AS YOUNG child whose favorite movie was Cinderella, I would always look forward to attending the grandest ball in Davao during the feast day of our beloved city's patron saint, San Pedro.

This was the only time I would see beautiful and elegant ladies with perfect makeup and intricately coiffured hair wearing resplendent ternos and gentlemen looking handsome and dashing in their tuxedos or Barong Tagalogs. Enthralled and wide-eyed, from the side lines, I would watch the ladies and gentlemen dance the Rigodon de Honor.

The highlight of the ball would be the presentation of the muse, the belle of the ball, who is chosen (or a few times, voted upon) by the organization's officers. Watching the muse glide around the dance floor, dancing the waltz with her escort in her beautiful ball gown, had always been a delight to watch.

This grand ball, the one I have been looking forward to every year, is organized by the Hijos de Davao which is celebrating its 50th year on June 29. Hijos de Davao is an organization which was formed to nurture relationships among fellow Dabawenyos with the objective of preserving Davao city's culture and heritage. This annual ball has already become a much-awaited tradition (especially by the Dabawenyos), the Fiesta ni San Pedro, as it is our way of honoring our Patron Saint.

Hijos de Davao's history is really quite interesting as it was formed by Davao's pioneering families. In the late 1940's and early 50's, a group of young college students formed "Club Dabawenyo". These young Dabawenyos were comprised of Patria Garcia-Montemayor, Solita Hizon-Imperial, Emilio Palma Gil, Atty. Antonio Castillo, Dr. Julian Rodriguez, Jr., Nenita Belda-Azarcon, Betty Castillo-Cabreros, Jose Morada, Dr. Leon Garcia, Atty. Manuel Garcia, and Dr. Tony Hernandez. They laid out the framework of Club Dabawenyo and elected Emilio Palma Gil as its first President and chose Magdalena "Nena" Garcia-Pineda as its first muse. Their first affair was held at the newly-opened Apo View Hotel.

In the early 60's, to embrace the migrants who have seen the richness and potential of Davao's bounties and chose to make Davao as their home, the officers of Club Dabawenyo decided to form the Hijos De Davao Foundation. In June 29, 1964, Hijos De Davao, held its first ball with Emilio Palma Gil as its first President and Lillian Carriedo-Hook as its first muse. The founding officers were Segunda Gamir, Atty. Perla Palma Gil, Atty. Edith Dalisay-Valenzuela, Emilio Palma Gil, Atty. Manuel Garcia, Solita Hizon-Imperial, Loreta Sarenas, Patria Garcia-Montemayor, Dr. Leon M. Garcia, Jr., Orlando Quimpo, Honesto Cabarroguis, Eulalio Angala, Dr. Julian Rodriguez, Emmanuel Diaz, Raul Pichon, Lito Iñigo, and Alfonso Guinoo.

To qualify as a member, one has to be a resident of Davao City.

This coming June 29, 2014, with myself as President and Arianna Rabat Del Rosario as muse, the officers and members of the Hijos De Davao Foundation will celebrate it's Golden anniversary and is inviting everyone to attend the grand ball at the SMX Convention Center at SM Lanang Premier. Earlier that day, we will also be launching our project, a coffee table book entitled Witnessing Growth which features the people who have contributed to Davao City's growth.

The proceeds of our coffee table book will help us with another project which is to bring livelihood and education to our Lumads by preserving and continuing the dying tradition of weaving of the Mandaya and Bagobo tribes.