I feel nostalgic whenever I am back home. Or to be more apt in the city, I claim as mine. Truthfully, though I was never a city girl. I grew up in the most laid-back province, right in the heart of a banana plantation. Nothing could be as provincial as the life we lived in our hometown.
But I studied in the city. So, I have grown an affinity to this southern belle. Back in the old days, we only had jeepneys and minicabs plying the wide roads. Now that progress has crept in, the roads seem narrower. And there are air-conditioned taxicabs roaming the city, nowadays. A far cry from the old days.
We used to hangout in Victoria Plaza. It was then the coolest place to meet. There was no mobile phone then, so we'd meet across McDonald's inside this mall. We'd wait for hours and hours when one of our friends decide to be very (un-)fashionably late. Today, the mall has become home of bargain items from China. It has lost its glamour. But the memory still lingers.
Friday nights are gimmick nights. We'd all converge at Zed Pizza to enjoy acoustic music, popcorn and the best tasting iced tea, ever. I don't know if it's still true these days. Our taste buds must have become more sophisticated. But this local pizza joint is still standing, after so many decades. It must have retained its magic to cash-strapped college students and young professionals who want a good time that doesn't a burn a hole in the pocket.
It's been over a decade that I have not claimed a residency status in Davao. But every so often, I get to visit my city. Aside from the usual Christmas Holidays, work takes me back here on business trips, frequently.
So, I count myself lucky that I get to see the city's progress. I feel giddy when I see a new building rising in the very sparse horizon of the city. It's because I know that it means more job opportunities for my kababayans.
And as much as possible, I shop when am here. It helps (hopefully) turn the wheels of the economy. I dine local, I buy local.
Am a big coffee drinker. For a long time, I'd go out of my way to go to a local coffee joint. I'd drink durian coffee even if what I'd really love to enjoy is a cup of espresso.
Things changed though when Abreeza, an Ayala Mall opened its doors to the Davao locals. It brought with it Manila-based shops and restaurants. And other international franchises.
Inasmuch as I'd want a Blue Gre experience, I need my Starbucks fix. I think this is one of those few "vices" I have that's almost a non-negotiable. I go out of my way to sip my cuppa here and read a few chapters as I while away the time. Or just like tonight, write a blog while having a lovely chat with a friend.
Times have changed. And it's a nice thing going. One thing that's welcome though is a respite from the noise of Manila. Because no matter how developments have sprouted in its landscape, the city will always retain it's laid-back vibe.