Davao Region Day in the Philippines Date in the current year: July 1, 2024

Davao Region Day in the Philippines Davao Region Day (Araw ng Rehiyon ng Davao) is a special non-working holiday in the Philippine provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, and Davao del Sur. It commemorates the day when Davao Province was split into three provinces and became Davao Region.

Davao Region, officially designated as Region XI, is an administrative region in the Philippines situated in the southeastern portion of the island of Mindanao. It consists of five provinces: Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, and Davao Occidental.

The origins of the name “Davao” are somewhat obscure, but many historians believe it to be a mixture of three names that thee different aboriginal tribes had for the Davao River: Davohoho (the Manobos), Davohaha (the Bagomos), and Duhwow (the Guiagnans). These and other tribes settled in the area sometime before the 16th century.

Beginning in the 16th century, Davao was part of the Sultanate of Maguindanao, a Sunni Muslin sultanate that ruled parts of Mindanao. The sultanate maintained friendly relations with British and Dutch traders visiting the Davao Gulf region, but was weary of the Spaniards. Several Christian priests visited Davao and even converted a few local Datus (chiefs), but for centuries the Spanish didn’t actively attempt to establish control over the area.

The Spanish colonization of Davao began in the mid-19th century. The Spaniards launched the first raids into Davao Gulf in 1842 and started the colonization in earnest in 1848. Datu Bago, the strongest chieftain in the region, tried to fight back, but eventually had to give up his capital, Pinagurasan, and evacuate its population to live closer to Mount Apo. The Spaniards captured the town and renamed it Nueva Vergara in 1848. Today, it is known as Davao City.

Although the Spanish got control over ports in Davao Gulf, the natives largely kept to themselves, and the population of the region grew very slowly. The Spanish rule in Davao lasted until 1898, when the Spaniards left the region after their defeat in the Philippine Revolution. However, the newly independent Philippines soon lost in the Philippine-American War, and Davao came under American control along with the rest of the Philippines.

Davao was one of five districts of Moro Province from 1903 to 1914 and one of seven provinces in the Department of Mindanao and Sulu from 1914 to 1920. Following the dissolution of the department, Davao became an independent province. In 1942, Davao was one of the first Philippine regions to be occupied by Japan. It was liberated in the Battle of Davao that lasted from April 27 to June 10, 1945.

Once of the largest Philippine provinces by land area, Davao was split into three new provinces (Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental) in May 1967. To commemorate the split and their founding, the three provinces celebrate Davao Region Day every July 1, even though the division occurred on May 8. The provinces of Davao de Oro and Davao Occidental do not celebrate the holiday because they were created later by splitting from Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur, respectively.

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Davao Region Day in the Philippines, holidays in the Philippines, special non-working holidays, regional observances