History Background

The province of Davao Oriental was one (1) of the three (3) provinces created through the division of the Davao Province by virtue of Republic Act 4867 dated 8 May 1967. It celebrates its founding anniversary every 1st of July. Ponciano Bangoy was appointed as the province’s first governor from July 1967 to December 1967. He was succeeded by Leopoldo N. Lopez, who was the first elected governor of Davao Oriental and served for three (3) years from 1968 to 1971. He was followed by Teodoro Palma Gil from 1972 to 1978. Francisco G. Rabat was then elected as governor of the province from 1978 to 1986, followed by Josefina S. Sibala, who was appointed governor from April 1987 to November 1987. Teodoro Palma Gil was then designated as officer-in-charge of the province from November 1987 to January 1988. Leopoldo N. Lopez was then reelected as governor in February 1988 until his untimely death on August 1991. He was succeeded by Josefina C. Sibala until June 1992. In May 1992, Rosalind Y. Lopez was elected governor and served until June 2001. She was succeeded by Ma. Elena T. Palma Gil who served as governor from July 2001 until May 2007 followed by Corazon N. Malanyaon from 2007 to 2016. She was succeeded by Nelson L. Dayanghirang, who is currently Davao Oriental’s governor since July 1, 2016.

Physical Characteristics 

Davao Oriental is located in the southeastern part of Davao Region, bounded by Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur on the North, Davao de Oro on the West, the Pacific Ocean in the East and the Davao Gulf and Celebes Sea in the South. It is considered as the easternmost part of the country with Pusan Point as the easternmost location. The province is comprised of one (1) city, ten (10) municipalities with 183 barangays and sub-divided into two (2) legislative districts.

Davao Oriental is the biggest province in Davao Region with a land area of 5,679.64 sq. km., which is 32.82 percent of the total regional land area. Around 35 percent of the land area or 2,009.44 sq. km are classified as Alienable and Disposable and 55.55 percent or 3,155.02 sq. km are classified as forestland.


The topographic condition of Davao Oriental is characterized by a widespread chain of mountain ranges with an uneven distribution of plateaus, swamps and lowlands. Davao Oriental is the only province in the country where all city and municipalities have a coastline. The coastline of the province measures 513.2 km from the municipality of Boston in the northern part of the province to the municipality of Banaybanay in the southwestern part of the province. It has the longest section of coastline in the country which is approximately 3% of the total coastline of the country.

Water resources

The province is home to seven (7) major rivers, including the Baganga-Mahaneb and Cateel Rivers. There are also fifteen (15) identified waterfalls in the province with the Aliwagwag Falls as the most well-known.

Climate and rainfall

Davao Oriental has a pronounced rainy season and a short dry season, with maximum rainfall occurring from November to January especially at coastal areas. 

Mineral resources

The province has rich deposits of metallic and non-metallic mineral resources. Metallic resources include nickel, chromite, manganese, copper, cobalt, silver, gold, iron silica, magnesite and limestone.

Demographic Characteristics

Davao Oriental has a total population of 576,343 (2020 Census of Population and Housing). Its population density is 102 persons per square kilometer and its Average Population Growth Rate (APGR) is 0.65 percent (2015-2020 intercensal years).

Of the total household population in the province, 34.08 percent reported Mandaya as their ethnicity. Other ethnic groups are Cebuano or Bisaya, Chavacano,     Boholano, Hiligaynon/Ilonggo, Waray, Tausug, Tagalog, and Surigaonon.

Socio-economic Characteristic


Agricultural production is the major economic activity of the province. Major crops of the province include coconut, banana, mango, abaca and coffee. Davao Oriental accounts for about 35.3 percent of the region’s total coconut production.


Davao Oriental’s tourism industry is anchored on agro-industrial and eco-tourism development. More areas of the province are increasingly shifting to eco-tourism direction of development, with products ranging from Culture, Adventure and Nature, also known as CAN package. The province boasts of diverse natural spots like cascading waterfalls, pristine lakes and rivers, idyllic white sand beaches, exotic islands, lush forests, bonsai forest and more. There are also cultural and historical sites such as the Cape of San. Agustin, the 17th century San Salvador Church of Caraga that houses antique bells and images of saints. There is also a rise in beach resort developments with the Dahican beach becoming an attraction for water sports enthusiasts. The province’s Hamiguitan Mountain Range Wildlife Sanctuary is home to centuries-old bonsai or pygmy trees with many endangered and endemic flora and fauna and was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in June 2014.


2019 Philippine Statistical Yearbook

2018 Regional Social and Economic Trends Davao, Region

Davao Oriental Official Website

Environmental Mangement Bureau

Cabrera, & Lee. (2019). Flood-Prone Area Assessment Using GIS-Based Multi-Criteria Analysis: A Case Study in Davao Oriental, Philippines. Water, 11(11), 2203. doi:10.3390/w11112203

Centre, U. (2014, June 23). Six new sites inscribed on World Heritage List. Retrieved December 17, 2020, from