Davao City: Life is here
DAVAO, the third most important city of the Philippines, is as historic as the country’s history.
First, the Spaniards led by Don Jose Oyanguren came in 1848 and established a Christian settlement in what is now known as Bolton Riverside. Datu Bago, a Muslim chieftain, fought but was defeated.
In 1900, the American forces came, which paved way for the region?s economic growth.
It was also at this time that Kichisaburo Ohta, a Japanese entrepreneur, was granted permission to exploit vast territories which he transformed into abaca and coconut plantations. The increased number of Japanese in the area earned Davao the nickname “Japan kuo (little Japan).
Then, World War II broke out. In 1942, the Japanese troops occupied Davao. But three years later, the American and Philippine Commonwealth forces liberated the city from the Japanese invasion.
Local historians claim the name Davao is derived from the ancient Bagobo word daba-daba, which means “fire.” On the other hand, the Tagabua tribe called the river bisecting the region Daba.
The Guiangan tribe, however, tagged it Davoh, which means a place “beyond the high grounds,” alluding to the settlements located at the mouth of Davao River which was surrounded by high rolling hills.
President Manuel L. Quezon formally signed a bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Romualdo Quimpo, proclaiming Davao City as a chartered city on October 1936. In March of the following year, the first inauguration of the city was held.
Thirty years later, Davao was subdivided into three independent provinces: Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, and Davao Oriental. In 1998, Compostela Valley, used to be part of Davao del Norte, was declared as another Davao province.
With a total land area of 244,000 hectares, Davao is considered as one of the largest cities in the world. Approximately, it is 7.8 times the size of Cebu and three times that of the entire Metro Manila.
Most visitors who come to Davao City described it as a land of exotic beauty and rich culture. “Davao is probably the least exposed of the country’s urban areas, and the most appealing,” observed Gregory C. Ira, a Filipino-American who lives in Florida.
“It’s a great holiday hideaway, what with its lush greenery and exotic wild flora and fauna that contribute to its picturesque view.”
Most of the historic destinations are located near the city hall in San Pedro Street. Just walking distance away from it are the following:
Sangguniang Panglungsod, San Pedro Cathedral, Museo Dabawenyo, Quezon Park, Camp Domingo Leonor, and D Bone Collector Museum.
Two parks are located within the city proper: People’s Park (patterned after the Central Park of New York City) and Magsaysay Park (located inside the Chinatown, touted to be the biggest in the world in terms of land area).
Those who want to go out from the city can go to such places as Eden Nature Park in Toril, Malagos Garden Resort and Philippine Eagle Center in Calinan, and Gap Farm and Crocodile Park in Ma-a.
Davao is known for its two celebrations: Araw ng Dabaw (the founding of Davao which is celebrated every March 15) and Kadayawan sa Dabaw (celebrated every August with street dancing and floral float parade).
From island to highland, that’s what awaits anyone who comes to Davao City.
Life is indeed here!