Davao’s Inferno

(something I wrote when I was in first year college. Yes, I had a hell of a time in college! The setting may be context bound, but it can be imagined by pretty much everybody. Enjoy!)

It was with great hesitation that I entered the accursed vortex. A nauseating kick of week-old urine allowed to dry on the floor was what greeted my dumbfounded nose.

As I climbed up, I desperately looked around, trying to find any hellish puddle of who-knows-what to avoid.

Though I was watching out for urine, the God of Putridity felt generous enough as to give me something of a greater caliber, for on the floor, just above me by the left, was a puddle of what was definitely human vomit. It was that of a human, definitely, unless dogs have begun drinking Generoso too, for the disgusting substance was reeking of alcohol. It was pink, horribly, horribly pink, and here and there were bits of white grains, perhaps the remains of boiled Oryza sativa babies that man has affectionately called “Rice.” There were also brown little details that might have been the cooked remains of slaughtered animals and what horrendously looked like two cigarette butts. It was like Hello Kitty melted and all the things she ate showed up.

As I go on, an old man was squatting by the stairs, a hand reaching out. He was supposed to be a beggar, but whoever the casting director was chose the wrong guy, for this old dude wasn’t begging at all: he was swearing, Quote: “Maluoy na mo ba, mga litse mo!” (roughly, “have mercy already, you asses!”) He wasn’t very convincing at all, so I went pass him. Heck, if he was convincing, I’d still ignore him. But there’s more! As I walk pass the rat carcasses decaying proudly on the floor, a little boy approaches me and quotes: “Kuya, gai ko baynte, pang snack lang.” (“kuya, give me 20 pesos, I want a snack”) Son of a gun! Before my head exploded out of irony, I went ahead, ignoring him.

Then, my sense of respect for human dignity was literally obliterated. I passed by a large pile of human feces, yellow and repulsively flamboyant like some newly opened flower from Gehenna. It was disgusting, very, very, very disgusting, and wouldn’t stop boasting that fact.

But surprisingly, a boy was sleeping on the wet floor across it. The little urchin was pathetic, and I was made to think that he was dead, slowly decaying and sinking into the floor, itself a large piece of rotting flesh.

The Cerberus of the accursed portal was this absurd pseudo-beggar who was begging while listening to an mp3 player with earphones.

The whole place was Hell. It smelled like all the worst things ever: urine, vomit, feces, rotting flesh, rags. It even had an exceptional cast of beggars that didn’t make the place any better.

Indeed, if tourism was the topic being disgust, I mean, discussed, foreigners should see all sides of Davao city, even the bad, horribly unsanitary side. They should visit that legendary Overpass near Victoria.

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