Tagum City: Of Tests and Side Trips

Let me just start this off by saying that the past week has been A LOT!!! I was neck-deep with stress. It was unexpected, the kind you want and hate at the same time. And it was truly, truly worth it. So worth it that no matter how everything turns out, I’d still look back at it with a smile.

So a few months back, I enrolled to study the Japanese language and finally the dreaded Japanese Language Proficiency Test has come and it was time to head Davao City where the exam will be held. My classmates and I, along with our Sensei, hopped on a van to drive for hours to Davao City. But instead of staying in Davao City, we opted to drive further to Tagum City to stay and visit at our Sensei’s place.

energy-park-tagum

Tagum is a city and the capital of Davao del Norte. It is about two hours away from Davao City itself, give or take. For some crazy reason, I pictured Tagum to be a “small” city. But then again, I have wonky, unreliable imaginations, so forgive me. 😀

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The looming horror of the much awaited and equally dreaded exam did not stop us from going out for a sight-seeing with the very little time we had. Mesmerized and intrigued. That’s how I felt the entire time I was there. I don’t know whether it was because of the breezy, cloudy afternoon (a welcome balm from the heat in CDO), the fact that I was in the company of great friends, or it was purely Tagum’s charm.

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One of the stops we made was to their city hall, a magnificent thing of beauty. It was wide and spacious, exuding a sense of power and might with its grandeur. I especially loved the long stretch of paved road, lined with towering palm trees that led to the city hall. Definitely Instagram-worthy. And if I hadn’t been afraid of getting hit by a vehicle and embarrassing myself in the process, I would’ve asked for my photo be taken there.

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The other place we visited was Energy Park. A huge area with lots of trees, perfect for afternoons with family, friends hanging out, and couples on a date. The park also rents out bicycles which one could use to ride around the park. You could walk around, of course, but it’s twice the fun when you’re on a bike, riding around pretending like you’re a worry-free eight-year-old again.

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Tagum is also home to the world’s largest holy rosary, which we didn’t have a chance to see as apparently the place only opens on Sundays and we were there on a Saturday. Bummer. But hey, next time maybe? 😀 Anyway, it was getting dark and was just about time for dinner so we headed to The Palm City Food Park. I’m not a fan of food parks mostly because I’m a very indecisive person and I get dizzy trying to decide what I want to eat. I loved it there though! It was indoors so the occasional unexpected rains are a non-issue, yet it was also open air so it still that outdoor vibe, which was terrific. Its ambiance was cozy and very welcoming. And hey, they had these light-up chairs which were pretty cool. 😉

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Overall, the whole trip was fun and memorable. The only sad part about it was we had to cancel the side trip we planned to Samal Island as we had to be in Cebu shortly after the JLPT exam. I loved Tagum and how spacious it seemed and I felt like I was so near the skies there. I will cherish the time I got to spend with classmates turned friends. Also, the van moments were simply one of the best. On the way back, somebody suddenly started singing with a portable microphone karaoke-style. Hey, you can’t help but sing along. Of course, I’d also never forget my first-time ever taking an exam without a word of English in the test itself and the headache I had after and during the test. 😀

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The couple days prior to the trip were somewhat insane and it was as if the universe wanted me to move heaven and hell to make this happen. And so by the time I got on that van, I was just like, “Whatever, let’s get this over with.” Surprisingly, I had fun. Really had fun. I guess it was just nice to get away for a teeny, tiny second. To discover and learn about a new place, to laugh as if you’re beyond all your worries. To realize that some things are not there anymore, in a good way. Very good way. 🙂 So all in all, I’d say it was an unexpectedly wonderful trip. That is why I’ve decided to no longer stress about this. (Well, I won’t stress about it for as long as I can. Knowing myself, I will stress about it. Eventually. But I’ll save that for another day). So pass or fail, life is great. 😀 I’m leaving it all up to a higher power.

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