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Marina Info - Davao-Samal

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DAVAO, pronounced as dah – vahw, is located in the southernmost part of the Philippines, in the province of Mindanao. In terms of land area, it is considered as one of the largest cities in the world. However, almost 50% of it is considered timberland or forest. This plus the fact that Davao is a port city, it is no wonder the largest economic sector is agriculture, producing and exporting of bananas, coconuts, pineapples and coffee.

The word “Davao” comes from a blend of 3 ethnic subgroups referring to the Davao River that empties into the Davao Gulf. It also means “beyond the high grounds” linking to a settlement area or trading port at the mouth of the river which is surrounded by rolling hills. There is a multitude of ethnic groups and cultures living in harmony in Davao. Aside from the numerous ethnic tribes that were already in existence centuries ago, history shows that Davao has gone through several occupations since its first discovery by the Spaniards in 1528. The name of the game at that time is to control the ports for valuable trade leverages in the rapidly expanding world trade market. Although they tried hard, the Spaniards were really unable to completely gain control of the Mindanao Island. There was strong resistance from the native people and they fought back. It wasn’t until 1848, the Spanish influence was felt when a Christian settlement in the riverside was established. Even so, the Spanish efforts to develop the area did not prosper. Gratefully dedicated to the lasting memory of Filipino and American Veterans In 1900, the American forces landed. In this period, private farm holdings grew and the infrastructure improved which paved the way for the region’s economic growth. A few years later, a wave of Japanese plantation workers came in to the shores of Mindanao. Agriculture further developed and Filipinos were able to learn the techniques of farming so that ultimately, agriculture progressed to become the province’s lifeline. Davao formally became a city on March 1, 1937. In 1942, the Japanese troops occupied Davao City before it was liberated in 1945 by the Americans during World War II. Over the years and to this day, Philippines’ 3rd largest city has become an ethnic melting pot as it continues to draw migrants from all over the country and the world. It has become a favorite retirement haven for many.

Please follow this link to view images of the real people of Davao taken during my visit to the Agdao Public Market, Davao City.

DAVAO CITY, being near the equatorial belt, is typhoon-free. The city enjoys a weather that remains balmy all year round. It is characterized by a uniform distribution of rainfall, temperature, humidity, and there are no wide fluctuations of the barometric air pressure. There are two seasons – the NE monsoons (October to May) The Magnificent Mount Apo and the SW monsoon (June to September). The beginning and end of the seasons are normally transition periods. Northeasterly winds are predominant during the NE monsoon season and this will the best time for cruisers when Durian fruit the weather is pleasant and the chances of being caught in the path of typhoons are minimal. The SW monsoon is the rainy season. Winds are predominantly southerly, humid and warmer.

Davao City boasts of some of the finest beaches and mountain resorts in the country, and proximity to the Philippines’ most captivating diving spots as well as its highest peak, Mount Apo. Waling-Waling Metro Davao can also be dubbed as The City of Royalties or The Royal City, because of the presence of the kings and queens of the nature present in Davao. The Queen of Philippine Orchids which is Waling-waling, the King of Exotic Fruits, which is Durian, The King and Grandfather of Philippine mountains, Mt. Apo, the largest eagle in the world and the King of Philippine skies which is the Philippine Eagle.

The Philippine Eagle


Nearby and only 10 minutes Samal-Davao ferry ride over, in the Gulf of Davao, is the ISLAND GARDEN CITY of SAMAL. True to its name, the island is a paradise surrounded by a natural garden of corals. The island has become a tourism hub for southern Philippines, boasting its pristine, white sandy beaches, natural wonders and attractions, yet One of the finest beaches in the Island Garden City of Samal it still remains unspoiled. This beautiful virgin island has been protected from commercialization to preserve ecotourism. The 116 kilometer stretch of coastline and crystal blue water is rich with underwater wildlife and the colors contrasts harmoniously from the green lush vegetation of coconut trees, to the white sandy beaches, to the dark blue color of the sea. From the hairy squat lobster to the Hawksbill Turtles to the Duggongs and a vast array of tropical fishes and corals, this island has become a diver’s haven. For the landlubbers, you have the mountains and lush forests for serious mountain-biking, camping and extreme sports. You can test your endurance as you trek and negotiate your way through caves of varying sizes.

Kadayawan festival parade

Davao and Samal both boasts of very friendly people. Festivals or fiestas would be a good way to observe how happy and sharing the Dabaweños are. Fiestas are their way of showing their love of their homeland, Mutya ng Dabaw pageantry culture and traditions. Amidst the chaos, hostage taking, war and conflict happening in some parts of Mindanao, Davao is still at peace and order. This is evident during the KADAYAWAN festival, the ARAW NG DAVAO festivities and Samal’s HUGYAW Samal. One must not miss seeing and participating in these festivals. It is definitely a must-see event.

More exciting pictures of Samal by following this LINK.

The Gulf of Davao

Image of Davao Gulf

The Gulf of Davao is situated on the south coast of Mindanao Island and is approximately between latitude 6° 15' and 7° 20' East and longitude 125° 25' and 126° 10' East. It has a water area of 10,500 sq. km. and approximately 520 km. of coastline from Calian Point in Davao del Sur to Cape San Agustin in Davao Oriental. Within the Gulf are the islands of Samal and Talikud in Davao del Norte, Kopiat in Davao Oriental and Lunod in Compostela Valley. Samal Island is the largest of these islands, with 118 km. of coastline.

We entered the gulf from the east, rounding Cape San Agustin around 7 pm. By midnight, we were fighting against a strong south-setting current and headwinds. In certain areas, we found weird water movements and eddies. Apparently, the Gulf has a unique pattern of water movement. During flood tide, water mass south of Samal Island flows southwest. In the northern portion of the island, between Bassa Point and Gill Point, water mass flows northeast, then southward and swiftly veers east-northeast during the peak tide current. In addition, the more saline oceanic waters flow into the gulf through the deeper section of the Gulf pushing the existing water mass northward. Tide waves occurring ahead at the eastern section cause older water to wave towards the area of low elevation at the western side. Eddies and standing oscillations are present.

The route we took

We went straight to the channel between Samal Island and Davao mainland and got Wiskun finally tied around 2 pm, safely away from the strong current in the channel. In hindsight, it would probably be easier for us to stay east of Samal and round the northern part of the island to follow the current south again on the west side.

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