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Davao City

 

Davao City, officially the City of Davao (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Dabaw; Tagalog: Lungsod ng Davao), is a 1st class highly urbanized city in the Davao Region, Philippines. The city has a total land area of 2,443.61 km2 (943.48 sq mi), making it the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area. It is the third-most populous city in the Philippines after Quezon City and Manila, and the most populous in Mindanao. [10] As of 2020, the city has a total population of 1,825,450.

It is geographically situated in the province of Davao del Sur and grouped under the province by the Philippine Statistics Authority, but the city is governed and administered independently from it. The city is divided into three congressional districts, which are subdivided into 11 administrative districts with a total of 182 barangays.

Davao City is the center of Metro Davao, the third-most populous metropolitan area in the Philippines. (As of the 2015 census this had a population of 2.5 million, compared with Metro Manila's 12.8 million and Metro Cebu's 2.8 million.) The city serves as the main trade, commerce, and industry hub of Mindanao, and the regional center of Davao Region. Davao is home to Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines. The city is also nicknamed the "Durian Capital of the Philippines" and "Chocolate Capital of the Philippines".

Etymology[edit]

The region's name is derived from its Bagobo origins. The Bagobos were indigenous to the Philippines. The word davao came from the phonetic blending of three Bagobo subgroups' names for the Davao River, a major waterway emptying into the Davao Gulf near the city. The aboriginal Obos, who inhabit the hinterlands of the region, called the river Davah (with a gentle vowel ending, although later pronunciation is with a hard v or b); the Clatta (or Giangan/Diangan) called it Dawaw, and the Tagabawas called it Dabo. To the Obos, davah also means "a place beyond the high grounds" (alluding to settlements at the mouth of the river surrounded by high, rolling hills).[15][16]

History[edit]

Spanish era[edit]

Although the Spaniards began to explore the Davao Gulf area as early as the 16th century, Spanish influence was negligible in the Davao region until 1844, when the Spanish Governor General of the Philippines Narciso Clavería ordered the colonization of the Davao Gulf region, including what is now Davao City, for the Spanish Crown. Despite protests by the Sultan of Maguindanao, official colonization of the area, however, began in 1848 when an expedition of 70 men and women led by José Cruz de Uyanguren of Vergara, Spain, landed on the estuary of the Davao River the same year, intent on colonizing the vicinity. Nearby, a settlement was situated on the banks of the river, ruled by a Muslim Bagobo chieftain named Datu Bago.

Being the strongest chieftain in the region, Datu Bago imposed heavy tribute on the Mandaya tribes nearby, therefore also making him the most loathed chieftain in the region. Cruz de Uyanguren has orders from the higher authorities in Manila to colonize the Davao Gulf region, which included the Bagobo settlement on the northern riverbank. At this juncture, a Mandaya chieftain named Datu Daupan, who then ruled Samal Island, came to him, seeking for an alliance against Datu Bago.[17] The two chieftains were archrivals, and Cruz de Uyanguren took advantage of it, initiating an alliance between Spain and the Mandayas of Samal Island. Intent on taking the settlement for Spain, he and his men accordingly assaulted it, but the Bagobo natives fiercely resisted the attacks, which resulted in his Samal Mandaya allies to retreat and not fight again. Thus, a three-month long inconclusive battle for the possession of the settlement ensued which was only decided when an infantry company which sailed its way by warships from Zamboanga came in as reinforcements, thus ensuring the takeover of the settlement and its surroundings by the Spaniards while the defeated Bagobos fled further inland.[18]

After Cruz de Oyanguren defeated Bago, he founded the town of Nueva Vergara, the future Davao, on 29 June 1848[19] in an area of mangrove swamps which is now Bolton Riverside, in honor of his home in Spain and becoming its first governor. Almost two years later on 29 February 1850, the province of Nueva Guipúzcoa was established via a royal decree,[20] with the newly founded town as the capital, once again to honor his homeland in Spain. When he was the governor of the province, however, his plans of fostering a positive economic sway on the region backfired, which resulted in his eventual replacement under orders of the colonial government.

The province of Nueva Guipuzcoa was dissolved on 30 July 1860, as it became the Politico-Military Commandery of Davao.[21] By the clamor of its natives, a petition was given to the Spanish government to eventually rename Nueva Vergara into Davao, since they have called the town as the latter long from the time of its founding. It was eventually done in year 1867, and the town Nueva Vergara was officially given its present name Davao.[22]

The Spanish control of the town was unstable at best, as its Lumad and Moro natives routinely resisted the attempts of the Spanish authorities to forcibly resettle them and convert them into Christians.[23] Despite all these, however, such were all done in the goal of making the governance of the area easier, dividing the Christians both settlers and native converts and the Muslim Moros into several religion-based communities within the town.

During the Philippine Revolution[edit]

As the Philippine Revolution, having been fought for two years, neared its end in 1898, the expected departure of the Spanish authorities in Davao became apparent—although they took no part in the war at all, for there were no revolutionary figures in the vicinity save a negligible pro-Filipino separatist rebel movement in the town of Santa Cruz in the south.[24] When the war finally ended, as the Spanish authorities finally left the town, two Davaoeño locals by the names of Pedro Layog and Jose M. Lerma represented the town and the region at the Malolos Congress of 1898, therefore indicating Davao as a part of the nascent First Philippine Republic.[25]

The period of Filipino revolutionary control of Davao did not last long, however, as the Americans landed at the town later the same year. There was no record of locals offering any sort of resistance to the Americans.

American period[edit]

At the very instant the Americans began their administration of the town in 1900, economic opportunities quickly arose as huge swathes of its areas, mainly lush forests and fertile grasslands, were declared open for agricultural investment. A result of this, foreign businessmen especially Japanese entrepreneurs started settling the region, staking their claims on the vast lands of Davao and turned them into huge plantations of coconut and banana products.[26] In just a short period, Davao changed from a small and sparsely-inhabited town into a bustling economic center serving mainly the Davao Gulf region, heavily populated alongside natives by tens of thousands of settlers and economic migrants from LuzonVisayas and Japan. All of this led the Port of Davao to be established and opened the same year, in order to facilitate the international export of agricultural products from Davao.

Davao City Hall was established in 1926 as the Municipal Hall when it was still a town.

Davao was incorporated as a part of Moro Province from 1903 to 1914.[27] When the province was dissolved in 1914, it led to the establishment of Davao Province, with Davao town as its provincial capital. What is now the city's Legislative Council Building served as the provincial capitol.[28] It was built in 1926, the same year the Davao Municipal Hall, now the City Hall, was constructed.[29]

Man bicycling down street in old photo, with cars in background
Japan-town, Davao City (circa 1930s)

Because of the rapidly increasing progress of the town, on March 16, 1936, congressman Romualdo Quimpo from Davao filed Bill 609 (passed as Commonwealth Act 51), creating the City of Davao from the town of Davao and the municipal district of Guianga. The bill called for the appointment of local officials by the president. By that time, the new city was already mostly populated with Japanese businessmen and settlers who then became its locals.[30] Davao was inaugurated as a charter city on 16 October 1936 by President Manuel L. Quezon;[31] the charter came into effect on 1 March 1937. It was one of the first two towns in Mindanao to be converted into a city, the other being Zamboanga.

Second World War[edit]

On December 8, 1941, Japanese planes bombed the harbor, and from December 20 they landed forces and began an occupation of the city which lasted to 1945. Davao was among the earliest to be occupied by Japanese forces, and the city was immediately fortified as a bastion of Japanese defense.[citation needed]

The city was subjected to extensive bombing by forces led by Douglas MacArthur before American forces landed in Leyte in October 1944. The Battle of Davao towards the end of World War II was one of the longest and bloodiest battles during the Philippine Liberation, and brought tremendous destruction to the city, setting back the economic and physical strides made before the Japanese occupation.

Postwar growth[edit]

Old seal of the city, NHCP version

Davao regained its status as the agricultural and economic hub of Mindanao after the war ended in 1945. Wood products such as plywood and timber, and More agricultural products being produced within the city, such as copra and other varieties of banana, became available for export. Some Japanese locals — 80% percent of the city's population prior to the war's end — assimilated with the Filipino population, while others were expelled from the country by the Filipino locals, due to recent enmity.[32]

Davao was peaceful and increasingly progressive in the postwar period, including the 1950s and the mid-1960s. Ethnic tensions were minimal, and there was essentially no presence of secessionists groups in Mindanao.[33]

In 1967, the Province of Davao was divided into three provinces: Davao del NorteDavao Oriental and Davao del Sur. The city of Davao became part of Davao del Sur;[34] no longer the provincial capital, it became a commercial center of southern Mindanao. This period also saw the first ever election of an indigenous person to the office of Mayor of Davao City, when Elias Lopez, a full-blooded Bagobo, won the mayoral elections of 1967.[35]

Social unrest, martial law, and the 1980s[edit]

Things began to take a turn for the worse late into Ferdinand Marcos' first presidential term, when news about the Jabidah massacre ignited a furor in the Moro community, and ethnic tensions encouraged with the formation of secessionist movements.[36] An economic crisis in late 1969 led to social unrest, and violent crackdowns on protests led to the radicalization of many students throughout the country.[37] With no way to express their grievances about government abuses after the declaration of Martial law in 1972, many of them joined the New People's Army (NPA), bringing the Communist rebellion in the Philippines to Davao and the rest of Mindanao for the first time.[33]

In the midst of this era, Davao became the regional capital of southern Mindanao; with the reorganization, it became the regional capital of the Davao Region (Region XI) and highly urbanized city in the province of Davao del Sur.

Meantime, violence in the city became severe as Mindanao became one of the hotbeds of the NPA insurgency. The NPA, too, had become responsible for numerous abuses.[38] In 1985, locals formed the vigilante group "Alsa Masa" (People's Rise) to counter them.[39][40]

Most Davao residents, however, remained staunchly against violence. This included the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Davao Antonio L. Mabutas, who was among the first religious leaders to peacefully speak out against the Human rights abuses of the Marcos dictatorship.[41] However, these peaceful citizens lacked the political clout to influence the situation much before 1983.[42]

This only changed after the economic crisis of 1983 and the assassination of Ninoy Aquino later that year,[42] and the murder of prominent Davao City journalist Alex Orcullo at a checkpoint in Barangay Tigatto, Davao City on October 19, 1984.[33] These seminal events prompted prominent city figures like Soledad Duterte[43][44] to organize a protest group called the "Yellow Friday Movement",[45] which slowly gained support until 1986, when Marcos was finally ousted and forced into exile.[43][44]

Because the local leaders of the time were closely associated with Marcos, they were removed by the 1986 revolutionary government which took power after Marcos's ouster.[42] President Corazon Aquino then appointed Soledad Duterte's son, Rodrigo Duterte, as temporary Vice Mayor of Davao.[46] Rodrigo Duterte later ran for Mayor of Davao City and won, taking the top city office from 1988 to 1998, from 2001 to 2010, and yet again from 2013 to 2016, after which he became President of the Philippines.[47]

Geography[edit]

Davao City is approximately 588 miles (946 km) southeast of Manila over land, and 971 kilometres (524 nmi) by sea. The city is located in southeastern Mindanao, on the northwestern shore of Davao Gulf, opposite Samal Island.

Topography[edit]

Mouth of the Davao River in Talomo District
Mount Apo is the tallest mountain in the Philippines.

Davao City's land, totaling about 2,443.61 square kilometres (943.48 sq mi), is hilly in the west (the Marilog district) and slopes down to the southeastern shore. Mount Apo, the highest peak in the Philippines, is located at the city's southwestern tip. Mount Apo National Park (the mountain and its surrounding vicinity), was inaugurated by President Manuel L. Quezon (in Proclamation 59 of May 8, 1936) to protect the flora and fauna of the surrounding mountain range.[48]

The Davao River is the city's primary drainage channel. Draining an area of over 1,700 km2 (660 sq mi), the 160-kilometre (99 mi) river begins in the town of San Fernando, Bukidnon. The mouth of the river is located at Barangay Bucana at Talomo District.

Climate[edit]

Davao has a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af), with little seasonal variation in temperature. The areological mechanism of the Intertropical Convergence Zone occurs more often than that of the trade winds and because it experiences rare cyclones the climate is not purely equatorial but subequatorial. Average monthly temperatures are always above 26 °C (78.8 °F), and average monthly rainfall is above 77 millimetres (3.03 in). This gives the city a tropical climate, without a true dry season; while there is significant rainfall in winter, the largest rainfall occurs during the summer months 

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