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Davao Del Sur

Capital: Digos

No. of towns: 15

Land area: 6,377.6 sq. km.

Location. Bounded by the Davao City on the north. Celebes Sea on the south. North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato on the west and Davao Gulf on the east.

Map of Davao del Sur + South Cotabato (135k) at European Philippine Services

with details like city names etc.

Brief history. The history of Dabao del Sur dates back even before its formal creation as a province on July 1, 1967. The old province derived its name from the word Daba-Daba, a Bagobo Chieftain named Datu Duli who lived at the rolling hills of the famed Apo Sandawa, the ancient name of Mt. Apo. Eventually, the letter "o" was added to the word making it Daba-o Daba-o which means justice to the Bagobos, to describe the fairness with which was dispensed with by Datu Duli among his people. As years went by, the word was shortened to Daba-o. Through long usage, it was pronounced Dava-o.

The early inhabitants of Dabao Province, particularly the area now called the Province of Dabao del Sur, were the Bagobos, Tagabawa who occupied the area at the foot of Mount Apo, the B´laan of Hagonoy Valley, and Matano, the Manobo in Malita and Jose Abad Santos and other primeval tribes. These early settlers lived a peaceful life developing their own culture, a rich culture which was not affected by outside influences until probably the end of the 14th century when the influx of new ideas began to penetrate into the southern islands of the country.

Geography. Davao del Sur is located in the southeastern part of the Philippines in the island of Mindanao. It became a province with the town of Digos as its capital after the old province of Davao was politically divided into 3 provinces on July 1,1967. It was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 4867.

About 65% of the total land area of the province is rolling and mountainous with ranges running southward, 5% of these are agricultural; 32% grassland/shrubland including pasture areas: 17% are forest or woodlands, 0.75 % wetland areas and; 0.25% are unclassified areas.

One of its major mountain ranges is Mt. Apo. It is more or less 2,953 meters above sea level. Mt. Tanglao and Mt. Latian are two landmarks distributed in the hinterlans of Davao del Sur. Aside from these 3 mountains, the topography is generally flat with scattered hills and other isolated mountains.

Political Subdivisions. Presently, the province of Dabao del Sur comprises of 15 municipalities with 311 barangays. The municipalities are Bansalan, Digos, Hagonoy, Jose Abad Santos, Don Marcelino, Kiblawan, Malalag, Matanao, Malita, Padada, Sarangani, St. Cruz, Sta Maria, Sulop and Magsaysay. The seat of the Provincial Government is in Barangay Matti Digos, 62 kms. south of Davao City and approximately 173 kms. west of Cotabato City.

Climate. The weather in Davao del Sur is basically warm with no marked seasonality since the rainfall pattern is more or less evenly distributed throughout the year. The province has an average temperature of 27°C , a minimum of 22°C and a maximum of 32°C. The coldest part of the year usually takes place during the months of December-January and the hottest, during the months of April - May. The province is relatively free from tropical depressions because it is way out of the typoon belt.

Language / dialect. English, Pilipino, Chinese, Cebuano is the mother tongue spoken by 68.82% of the total population. Other dialects spoken in the area are; B´laan, 6.40%; Bagobo 2.88%; Hiligaynon (Ilongo) 1.70%; Manobo 6.72%; Ilocano 1.22% and Tagacaolos 8. 36 %.

Major industry. Davao del Sur is primarily an agricultural province. Owing to its favorable climate and fertile soil, hundreds of thousands of hectares are devoted to agricultural activities. It is popularly known as "Coconut Country", since coconut is the major commercial crop of Davao del Sur.

Its rice and corn production are more than sufficient for its population to be self reliant in food. Although sugar central is an evidence of flourishing sugar industry, it is suffering from depressed world market. The existence of banana and cacao plantations add lustre to the varied agricultural activities in the province. Ramie, cofee, fruits and vegetables are also produced abundantly as well as livestock and poultry for meat and egg productions.

Points of Interest


Ballestic Island (Sarangani). On this island, can be found a fortress remnants of late Lopez Villalobos, a Spanish explorer.

Two Japanese Tunnels. These can be found at the poblacion of Malalag, Davao del Sur.

Japanese Tunnels and Foxholes. These can be found in two poblacions: Balutakay and Tologan in Hagonoy, Davao del Sur.


Bolon Sabak Bilaan Village (Barrio Colon, Sabak, Matanao, about 15 kms. from the poblacion). It boasts of its waterfalls, cattle ranches, springs, sugar cane plantation, B´laan tribe culture and horse back riding.

Binaton Bagobo Village (Barrio Binaton, 15 kms. from Digos and 2 hours ride from the poblacion). Ethnic arts and culture are preserved in this village.

Badiang Mat-Weavers Village. Badiang, Sinawilan, Digos, Davao del Sur.

Hand Loom Weaving. Matanao, Davao del Sur.


Hotspring. Located 200 meters above sea level at Barangay Managa, Bansalan, or 30 kms. from poblacion proper.

Balut Island. It boasts of its white sand beaches, shell hunting and 20 springs all over the island.

Hot Sulphur Spring (Sarangani). It is a small lake characterized by boiling water with aqua color thick, sulphuric smoke and grayish mud.

Mainit Spring (Barangay Caburan). The place is ideal for bathing, swimming, sight-seeing, and hunting. It is a part of semi-virgin forest.

Lamidan Beach Resort (Lamidan, Malita). It has virgin forest for deer hunting; caves, spring, crystal clear watered beach, guest house on top of a hill which provides the viewer a panaromic view of Malita and adjoining areas.

Tibangao Caves (Sanghay, Malita, 6 kms. from the town). Wide caverns, several entrances, underground springs, stalactites, stalagmites, bat habitat are among the features of the caves.

Olanivan Island. Small island with white sea shores, clear water, rare corals, seaweeds suitable for scuba diving, water skiing and swimming.

Maluco Beach. It boasts of its white sands and clear water. Located in Sarangani, about 35 minutes ride by motorized banca from the town proper.

Mt. Apo National Park. This can be reached thru 4 major trails, two of which are Kapatagan in Digos and Todaya in Sta. Cruz. It is the highest peak towering at 10,311 ft. above sea level. It boasts of cold and hot springs, giant wild flowers, crystal-clean water, waterfalls and moss-coated forests and considered as the international mecca for mountain climbing.

Seven Hills at Digos. Ideal for mountain climbing and offers a panoramic view of Digos and adjoining barangays.

Holiday Beach Resort (Barrio Dawis, Digos, about 5 minutes ride from poblacion). The resort boasts of its cottages, water sports facilities and playground, spacious parking space, free flowing fresh water, and boating activities.

Lumayon Spring. Located 12 kms. away from the highway of Balabag, Digos. Ideal site for bathing, sight-seeing and swimming, surrounded by rolling hills and forest on the other side.

Malalag Hill. Located 32 kms. away from Digos, Malalag. Its harbor offers a scenic view of Davao del Sur atop the hill.

Sinawilan Hot Spring. Located in Sinawilan, Digos, 4 kms. away from the poblacion and is accessible by jeepney. It is nestled within the virgin forests and winding roads.

Bat Habitat at Talucanga (Talucana, Malita, 6 kms. away from the town). A bat habitat of about 2 hectares; ideal site for bat hunters along grey- sand beach; a muslim mosque.

Todaya Falls (Todaya, Sibulan, Sta. Cruz, 35 kms. away from Digos, 2 hours ride overland then by foot). It is a 300 ft. long cascading waterfalls found just below the foot of Mt. Apo. It has a head more or less 150 meters of roaring spectacles outpouring in a solid fall that measures about 1 3/4 meters in diameter.

Piapi Beach. Located 12 kms. away from Digos, and is accessible within 50 minutes. Dotted with picnic huts, it offers panoramic view of Malalag and wharf.

Soriano Beach (Astorga, Sta. Cruz, 8 kms. away from Poblacion of Sta. Cruz, 30 minutes ride from the city). Ideal site for motorboat riding, fishing and swimming.

Landing Resort (Landing, Dorong, Sta. Cruz). It is a grey-sand beach dotted with cottages.

Lacube Beach. Located 2 kms. away from poblacion Sta. Cruz, and can be reached by tricycle. Blessed with coral reef, it is ideal for spear fishing, diving, shell hunting.

Leling Beach Resort. Accessible in 20 minutes from Digos poblacion. It boasts of the grey-sand beach, a training center, and cottages.

Piapi Hill (Piapi, Padada). Accessible by 3 km. ride by tricycle from Padada proper and 1 km. going to the top. It offers an aerial view of Padada, Malalag Bay. The place is also ideal for camping.

Tulugan Caves. Located 2 kms. away from Poblacion, Padada. These were once used by the Japanese Imperial Forces during World War II.


Mt. Carmel (Kinuskusan, Bansalan). It boasts of its experimental farming projects in Pilipino disign huts; rolling terrain and cool climate; breezy rubber plantation and sight of SALT.

Provincial Nursery (Bansalan). Now called "Pagkain ng Bayan". All varieties of Philippine fruits can be seen in this nursery. It has plant nursery, cowery/poultry and a conference hall which can accommodate 50 people.

Davao Sugar Central Corporation (Guihing, Hagohoy, about 300 meters away from the higway). Equipped with Intergrated mill that can crush 400 tons of sugar cane and refine 250 tons of sugar cane a day, theres a housing project for executives, and a private bus of DASUCEDO employees.

Franklin Baker Coconut Dessicating Plant. Located along Talisay Beach in Coronon, Sta. Cruz, about 45 minutes ride from Davao City. It has resthouse and a restaurant.

Don Mariano Marcos Foundation School (Bagumbayan, Kiblawan, about 25 kms. away from Digos). A school of fish culture.

Cacao Investors, Inc. (Lais, Malita, about 8 kms. away from the poblacion or 20-minute ride by tricycle). It is a tract of Cocoa plantation under coconut trees and a cattle ranch.

Lapanday Banana Plantation (Guihing, Hagonoy, about 10 minutes ride from Digos). It is a several hectares of banana plantation that produces export quality of bananas.

Doña Josefa School of Fisheries (Tanglad, Sta. Maria, about 30 minutes ride from poblacion proper)

Aqua-Culture Investor Corporation (Malita). It is a most modern prawn farm equipped with modern facilities. The company has main guesthouse for visitors; billard hall; manager´s house, processing plant, freezer and ice maker.

Guihing Agricultural Dev. Corp. (GADECO, Guihing, Hagonoy, about 15 minutes ride from Digos). Another agricultural plantation that produces agricultural production of export quality.


Araw Ng Mga Natibo. Celebrated every 28th of January. Activities include horse fighting, presentation of different songs, and ethnic dances sponsored by the TABIMA (Tagacaolo, Bilaan and Manobo Associations).

Araw Ng Sta. Cruz. Celebrated every 5th of October highlighted by sports activities, like horse fighting, and others.

Marore´s Festival. A presentation of native dance, "Sumangat", using rare wooden orchestra played by children from 8-12 year-old.

Araw Ng Davao Del Sur. Celebrated every 1st of July.

Araw Ng Digos. Celebrated every 18th of July.

Lanahan. Celebrated from May1-3, a religious act by the Bagobos where they converge in Balabag, Digos and perform their rituals of making medecinal oil (lana) after their pilgrimage from Mt. Apo.

Sinulog Festival. Celebrated every January 15 in Digos where the participants wear colorful costumes depicting ati-atihan culture. It is a thanksgiving celebration in honor of the Santo Niño (the infant Jesus).

Special Interests

Shipwreck Diving. Tubalan, Malita and Corals at Lais.

Deer Hunting. Goma, Digos, Davao del Sur.

River Boating. Igpit and Sacub River.

How to get there. By air, Davao del Sur is a 1 hour and 40 minutes flight by Philippine Airlines, which has several direct flights from Manila to Davao City daily. From Cebu, there is also a 55 minutes PAL flight to Davao City daily.
By sea, Sulpicio Lines departs every Sunday on the Manila Cebu-Davao route, arriving in Davao on Tuesday. William Lines leaves on Thursdays and Sundays, taking 71 hours to reach Davao del Sur.