Welcome to Davao!
Davao City is the hub of business and life on the Island of Mindanao here in the Philippines with a population of around 2.5 million people. This makes metro Davao the third biggest city in the whole of the Philippines after Cebu and Manila. Although it has a big population it has managed to keep a fantastic mix of new and old, provincial and city and the smiles of the natural Filipino.
Davao holds the record for the largest city in the Philippines and the Davao River (as it is called now) is how the city got its name from a pronunciation in three old languages. One of those languages also referred to it as “the place beyond the high grounds”.
During the 16th century the Spanish passed the Davao Gulf, but they had little influence on Davao at that time. It was not until 1844 that General Agustin Bocallan claimed control of the area on behalf of the Spanish, and colonisation took place in 1848. A group of Christians started to live in the area of Bolton Riverside, at that time it was really just mangoes and controlled by the chieftain called Bago. The Spanish tried to overpower him, but his local knowledge of the area on land and on sea stopped the Spanish totally controlling that area.
Months later with the help of the Spanish Navy they finally succeeded in taking control from Bago and by 1855 there were over 800 Christians. By the start of the 1900s the American forces arrived bringing roads and technology to Davao and taking control of the fruitful agriculture. The Americans and the Japanese took a huge amount of hectares of land to grow rubber, coconuts and fruits.
In December 1941 the Japanese bombed Davao and occupied Davao from 1942 to 1945. The Americans also bombed Davao in order to regain control leaving Davao in a terrible state. Davao now has pulled itself up and is trying very hard to become a tourist attraction for many oversee visitors. The city now boasts a very healthy expat population and in recent years has seen a huge growth in the richer Filipinos leaving the pollution and congestion of Manila and setting up homes in Davao. Hence new buildings, higher prices and the poorer population are being forced out of some of the areas of the City.