I love my recent trip to Davao City to bits for a lot of good reasons but having my cherry popped specifically on these three things: (a.) zipline (b.) having a photo taken with an albino python, and (c.) civet coffee – certainly takes the cake out of any fun activities I recall to have done in any of my past local travels. Except, perhaps, my intro to diving experience in Batangas and surfing in Zambales – as I don’t think these two will ever be taken out of my ‘awesome adventures’ file box.
But first, thank you to our dear friend Ian Alacar of Without Limits and the people behind Operation Smile for sponsoring our trip to Davao! As you know, I was there along with Team Reebok, for The 500 Smile Fun Run (Davao Leg) – an initiative of Operation Smile in celebration of its 30th year in the Philippines. Through the race and other local and nationwide efforts, Operation Smile is hoping to create awareness and rally support from the private sector for its ongoing campaign of providing free reconstructive facial surgery to indigent Filipino children and young adults born with cleft lip and cleft palate deformity.
The race was held on the 27th of November so we had a bit of time to enjoy most of what Davao has to offer. If time and resources were on our side, we would have gunned for EVERYTHING, and not just some of the city’s offerings. The first thing I noticed when we landed at Davao International Airport was how beautiful the airport was! It’s clean and welcoming and, well, nothing like our old international airport in Manila. As we drove out of the airport and into the city proper, we also noticed that there is hardly garbage strewn out and scattered about in the streets and in plain sight of people – which is quite a common sight where we’re from. Later on, we would learn that they practice proper waste segregation and management in Davao and the Davaoenos really take it very seriously! Kinda makes me wonder why these things don’t work as well in Metro Manila.
So anyway, I don’t have much time so let me just quickly go through the three things Davao has successfully deflowered me on:
1. Zipline. I have the greatest fear of heights. Take me five floors up and make me look down and I’d be all green in the face. That’s why bungee jumping, skywalking, parasailing, hot air balloon ride, etc, are never going to make it into my list of Things To Do Very Soon. I am terrified of heights and I’m NOT even contemplating doing something about. Until Kassy and the guys egged me on to try ziplining and before I knew it, I was doing the superman on my first zipline and sitting next. It was exhilarating! Of course I was shaking like a leaf when the guys were strapping the harness on and would shake more violently when I was given the instruction to lower myself and get ready to be released on the cable. I thought I was going to keep my eyes painfully shut the whole 600 meters of the first zipline but I manned-up and even managed a split-second look-down into the trees and water down below. Boy, was I brave!
2. Touching and having my photo taken with an albino python. As much as I harbor fear of heights, I am equal parts terrified of reptiles as well – snakes, especially! And so imagine how I was shrieking and cringing each time I would attempt to get close to the python for photo op. Even though the zoo attendant reassured us over and over again that it is quite a nice snake and that it’s used to having humans give it a good petting, I was still terrified! But after doing ziplining even with my fear of heights, I figured, what’s one more act of ‘valor’? haha.
3. Civet coffee. Now I am far from a coffee connoisseur or of anything, actually, but I have heard of civet coffee (who hasn’t anyway) and have always been curious about its taste and aroma. And since I was on some kind of a roll in Davao with items 1 and 2, in addition to a wild time spent at the Bazaar, I simply could not break the awesome pattern by letting civet coffee pass. So, ayun, tumikim ako. (So there, I succumbed and had a sip.) I took it pure, no sugar and cream (I assume that’s how it’s supposed to be taken, ya?), and my initial reaction was: ‘Well, ya, it’s totally different from the instant coffees and commercial staple I pick up from Starbucks or Coffee Bean.’ Now I hope I don’t offend coffee lovers and especially those who think the world of civet coffee by my paltry review – if you could call it that – because like I said, I really am far from being a decent food blogger/critique. It’s been one of my greatest frustrations, trust me, and it breaks my heart every single time because I can’t seem to get any better at it! *sob*
So there you have it, my lovely Davao adventure in three stages of deflowering. As for the primary reason for our being there – The 500 Smile Run – I am pretty pleased to report that I took podium again by placing 3rd in the 16k female category! It feels good to be back on the road and (the) podium finish certainly became the sweet, lavish layer of icing on the cake.