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Metro Davao

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Metro Davao

Metro Davao
Metropolitan Area
Metropolitan Davao
Map of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur showing the location of Metro Davao
Map of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur showing the location of Metro Davao
Country  Philippines
Region Davao Region
(Region XI)
Province(s) Covered Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur
 • Total 3,964.95 km2 (1,530.88 sq mi)
Population (2010)
 • Total 2,262,518
 • Density 570/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)

Metro Davao, officially called Metropolitan Davao (Cebuano: Kaulohang Dabaw, Filipino: Kalakhang Dabaw), is a metropolitan area in the Philippines. It includes the cities of Davao City, Digos in Davao del Sur, Tagum, Panabo and Samal in Davao del Norte. The metropolitan area also encompasses the two municipalities of Carmen in Davao del Norte and Santa Cruz in Davao del Sur. Metro Davao is one of twelve metropolitan areas in the Philippines.[1] However, unlike Metro Manila, Metro Davao does not have a formal legal framework, such as a metropolitan development council (although it has a de facto one) to stand on, existing not as a juridical entity but only as an informal reference to the area.

Comparison to Other Philippines' Metropolitan Regions

The agglomeration of Metro Davao has no formal legal framework early on its initial stage of development process either by an act of Congress, by an executive declaration of the President or by a formal agreement among component cities and municipalities of the metropolitan area.

In the case of Metro Manila, the component cities and municipalities were grouped into a province through a [decree issued by then-President Ferdinand Marcos, and designated the former first lady Imelda Marcos as governess. From then on, Greater Manila, as it was known earlier, became Metro Manila.

To formalize its juridical identity, Congress passed into law Republic Act No. 7924, instituting the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. Under the current law, the head of the agency shall be appointed by the President and should not be on a concurrent elected position as mayor.

Metro Cebu is a concept created in the 70's and formally adopted by the Regional Development Council of Central Visayas as a platform for integrating parallel development in the metropolitan area.

Formation of the Metropolitan Area

Although Metro Davao was formed in 1995 by mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the mayor of Davao City at that time, it does not have the birth perspective of either Metro Cebu or Metro Manila. The metropolitan concept of Metro Davao is being spearheaded by the mayor but no formal agreement or an act of congress have been executed to formalize its legal and juridical identity.


Metro Davao is not an administrative political unit but an agglomeration of independent local government units (LGUs), the third level government in the Philippine political system. However, it already has its three own governance councils, namely: Davao Integrated Development Program Board, Metropolitan Davao Committee, and Metropolitan Davao Management Office. As of now, the Davao Regional Development Council serves as the metropolitan area's development council, since Metro Davao not only defines the LGUs in the said metropolitan area, but also all of Davao Region.[2]

Definitions of Metro Davao

As years passed on, the definitions of Metro Davao had changed in recent years.[3] Metro Davao, as of now, has taken on three identical geographical definitions,[4] namely:

  • The metropolitan area is synonymous with Davao City itself, since the city is one of the largest cities in the world by land area and its land area encompasses more than six times the size of Metro Manila and three times the size of Metro Cebu.
  1. ^ Metropolitan Davao, under the third definition, has some form of policy and management structure already in place through the Davao Integrated Development Program Board.

Component Local Government Units

Local government unit
Area (km²)[6][7] Pop. density
(per km²)
Davao City 1,449,296 2,443.61 593.1
Digos City 149,891 287.10 522.1
Panabo City 174,364 251.23 694.0
Samal City 95,874 301.30 318.2
Tagum City 242,801 195.80 1,245.1
Carmen 69,199 166.00 416.9
Santa Cruz 81,093 319.91 253.5
Total 2,262,518 3,964.95 559.8

Geography and Demographics

The metropolitan area has 3,964.95 km², making it one of the two most area-wise largest metropolitan areas in the Philippines, the other being Metro Cagayan de Oro; it also has a population of 2,262,518 in the combined population sizes of the local government units that make up the metropolitan area during the 2010 LGPMS Census, making it as the third most populous metropolitan area in the country after Metro Manila and Metro Cebu, and the most populous in the entire Mindanao island.

However, as based on geographical studies, only about 12% of the portion of its land area accounts for its urban area, the rest are rural; however, almost 80% percent of the population live in the urban areas, primarily at Davao City, Tagum City, and Digos City. Thus, the metropolitan area centered around Davao City is considered as urban.


The economy of Metro Davao is one of the largest in the country and the most economically active in Mindanao. Davao City, from which the metropolitan area is centered, is known as the Crown Jewel of Mindanao due to its status as the premier city, the financial and trade center, and hub of Mindanao.

There are several industrial and business establishments within the metropolitan area as well. Industrial plants in Davao City, Sta. Cruz and Digos generate income for their respective LGU's as well as for the locals living there. Banana plantations in the northern part of the metropolitan area also contribute to the metropolitan, as well as the national, economy. Local fruits such as durians, mangoes, pineapples and mangosteens are also exported abroad.

List of cities in Metro Davao by annual income

City/Municipality Annual Income as of 2010 (PHP) Classification[6][7]
Davao City 4,262,295,506.45 Highly-urbanized City
Tagum City 839,245,557.22 1st class city
Digos City 499,054,265.00 2nd class city
Panabo City 468,500,000.00 3rd class city
Samal City 387,166,113.86 4th class city
Sta. Cruz 138,097,326.25 1st class town
Carmen 100,912,416.97 1st class town
Total 6,695,271,185.75


Davao City is one of the country's leading producers and exporters of durian, mangoes, pomeloes, banana, coconut products, papaya, mangosteen, and even flowers. Panabo hosts one of the country's biggest banana plantations, which is owned by the Tagum Agricultural Development Company (TADECO) that covers around 6,900 hectares of banana fields. Digos is popular for the mangoes produced in the city.


Metro Davao has a number of educational institutions catering to the needs of its residents. These colleges and universities are mostly found in Davao City. There are also a number of international schools that serve the metro. Here are some notable institutions in Metro Davao.





The international airport in Davao City, Davao City International Airport, is the largest and most developed in Mindanao, has the second longest runway in the island after that of General Santos International Airport, and the third busiest in the country, after Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Mactan-Cebu International Airport. It can handle both domestic and international flights, serving several flights to Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, and as far as Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, South Korea, Manado, Indonesia, and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; it is the only airport in the island to handle flights like these. Its ATC Tower is the most advanced in the country. The airport serves as the main international gateway to the entire Mindanao island and as well as Metro Davao.


The International Seaport of Davao, the busiest port in Mindanao.

Three of the four main seaports operate in Metro Davao, namely: Sasa International Seaport in Sasa and Sta. Ana Pier in the Chinatown District, both in Davao City; and Panabo Seaport in Davao del Norte. The former two, both of which are located in Port of Davao in Davao City, can service both interisland and international shipments. Sasa International Container Port, also located in the Davao International Seaport, is one of the busiest in the entire Visayas-Mindanao region.


Davao City, having over a million night-time population and an estimated 4 million day-time population is home to many media outlets. Large media networks like ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network, GMA Network, Inc., TV5, National Broadcasting Network, and RPN9 maintain their respective local stations and branches for viewership, commercial and news coverage purposes. Most of these stations broadcast local news and public affairs as well as entertainment and dramas to cater the local viewers.

Moreover, there are cable television operations in the city offering for a free worldwide array of television stations for news, sports, science and technology, movies and documentaries, history and natural sciences, action and sci-fi, lifestyle and fashion, cartoons and children's shows, entertainment and showbiz-oriented programs and more.

Aside from the 24 national daily newspapers available, Davao City also has 20 local newspapers. Among the widely read are the Sun Star Davao and Mindanao Times.


  1. ^ Building globally competitive metropolitan areas in the Philippines PDF
  2. ^
  3. ^ New Definitions of Metro Davao
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Province: Davao del Sur". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Province: Davao del Norte". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
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