The Taxi Drivers of Davao City

The Taxi Drivers of Davao City

By Apolinario Villalobos

Davao for a long time was notorious as a city where rebels had the gall to challenge the authorities even at daytime, especially, in the Agdao district. Just like any other cities, it had its own share of dishonest taxi drivers, sex workers who cruised Recto, San Pedro, and Boulevard. But those now belong to the past with the emergence of the Dutertes at the city’s helm.

Davao today is the only destination city whose no-smoking regulation is announced during the taxiing in of commercial flights, as they approach the city’s airport. As one goes out of the terminal, he can find taxis in a neat queue waiting to be approached by passengers. Drivers just ask the passenger for the destination without any complaint even if it is just a few hundred meters from the airport.

As a frequent traveler to Davao, myself, I have experienced first- hand, the kind of courtesy the taxi drivers of the city extend to their passengers. With courtesy enhanced with cordiality, one cannot help but sincerely give a generous tip. The drivers are not allowed to give hints for tips. And, they feel it an honest obligation to return fare change to their passengers, to the last centavo. But how can one take back thirty pesos from a taxi driver who joined the long line of queue and patiently wait for incoming flights and finally get a passenger after six hours, and whose destination is sometimes just a couple of kilometers away? For one who understands, he should add a few pesos more to that change, to make the tip realistic, instead.

If one asks the taxi driver for the most affordable hotel in the city, the latter obliges by bringing the former to suggested accommodation facilities from pension to small hotels until the right choice has been made. It happened to me, when I took a last flight to Davao and arrived in the city at the height of a heavy downpour and despite the unholiness of the hour when I finally set foot on the city, taking a taxi did not give me any qualm at all.

I know that there are issues on how the peace and quiet of the city has finally been painstakingly achieved. But the proof of change is very evident. If only for the sake of the natives of Davao city who, for long, had been longing for a quiet life, and the visitors who are beginning to appreciate the “home of durian fruit”, the detractors are asked to take a boat or flight or bus and visit the city for a first- hand appreciation or just keep their mouth shut.

The Learning Process Called Life

The Learning Process Called Life


By Apolinario Villalobos



Debates about life – where it starts, are never ending, especially on the issue of family planning. If the sperm and egg cells, in their sole state are considered living minute components of the body, then the learning process starts from the stage of sexual intercourse. It is the stage where millions of sperm cells learn how to compete among each other, while the lone egg cell, learns how to wait for the victorious one to bond with “her”. The two cells use their innate “consciousness” to develop what those belonging to another group of debaters, consider as life.


The developing fetus learns to adapt itself to the environment inside the mother’s womb. When the time for him/her to come into this world arrives, he/she learns how to exert effort, helped by the groans, swearing and the contractions of the mother, until he/she finally lets out a cry after gasping for his/her first lungful of air.  Instinctively, he/she learns how to suck – he/she is now a baby!


In time, the baby learns how to make different sounds aside from the cry. With those are the learned facial expressions as his/her effort to communicate with the world. Then, there’s the clap, the crawl, the laughter – all learned as the baby grows up.


Eventually, the baby learns how to say some words and somehow identify objects. The baby  says “mama” when he/she smells the mother who just came in from the kitchen, and says “papa” when he/she smells the father who just came in from the smoggy street.  The baby  learns to do more tricks and acts to the delight of the family.


A little later, the baby grows into a child who goes to school and learns how to love and fear the teacher. The child learns the ABC’s of all levels of the educational system. This the child does as he/she metamorphoses into adolescent and adulthood into a  man/woman. So, if financially capable, the man/woman graduates from college and furthers his/her studies by proceeding towards a Masters degree. After graduation, the man/woman learns that it is not easy to get a job.


As time goes by, the man/woman learns to fall in love. At this time, his/her emotion is dictated by the heart more than his/her brain. If lucky, the man/woman gets the right lifetime partner. The two, man and woman, learn that they should sign a contract in order to live together under one roof.


The partners learn that to survive, they have to be wise in spending their money. They learn more lessons as their family grow. They learn how to adjust the way they deal with each of their children who, though siblings are different in so many ways.


Finally, the partners are at the threshold of their lives. They realized that life is an uphill trek and involves rock climbing ( in times of grave problems), crawling on all fours (in times of almost quitting), walking (temporary relief from headaches), picking of wild fruits and flowers along easy trails (laughter during light moments with children) and finally, a long sigh (fulfillment of God’s plan), as the summit is finally reached. Life, indeed, is a long process of learning…it is a syllabus of learning that only He can make.