Photo by Hazel Cano

Home is Where the Heart is

by Hazel Cano


I just returned to the city where I grew up in, which is the City of Davao.  This is after more than 20 years of not minding the activities in my hometown. I can now believe in the saying, “There is no place like home.”

It just so happened that I was in time for Davao’s annual festivities called the Kadayawan Festival. The celebration started from the first week of August and ended on the third week of the same month.

The name Kadayawan Festival is derived from the friendly greeting “Madayaw.” Madayaw is from the Dabawenyo word “dayaw,” which means good, valuable, superior, or beautiful. The festival is a celebration of life and a thanksgiving for the gifts of nature, the wealth of culture, the bounties of harvest, and the serenity of living. (Information taken from Wikipedia)


Photo by Hazel Cano

I was an Overseas Foreign Worker since 1986.  When I left Davao, insurgency was on the rise. Many people I knew became victims of belligerency. To work abroad was my decision to refrain from the unrest. I received news from my relatives and family that all was well within the family circle. I got letters from them through a post office mail box. There was no email, no Facebook, and no techie gadgets that would update me on what was happening in my hometown.

Yet today, I am deciding to stay here for good. Davao is my hometown, and it is filled with bounties. Davao is well-manicured and neat. It has controlled traffic and is secure. The city has a lot to offer like all the durian, citrus maxima or pomelo, a variety of mangoes, avocados, and many more tropical fruits. Davao exhibits a lot of handmade materials by the indigenous people– this becoming a showcase of our unique cultures.

Davao is also eco-friendly. It is a quintessential city.

Photo by Hazel Cano

Photo by Hazel Cano

There is easy access to nearby Samal Island, Davao del Norte, where there are beautiful beaches with white sand and granite formations. The island is an entry point to forest hunting, cliff hanging, river rafting, orchard farming, and crocodile farming. I can recommend that this is one of the best cities for those who decide on an early retirement from work.

I praise God because I was born in the City of Davao. It is a beautiful city that He has given to me and my countrymen.



Janina Marie Rivera is the author of the book, A Night Bird Sings of Blindness and Fear and has co-authored the devotional, Dawns, published by OMF Literature. She is a contributing poet in the books Joyful Light and Whitmanthology: on Loss and Grief by Various Authors. She is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine.