The only way we can find ourselves (again) is to lose whatever we’ve grown accustomed to.
And the again within those parenthesis refer to the fact that every one in their mid to late 20’s have found their niche, a career or some sort of personal refinement by finding their identity (or as what almost every article on Thought Catalog insists on uni students and graduates- as if it were any legitimate source to be used for some thesis for reassurance) however, as someone pass their mid-20’s, I could testify to it in some way.
Davao is no stranger to me, or to any one living in Mindanao, perhaps. Politically saying, it is considered the only metro in the region (although in a non-bias way, it just covers a huge land mass with no visible or existent skyline and CBD; and I still think my hometown of Cagayan de Oro progresses more evidently to be called a metro, too) as I do frequent in dropping by Davao: My first ever long bus ride (and eternally agonizing) was to Davao when I applied for an airline company straight out of uni- and it was my first ever job application, too. I was flown in to Davao last year for my first ever paid to attend event for SM Lanang’s “MODA Mindanao 2017” during their anticipated Kadayawan Festival. It is much closer to me on a personal level, too, as my sister and her small family, including my cutie patootie of a nephew, do reside in Davao for over the past 7 years and I have learned to adapt in having to walk in the most inconvenient distances just to smoke a cigarette (Davao’s smoking ban even beats that of Singapore) but the city does have its charm and it does include walking around the city even late at night with all of your gadgets hanging out and no one even bothers to steal them because of the city’s disciplined upbringing.
One of my struggles ever since each time I’m in Davao is maintaining my aesthetic profile; and even on posting them because my sister only has pocket wi-fi at her household (which does have limited access once several devices are connected to it) and unlike Manila, or even Cebu, which has a wide selection of cafe’s to dine, shoot and lounge around, and even picturesque alleys to save a dime but get that perfect shot of your sponsored, er, organic, post- seeing things as a very meticulous photographer, Davao would be my last option for any live streaming post in the likes of Aimee Song (or heck, to be honest, even stock images in the likes of Nicole Warne and Adam Gallagher) or have I found any (even in the frequent trips) because of how far almost everything is and how the city was designed like a labyrinth (again, no existing CBD to for any fail-safe outfit shot)
However, I have grown to appreciate Davao for what it lacks and realized it’s primary purpose on my behalf, or to any individual crazy over photography and aesthetically driven digital presence: it serves a place when I strip myself of what I do on a daily basis to focus on even more significant things. Such as family.
I think I have been quite vocal about how exhausting the industry can be. Sure, it’s no desk job driven by commerce and having to wait every 15 days to appreciate your work- but it can be mentally draining (which is, attested by other creatives that it’s a hundred times more exhausting than any physical activity but also, a hundred times more fulfilling) to constantly think of your signature aesthetic, promoting engagement and being a profound individual. I’ve learned to adapt to Davao’s laid back (even more laid back than that of Cagayan de Oro) culture as a way to put my phone down, not open my laptop and save so much memory on my camera’s SD card and even save some camera battery to go back to the primal and basic fundamentals of life: talk & interact with people, watch cartoons with my nephew, actually savor seeing my parents happy and relaxed, and just immerse myself in the free pass of not being Mikko Mahinay for a number of days. I guess this is evident that nothing is really bad, you just have to see things differently.
Again, Davao isn’t my first choice if I had to spend a few thousand bucks for a vacation that I can sporadically post on social media. But Davao is my first choice of some time away from everything; although somewhat difficult when you think about the smoking ban, lack of photogenic (when I say this, I mean looking for spots that match my feed- or not photographed by a thousand more other individuals) and lack of bustling urban life. After all, The only way we can find ourselves (again) is to lose whatever we’ve grown accustomed to.
Even if it meant I would have a pile of deadlines to meet-up when I’m out of Davao. Aaaah, life.
What I’m Wearing: River Island Sweater via Zalora
Shot all at Yolks, Davao City and Samal Island