throw their trash on the streets. They are disciplined not to just throw their garbage everywhere.
Davao is smoke free... and nobody is exempted. As a non-smoker, this place is heaven for me. I do not like the smell of cigarette smoke. I feel that my lungs tighten if I inhale cigarette smoke, and in this city, you will only see smokers in designated areas. In my experience, living in other cities in the country, you see people smoking inside the jeepneys, on the streets and almost everywhere. Here in Davao you will be arrested and fined if you smoke in everywhere aside from the designated areas.
This list can go on and on, but the most important thing that I Love about Davao is its security. I have lived and visited other parts of the country and in those cities, it is normal to hear housemates and workmates talking about robbery, hold-up, mugging, snatching happening almost everywhere. I even get to see and experience a few pickpocket-ting, but here in Davao, one can use their gadgets inside the jeepney without being scared of these items getting snatched. The police responds really fast and thanks to the CCTV cameras scattered around the city, emergency and disaster response is really on time. And oh, did I already mention that we have a working 911 HOTLINE here?
#MyDuterteStory is not really about my experience with the Mayor. I have only met him twice and I was really starstruck. He is very accommodating and charismatic. However, I see Davao City as an extension of the honorable mayor. He is after all the father of this place. All the experiences that I have reflects the leadership quality of Mayor Digong. He is a man of action and not just talk. He always puts the welfare of his constituents as first priority. He makes sure that help is received on time, all the time. That's why his constituents love him very much.
Although I am not born here, being here for six years made me love this city even more. I see myself stay and grow old in Davao. Same goes with other co-workers who have expressed their desire to live in this city. Davao City, truly, Life is Here.