Davao del Norte was once known simply as Davao, and is a province located in the Davao Region in Mindanao. Its capital is Tagum City. It borders the province of Agusan del Sur to the north, Bukidnon to the west, Compostela Valley to the east, and the city of Davao to the south.
Touted as the Davao region’s Agriculture, Culture and Ecology (ACE) Tourism Destination, the province holds the distinction of having vast expanse of banana plantations in the region. Blessed with rich fertile land and other natural resources and the fact that it is located in a typoon-free belt made Davao del Norte not only productive but also charmingly attractive to investors and tourists alike. Endowed with nature’s bountiful resources, the three cities and eight municipalities of Davao del Norte do not only produce agricultural products but also takes pride in their unique scenic spots and tourist destinations.
On May 8, 1967, the late Congressman Lorenzo S. Sarmiento, Sr. authored a bill, which was later passed into law – RA 4867 – that divided Davao into three provinces, namely, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental. On June 17, 1972, the name Davao del Norte was changed to Davao under RA 6430. All three provinces celebrate their anniversary every 1st of July.
When it was created, Davao del Norte was made up of 13 municipalities: Asuncion, Babak, Compostela, Kapalong, Mabini, Mawab, Monkayo, Nabunturan, Panabo, Pantukan, Samal, Sto. Tomas, and Tagum. On May 6, 1970, six additional municipalities were created, and these were Carmen, Kaputian, Maco, Montevista, New Bataan, and New Corella. By 1996, the province had a total of 22 municipalities, with the creation of Laak in 1979, Maragusan in 1988, and Talaingod in 1990.
On January 30, 1998, Former President Fidel V. Ramos signed RA 8470 creating the province of Compostela Valley out of Davao province. This paved the way for the conversion of the municipality of Tagum into a city (RA 8472), the merging of the three island municipalities of Babak, Samal, and Kaputian to form the Island Garden City of Samal (RA 8471), and the creation of the municipality of B.E. Dujali (RA 8473). With the creation of Compostela Valley, the province of Davao reverted back to its old name of Davao del Norte and at present has seven municipalities and three cities.
The majority of the population are Visayan migrants. Cebuano is the most widely spoken language. Other prominent migrant groups are the Ilonggos and the Ilocanos. Several ethnic groups exist in the province, among them B´laans, Bagobos, Manobos and Tagacaolos. These early settlers occupied the slopes, and base of Mt. Apo, and have developed their own cultures which have been preserved to this day. The Bogobos, for example, are known for their colorful dresses woven from Abaca fiber and ornamented with beads, shells, metal disks and embroidery in geometric patterns. They also wear bells as anklets or costume accessories so they jiggle when the walk or dance.
The capital city of Tagum is only an hour’s drive from the Davao International Airport and the Sasa Wharf in Davao City. The province is also accessible by land transportation.