Valderrama: Spending a weekend at Davao Crocodile Park


A weekend at Davao Crocodile Park is not about crocodiles, monkeys, or birds. It’s about families, friends, athletes, and health enthusiasts who use the vast area for free.

In one corner, you will see families or friends having a picnic bringing their mats or foldable tables and chairs with their favorite food. They usually stay under the shade of century-old trees or right in the middle of the grasses early in the morning or late afternoon.

In another area, you will spot boys kicking balls or playing frisbee in the Football Field. You can join the kids and adults jogging or walking on the cemented roads.

Of course, the Davao Crocodile Park and Zoo is still vibrant with the presence of various exotic animal species. It is usually crowded with local and foreign tourists enjoying the bird show and fire dance.  

For Davao residents, they occupy mostly the spaces outside the zoo, and they bring with them their domesticated pets.

But what really stands out in the park is the truth that even though the world is governed by modernism, the value of simple family gatherings is still very much alive. The park exemplifies the traditional method of spending quality time with family and friends: a picnic.

You could hear them laughing from a distance. You can smell cooked barbeques and pizzas.  Seniors can be seen reclining in their chairs, looking at their loved ones, and experiencing the wind.

The health enthusiasts are walking or jogging unmindful of the others who pass them by. The faint smell of sweat is all around. You can observe the different sportswear from yoga pants to workout tanks to extra-large shirts.

The area is packed with cars, mostly SUVs, parked in nearly every available space. You'll get the impression that most individuals in the park can afford some luxury, but they find peace just by sensing the atmosphere.

The environment, composed of big trees and manicured grasses, naturally gives the feeling of comfort. It’s one of the places in Davao City where you can bring your friends to bond with.  There are coffee shops and restaurants within the area.

If you want your children to appreciate the old and natural ways rather than focus on new gadgets, find time to bring them to parks. Who knows they will stop playing with their gadgets and start running with other children.

What is stunning to see in a park like this is the Filipino trait embedded in us: family orientation.

We treat our family members with extraordinary care, from young or old children to senior parents and in-laws. We give them the best of our time and efforts. We sustain the love and peace in the family.

We also treat our friends as family. We treat them like our own brothers or sisters. We support and defend them. We cry and laugh with them.  

The loving nature is entrenched in our system. We always find a home in our family and friends.

We have been working our asses off to survive in this complicated world, why don’t we stop for a while and breathe some fresh air. The park is a good place.


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