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Davao Oriental

Capital: Mati

No. of towns: 11

Land area: 5,164.5 sq. kms.

Location. Bounded on the west by Davao del Norte, on the east by Davao Gulf.

Topography. Extensive mountain ranges with uneven distribution of plateaus, extensive swamps and lowlands characterized the topography of the province. It is richly endowed with navigable rivers, by which the major rivers are Sumlog River in Luzon, Mayo River in Mati and Cateel River.

Brief history. It may be recalled that Davao Oriental was part of Caraga province established in the year 1609 forming part of the Encomienda de Bislig with the Encomienda de Seargao, Butuan and Tandag. In 1846, Don Uyanguren led an expedition to explore region south of Encomienda de Bislig. He then organized settlement to the municipalities namely: Baganga, Mati and Sigaboy.

With the advent of the American in 1898, and the creation of part of Mindanao into a Moro province, Davao became a district with Lanao, Cotabato, Zamboanga, Sulu, Agusan and Bukidnon comprising it. General Leonard Wood was the first military.

On implementation of Jones in 1916, the Moro province was converted into the Department of Mindanao and Sulu and all districts comprising it became regular provinces. Don Eulalio Causing became the first provincial governor.

Davao Oriental was created under Republic Act No. 4867 as a separate and independent province on July 1, 1967. It is composed of 11 municipalities and 179 barangays with a land of 516,446 hectares.

Political subdivisions. Davao Oriental is composed of 11 municipalities namely: Banaybay, Lupon, San Isidro, Governor Generoso, Tarragona, Manay, Caraga, Baganga, Boston, Cateel and Mati which is the capital town. There are 179 barangays in Davao Oriental.

Climate. The province of Davao Oriental belongs to type II of climate classification in the Philippines. It is characterized by having no lengthy dry season but a very pronounced maximum rainfall from November to January, especially in the coastal town.

The average annual rainfall in the province of 4.49 mm with a total of 109 rainy days. It is highest in the month of February (9.75 mm) and lowest in September (2.31 mm). The province being outside the typhoon belt and amply protected by mountain ranges, is not affected by tropical depression or typhoon.

The mean annual temperature of the province is 23.3°C. The highest temperature, 28°C was registered in four municipalities namely: Mati, Banaybay, Gov. Generoso and Lupon, while the lowest, 26°C was noted in Cateel. the temperature in the different municipalities of the province does not fluctuate much, the highest ranging only from 27.8°C to 28°C, while the lowest, only from 26°C.

Language / dialect. Pilipino, English and Spanish are the official languages used in the province. The 1975 census results revealed the Cebuano dialect predominately with 165,683 of the population. Dabaweño ranks second, Andaya, Hiligaynon-Ilongo, Manobo, Ilocano, and others are the minor dialects spoken in Davao Oriental.

Major Industries. Fishing and agriculture is the major industry in Davao Oriental. Grain milling, lumber products and parquet tiles are also other industries.

Points of Interest


Muti-colored Tombs (Dinagsaan, Puntalinao, Banaybanay, along the National Highway). It is a very unique tomb, rich with love stories why a special tomb was built.

Cape of San Agustin. It lies between the capital town of Mati and Governor Generoso. This is where St. Francis Xavier was supposed to have the said mass. A lighthouse stands at the site. It is accessible only by boat and is also a good fishing ground.

Saguegue Cave (Barrio Saguegue, Caraga, or 14 kms. away from the town proper). Artifacts, jars, porcelain and potteries are among the merchandise sold to tourists.


Moviehouses (Lupon, Mati and Baganga).


Kalapagan Hot Spring (Barrio Kalapagan, Lupon). Hot mineral springs surrounded the woodlands. It is ideal site for swimming and hunting for small games.

Pangyan Hot Spring (Sitio of Pangyan within the boundary of Taguibo and Calapagan). Hot springs water sorrounds the woodlands with the miniature falls and a river sits at the foot of the spring. The terrain is quite hilly.

Sigaboy Island. A 30-hectare islet of lush tropical foliage with white sand beach, strong current and deep waters, ideal for fishing, coral and shell hunting. It can be reached in 30 minutes by motorized banca or paddled boat. Located aboout 57 kms. away from Mati.

Tinagong Dagat (Hidden Sea) (San Isidro). Situated a thousand feet above sea level, the site is uninhabited and considered as one of the most puzzling phenomena of nature. It can be seen at the boundary of San Isidro and Governor Generoso in the midst of the virgin forest.

Pujada Island (Pujada Bay, Mati or 1-hour ride by pumpboat from Mati). It is a 156.466-hectare island in the municipality of Mati owned by a private person. White sand beach surrounds the island where inter-island, and foreign vessels entering Mati frequently pass.

Waniban Island. It is a 4-hectare islet with white sand beach along the shoreline. Resthouse made of nipa benches and kiosks are to be constructed. It can be reached in 30 minutes by motorboat from Mati.

San Victor Island (Baganga). Old jars, porcelain and pottery abound on this island for sale to tourists.

Cabugao Island (Boston). White sand beach with shells and corals surrounds this fishing ground.

Caraga Hanging Jars. Located 8 kms. away from San Luis Caraga. Artifacts, hunting grounds, hanging jars, take formation beneath the hanging jars.

Burias Islet (Boundary of Maputi and Puntalinao River, or 16-minute ride by motorboat). A 1-hectare islet of pure white sand available during low and minimal tide. Ideal place for swimming and sunbathing away from the noise and haste of modern lives. Seashells abound on this place.

Puting Bato waterfalls (Barrio Limot, Tarragona). It is a 25-meter wide falls situated in the midst of the forest. Still undeveloped but accessible through the abandoned logging road about 15 kms. away from Limot proper.

Rubilinda Falls (Mikit, Baganga).

Aliwagwag Falls. Located in the middle of the forest in Barrio Aliwagwag, Cateel. A towering waterfalls considered by hydraulic engineers as the highest in the country and regarded as one of the most beautiful falls in Mindanao. It is a series of 84 falls appearing like stairway to heaven with various heights among the steps ranging from 6 to 110 feet. One step is measured 72 feet and another is 67 feet. Overall Aliwagwag Falls is 1,110 feet of cascading energy and 20 meters in width. All these in the midst of virgin forest. River at the foot of the falls. 13 rapids to cross.

Magdawa Falls (Boston). A cascading falls of 50 meters and a depth of 5 meters surrounded by woodlands and not accessible by vehicles.

Carolina Lake. (Salingcomot, Baganga). It is situated beside a 2-hectare area lot which is accessible by vehicles.

Buso Hot Spring. Located in the midst of the forest, or 10 kms. away from Mati.

Kinablangan Hot Spring. (Baganga). Sulphuric water spring naturally in the area.

Mahiga Cold Spring. A fountainlike spring with crystal clear water coming from underneath.

Calapagan Hot Spring. (Lupon or a 30-minute ride from Mati.) Hot mineral water surrounds the woodlands. A river exists near the hot spring and picnics are always held in this place. It also has hunting grounds for small games.

Aroma Beach. (Lupon). Its name was derived because of the aroma trees which abundantly grow along the shore, providing shelter to picnic goers.

Bakayan Beach. (Lupon). Shells and corals abound, frequented by picnickers.

Dahican Public Beach. (Lupon). It can be reached in 25-minute ride from Mati proper. A white sand beach with blue green water, and corals and shells.

Bitoon Beach. It can be reached in a 30-minute ride from Mati. A black sand beach along which is a creek whose cool water flow to the sea.

Manay Beach. (Manay). Shells and corals abound in its white sand beach.

San Luis Beach. (Caraga). A grey sand beach, ideal site for fishing and boating.

Taragona Beach. (Taragona). A white sand beach with shells and corals and coconut trees grow along the shoreling.

Lambajon Beach. (Baganga). Corals and shells are aboundant in the place.

Hulid River. (Boston or 14 kms. away from the town). Long and winding course of the river with cemented-like stones on both banks carefully arranged like hollow blocks, clear cold waters even during mid-day and in summer. A logging nursery is on the river banks.

Sigaboy Floating. (Governor Generoso). It is an exact replica of a giant whale floating aimlessly over the calm sea. On the islet one finds a myriad of attractions such as cavernous caves, a green canopy of palm trees, white sand beach and teeming rainbow colored fish swimming in the deep blue and green water surrounding it.


Menzi Provincial Capitol. Capitol site uphill overlooking the town and the gulf is Imelda garden (landscaped) playground. It can be reached in a 5-minute ride from the poblacion.

Menzi Citrus Plantation. A 250-hectare plantation of citrus processing plant, refrigeration storage where packed oranges, grapes, mangoes are deep-frozen to maintain thefresh delicious taste. There is also vineyard, mango orchard, guesthouse, private mini airport. Located in Buso, Mati or about 7 kms. away from town proper.

Special interests

Scuba diving. On Pujada Island.

Tagsagaong Heights in Tarragona. A breathtaking height over which a bridge provides access for comuters to and from Mati.

How to get there. By air, Davao Oriental is 1 hour and 40 minutes via Philippine Airlines, which has several direct flights from Manila to Davao City daily.

By sea, Sulpicio Lines departs every Sunday for the Manila Cebu-Davao route, arriving in Davao on Tuesdays. William Lines leaves on Thursdays and Sundays. Traveling time is 71 hours.