Volare, a song about soaring into the wild, blue yonder, originally sung by Italian, Domenico Modugno in 1958, became a very popular melody world wide. Davaweños were not spared by its captivating tune specially when Dean Martin, an American of Italian descent threw in his own magical style of crooning with his English version.
The old Parada Trucking fleet yard along Jacinto Ext. became the birthplace of one of the famous brothel in the downtown’s red alley, Volare. It was just a short hop from the original PLDT building at the corner of Claveria St (now Claro Recto St) and Ponciano St. From the old Menzi Office, which was just an ear shot from Volare, one could take a quick right turn to this famous girly night spot.
Early evenings start with folks coming in trickles, like moths around the flame and stirring activity in the alley. Volare, Yarrow, El Cairo, Romars were simple venues for showcasing girls for the blue collar, and middle income customers. On the south side of the town were the full service sophisticated nightclubs beckoning from the gentle slopes of Matina heights. Live band music for listening and dancing was what made the club shine.
Years flew by and brand new bars namely, El Cairo, Yarrow Bar, Romars and Vegas sprouted like wild mushrooms from that fertile parcel of land. As the city urbanized and its economy was shooting skyward, with the logging industry humming at that time, night life became a window of opportunity for entertainment and good time.
The bars at the red alley spurred economic activity in the area. Outside the bars, one can inhale billows of smoke, belching from nearby barbecue stands. Brisk sale of food, cigarette and alcohol complimented with the main event- that of taking a girl out from the bars. There was no way one could stop man’s vulnerability for wine, women and song.
Cruising Bankerohan bridge toward Matina was the route to the high-end and more sophisticated night spots of the city. Just before the steep climb where the Gallera was located, one could exit to the right which would lead to the Matina Night Club, one of the earliest establishments in the vicinity. To the left was a steep slope close to the Matina Golf Course where Hill Top was located. Management wranglings prompted the change to Hill Side Night Club.
New management renamed it again to Gibson Girl, a famous American standard for beautiful women. It finally segued to Crown Seven in the 70s. It was in these night spots that businessmen and professionals closed business deals while having a good time. Being inside a cool, comfortable subdued ambience, with pretty smiling faces lighting up a cigarette or serving drinks at the snap of a finger was hard to let go.
Fast forward to the late 60s, and 70s, when a string of night clubs appeared in the vicinity. Venees, Lord & Lady became popular for the new generation of night owls. The economy continued to hit the high gears in the 70s, Martial Law notwithstanding, which gave birth to close neighbors, Marrakesh and Jimms. Both clubs were patronized by oligarchs, prominent businessmen and professionals for their opulent ambience and high standard of customers’ service.
Top musicians of the city were engaged to play live band music for listening and dancing with young, perfumed, charming and voluptuous ladies. The nights seem endless as the live band plays a string of popular dance tunes, entrancing the patron and cushioning the impact of alcohol in the brain. (To be continued)
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