Davao City, a dynamic and culturally rich locale, is nestled in the southernmost region of the Philippines. The City is the most populous City in Mindanao and the largest City in the country in terms of land area, with around 1,776,949 people inhabiting its total land area of 2,443.61 square kilometers, according to the 2020 Census.
Davao City’s robust economy is driven by agriculture, with local and multinational corporations like Dole, Lorenzo Group, Sarangani Agricultural Corp., and Del Monte establishing their headquarters here. The industrial and manufacturing plants of companies like Phoenix Petroleum, Steel Asia, RC Cola Phil, Pepsi-Cola Products, Phil., and Coca-Cola Bottlers are also located in the City, making it a financial and commercial powerhouse in Mindanao.
Davao City is also a central commercial hub, with large-scale shopping centers scattered throughout the City, such as SM Lanang Premier, Abreeza Mall, and Gaisano Mall of Davao.
Before dismissing durian for its infamous pungent aroma, one must have a mouthful to appreciate its sweet, custard-like flavor and creamy texture. One taste, and you’ll understand why it’s dubbed the “King of Fruits” and why dabaw is proud to have an abundance of this exotic and highly sought-after delicacy. Davao’s mild weather and fertile volcanic soil provide the perfect conditions for durians to grow, making it one of the Mindanao region’s leading exporters of exotic fruits.
Despite being a highly developed and incredibly sophisticated metropolis, Davao City can still retain its natural beauty. Mount Apo, the country’s tallest mountain, is the City’s most notable natural landmark. Beyond that, the town is every nature lover’s dream, packed with lush greenery, pristine beaches, and endemic wildlife.
Among the facilities built to safeguard flora and fauna of Davao is The Philippine Eagle Center, which was established to help preserve the critically endangered Philippine Eagle species. There’s also the People’s Park, a 10,000-square-meter park that houses nearly 1,101 species of trees and plants. The local city government of Davao has taken it upon itself to ensure these natural wonders are maintained for future generations.
There are plenty of things to do in Davao City, such as climbing Mount Apo, shopping at Aldevinco Shopping Center, feasting on durian at Magsaysay Fruit Market, celebrating Kadayawan, admiring the country’s most giant bird at The Philippine Eagle Center, and catching some waves at Dahican Beach.
Talomo is a popular residential and beach resort area only half an hour from Davao’s city center. These neighborhoods offer many residential options, commercial centers, and tourist spots. Agdao is a peaceful barangay in Davao City, while Buhangin is a busy yet ideal place to live just east of Davao City’s center.
Those flying into Davao City will arrive at Francisco Bangoy International Airport, the main airport that serves both Davao City and Mindanao. Davao City also has an integrated bus network and roll-on/roll-off inter-island ferries connecting it to various Philippines areas.
Within Davao City, plenty of public transportation is available to take you wherever you need, including taxis, tricycles, multicabs, and buses. Habal-habal passenger motorcycle vehicles are the primary mode of transportation for the mountainous areas of Davao City.
Davao City History
Davao City is a bustling, highly urbanized city situated on the island of Mindanao, the southernmost major island of the Philippines. Originally part of the Province of Davao, the city became a commercial center of southern Mindanao in the 1960s and later became the regional administrative capital of Southern Mindanao in 1972 upon its reorganization as the provincial capital of the Davao Region (Region XI).
The city is the largest in the Philippines in terms of land area, with a total land area of 2,444 sq.km. Davao City proper is located approximately 946 aerial kilometers or 588 statute miles southeast of Manila, and is bounded by several provinces, including Agusan del Sur to the north, Davao del Norte Province and Davao Gulf to the east, Davao del Sur to the south, and Bukidnon Province, the Provinces of North and South Cotabato, and Sarangani Province to the west.
The city is divided into three congressional districts and 11 administrative districts. As the administrative center of Davao Region, Davao City serves as the main entry point for the Brunei Darussalam – Indonesia – Malaysia – Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), making it the primary center of development in Mindanao. The city has received numerous awards and accolades, including being named the 2nd most competitive highly-urbanized city in 2020, and has a rich history, having been led by several notable mayors, including Rodrigo Duterte, who served multiple terms as mayor of Davao city.
Climate In Davao City
The climate of Davao City is classified as a mild tropical climate, and the City experiences significant rainfall throughout the year. Even the driest month still has a lot of rain, according to data from Weather Atlas. The predominant wind direction in Davao City is northward from the Davao Gulf, where the cooler air of the sea replaces the warm air mass over the City. The City is effectively protected from strong winds by a surrounding mountain chain.
Davao City Demographics
Davao City has a diverse population of 1,776,949 people, with a population growth rate of 1.55% (2015-2020 intercensal year). In the past century, massive migration waves from different parts of the nation have contributed to the City’s population growth, and this trend continues today.
Locals of Davao City are colloquially known as Davaoeños, with the majority being Visayans, particularly Cebuanos, while the rest are Hiligaynons. Indigenous communities also make up a significant portion of the local population, while an Islamized group comprising Maguindanaons, Maranaos, Iranuns, Tausugs, and Sama-Bajaus are also present. Non-Filipino Asians, including Indonesians, Malaysians, Taiwanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese, and Indians, have also established small communities in the City, while non-Asian foreigners like Americans and Europeans also call the City their home.
How to Get Around Davao City
Davao City has a range of transportation options available to get around the City. Taxis are widely available, and you can hail one from the street or via ride-hailing apps like Grab. Tricycles are also a common sight in the City, particularly in residential areas, and are ideal for short trips. Multicabs and buses are available for longer trips and are a more affordable option.
For those traveling to the mountainous areas of Davao City, habal-habal passenger motorcycles are the primary mode of transportation. These are typically used to reach areas that are not accessible by regular vehicles. It’s important to note that safety standards for habal-habal rides vary, and it’s crucial to ensure that the driver has a valid license and wears appropriate safety gear.
Davao City Demographics
According to the 2020 Census of Population and Housing, Davao City has a population of 1,776,949, with an average of four persons per household. The population growth rate between 2015 and 2020 was 1.55%. In 2000, the population of Davao City surpassed one million inhabitants, becoming the first City in Mindanao and the Visayas, and the fourth nationwide, to do so. The population increase during the 20th century was mainly due to migration from other parts of the Philippines.
The residents of Davao City are known as Davaoeños, with the majority being Visayans, specifically Cebuanos and Hiligaynons, while the rest are from various indigenous communities. The indigenous communities include the Maguindanaons, Maranaos, Iranuns, Tausugs, and Sama-Bajaus, who are mostly Islamized. Davao City is also home to small communities of non-Filipino Asians, such as Indonesians, Malaysians, Taiwanese, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, and Indians, as well as non-Asian foreigners like Americans and Europeans.
Davao City Socio Economic Profile
The regional economic cooperation initiative in Southeast Asia, called the East Asian Growth Area, includes Davao City.
Davao City Industry Economy
The most significant economic sector in Davao City is agriculture, which includes banana, pineapple, coffee, and coconut plantations. The City is Mindanao island’s leading exporter of fruits, such as mangoes, pomelos, bananas, coconut products, pineapples, papayas, mangosteens, and cacao.
Malagos Chocolate, now recognized worldwide, is the country’s leading artisan chocolate and was developed in Davao City by Malagos Agriventures Corp. Meanwhile, Seed Core Enterprises is the country’s biggest exporter of cacao to Barry Callebaut. The City’s local corporations, such as the Lorenzo Group, Anflo Group, AMS Group, Sarangani Agricultural Corp., and Vizcaya Plantations Inc., have operations and maintain headquarters in the City.
The Davao Gulf provides the livelihood for many fishermen, and some of the fish products include yellow fin tuna, brackish water milkfish, mudfish, shrimp, and crab. The fish catch is unloaded in a fishing port in Barangay Toril, then sold in the numerous markets within the City.
Multinational companies such as Dole, Sumifru/Sumitomo, and Del Monte have regional headquarters in Davao City.
Davao City also serves as the leading trade, commerce, and industry hub of Mindanao and is one of the financial hubs of Mindanao. Several industrial plants, such as Coca-Cola Bottlers, Phil., Pepsi-Cola Products, Phil., Interbev Phil Inc., and RC Cola Phil., are located in the City. There are several fruit packaging-exporting facilities, food manufacturing plants, and industrial construction plants such as Holcim Philippines, Union Galvasteel Corporation, and Steel Asia.
The Steel Asia plant, completed in December 2014, is now the country’s largest and most modern steel rolling mill production facility in the country and was purposely built to increase national steel production and reduce construction costs in Mindanao. Phoenix Petroleum, a multinational oil company, is based in Davao City and is the first company in the Philippines outside Metro Manila to be in the PSE Composite Index.
BDO Network Bank (formerly One Network Bank) is the largest rural bank in the Philippines in terms of assets and is based in Davao City. Most of its branches are located in Mindanao, where there are 17 locations where it is the only financial-services provider. Social insurance agencies of the government, such as the Social Security System and Government Service Insurance System, also have offices in the City.
The City has several commercial areas, including the downtown area, known as the City center, as well as Davao Chinatown (Uyanguren), Bajada, Lanang, Matina, Ecoland, Agdao, Buhangin, Tibungco, Toril, Mintal, and Calinan; the latter three are situated in the southwestern part of the City.
Several shopping centers are situated in the City, such as the Gaisano Mall of Davao, which opened in April 1997 and is the largest in the Philippines. Abreeza, which opened on May 12, 2011, is the first and largest Ayala Mall in Mindanao, while SM Lanang Premier is the first SM Premier Mall in Mindanao.
The oldest shopping mall in the City is the NCCC Mall VP (formerly Victoria Plaza Mall), located on J.P. Laurel Ave., established in 1992. Other significant malls in the City include NCCC Mall of Davao, and SM City Ecoland, the first SM Mall in Mindanao, among many others. Felcris Centrale, located along Quimpo Boulevard, is a mixed-use retail mall, supermarket, and IT office complex.
The construction of new shopping malls is currently underway. The Gaisano Mall of Toril, the second Gaisano Mall under the DSG Sons Group in the City, is a large shopping mall in the Toril District in the southern part of the City. Other minor malls/community malls include Gaisano Grand Tibungco, NCCC Panacan, NCCC Main Uyanguren, Gaisano Grand Calinan, Gaisano Grand Ilustre, and Gaisano Grand Toril.
The Gaisano Grand Citygate Mall, the fifth Gaisano Mall in the City under the Gaisano Grand Group, is a large shopping mall constructed in the Buhangin District just a few kilometers north of the downtown area. The NCCC Mall Buhangin is the second NCCC Mall in the City, located in the Buhangin District just beside Gaisano Grand Mall Buhangin. Proposed malls include City Mall Northtown Davao, the first City Mall in the City, and the Vista Mall Davao, which will rise in the Tugbok District.
Davao City Tourism
Davao City serves as a premier tourist destination in Mindanao and a domestic and international gateway to other visitor destinations on the island. It offers a variety of nature-based, man-made, historico-cultural, adventure and sports, particular interests, religious, educational, agro-industrial, attractions, pleasure and entertainment, festivals, dining, and shopping options.
Manufacturing Davao City
Many manufacturing firms are located in Barangays Bunawan, Buhangin, Talomo, Poblacion, and Toril of Davao City. Most of these firms produce food products, while others manufacture non-metallic mineral products, wood products, furniture, machinery, and equipment. Large beverage manufacturers are particularly located in Toril. Agri-based manufacturers are concentrated in District 3, particularly in Clainan, Toril, and Tugbok, since most farms are located there. Poblacion and Talomo in District 1 and Bunawan and Buhangin in District 2 also have relatively large agri-based companies. Davao City has one manufacturing Zone, two agro-industrial zones, 17 IT Parks/Centers, and 1 Tourism Zone registered in PEZA.
Davao City’s Notable Awards & Citations
Davao City has received notable awards and citations, including being ranked as the 2nd Most Competitive Highly-Urbanized City in 2020. The city’s Anti-Smoking Campaign has earned it the Red Orchid Award “Hall of Fame” status in 2015, 2014, 2012, 1999, and 1998.
Davao City has also been recognized as a Child-Friendly City in 2015, 2014, 2012, 1999, and 1998. It won 1st Prize and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the 2012 National Literacy Award for Outstanding LGU, Highly Urbanized City Category.
The city has been recognized as a Consistent Performing LGU in the country from 2009 to 2011 and received the Best Practice Award for LGU HIV Prevention Seal of Good Housekeeping in 2011. In 2009, Davao City was named as the Philippines’ Most Livable City, and it is one of the only three areas in the world to have the Integrated Emergency Response System, 911, recognized as one of the Top 25 Best Practices in the Philippines.
- No smoking in public places
- Conservation of endangered species
- Ban on the use of firecrackers
In conclusion, Davao City is an exciting and thriving metropolis that serves as the economic and cultural center of Mindanao island. It is a city that has much to offer for tourists and locals alike, from its beautiful nature-based attractions, cultural and historical sites, to its lively food and shopping scene. Its excellent quality of life, strategic location, and business-friendly environment make it one of the most livable and competitive cities in the Philippines.
Davao City’s story is a testament to the resilience and innovation of its people, who have overcome significant challenges to achieve prosperity and progress. With its strong focus on sustainable development, the City is poised to continue its growth and development in the years to come.
Whether you are a first-time visitor or a long-time resident, Davao City is a place that is sure to captivate you with its unique charm and character.
With its friendly people, diverse culture, and stunning natural beauty, Davao City is truly a city like no other.