We all know what and where Davao is, but some of us (including me) have limited knowledge of who this durian-bearing, controversial city is. So when we received a call from the good people of AirAsia inviting us on a 24-hour Davao adventure, we jumped the gun (pun intended) and took on this almost-impromptu Sunday funday adventure. 

First stop, fresh from our 7 a.m. flight, was at Magsaysay Park. It’s a crash course on Davao’s history, displayed in different indigenous houses. You get a sense of how Davao’s early settlers lived—as a community of different tribes in one area. You can differentiate tribes by colors, patterns, weapons, but what’s even more cool about it is that elderly tribesmen and tribeswomen manned the houses. It’s like stepping into a time machine… until you hear the Chinese Bluetooth speaker prompt the chieftain that his Air Supply album is ready to be broadcast.

Lunch was on the way—we went to this restaurant with an awesome aerial view of Davao City. It was a perfect way to get to know the group we were traveling with. A bunch of media and influencers sharing a meal is always fun. Lunch was simple yet unique in its own way. Of course, durian was always on the menu.

Then it was off to our hotel. AirAsia was generous enough to book us in a nice hotel, and after an early flight and activities, we took advantage and took our nap. 

At 3 p.m., we traveled to a native tribe-owned restaurant where we were greeted with traditional music and dance. The restaurant was in the middle of the jungle with minimal contact from commercial stores, more than an hour away from the city. The ingredients used were homegrown and locally sourced. At the back, even deeper in the jungle, is a hut with traditional weavers, elderly locals keeping the traditional weaving and pattern-making alive. Children play and giggle while we take photos and videos, clearly lacking the modern touch which makes their smiles pure. 

We headed back to our hotel, and before we crashed to get ready for the 5:30 a.m. breakfast call time the next morning, we went straight to the famous Davao Night Market. You can recall years back many died when a bomb went off right in the middle of the market. Security is high, anxiety is evident among police and military personnel. It doesn’t help that every ten meters there are posters and tarps of the terrorist watch list. 

Then it was time to pass out. As I try to fall asleep, I am thinking if I got to know Davao enough on our 24-hour visit. Of course not. I want to get to know Davao more on a personal level. I’ve got a feeling that we will be back soon. Huge thanks to AirAsia for flying our team out. All this was to celebrate their milestone of 600 million guests flown, and hopefully we get to make it on their list for future adventures. – Patrick Wee

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