I was blessed to be able to fly for free because of the flight voucher I received from Cebu Pacific when our flight from Manila to Cebu was cancelled and we were transferred to another flight. I had only 6 months to use it so I booked it on the third week of August; little did I know those dates were the dates for the Kidayawan Festival in Davao City which I learned only a week before my flight. I got excited with the thought of actually attending a well-known local festival, but unfortunately I was not able to see it up close and personal and only from the hotel’s TV feed. It was very hot that weekend in Davao City, a lot of people were in the place where the street dance was being held and it was kind of traffic around that part of town. So I ended up skipping watching the Kidayawan street dances. But you know that there are festivities going on because my flight was full and there are also many tourists in Davao.
I’m baffled every time people learn that I am alone on that trip when many other tourists have been roaming around the world alone, and Davao City is a major Philippine destination and for sure many solo travelers had gone that route as well. I learned quite a bit from being a first time solo traveler. For one, it’s much more expensive since you need to shoulder all the bills and have no one to split it up with. It was ok though; I’ve prepared and saved up for this trip and have a set budget already. You have lesser photos of yourself in all the places you’ve visited. I didn’t bring a selfie stick with me (I was kinda shy to bring one actually) and I’m not good at taking selfies. Thank God for nice random strangers, hotel and restaurant staff and guards who willingly took photos of me. But it was ok, I was able to appreciate more of the places I visited and focused less on taking photos of myself which I have had so much in my previous trips. This made me appreciate more the places I’ve been to, the food I ate (which was a lot!) and the people I met. I also was carefree with time; I would leave and go back to the hotel whenever I want to. I don’t have to wait for other people and waste time and bargain in deciding where to go and where to eat.
I learned a couple of words from the local dialect too! Travelling solo wasn’t so scary or lonely after all, like others think it would be. I also got to practice independence and courage; I didn’t worry if my itinerary wasn’t followed or if I got lost. But of course to be on the safe side, I always message my family as to where I am currently located or tell the hotel staff where I am going. I would love to do it again actually and go to more unfamiliar places. Well maybe, who knows…
Roxas Boulevard Night Market
After my hearty dinner at Lyndon’s World’s Worst Ribs, I decided to walk along Roxas Boulevard (just in front of Lyndon’s) to check out the Night Market. The night market was put up by the Davao City government as a solution to the problem of large numbers of sidewalk vendors proliferating the city. Since then it has become a common night seen along Roxas Blvd. From what I can remember from what the cab driver told me, the night market is open daily from 7:00pm to 3:00am.
It is a place where Davaoeños can make some money and others to enjoy good old street foods and buy merchandise. It is also fast becoming a destination for tourist visiting Davao. What made my experience walking down the boulevard that night was it was Kidayawan Festival and there were bands playing at the far end of the road near Marco Polo Hotel.
You can find a lot of food stalls selling street foods, drinks, durian, knick-knacks, shoes, bags, clothes and others. What I noticed was there were a lot of second hand goods being sold. It’s like a flea market (or in the Philippines we call it “ukay-ukay”) mixed with food varieties. There were lots and lots of people both locals and tourist enjoying the night market and the other festivities of the night.
Lined along Roxas Blvd were also eateries that sell grilled foods at affordable prices (including Lyndon’s). This is the best place to go on a food trip if you happen to be in Davao and don’t have something to do after a day of doing activities. As for me, I just walked and took photos since I was already full from my awesome dinner at Lyndon’s World’s Worst Ribs.
It was such a great concept actually because it gives locals a chance to earn a decent livelihood without impeding or violating the rights of others especially the traders and the pedestrians. The taxi driver also told me that the vendors do not pay a fee when they put on a place along the boulevard, this is to attract the vendors not to sell on the streets during the day. What I like about this experience was that it was unplanned and the whole time I was walking and checking out the stalls, I didn’t experience any untoward incident. Davao is really a safe city after all.