Davao Oriental

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Davao Oriental (Cebuano: Sidlakang Dabaw; Tagalog: Silangang Davao) is a province in the Philippines located in the Davao Region in Mindanao. Its capital is Mati, and it borders the province of Davao de Oro to the west, and Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur to the north. The province is the traditional homeland of the Mandaya and Kagan people.

Davao Oriental is the easternmost province in the country with Pusan Point in the municipality of Caraga as the easternmost location. The Philippine Sea, part of the Pacific Ocean, faces Davao Oriental to the east. Part of the province lies on an unnamed peninsula that encloses the Davao Gulf to the west.

The province is the top producer of coconut and copra in the country, earning the province the title Coconut Capital of the Philippines.[1][2] It is also home to Mount Hamiguitan Wildlife Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The name of the province was derived from the word, Dabaw, of which the center was west of the province.


Precolonial and Spanish periods

The present territory of Davao Oriental was covered by the historical region of Caraga, which was under the Sultanate of Maguindanao. The Spaniards established a permanent settlement in the region in 1591, and in 1844, the area was ceded by the Sultanate to Spain. An expedition was sent by the colonial government in Manila in 1847 to control the region, led by the Spaniard Jose Oyanguren, who settled in the town of Davao and organized the surrounding areas into the province of Nueva Guipozcoa in 1849. The province existed until 1858, when the politico-military commandancias of Davao and Bislig were created in its place. Bislig was incorporated into the District of Davao two years later.[3]

American period

Davao province in 1918 encompassing the current provinces of Davao Region

In 1903, the colonial American government created the Moro Province comprising several districts, one of which was Davao. The Moro province was converted in 1914 into the Department of Mindanao and Sulu, and its component districts were made into independent provinces.[3]

World War II

In 1942, the territory of what is now Davao Oriental was occupied by the Japanese Imperial forces.Template:Elucidate

In 1945, beginning the Battle of Davao from the combined forces of the British, Australian, Dutch and the Filipino troops of the 6th, 101st, 102nd, 103rd, 104th, 106th, 107th and 110th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and 10th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary was supported by the recognized Davaoeño guerrilla fighter units by the attack to the Japanese Imperial forces during the liberation in Eastern Davao or Eastern Davao Campaign until the end of the Second World War.Template:Elucidate

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On July 1, 1967, through Republic Act No. 4867, the province of Davao was divided into three independent provinces, one of which was Davao Oriental.[4][3]


Eastern coast showing Pujada Bay

Davao Oriental covers a total area of 5,679.64 square kilometres (2,192.92 sq mi) occupying the eastern tip of the Davao Region in Mindanao. The province is bordered by Davao de Oro to the west, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur to the north, the Davao Gulf to the southwest, and the Philippine Sea to the east and southeast.

The Eastern Pacific Cordillera mountain range encompasses the province. To the east of the range lie narrow strips of coastal areas, which feature several inlets and bays. The province encloses the Davao Gulf to the southwest.


Davao Oriental has a pronounced rainy season and a short dry season, with maximum rainfall occurring from November to January especially at coastal areas.[3]

Administrative divisions

Davao Oriental comprises 10 municipalities and 1 city, all organized into 2 legislative districts. There are 183 barangays in the province.

City or municipality District Area Density Barangays Coordinates
km2 sq mi /km2 /sq mi
Baganga 1st 945.50 365.06 59 150 18 7°34′27″N 126°33′40″E
Banaybanay 2nd 408.52 157.73 100 260 14 6°57′38″N 126°00′26″E
Boston 1st 357.03 137.85 38 98 8 7°52′08″N 126°22′24″E
Caraga 1st 642.70 248.15 63 160 17 7°19′53″N 126°33′52″E
Cateel 1st 545.56 210.64 75 190 16 7°47′23″N 126°27′09″E
Governor Generoso 2nd 365.75 141.22 150 390 20 6°39′30″N 126°04′47″E
Lupon 2nd 886.39 342.24 74 190 21 6°54′10″N 126°00′54″E
Manay 1st 418.36 161.53 100 260 17 7°12′50″N 126°32′21″E
Mati 2nd 588.63 227.27 240 620 26 6°57′41″N 126°12′53″E
San Isidro 2nd 220.44 85.11 160 410 16 6°50′07″N 126°05′22″E
Tarragona 1st 300.76 116.12 87 230 10 7°02′58″N 126°26′56″E
Total 5,679.64 2,192.92 98 250 183


The population of Davao Oriental in the 2015 census was 558,958 people,  with a density of 98 inhabitants per square kilometre or 250 inhabitants per square mile.

The province is mostly inhabited by Cebuanos, who settled the province in the early 20th century from Visayas. Other ethnic groups include the Mandayas, Mansakas, Manobos and the Kagan.[3]

While native languages spoken in the province are Kagan and Mandaya, Cebuano is the dominant first language. Chavacano is spoken by a minority, while Tagalog and English are widely used in business, education, and government.

Even some of the natives adhere to Christian faith (mostly Catholics), they are syncreticTemplate:Clarify in some of their beliefs. Muslim Kagans traditionally inhabited the plains and coastal areas of the Municipalities of Banaybanay, Lupon, San Isidro, Governor Generoso, Mati and Tarragona.


Davao Oriental is the top coconut and copra (dried coconut meat) producer in the Philippines.[1] It also is a major producer of abacá, and exports crude oil and copra pellets.[2]

On March 20, 2018, Davao Oriental signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Pionaire Finance Limited, a Hong Kong-based foreign firm for a $27-billion industrial park.[5][6][7][8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "1st Mindanao Coconut Summit takes centerstage in coco capital of RP", PIA Archive News Reader, 31 July 2009. “Being the number one coconut producer in the country, the province of Davao Oriental, the local government unit of Mati and the Mindanao Business Council has taken the initiative in addressing the today's plight of the coconut industry, initiate moves to save the industry, and help the coconut farmers so they can hold on, continue to cultivate their land, and bring back the glory of the product that has given both comfort and challenge to the economic lives of the people of the province.” 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Davao Oriental Gov Malanyaon joins GMA in Spain", Mindanao News and Information Cooperative Center, 30 November 2007. “As the “coconut capital” of the Philippines, Davao Oriental produces one billion nuts annually covering a total crop area of 154,000 hectares. The major products exported by the province through the International Copra Exporter’s Corporation are crude oil and copra pellets. Records show that export of 816,863 metric tons of crude oil and pellets from 1997 to 2001 is valued at $185.7 million. Davao Oriental is also the top producer of abaca fiber in Southern Mindanao. A total of 7,110 hectares is planted to abaca with production volume of 7,500 metric tons. The provincial government says that another 200,000 hectares is being targeted for the expansion of abaca production. Abaca plantations are located in the municipalities of Manay, Baganga, Cateel, Boston, Tarragona, Lupon, Banaybanay and in the City of Mati, the province’s capital. Recently, the province started to plant banana for export particularly in the municipality of Lupon, San Isidro, Governor Generoso and Mati.” 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 (1995) "The Provinces; Davao Oriental", Fast Facts about Philippine Provinces, The 2000 Millenium, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines: Tahanan Books. ISBN 971-630-037-9. 
  4. Republic Act No. 4867 - An Act Creating the Provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental (8 May 1967).
  5. Davao Oriental, Pionaire sign MOU for $27-B industrial park https://www.rappler.com/business/198568-davao-oriental-mou-industrial-park-pionaire
  6. Residents to benefit from US$27-billion industrial park in Davao - Guv http://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1006034
  7. Industrial Park to rise in Davao Oriental http://davaotoday.com/main/economy/industrial-park-to-rise-in-davao-oriental/
  8. GOV, PARTNERS LEAD HISTORIC GROUNDBREAKING OF DAVAO ORIENTAL INDUSTRIAL PARK http://news.davaooriental.com.ph/index.php/gov-partners-lead-historic-groundbreaking-of-davao-oriental-industrial-park/