Davao welcomes guests with a “punch”

A month ago, Davao City became well-known for its Mayor who punched a court sheriff. Criticized and praised by many, the talk about the punching became so popular that tourism groups here were able to turn it into something the city could benefit.

But unlike the jab that hit the face of an unfortunate sheriff, this punch does not hurt anymore. A fruit concoction made of guava, pummelo and calamodin prepared by a chef from a local culinary school, this punch serves as a brand new hospitality gesture for those who fly to this city.

“Fly to Davao and we will welcome you with a good punch,” says an advertisement showing a fair-skinned woman wearing a Lumad attire, raising a glass of the so-called “Davao punch”. It appeared on national newspapers this month, drumbeating an annual festivity every August, Kadayawan “the King of Festivals.” Horror for some, fun for others.

Telai Jarabelo, a resident here, says she finds the advertisement amusing. But she says people outside the city might not find it funny at all.

“I think it was funny. (But) I believe it’s only amusing to Davao people. Because non-davaoenos were against the punching incident,” she says.

Mayor Sara Duterte admits she was surprised and was even asked if she could be photographed with the fruit punch as the brains of the creative advertisement wanted her to be the endorser for the month-long event itself.

“I didn’t saw it coming that they were planning it for Kadayawan. They wanted me to be the one in the advertisement but I refused because I felt it wasn’t a good idea to have me in the picture. It’s as if we’re making fun of what happened,” she told this writer in a cocktail party  organized by the Indonesian Consulate Monday night as they celebrate their 66th Independence (Ulang Tahun Kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia).

Jason Magnaye, City Tourism, Investment and Promotions acting chief, said developing the so-called “Davao punch” into a marketable tourist product that could be served in restaurants is not far from possible.

The city government here is eyeing to turn the concoction into an economic activity, creating livelihood especially for women, said Duterte.

Duterte became under fire since July for punching court sheriff Abe Andres during demolition row in squatter shanties. Cases of disbarment has been filed by a group of Sheriffs in the country. But the mayor, and even residents here, seemed to be unfazed about it.

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