Ingon ni E.B White..
There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something.
Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion. ”
There is now a fourth, the New York of the girls from Davao whose veins run with Durian.
Karla is family, our families have known each other even before we actually knew of each other. Kaye, on the other hand, I have known since college days. We are each other’s ig-agaw sa ex sa akong ig-agaw. Ann Marie, I met here in New York. She was introduced to me when Karla and her shared an apartment together. And like everyone in Davao we are intertwined with a network of common friends and friends of exes.
We all found ourselves in New York for all sorts of reasons. There’s family, studies, love or lack thereof, maybe to get away from it all or para sa ekonomiya, to each her own. One thing we all have in common though is our love for the Land of Promise. Or in Ann’s case Eden Nature Park.
So what do 4 Davaoeñas talk about when they meet for lunch? Maskin-unsa. Current events between New York and Davao, Russia included. Think of it like a brunch scene from any Sex in The City episode only with extra rice and a mix of Tagalog, Bisaya, TagBis and English. Call it catching up or intellectual discourse, it is modern-day chismis at it’s finest.
“Pataka lang yan sila yawyaw dyan, they dont know him…”
“I think we should read 100 years of Marathon…”
“Uy, congratulations to your Kuya’s appointment..”
“Bai, ano man stand niyo sa death penalty..”
“Samuka dyud anang naga yosi sa sidewalk oi, dili pareha sa Davao ba..”
“Finally kinausap na dyud ako ng kapatid ko ba since the election…”
“I miss Cecile’s eclairs…”
Yes, Cecile’s eclairs. Because somebody always have to talk about food between geopolitics and family affairs.
I honestly do not know why we do this. After all we are not politcal analysts and would never assume that we know better. The chance of our collective input making meaningful change is close to none, though not entirely impossible. Yet we do what we do because…
We have this unique sense of involvement to our beloved country though we now have faster walking paces (which is probably considered a sprint in Davao). We will always feel entitled to efficient government services and stubbornly call the President, “Mayor”. We still expect exact change from our taxi drivers and have zero tolerance to photoshopped billboards of politicians. Do not even try “through the initiative”.
Unsa mani? Mao na ni.
“Bawal this, bawal that. Smoking ban. Liquor ban. Firecracker ban. Curfew for minors. If you fuck with our city… My GAWWWD we hate drugs.”
Almost 9,000 miles away and we cannot imagine any other place in the world where we can actually think and act like we never left.
Sa tinuod lang gidala namo ang Davao diri.