|Davao Del Norte |
|Davao Del Sur |
|Davao Oriental |
|Davao de Oro |
- 1 Davao — The regional center and largest city.
- 2 Digos — Capital of Davao del Sur
- 3 Samal — An "Island City" which provides a nature refuge near Davao City
- 4 Panabo — Small city midway between Davao City and Tagum
- 5 Mati — Capital of Davao Oriental
- 6 Tagum — Capital of Davao del Norte
"Davao" is somewhat ambiguous, and can either mean Davao City, or the region itself, also a former province that has been split further into the five provinces that compose the region today.
The first inhabitants in the present region are the Lumad, one of the original inhabitants of Mindanao until the colonial era. The region's name derives from the word for "fire" by one of the various tribes that inhabited the province.
The region is said to be the first part of the Philippines that have been in contact with Europeans, starting in the early 1500s. Francis Xavier is said to have been converted some of the natives long before the Spanish colonizers came, but there are no historical records saying so. The region remained outside colonial control until the Spaniards came in 1837.
Spanish control of the area began when Don Jose Oyanguren, a businessman, ordered the conquest of Kalagan, a Moro kingdom which has been controlling the area of present Davao City, and established an outpost there. The Moros, who knew of the impending invasion, evacuated immediately to Mount Apo. Oyanguren established the town of Nueva Vergara, which eventually became Davao City. Growth in the region is slow, despite Spanish control of the ports, and only did Davao began growing as Jesuit missionaries arrived in the 1890s.
Only after the Spaniards left when the region developed. The Americans occupied the region, developed the transportation and communications networks, and divided the land for the settlers.
Davao Region used to be a single province after the American occupation, but it was divided into the three provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, and Davao Oriental. Then, Davao province (and its successors), belonged to Southern Mindanao, a former region which included much of SOCCSKSARGEN.
The general climate is tropical: there is no dry season, and temperatures doesn't vary much by time of year (except in the mountains). It means rainfall can fall at any time, and the weather is somewhat unpredictable, but most commonly, rain falls in short blasts in the afternoon, where thunderstorms form. Drought conditions, mostly caused by El Niño can create possibilities of having no rain in the region for weeks and months, as well as unbearable heat and humidity.
Davao Region is outside the typhoon belt, but it can get struck by typhoons, especially during the cooler months. The last destructive typhoon that struck the region is Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) in 2012, which devastated many small towns in the northeast provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.
Cebuano, commonly known as Bisaya, is the primary language in Davao, but it is slightly different from the mainstream dialects as the Davao dialect incorporates many words from Tagalog. The indigenous Lumad have their own languages as well, but not very useful.
The main and the only operational airport in Davao Region is Francisco Bangoy International Airport (DVO IATA), which has flights from most major national carriers, as well as some international flights.
From Luzon and Visayas
- Bachelor Express has trips from most cities in nearby Caraga.
- Mindanao Star serves destinations on AH26 down south and the city of Kidapawan.
- Rural Transit travels to and from Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon.
- Yellow Bus Lines also serves the same set of destinations served by its competitor, Mindanao Star.
A ferry connects Davao City with the Indonesian port of Bitung.
Davao Metro Shuttle serves the cities of Davao, Panabo, and Tagum. Most of their buses are intercity buses, but some are minibuses.