Endowed with a variety of picturesque landscapes, Davao’s topography dazzles: Fruit plantations and orchid farms mantle volcano-fed hills and valleys. Virgin forests nurture rare wildlife. Coral islands lie on mirror flat water. And the country’s highest peak magnificently lords over the hinterland.
Just as enchanting is its brilliant tapestry of harmony, woven from the diverse cultural threads of its people. In Davao, the contemporary fuses with the traditional as migrant settlers from all over the country co-exist in peace with a fairly large expatriate community and numerous ethnic tribes who continue to live as they did centuries ago.
Davao is an anchor tourist destination and one of the 7,000 times more islands that make up the Philippine archipelago. It is a natural haven for both sedate and daring pursuits.
A City that Straddles Two Worlds
It is the hub of commerce and industry in the Southern Mindanao region. Yet, to this day, Davao City continues to straddle two worlds – the new and the old.
Part of it is a flourishing metropolis of business districts, mechanized farms and cosmopolitan villages where “instant millionaires” live. And the other part is a rural landscape of hills that roll down into fertile valleys, dominated by the 2,954-meter-high Mount Apo, the grandfather of all Philippine mountains, and peopled by the Bagobo, Manobo, Mandaya, Bilaan and other ancestral tribes.
Land of Plenty
“Kadayawan sa Dabaw” is Davao City’s premier festival and showcases the natural and cultural bounty of the land.
A movable feast in August, the week-long merrymaking highlights the manifold tribal cultures of the region which are vividly expressed in traditional songs, dances, games and crafts. It is also on this occasion when a lively trade fair, capped by a flower-and-fruit float parade, takes place. Street dancing and popular entertainment complete the celebration.
Agriculture-based industries thrive in the Davao region. A major exporter of bananas, citrus, mangosteen and other tropical fruits, it is also the biggest producer of cultured flowers in the country. Its surrounding waters are rich sources for commercial fishing.
The world’s largest city in terms of land area, Davao covers all of 244,000 hectares.
King of the Heavens
The Philippine Eagle has the countenance of regal majesty – snowy white plumes dappled with gray, a distinct crested head matched with a pair of sharp eyes and strong curved beak, a powerful eight-foot wingspan, and lethal preying claws.
An endangered species, the world’s largest eagle has found refuge at the Philippine Eagle Research and Nature Center in the Malagos rainforest in Calinan, 45 minutes away from downtown Davao.
It was here where the first ever Philippine Eagle was born in captivity. Aptly named Pag-asa (Hope), she is testament to how seriously Davao protects its environmental heritage. To this day, more eaglets are bred and nurtured at the sanctuary.
Only too soon, the Philippine Eagle will take its rightful place in the sky. Soaring proud and unafraid as King of the Heavens.
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