THE PROVINCE OF DAVAO ORIENTAL is located in the Davao Region in Mindanao. Its capital is Mati City, bordered to the west side by Compostela Valley, to the north side is Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur, to the east side is the Philippine Sea and to the west side is an unnamed peninsula that encloses the Davao Gulf.
Early settlers of the province were of Lumads indigenous people situated near the shores of the Pacific Ocean, others settled near the rivers or forests, and some built their houses up the trees for security reasons. Means of livelihood for the settlers is agriculture, fishing and barter trade.
The Spaniards arrived during 1521 AD headed by Ferdinand Magellan in "Calaghan Island". In 1528 the Spaniards visited the shores of Davao Oriental and later on established the first settlement called Caraga. Spanish missionaries also settled here afterwards, building churches and convents. Informal education was introduced to the natives and introduced plowing the field for easy harvest. In 1846, Don. Jose Uyanguren explored the south regions under the province of Caraga and established municipalities such as Baganga, Mati and Sigaboy. Then he defeated a Bagobo chieftain resulting to the end of Datu Empire in the area. On February 27, 1849 Caraga province was parted into Surigao Province and Nueva Guipozcoa or Davao. Under the Japanese occupation in 1945, new immigrants arrived in the province thus population grew.
It was only in the year 1967 by virtue of Republic Act No. 4867 when the province of Davao Oriental was created.
Davao Oriental has a total land area of 5,164.46 square kilometers with a current population of 478,891. The annual growth rate is 1.64%. Inhabitants of the province are natives and immigrants from other provinces. Mandaya Tribe is the most dominant tribe and the dialect used is Dabaweño, followed by Tagalog, Cebuano, Visayan and English language.
The province has a short dry season and pronouced rainy season climate. Rainy season occur during the months of November to January. The highest annual mean temperature was registered at 31.4°C and lowest at 21.9°C. Tropical depressions do not affect the province because of the presence of typhoon belt and mountain belt ranges.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY IN DAVAO ORIENTAL
Davao Oriental’s top investment industries are coconut and mango production. Coconut has a total crop area of 154,454 hectares and contributes the biggest share in Region XI which is around 35%, making the Province of Davao Oriental once again top in coconut production in the Philippines. Major exports are crude oil and copra pellets. International Copra Exports Corporation in Mati exports 8,000 metric tons of crude oil and 4,000 tons of copra pellets per month. Processing and packaging of coconut into consumer products is also added revenue.
The Province is also noted as one of the top producers of good quality rice varieties and hybrid rice seeds or the PSB RC 72H variety supplying the Philippines. Wood processing plants are also a new fresh investment opportunity in Davao Oriental, as well as mining industry. Fishing business opportunities especially with the introduction of modern fishing technology is a plus factor in the economy of the area.
ART AND CULTURAL HERITAGE IN DAVAO ORIENTAL
The province that was known before as the "Province de Caraga" is rich in culture and natural resources both in lands and the sea. The Mandayas Tribe is the most famous tribe in the province with various customary rites and wears colorful clothes. Mandaya children aging from 10 to 12 years old also has a traditional rite of blackening their teeth by chewing habitually tobacco pellets moistened with the juice of am-mong vine.
YEARLY SPECIAL EVENTS
Banayan Festival This is celebrated in Banaybanay every 3rd week of October as thanksgiving for bountiful harvests among the people of the municipality. It also highlights various activities.
This is celebrated in San Isidro every 3rd week of June, which is also a thanksgiving for good harvest. It showcases trade fairs, street dancing and cultural presentations.
Sambuokan Festival This is celebrated in the town of Mati every end week of October featuring tribal shows and presentations, trade fairs and exhibits.
DAVAO ORIENTAL PRODUCTS
Davao Oriental is known for pottery and ceramics making, as well as producing bricks and marbles. The province is also into abaca, tambiling, ticog and rattan production. Furthermore, the province is known for Cacao production.
MUNICIPALITIES OF DAVAO ORIENTAL
Davao del Sur is subdivided into 14 municipalities and 1 city:
CITIES AND MUNICIPALITIES
Governor Generoso Lupon
17th Century Caraga Church
This is made of ancient rocks overlooking the Pacific Ocean and has the 1802 Church Bell brought by the friars from Spain, as well as antique image of San Isidro Labrador and other ancient files and archives.
Located in the middle of the forest at Brgy. Aliwagwag, Cateel, and is considered as one the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. It has a series of 84 cascading falls appearing like stairway to the sky in various heights.
Located in Brgy. La Union in San Isidro. One can found more than a thousand hectares of 2-3 ft. tall century-old trees that are very sturdy that one can literally stand over it without falling.
Located in Barangay Pichon, Caraga. Tourists can see how the tribe weaves “dagmay” or Mandaya cloth and beading of beads.
Menzi Tourism Complex
Located in Mati which is a 5-hectare area of the famous Menzi mango and pomelo fruits planted by the Menzi Farmers Cooperative.
This is where the first sunrise can be seen.
Other places to visit:
Altar Cave of San Agustin
Cape of San Agustin
Sleeping Dinosaur Peninsula
Tinagong Dagat (Hidden Sea)
There are daily flights from Manila to Davao International Airport as well as sea travel going to Sasa Wharf in Davao City. Land transportation from Manila to Davao is also an option.