A Quick Look Back
The city’s name was derived as a result of the phonetic blending of the word from three Bagobo sub-groups. The word meant “beyond higher grounds” or “over hills yonder”. This pertains to the location of Davao River, a major body of water that served as a trading settlement.
During the Spanish occupation, apart from the Spaniards, a handful of Chinese men and migrants from Luzon and Visayas settled in Davao. After the Spaniards left in 1899, the Americans took over as colonizers. In the early years of American occupation, a handful Americans and Europeans settled in the city as planters. Due to severe labor shortage, Americans allowed the massive entry of Japanese labor in Davao. By the 1930’s, the unflux of Japanese migrants peaked and in such Davao was dubbed “Little Tokyo”.
On March 1, 1937, President Manuel L. Quezon signed Executive Order No. 132 declaring the Day for the Inauguration of the City of Davao.
Today, Davao is among the most progressive cities in the country. It is the premier economic hub in Mindanao.