Davao del Sur

Araw ng Dabaw

Araw ng Dabaw, translated in English to Davao Day, is the cityhood anniversary and charter day celebration of Davao City, Davao del Sur, Philippines every March 1. The city observes special non-working holiday subject to issuance from the Office of the President every first of March pursuant to Republic Act No. 11379.

The city also celebrates the Kadayawan Festival every August.

History of Davao City

Davao City is a central hub in Davao region with extensive air, land, and sea transportation highways. It is the regional center of Region XI that consists of Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, and Davao Oriental.

Its history began with the historical province of Davao that was inhabited by indigenous and Muslim population. Throughout much of the Spanish colonial period, it remained beyond the grasp of foreign rule. That fate changed when in 1844, Spanish Governor General Narciso Claveria moved to expand the colony by conquering southern Mindanao.

Datu Bato put up brave opposition against the advancing colonial forces, but he was defeated by Jose Oyanguren in 1848 and the Spaniards called the place Nueva Vergara.

In the following years and well into the American period, Davao received an influx of local and foreign migrants. Its population and economy grew, and with it was the expanding influence of the Japanese expatriates. To ensure administrative control, its cityhood was proposed by Representative Romualdo C. Quimpo when he authored and filed House Bill No. 609 on March 16, 1936.

Thus Commonwealth Act No. 51, otherwise known as An Act Creating the City of Davao, was approved by President Manuel L. Quezon on October 16, 1936.

Its territory combined the then municipality of Davao and the neighboring municipal district of Guianga.

And through Proclamation No. 132 signed by President Quezon on January 23, 1937, the city of Davao was inaugurated on March 1, 1937 and the date was a public holiday in the province of Davao. This is the date Araw ng Dabaw celebrates annually.

In 1955, Republic Act No. 1368 was passed that made the mayor, city mayor, and councilors as elective positions. And on May 8, 1967, Davao was split into Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, and Davao Oriental. Davao City no longer was the capital as it became politically and administratively independent from these newly created provinces; instead, it became the region’s center.

In 1992, the 16th of March was a special non-working holiday to be known as “Araw ng Davao” in the city by virtue of Republic Act No. 7551 that became effective on May 22, 1992. Then on February 23, 1994, it was amended by Republic Act No. 7685 calling the day “Araw ng Dabaw”.

Then on August 22, 2019, the holiday was moved to the first day of March every year upon presidential proclamation through the passage of Republic Act No. 11379 that was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Araw ng Dabaw Activities

Activities for Araw ng Dabaw were moved online in the years 2020, 2021, and 2022 to comply with the minimum health protocols amidst coronavirus pandemic.

The calendar of Araw ng Dabaw may last for the entire month of March such as in 2023. Its highlights includes agri-trade fair, as well as sporting events, art and music festival, anniversary program, talent contests, beauty pageant (Reyna Dabawenya and Mutya ng Dabaw), Davao Unity Awards, etc.

How to reach Davao City

Davao City can be reached via land (through bus trips), water (ferries), and air (through Davao International Airport).


Araw ng Dabaw Summary

NameAraw ng Dabaw
Contact(082) 222 1956
DateMarch 1
Duration1 month
Historical eventCityhood of Davao in 1936
LocationDavao City, Davao del Sur
OrganizerCity Government of Davao