The Vow (Davao)

Traveling to another place isn’t complete without going around to see the place and taking photos.  I have been to Davao City twice already many years ago, but this is the first time I’ve walked the streets.

baskets lined in front of a shop selling skeletons

After visiting the fruit stands and buying pomelo to bring home, I had the rest of the afternoon off.  Davao is known for Durian, a fruit that many describe as something that smells like hell but tastes like heaven.  I should have taken photos of these fruits so you can smell them from your monitor.

buyers of gold, silver and other precious metals

I’ve allowed myself to get lost here, to not care about landmarks nor directions.  Not that it was easy to get lost, but I just didn’t care about where I was going as long as public transportation was available and I have enough taxi fare to return to my hotel.  I’d call it an adventure if and when I find myself lost in a place without any ride back home.  Maybe when I get to be 90 and forgetful.

simple scale on top of jewelry and bank notes

There are lots and lots of buyers of precious metals and bank notes lining the sidewalk, which says a lot about the place being a hub for travelers, some of whom have to sell their precious jewelry to pay for their fare going home.

bank notes on display case, local and foreign

I do remember one time a German friend explained to me about guilds in Europe centuries ago when apprentices can only practice their trade far from where they come from so as not to compete directly with their mentors.  They usually wear gold earrings and other jewelry not for ornamental purposes, but to be used to pay for burial services should something happen to them when they are away from home.  While this is not the case anymore, the amount of jewelry transferring hands along the streets should give one an idea of the harsh reality.

ladies line up outside a mall entrance selling prepaid GSM phone cards

These are the Sims.  No, not the ladies, but the cards they are holding.  GSM sim cards are quite cheap nowadays that it is not uncommon for friends to change their mobile numbers as often as they forget to pay money they owe.

sidewalk vendor reading the headlines

Everything looks the same wherever I go, as far as local travel goes, that is.  Fruit vendors, street hawkers, refreshment carts, food carts, shoe repair, watch repair, the homeless, the street children, etc & etc.  After a year of photo walks, scenes like these are getting old quick.  I am keeping an open mind and consider photo walks as physical exercise.

a family of three and their only source of income selling fresh coconut

I still wonder in amazement why some people still can’t get enough of taking photos of the homeless, the disabled, and the less fortunate who have to let go of their dignity just to survive the day.  And then there are some people who are so fixated on the technical aspect of photography that they end up with technically perfect photos complete with layering, juxtaposition, patterns and other what-nots but lacking relevance or story.  And then I sometimes ask myself why I do this.

a lady hides her face behind a big fan with a banana on the grill

I’ve heard the term “Human Interest” only 3 times in my whole life from 3 different people who know their stuff.  I should say that this is a more accurate term for the photography I am practicing.  Street photography is becoming too rigid with too many rules and every day gives birth to one more self-proclaimed expert.  With all the debates and discussions of what should and shouldn’t be considered street photography, it would be best to just let them fight it out.  I will continue taking long walks while I’m able, and this is a promise I make to myself.


6 thoughts on “The Vow (Davao)

  1. I know you will not dissapoint us. Another excellent “human interest” pictures and story. Keep going, as far and as long your vision will take you. Just remember you won’t be walking alone. We will be waiting for you at the end of every shoots, every travel, and every promise. Good luck and God bless.

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