In Davao City-A A +A
Saturday, September 14, 2013
I’M CURRENTLY in Davao City, my second most favourite city in the country right after Cebu, of course, to attend the debut of my niece and to visit my family. I spent my early childhood in this city and I have very fond memories of it.
I remember kindergarten walks under the towering canopies of ancient acacias that lined the trees at Marfori Heights…hmmm. Maybe the trees weren’t so towering. I mean, I was just six and around three feet tall. And maybe they weren’t acacias but mere manzanitas although I shouldn’t say “mere” because it might seem I’m belittling the manzanita tree, which plays an important role in the ecosystem. I mean, bats love to eat its fruits. Go figure.
I also remember playing at the topiary garden at the Insular Hotel and feeding the carps at the hotel’s pond… hmmm. I’m pretty sure about the first part. The topiary, I mean. I think there was even a giraffe. Not too sure about the pond, though. Oh well.
I remember, vividly, sliding on the stairs of my grandparents’ house on Tomas Claudio. Vividly since I’m pretty sure I had no intention of sliding. The stairs were waxed clean and a little boy who loved to putter around the old house was its favorite victim.
I also remember playing siatong at the back of the house. Although, come to think of it, I was probably too small to play the game and may have just watched the older kids play. And over the years, that memory warped and evolved into me playing siatong…that could explain it. Then again, I’m pretty sure, though, it was me. Go figure.
So I’m rambling because I’m trying to avoid certain topics. No, I won’t discuss Napoles or Misuari and the conflict in Zamboanga, which happens to be in Mindanao and Davao just happens to be in the same island so does it mean that we, who are in Davao right now, are also in trouble.
What? Where did that come from? And no, we are not in trouble here in Davao. And I won’t discuss the Syrian conflict. Nor PNoy’s lovelife. Or the lack of one. Hmmm.
I won’t even dignify conspiracists who believe the trouble in Zamboanga has something to do with the alleged pork barrel controversy. Because if they are correct, then the country’s political system is rotten to the core. Huh? God forbid!
Again, I won’t pretend I know much about our political system (I don’t)…Anyway, I’m not discussing any of these issues. God knows everybody else is.
So Napoles is from that neck of the woods. So what?
My mom is from Davao while my dad is from Cebu City. But it turns out I may have more relatives on my father’s side in Davao than I do on my mother’s.
My grandmother Maria Rellon Briones comes from Bug-ot, Argao. Her father’s two brothers and several male first cousins left for the “Land of Promise” before World War 2. They were lured by the promise of free land. Those uncles settled in various parts of Davao del Sur, including Davao City. They married and had big families.
Actually, they averaged 10 each. Or so I heard. So that’s a lot of Rellons.
Last May, the Rellon clan in Davao del Sur held their annual reunion in Toril, Davao City. Around 1,000 attended, including the newly elected mayor of Tagum City in Davao del Norte, Alan Rellon. Attendees had to wear color-coded shirts to identify their town of origin here in Mindanao.
According to one study, majority of Cebuano migrants to Davao come from two towns in southern Cebu: Sibonga and Argao.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 15, 2013.