ALMOST half a century old, the tradition of Hijos de Davao still lives on and growing bigger. From a small group of fourth generation settlers gathering by the waterfront, the Hijos de Davao has grown to what it is today, a larger family of Dabawenyos who has gone beyond the social calls and dedicates the celebration of the feast of the city’s patron saint, St. Peter, with a higher purpose—a civic cause.

In the 49th year gala, Ma. Lourdes Socorro Medina-Estanislao passed the torch of leadership to Jacqueline Garcia-Dizon, the new president of the foundation. Along with a new set of board members -- Amy Soriano-Diano- Vice-President; Rowena Hizon-Daluz, Secretary; Pilar Rosario Rodriguez- Treasurer; Mabel Soriano-Lemen- Asst. Treasurer; Mia Pineda- Business Manager; and, Marissa Salonga-Tionko- P.R.O., they were sworn in to their positions to serve until 2015.

For the first time, the Rigodon de Honor was danced on the ballroom of the Davao Convention Center, a larger venue to accommodate the well-attended formal festivity.

This year’s muse is Irra Zarina Derla Escandor (in a pale pink gown by Francis Libiran), the daughter of Glenn and Michelle-Anne Derla-Escandor, escorted by Julio Palma Gil Bucoy.

The 2013 gathering is a preview of what to expect on the golden year of the Hijos de Dabaw -- a real “family” celebration. With an unexpected turnout of attendance from the true blue Dabawenyos, the atmosphere in the ballroom was what it must have been way back in the olden days where everyone knew everybody, where each member is family. From the attendees, the remarks were unanimous— this year’s fete was surprisingly more enjoyable.

“It was because everyone present were all Dabawenyos unlike in the past when there were a good number of guests from out of town. It was truly heartwarming to see the Dabawenyo families who we rarely see were back in the celebration,” said one of the board members, “With this year’s joyful “family” atmosphere, I hope we have encouraged them again to be present in the coming gatherings.”

Though countless hijos are active in assuring the longevity and success of this foundation, there are a few who work harder, who are consistently on the forefront and serve as the pillars of the organization. One of them is the highly respected Atty. Rose Cabaguio, who is distinctively the driving force of the Hijos de Davao.

The hopes are high for the coming golden jubilee of the Hijos de Davao. As early as now, the trustees and board members are calling out to all the Dabawenyos to actively take part in the social and civic projects of the foundation. “To be able to carry on the objectives of the foundation to preserve and promote the very unique and colorful heritage of Davao, my thrust is to welcome the new blood, the younger generation into the organization’s framework, and encourage everyone, the members and even those who, in the past decades, chose Davao to be their new home to be join the family of Hijos de Davao,” shared Jackie Dizon, “and we will make sure that the 50th year and the coming years of Hijos de Davao will be memorable.”

All photos by Roland Jumawan.

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