Historical Background

Davao City, officially the City of Davao (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Dabaw; Tagalog: Lungsod ng Davao), is a 1st class highly urbanized city in the island of Mindanao.

In 1967, the Province of Davao was divided into three provinces: Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur. The City of Davao became part of Davao del Sur; but no longer its 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.

In 1972, Davao City became the regional administrative capital of Southern Mindanao; upon its reorganization as the regional capital of the Davao Region (Region XI) and the sole highly urbanized city in Davao Region.

In 1986, President Corazon Aquino appointed Rodrigo Duterte, as Acting Vice Mayor of Davao City. 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. The incumbent City Mayor is Sara Zimmerman Duterte-Carpio.

Physical Characteristics

Davao City has a total land area of 2,444 sq.km., making it the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area. It is divided into 3 congressional districts and further divided into 11 administrative districts. Poblacion and Talomo Districts comprise District I, while Congressional District II is composed of the following administrative districts, namely: Agdao, Buhangin, Bunawan and Paquibato. District III includes Toril, Tugbok, Calinan, Baguio and Marilog.

Davao City is geographically situated in the southeastern part of Mindanao, lying in the grid squares of 6°58′ to 7°34′ N latitude, and 125°14′ to 125°40′ E longitude. It is bounded on the north by Agusan del Sur Province; on the east, partly by Davao del Norte Province and Davao Gulf; on the south, by Davao del Sur; and on the west1 by Bukidnon Province, the Provinces of North and South Cotabato, and Sarangani Province. Davao City Proper is approximately 946 aerial kilometers or 588 statute miles, southeast of Manila. Because of its strategic location and being the administrative center of Davao Region, the 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 (www.davaocity.gov.ph).

Congressional and Administrative DistrictsBy Number of Barangays, By Land Area and Percentage, Davao City, 2009

District Number of Barangays Land Area
(in has.)
% to Total
First Congressional District
Poblacion 40 1,138 0.47
Talomo 14 8,916 3.66
Second Congressional District
Buhangin 13 9,508 3.9
Bunawan 9 6,694 2.74
Agdao 11 593 0.24
Paquibato 13 66,242 27.15
Third Congressional District
Baguio 8 19,023 7.80
Calinan 19 23,236 9.52
Marilog 12 63,800 26.15
Toril 25 29,459 12.07
Tugbok 18 15,391 6.30
TOTAL 182 244,000 100.00


Davao City’s climate is classified as mild tropical climate. Significant rainfall in Davao City is experienced throughout the year. Even the driest month (April is the hottest month of the year (https://www.weather-atlas.com/) still has a lot of rainfall. The predominant wind direction is northward from the Davao Gulf where the cooler air of the sea replaces the warm air mass over the City. A surrounding mountain chain protects the City effectively from strong winds.

Demographic Characteristics

Davao City has a total population of 1,776,949 based on the 2020 Census of Population and Housing. This translates to an average of four persons per household. The population growth rate is at 1.55% (2015-2020 intercensal year). In stet, the City’s population reached 1,006,840 inhabitants, becoming the first City in Mindanao and the Visayas and the fourth nationwide, to exceed one million inhabitants. The City’s population increase during the 20th century was due to massive migration waves coming from other parts of the nation and the in-migration trend continues to this day

Residents of Davao City are colloquially known as Davaoeños. Nearly all local Davaoeños are Visayans (the majority are Cebuanos, with the rest being Hiligaynons), while others of different ethnicities collectively categorized as the indigenous communities make up the remainder of the local population.

This Islamized group of the City are the Maguindanaons, Maranaos, Iranuns, Tausugs and the Sama-Bajaus. Non – Filipino Asians such as Indonesians, Malaysians, Taiwanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese and Indians have settled and made small communities in Davao City. Non-Asian foreigners such as the Americans and Europeans are also residing in the City.

Socio-economic Characteristics 

Davao City is part of the East Asian Growth Area, a regional economic-cooperation initiative in Southeast Asia.


Agriculture remains the largest economic sector comprising banana, pineapple, coffee and coconut plantations in the City. It is Mindanao island’s leading exporter of fruits such as mangoes, pomelos, bananas, coconut products, pineapples, papayas, mangosteens and cacao.

The chocolate industry is the latest agri-based development in the City. Malagos Chocolate, developed here by Malagos Agriventures Corp., is now the country’s leading artisan chocolate recognized worldwide. On the other hand, Seed Core Enterprises is the country’s biggest exporter of cacao to Barry Callebaut. Durian which is locally grown and harvested in the city, is also a notable export, although banana is the largest fruit export of the City. Local corporations such as the Lorenzo Group, Anflo Group, AMS Group, Sarangani Agricultural Corp. and Vizcaya Plantations Inc., have operations and maintain headquarters here. Multinational companies to include the Dole, Sumifru/Sumitomo and Del Monte, have their regional headquarters here also.

The Davao Gulf provides livelihood for many fishermen. Some of the fish products include yellow fin tuna, brackish water milkfish, mudfish, shrimp and crab. Most of the fish catch are unloaded in a fishing port in Barangay Toril, which are then sold in the numerous markets within the City.

The City also serves as the main trade, commerce, and industry hub of Mindanao and is also one of the financial hubs of Mindanao. Phoenix Petroleum, a multinational oil company, is based in Davao City and is the first company in the Philippines based outside Metro Manila to be in the PSE Composite Index. Several industrial plants such as those of Coca-Cola Bottlers, Phil., Pepsi-Cola Products, Phil., Interbev Phil Inc. and RC Cola Phil., companies are located in the City. There are several fruit packaging-exporting facilities and food manufacturing plants as well as industrial construction plants such as Holcim Philippines, Union Galvasteel Corporation, and SteelAsia. The SteelAsia plant is now the largest and most modern steel rolling mill production facility in the country, completed in December 2014 and was purposely built to increase the national steel production and to reduce the construction costs in Mindanao.


BDO Network Bank (formerly One Network Bank) is based in Davao City and is the largest rural bank in the Philippines in terms of assets. Most of its branches are located in Mindanao (including 17 locations where it is the only financial-services provider). Government social insurance agencies such as the Social Security System and Government Service Insurance System also have locations in the city.

There are several commercial areas in the City: the downtown area, also known as the City centre, Davao Chinatown (Uyanguren), Bajada, Lanang, Matina, Ecoland, Agdao, Buhangin, Tibungco, Toril, Mintal and Calinan; the latter three are located at the southwestern part of the city.

There are many shopping centers that dot the City. Notable ones include Gaisano Mall of Davao, which opened in April 1997, is the largest Gaisano Mall in the Philippines, Abreeza, which opened on May 12, 2011, is the first and largest Ayala Mall in Mindanao, and SM Lanang Premier which is the first SM Premier Mall in Mindanao. Other major malls in the city include NCCC Mall of Davao, and SM City Ecoland, which is the first SM Mall in Mindanao among many others. NCCC Mall VP (formerly Victoria Plaza Mall), located on J.P. Laurel Ave., is the oldest shopping mall in the City, established in 1992. Felcris Centrale is a mixed-use Retail Mall, supermarket, and IT office complex located along Quimpo Boulevard. Gaisano Mall of Toril, which is the second Gaisano Mall under the DSG Sons Group in the city, is a large shopping mall located in Toril District at the southern part of the City. Some minor malls/community malls include Gaisano Grand Tibungco, NCCC Panacan, NCCC Main Uyanguren, Gaisano Grand Calinan, Gaisano Grand Ilustre, and Gaisano Grand Toril. Construction of new shopping malls in the city are currently underway. Gaisano Grand Citygate Mall, which is the fifth Gaisano Mall in the City under the Gaisano Grand Group, is a large shopping mall being constructed in Buhangin District just a few kilometers north of the downtown area. NCCC Mall Buhangin, is the second NCCC Mall in the City which is also located in Buhangin District just beside Gaisano Grand Mall Buhangin. There are also proposed malls which include CityMall Northtown Davao, which will be the first CityMall in the City that will rise in a 1.5 hectare lot within the vicinity of Northtown, a 116-hectare residential estate by the Alsons Dev. in Barangay Cabantian, Davao City, and the Vista Mall Davao, which will rise in Tugbok District.


Davao City is a premiere tourist destination in Mindanao as well as a domestic and international gateway to other visitor destinations in the island. It offers a combination of nature-based, man-made, historico-cultural, adventure and sports, special interest, religious, educational, agro-industrial, attractions, pleasure and entertainment, festivals, dining and shopping.


Barangays Bunawan, Buhangin, Talomo, Poblacion, and Toril of Davao City are home to many of the manufacturing firms. Most manufacturing firms are makers of food products while others, manufacture non-metallic mineral products, wood products, furniture and machinery and equipment. The large beverage manufacturers are particularly located in Toril. Agri-based manufacturers are concentrated in District 3, particularly Clainan, Toril and Tugbok, since most of the farms are located there. Poblacion and Talomo in District 1, as well as Bunawan and Buhangin in District 2, also have fairly large agri-based companies. In Davo City, there are 1 manufacturing Zone, 2 agro-industrial zones, 17 IT Parks/Centers, and 1 Tourism Zone which are registered in PEZA.

Davao City’s Notable Awards & Citations

  • 2nd Most Competitive Highly-Urbanized City (2020)
  • Red Orchid Awardee (Anti-Smoking Campaign) “Hall of Fame” (2015, 2014, 2012, 1999, 1998)
  • Child Friendly City (2015, 2014, 2012, 1999, 1998)
  • 1st Price Winner and Hall of Famer (2012) in the National Literacy Award for Outstanding LGU, Highly Urbanized City Category
  • Consistent Performing LGU in the country 2009-2011
  • Best Practice Award for LGU HIV Prevention Seal of Good Housekeeping (2011)
  • 2009 Philippine’s Most Livable City (https://davaohive101.wordpress.com/)
  • One of the Only Three Areas in the World to have the Integrated Emergency Response System 911 as Top 25 Best Practices in the Philippines

Healthy Lifestyle

  • No smoking in public places
  • Conservation of endangered species
  • Ban on use of firecrackers




Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) XI

IM4Davao: Infrastructure Modernization for Davao City