Davao City Day in the Philippines Date in the current year: March 16, 2024

Davao City Day in the Philippines Davao City Day (Araw ng Dabaw) is a special non-working holiday in the City of Davao, Philippines celebrated annually on March 16. It commemorates the day when Davao was granted cityhood.

Davao City is a highly urbanized city in the eponymous region of the Philippines. It is the country’s third-most populous city after Quezon City and Manila, the most populous city on the island of Mindanao, the largest Philippine city by land area, and the largest city both in land area and population in the province of Davao del Sur.

Back in the day, the area of what is now Davao City used to be a lush forest inhabited by indigenous ethnic groups. Even when Europeans arrived in the archipelago in the 16th century, they did not try to colonize the region around Davao Gulf and mostly left the locals to their own devices.

The European colonization of the Davao Region began in the first half of the 19th century. Back then, the region was ruled by Datu Bago, a vassal of the Sultan of Maguindanao, who established a fortress named Pinagurasan to serve as his realm’s capital in 1830. In 1842, Governor General Narciso Clavería ordered the colonization of the Davao Gulf region, and Datu Bago led the resistance of the Moro people against the Spaniards, but in the end he lost the fight.

After defeating Datu Bago and capturing his capital, the Spanish founded the town of Nueva Vergara, which would later become Davao City, in 1848. Pinagurasan was incorporated into the new settlement. Following the establishment of the province of Nueva Guipúzcoa in 1850, Nueva Vergara was designated as its capital.

In 1867, Nueva Vergara was renamed Davao, an indigenous name for the Davao River and the region around it, because most natives had been calling it so for decades. During the Philippine Revolution, the Spanish authorities left, and the locals took control of the town. However, it didn’t last long because the Philippines lost the war with the United States, and the American administration took over.

The town quickly began to grow thanks to Japanese entrepreneurs who settled in the region and focused on its development. In 1903, Davao was incorporated into Moro Province, and following the province’s dissolution in 1914, it became the capital of the newly established Davao Province in the Department of Mindanao and Sulu.

Davao continued to grow, and it was eventually decided to grant it cityhood. The city charter of Davao was signed on March 16, 1936. Davao was officially inaugurated as a charter city seven months later, and the charter finally came into effect on March 1, 1937. Davao was one of the first two towns on the island of Mindanao to be granted cityhood, the other one being Zamboanga City. In 1979, Davao City was officially classified as a highly urbanized city.

Davao City Day is a special non-working holiday in the City of Davao, but it is not celebrated in the rest of the Philippines. The holiday is marked by a colorful civic-military parade, a beauty pageant, concerts, exhibitions, trade fairs, and other celebratory events and activities.

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Davao City Day in the Philippines, holidays in the Philippines, city days in the Philippines, special non-working holidays