Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Larger-than-Life Statues Depict Folk Life at People's Park in Davao City

I’ve always believed that a city without an acceptable park is like royalty without a crown. Thus when I heard of Davao City finally opening what would be called “People’s Park”, I was pleased no end. Davao City is the Philippines’ 3rd major metropolis (after Metro Manila of the Luzon Islands, and Metro Cebu of the Visayas). Located in the strife-wary island of Mindanao, south of the country, Davao City teems with tourist sites of various persuasions, be it cosmopolitan for those who thrive in the city vibe – or natural beauty, for those who seek the bounties of nature. A source of pride is the almost non-existent criminal arm of this city, thanks to the controversial Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (now vice mayor).


If Duterte's children are as
 incorruptible as their father, then I wouldn't even care on issues of nepotism. The good mayor literally cleaned the city from the clutches of what unfortunately pervades in the backwaters of Manila’s underworld. One can safely walk around Davao in the wee hours without fear of his life, limb or property. Davao is THE SAFEST CITY in the country, which is ironic, since the rest of Mindanao is notorious for its unrest. There is of course the human-rights issue that continuously simmer (oh yes, even among the mayor’s councilors) in the undertows of Duterte’s hands. For those who never lived the 2 decades of fear brought about by bandits and extreme rightists that gripped the city from the not too distant past, it is easy for them to huff and puff! It is easy to be righteous when you do not live the shackles of fear that used to grip local life.


Duterte brought peace and prosperity to the city. In fact, when Duterte won a congressional seat a few years back, crime and semblance of lawlessness resurfaced. When he decided to take his rightful “throne” back as Mayor, Davao soared and the “
masasamang loob” (bad elements) fled! My taxi driver said, “All the petty criminals left for fear of getting their comeuppance here.” Indeed, in present Davao City, the bad elements seem to have an uncanny fate of disappearing! LOL. Am I amused with this system? You bet I am. IF YOU ARE A GOOD SOUL, you can live in peace - without fear. Otherwise, you better hide fast!


People’s Park officially opened in December of 2007. What used to be a PTA Ground (hosting athletic meets) was turned into a 4-hectare nature and fantasy-themed park that boasts of rainforest trees and vanity-free, larger-than-life statues that depict the daily lives of local folk. On my second visit to this park, I thoroughly enjoyed observing the little details thrown into each of these statues – fishermen pulling their fish nets, fruit farmers harvesting “saba” (cardaba), durian and other fruits; dancing people, a gigantic Philippine Eagle, etc. I was in awe, and this is evident in the photos that I was able to capture. 

I’d say that the perfect time to visit the park is
at sundown when there’s the slightest breeze blowing and temperature have ebbed down; when lights illuminate the statues and the glitter of the kliegs cast a romantic sheen over the trees, grass, as well as the fountains.

Engr. Eliza Madrazo, head of the project management office, is especially proud of the 1,100 species of foliage that grow from the park – diverse specimen from the rainforests of Madagascar and other African countries, New Guinea, Australia, Central and South America and all over Southeast Asia.

Located along
Guzman Street, just across the city’s Casino Filipino, and near Gaisano Ilustre Mall and Apo View Hotel, the park is a haven of serenity. It has to be mentioned that the park is equipped with half a dozen cameras and a strict security team at the entrance. Entrance is free!

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Philippine Eagle

Pato (duck), kanding (goat), manok (chicken)...

Saba (cardaba) harvest


Durian-patterned dome at the pavilion.

Site map of People's Park (A).

Related posts : 

General Information and photos of People's Park -

Daytime at the People's Park (2013)- 

Acknowledgement: Ms. Marilou Aguirre of Davao Today for details regarding the park.

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