Davao City: Philippines’ Little Japan

| February 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

Historically, the Philippines is composed of three major islands of which Mindanao, is the second biggest archipelago. It is strategically located in the southernmost section of the Philippine Islands. Accordingly, it is the only prominent archipelago in the country wherein the Muslim population is very much prevalent. Best of all, it is blessed with the biggest city that is aptly named as Davao, which uniquely possesses an ancient nomenclature that is actually a derivative from the Bagobo tribe.

The fruits of economic progression in Davao City.

The fruits of economic progression in Davao City.

Phonetically, Davao is a combination of three subgroups which included the Bagobos, various beautiful names of Davao River and those aborigines called as Obos. During the Spanish Occupation, its tyrannical administration initially explored and conquered the majestic Davao Gulf. This had transpired as early as the 16th century. Despite of this awakening territorial conquest, the Spanish influences were so nominal. However, in the year 1844 a Spanish brigadier general whose name is General Agustin Bocallan had politically sequestered a certain portion of the soon to be province; that is currently known as Davao City. In effect, the powerful Sultanate of Maguindanao did not buy the said idea. Meanwhile, the official and legitimate external colonization of Davao City all began in 1848. Consequently, an imperial expedition was staged in the same year which is comprised of at least seventy people. This particular squadron was spearheaded by no less than Jose Cruz de Uyanguren. He was a native of Bergara, Spain. As part of his conquistador mission, he had proudly established a Christian community in a small of mangrove swamp which is at present referred to as Bolton Riverside. In the ancient times, the City of Davao was ministered by a noble chieftain. After the fateful defeat of Bago, General Uyanguren made his own political maneuver wherein he renamed the region of Davao as Nueva Gipuzkoa.

After which, it was again renamed based from the blissful town proper of Nueva Vergara which was founded in 1848. In the coming years, this term will soon become the future City of Davao. From then on, the City Province of Davao attempted to make a peaceful pact, under his reign. This was due to the fact that was receiving an inadequate financial support from the Spanish administration, which was then based in Manila. Along this line, the new chieftain of Region XI had begun his remarkable peace efforts in the Land of the Indigenous Tribes. These ethnic groups are named as follows: Mansakas, Manobos and the Bagobos among others. One of his agendas was to encourage these groups to patiently cultivate or develop their territory to the fullest extent. Unfortunately, this endeavor of his became futile. In the entirety of his very influential political incumbency, it had suffered a devastating bureaucratic turmoil which brought about by baseless national intrigues and rumors. As a result, he was immediately replaced by Marquis de Solana. Demographically, de Solana’s term had generated a least population of 526. As peace and prosperity conquered Davao City by storm, its population had even grown much bigger when it suddenly reached a total populace of 817. To make the government more efficient and productive, the tax exemption schemes of Davao had excluded almost 137 honest taxpayers.

More so, its topographical composition was somewhat slowly transformed into a marvelous municipality with effectuating changes. One of which, was the relocation of the enigmatic Davao River. The site of this natural treasure is today’s San Pedro Cathedral. Upon the arrival of Jesuit evangelizers in 1868, they had swiftly taken charge of the Recollect friars who were humbly settled in the vastness of Davao Gulf. As for their ultimate objective, it was nonetheless about the sincere and unconditional conversion of its people to Christianity. To begin with, these Jesuit missionaries had started to launch a series of fieldworks. From there, Christianity in Davao flourished without end. Last but not the least; the Muslim confederation had also become one of Davao’s inhabitants long before the Americans conquered the province. Furthermore, these religious communities had attempted to introduce their doctrines through the powers vested in Muslim datus. But, a certain Saturnino Urios mingled with another religious faction otherwise known as the Moros. In effect, it had divided the province’s population into two separate entities, namely: The Christians and Kalagans.

American Invasion

The advent of large-scale plantations had severely caused the most dreaded lethal problem to the blossoming economy of Davao for quite sometime. To date, it had brought forth an alarming shortage in labor force. It was because hundreds of thousands of its workers were then contracted from as far as the Visayas Region. Instead of letting her hardworking natives to enjoy the fruits of their labor, the City of Davao was compelled in allowing the affluent landowners from the “Land Of The Rising Sun” to dominate the agricultural sector, during the American Period.

Aside from these gigantic ownerships, there were also wealthy Japanese magnates who had luckily owned those parcels of lands that were previously acquired by the government. Of course, she was able to gain the upper hand when she became a prominent exporter of the following regional byproducts: Copra, abaca and lumber. This municipality had magnificently proven her ability to transcend herself as an inter-island port of the Philippines. There also came a time when she had established her commercial links with the United States of America and the world over. Economically, the enormous plantations of this municipality had widely spread courtesy of the Japanese and Americans. From this vantage point, the drastic influx of foreign trade had contributed a lot to the christening of Davao in those years as the Little Japan of the Philippines. Through the adoption of Japan’s notable economic frameworks, she finally had their own school, a printing press an embassy and a Shrine of Shinto. Hence, the industries of fishing alongside with the import and export trades have bettered the quality of life of the struggling Davaoenos.

In the beginning, the Japanese had taught them on how to make cultivation process much easier. Extensively, those people from the Visayas and Luzon had permanently settled in Davao because of her endearing catalytic charm in bolstering her economy in many diverse ways. When her demographics had grown into larger figures, a lot of her people had purchased the lands of those tribes whom they had significantly outnumbered for years. Their transactions at that time involved the use of financial resources and not just the system of barter alone. Over the years, the admirable and strong camaraderie between the Davaoenos and Japanese was relatively harmonious and worth emulating. At last, it became a city on its own when a staunch lawmaker in the person of ex- congressman Romualdo Quimpo filed a bill that created another political milestone in the City Province of Davao. It was under the provisions of Bill No. 609, or the Commonwealth Act No. 51. Comprehensively, this statuette had provided for the most momentous political metamorphosis in the life and times of this once lowly province of Mindanao. Through this law, she was historically converted into a chartered city on October 16, 1936 by former president Manuel Luis Quezon. As such, this province had been declared as a provincial capital under the umbrella of a unified Province Of Davao.

Post Years of the Second World War

After the Second World War, Davao had remarkably recovered from its worst nightmares. Her economy had re-boosted its way to the summit of incomparable socioeconomic development. Unbelievably, her people never lost their trust and confidence in their own native province. Instead of migrating to another place, the people of Davao stayed where they were through thick and thin. To prove their unwavering faith in this blessed land of the Moros and ethnic tribes, they had increased their population to an estimated 112,000 residents since its discovery and establishment as part of the glorious Mindanao Island. Above all these legacies and achievements, many Japanese had happily assimilated with the Davaoenos as if nothing had happened between their warring countries. Almost 80% of their people had fostered their strongest ties of friendship between the friendly Davaoenos.

The Post War Years in Davao City.

The Post War Years in Davao City.

Agriculturally, Davao had made its much-awaited comeback after years of being on the sidelines because of those senseless skirmishes with her worst nemesis in Philippine history. For a change, she had tried to engage herself in the trading of logs, copra, plywood and bananas. After three decades, the Province of Davao was subdivided into three major provinces. These are Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur. Eventually, Davao City has become a part of Davao del Sur.

Ethnicity

Speaking of ethnicity, it has been turned into an ethnic melting pot of the Philippine Islands for so several years. Simply because, there were countless of migrants who got attracted to the euphoric effect of economic prosperity; in the former capital city of a Unified Province. Colloquially, its inhabitants are commonly referred to as Davaoenos. They are considered as the legitimate descendants of other people from China, Japan, India, Philippines and Korea. There are also some Davaoenos who came from the ancestries of Lumad and the Visayan.

Culture

The major foundations and precepts of cultural assimilation are the keys toward the emergence of a colorful and dynamic cultural makeup in the city.

Tourist Attractions

There are many tourist attractions in Davao which many of you might want to have a social rendezvous with. These are as follows:

  • Davao Museum
  • Davaoenos Historical Society Museum
  • Philippine-Japan Museum
  • Furukawa Fiber Plant
  • 20th Japanese Cemetery

Location

Davao City is approximately 588 miles in the southeastern section of Manila, if you will travel by air. Geographically, it is located in the southeastern section of Mindanao

Getting to know Davao City in the most distinctive and universal ways is like discovering a person’s hidden secrets by unraveling its charm and beauty, as she ages gracefully with time; without developing a bitter and pessimistic attitude in the face of adversities and trials. Through the years, the City of Davao has bravely demonstrated the enigma of a fighting tiger that keeps on roaring the sounds of BEAUTY, MAGNIFICENCE and ECONOMIC PROSPERITY with indescribable infiniteness till the end of time.

Category: Interesting, Travel

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