Thank you, 2019

Yes, the year went fast too quickly. I know many will agree with me. Is it my age? Or is it that the calendar was filled with affairs that kept all of us busy, and distracted? Whatever it was, 2019 has left its memorable marks on each of us in one way or another. 

For all the good memories and enlightening ones, thank you! It was a year filled with fun events, meeting new people, gaining friends, reconnecting with old ones and in a bigger scale, countless winning moments for the city. 

Hijos de Davao gathers the families of the Davao’s original settlers and the tree is sprouting more branches. It was good to see the younger generation keep the annual tradition alive. I am looking forward to bigger celebrations in the coming years.

Younger generations of Hijos de Davao will soon take over the helms of the foundation and its annual celebration. Ariana del Rosario, Gerivic Cabreros, Migs Nograles & Jackie Dizon

What do you thing is the increase of travelers from Davao in 2019? I believe it’s the year of international travel out of Davao. Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon was confident to join the list of carriers offering international direct links from Davao last year and increased its flights on the first quarter of 2019. With easy and convenient access to international traveling, Hong Kong became a favorite weekend destination again. It also allowed connection to the rest of the world. 

Davao wins in international traveling with more carriers providing direct links from Davao to the major cities across the globe

Then Xiamen Air, Qatar Airways and Garuda jumped in the bandwagon and opened the gates to JinJiang (with connection to the rest of China), Doha (with connection to European and other major destinations), and Manado (as gateway to the Indonesian destinations).

For Davao, this a major leap. We an avoid the inconvenient Manila stopover and cut travel time to our favorite places to visit. Rumor has it that other carriers are highly interested in linking Davao to other key Asian cities like Tokyo and Seoul. Let’s cross our fingers it happens.

The year also put local art into the spotlight. Artists took to the malls and galleries to stage their creations. The market took notice and created new collectors emerged. The biggest and most impressive yet is the Mindanao Art Fair 2019. The leveled-up exhibition is at par with the exhibitions mounted in Manila and other regions. It flew in major artists who shared their insights about the Philippine art scene. I am looking forward to next art fair. 

The main exhibition area of MAF2019, the Gaisano Mall atrium (Photo Kublai Millan)

It will be a very busy 2020 for Davao. Aside from the Araw ng Davao and Kadayawan festivals, which attracts both local and international tourists, winning MICECON 2020 bid will keep Davao very busy. Winning the bid for the MICECON2020 will open up a lot of opportunities for the city—tourism, business, etc. Everyone will benefit. And yes, we have the facilities to make the conference happen and welcome even bigger ones in the coming year with new establishments opening. 

Expect a busy 2020 for Davao as the city will host the MICECON (Photo GeneRose Tecson)

To the tests that came our way, which perhaps taught us a lesson or two, thank you as well. The events made us rethink our priorities and aware that everything happens for a reason. The earthquakes caused devastation in places in Mindanao, Davao included. It exposed a lot of things, like the structural integrity of structures where many decided to call home. I asked myself if living in a high-rise building is indeed wise, and is it even a wise investment.

Thank you everyone who made the year beautiful. Thank you, Universe. I’m looking forward to an even better 2020 for all of us!

Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

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