Digging into anything and everything that makes the CNMI tick beyond politics...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Missing Davao

Staying in an isolated island like Saipan does not necessarily make one a full-pledged islander. Maybe this does not apply for all but in my case, I guess the feeling of being a complete islander have not yet gotten into my system.

Having spent a huge number of years of my life in the urban areas which pulsed with life especially at night, a nocturnal being like me still finds it hard to momentarily settle for the rural life in this island-even after my five and-a-half months stay here, plus 19 months stay in Palau.

I wake up six mornings a week disoriented and grumpy, wondering why on earth I still keep the alarm clock whose screeching sound regularly wakes me up at 6:30 every morning. Maybe a lifetime habit of being nocturnal could not just change that easily despite constant clashing with my ex-boss, who was an early riser and could not understand the logic of working late in the night and waking up late, too.

Here on Saipan, one does not necessarily feel being a stranger because Filipinos are everywhere- in offices, stores, schools, construction companies, night clubs and anywhere. Some have stayed in this island for as long as 30 years and have totally adopted the island lifestyle, thinking only of going home to the Philippines for vacations. They have completely become islanders.

Well, to name a few of the tastes, sights and smells I miss in Davao that’s hindering me from adopting the island life:

Never-ending stream of traffic. Looking at the flow of vehicles occupying every inch of the road is just fantastic, and riding on a jeepney and being a part of the traffic has never irritated me. In fact, getting squeezed in a heavy traffic jam gives me the perfect opportunity to day dream. (Need i mention how many times a week do i have to get a ride back because I already passed by my destination???)

Tsokolate and pandesal from Bankerohan. Here the pandesal tastes just like any ordinary, oven-baked bread. It’s extra hard that if you hit your head with it, a lump will grow so fast before you can blink. I miss the fluffy yet crispy and salty pandesal cooked in a pugon. At our barracks, (which I baptized the named Ranch House), a pandesal vendor toots his horn on early mornings. Once in a blue moon, I would be up and catch him but oftentimes i would lay in bed in wishful

thinking hoping that he can read my mind and drop a bag of pandesal for me. Of course, he can't read my mind, otherwise he won't be selling pan de sal so early in the morning but out there making a fortune for himself. I would still be half in dreamland by then. By the time I decide I want that pan de sal, the vendor is long gone.

Tinolang native manok at the food stalls in Magallanes. Thinking of the huge slices of chicken here makes my hair stand.

Barbeque batikulon (gizzard) at Bankerohan side walk where I always buy three pieces on a stick for P5.

Manggang hilaw (green mangoes) with bagoong. Yo

u can buy a smallplastic of sliced green mangoes from street vendors for five pesos.

Durian. This is something I haven't seen on Saipan. Surely because it's prohibited. I miss our durian sprees at Magsaysay park.

The sight of news boys folding the Super Balita and Sunstar late at night in the office, and the newspaper-littered streets early in the morning as newsboys collate them ready for loading on their bicycles. (yes I'm up on some mornings).

Noise of internet cafes. Having no internet connection at Gwen's house, I had to walk exactly 300 steps to nearest internet cafe to do my research and bear the noise and smell of the kids as they swear and curse loudly while playing online games.

Open markets where you can buy fish and vegetables and where the vendors tried to outdo each other in making the loudest noise to attract more customers. I always cover my ears and rejoice in the loud humming they made.

Bulalo and hinalang na baka. Where one serving is often

tooo huge for me to consume.

Halo-halo at Chowking. I don't care even if it's 12 midnight o

r 3 a.m. when the urge to eat gets at me, I go out. The halo-halo I've tried here so far is from Shirley's. So far so good. Only the serving is not big. It's huge!

Instant McDonald meals or chicken feet from Mandarin tea garden. I'm a constant customer at McDonalds here, but somehow, although the food is the same, i miss the ambiance of the McDo branches in Davao. There's no place like home, nai?

A bottle of beer (s) shared with office mates at our favorite restaurant at Times Beach after work, where we take turns

(give me a safer word than backbiting...lol) our other office mates.

The eternal blowing of horns from jeepneys and public vehicles. You only blow your horns here on exceptional situations like if the driver of the car you’re following failed to turn on his lights, or if his tires are flat, gone square or missing.

The noise of the kids next door in my boarding ho

use at S.I.R. although everyone knew I wished to strangle them every minute when i was there.

Kids swimming like tadpoles at Times Beach at the Magsaysay wharf. *sigh*. I let a wonderful opportunity slip through my fingers when Sam of Sams Tours, owner of the biggest dive shop in Palau offered to give me a free open water diving lesson. Alas, that is after I LEARNED how to swim and he gave me two months time allowance.I flunked the challenge and forfeited the opportunity to go diving. The possibility o

f learning how to swim stepped back two planets away from my reach, andthe possibility of diving? about 15 planets away.

Well, nothing would come out of just staring into

space and missing home. I’ve got some serio

us thinking to do. If you can't beat them join them. I've got five months to decide...

street ice cream

ginanggang or banana cue

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