Davao History, Philippines
It was on 1948 when Spaniards came to Christianize the native communities of Atas, Tagacaolos, Bagobos, Mandayas, Mansakas, B’laan, Guiangan, Moros and Manobos. The Spanish settlement headed by Oyanguren had a chapel and it was called Nueva Vergara to honor the Spanish leader’s hometown in Spain. in 1858, Nueva Vergara had become known for its local name “Davao”.
Despite the Spanish influences, 1890 records showed that only 30% of the locals were converted to Christianity. Also during the Spanish time, the economic conditions of the land became worse even though Davao had a lot of great economic promise. In that same year 1890, Americans came and occupied Davao under the leadership of Major Hunter Ligget who established another military government. It was during this time that Davao’s potentials of developing into agriculture were noticed.
In fact, before the WWII erupted many Japanese imigrants came to work in Davao. This was the start of the big development in agriculture in the area. Plantations of abaca needed for hemp processing as well as coffee cotton and rubber were among the major produce that gave the land a boost in the economy. March 16, 1936 was another milestone date for Davao. Romualdo C. Quimpo authored a bill to make Davao a city. On March 1, 1937, Davao was formally named the City of Davao.
But foreign occupation came in 1941 when the Japanese occupied Davao. Because of fear a huge population of Davaoenos went to the outskirts of Davao and returned only when peace and order were restored. Under the leadership of 2 succeeding Mayors Alfons Oboza and Donato Endriga the locals returned to the city and the economy started to grow again. Farming, buy & sell and government employment were the major sources of income for the people during that time.
Schools were also reopened teaching the native language English and Niponggo. However, due to the violence and trauma experienced by the people from the Japanese soldiers, only few students attended school. But that did not deter Davao to progress. Time passed and it had exhibited successful industries such as copra, logging, corn, abaca, banana, mining, fishing and ramie. The banana export industry was a major problem solver when the logging industry of the land declined.
That was following the WWII. The rest of the years: 80’s, 90’s and today we can only see a dynamic and vibrant Davao City, a place that is growing economically but continuously recognizing its potentials and making the most of its advantages. It has become the Philippines’ fastest growing city up to this time.