On the southern parts of one of the archipelagic countries in Southeast Asia lies the victorious province of Davao. It is one of the leading regions of the Philippines, home to the highest peak in the country, fresh seafood, exciting festivals, shopping centers, quaint beaches, and exotic fruits. These treasures made Davao worthy of being monikered as the “Land of Promise.”
Davao Region is the 11th region in the Philippines comprising the provinces of Compostella Valley, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, and Davao Oriental. Its capital is the urbanized Davao City, the largest and one of the most populated cities in the Philippines. About 5 million of the country’s population reside in the region, with more than 1 million living in Davao City.
The region has 20,357 square kilometers, teeming with natural resources and eventful history in every corner. Up to this day, you can find indigenous Filipino tribes in Davao like the Bagobos, Manobos, Tausug, and most Muslim tribes. Many locals from the main islands of Luzon and Visayas are also settling in Davao.
A Brief History
Like any other province in the country, the Davao region was organized into “barangays” or small districts and ruled by a chieftain or “datu.” However, in 1848, the Spaniards, led by Jose Cruz de Uyanguren, landed in Davao Gulf and claimed the region from the leadership of Datu Bago. The Filipino tribes tried to defend the territory, but with the forces of Spain, Davao quickly became a Spanish settlement.
Jose Cruz de Uyanguren became the first governor of the region, and it was named Nueva Vergara in memorial to his hometown in Spain. He started governing Davao by converting the natives into Catholics and urging the tribes to move into the developed parts of the area to engage in trade. In 1868, the petition of Catholic converts was granted, and the region was officially named “Davao.”
During the Japanese occupation, Davao also had a concentrated number of Japanese troops, controlling the area’s trade of goods and agricultural products. Though Japan and the Philippines have established a friendship over the years, locals commemorate the dark past of Japan’s dominion.
The Philippines is a tropical country, and Davao Region embodies the ideal tropical climate throughout the year. Unlike other provinces in the country which endure frequent typhoons, Davao has a mild tropical climate, has evenly distributed rainfalls, and is situated outside the typhoon belt. Tourists often visit during the hottest months, which usually happens in April, May, and October.
Davao Region’s climate is an essential part of the Philippines’ economic success. Since it is not prone to destructive typhoons and is a medium-risk region for earthquakes, investors are enticed to build their businesses in Davao. Davao’s mountainous topography and coastal areas are ideal for tourism business, its fertile soil for agricultural trade, and its progressive capital, Davao City as a financial hub and business district.
There are many things to love about Davao, and its flourishing tourism is what many travelers are curious about. Even if it has evolved into an industrialized city, locals can maintain its natural wonders and ancient heritage. The local government of Davao welcomes about 2 million tourists in the region every year.
For international and domestic flight travels, Davao boasts its main runway, the Davao International Airport. It also has seaports located in Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, and privately owned seaports for trade and business.
Davao offers stunning attractions, from enjoying Davao City’s elegant restaurants and nightlife to discovering the region’s natural attractions and historical spots. Davao cradles Mount Apo, a stratovolcano that is the highest mountain in the Philippines. It stands more than 2000 meters and is a frequent spot for tourists to see the Philippines’ exotic wildlife and tropical rainforest.
Davao has earned a lot of monikers because of its richness in seafood and distinct fruit produce. The region stands out in producing the freshest sashimi, locally known as “kinilaw.” It is often served in Filipino households as appetizers or when Filipinos have drinking sessions. Davao is even called the “sashimi capital.” Davao is also abundant with Durian, a fruit remarkable for its custard-like flesh and sweet taste and unforgettable because of its pungent smell.
For festivities, two of the important fiestas that you won’t want to miss in Davao are the “Araw ng Dabaw” and the “Kadayawan Festival.” Araw ng Dabaw happens every March in commemoration of Davao City’s founding day. The celebration is month-long, where locals showcase fashion, food, and products that make Davao City popular.
On the other hand, Kadayawan Festival happens every August, the biggest celebration not only in the region but also in the Philippines. The event is a week-long celebration of float parades, colorful costumes, and cultural shows. Kadayawan Festival began in 1986 as the locals’ thanksgiving ritual.
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