Mati, Davao Oriental

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"Mati City" redirects here. For other uses, see Mati (disambiguation).
Component City
City of Mati
Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill
Official seal of Mati
Map of Davao Oriental with Mati highlighted
Map of Davao Oriental with Mati highlighted
Mati is located in Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 06°57′N 126°14′E / 6.950°N 126.233°E / 6.950; 126.233Coordinates: 06°57′N 126°14′E / 6.950°N 126.233°E / 6.950; 126.233
Country Philippines
Region Davao (Region XI)
Province Davao Oriental
District 2nd District of Davao Oriental
Founded 1861
Incorporated 1903
Cityhood June 16, 2007
Barangays 26
 • Mayor Carlo Luis P. Rabat
 • Total 588.63 km2 (227.27 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 126,143
 • Density 210/km2 (560/sq mi)
Demonym Matinian
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 8200
Dialing code 87
Income class 5th class

Mati is the only city in, and the capital of, the Province of Davao Oriental, Philippines, located on the southeastern side of Mindanao. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 126,143 people.[3] Residents of Mati are called Matinians.


Mati is politically subdivided into 26 barangays.[2] In 1957, the barrio then known as Cabuaya was renamed to Dawan.[4]

  • Badas
  • Bobon
  • Buso
  • Cabuaya
  • Central (City Proper/Poblacion)
  • Culian
  • Dahican
  • Danao
  • Dawan
  • Don Enrique Lopez
  • Don Martin Marundan
  • Don Salvador Lopez, Sr.
  • Langka
  • Lawigan
  • Libudon
  • Luban
  • Macambol
  • Mamali
  • Matiao
  • Mayo
  • Sainz
  • Sanghay
  • Tagabakid
  • Tagbinonga
  • Taguibo
  • Tamisan


Mati comes from the Mandayan word Maa-ti which refers to the town's creek that easily dries up even after heavy rain. Pioneer settlers were tribes Kalagan, Mandayan, and Maranao which carried strong Arabic and Indo-Malayan influences.

Captain Prudencio Garcia, the pioneer political-military head in 1861, and his comrade Juan Nazareno founded Mati and two other towns in Davao Oriental. By 1903, Mati was declared a municipality by virtue of Act No. 21. By 1907, Act No. 189 further reaffirmed the establishment of its local government. Bonifacio Serrano was the first appointed mayor while the first elected mayor was Patricio Cunanan in 1923. Mati became the capital of Davao Oriental since 1967.

The Japanese Imperial forces landed in town and occupied most of eastern Davao region in 1942. Mati was liberated in 1945 by the Allied Philippine Commonwealth troops of the 6th, 10th, 101st, 102nd, 103rd, 104th, 106th, 107th and 110th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, 10th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary and the Davaoeño guerrilla units. Mati celebrated its grand centennial in 2003.

Cityhood issues[edit]

On June 20, 2007, the Commission on Elections officially proclaimed the ratification of Republic Act 9408 converting the Municipality of Mati into a component city.

There were 18,267 actual voters out of the 51,287 registered voters in 26 villages and 266 polling precincts during the June 18 plebiscite. Final tabulation showed Yes got 18,267 votes while No garnered only 846.[5]

However, Mati recently lost its cityhood, along with 15 other cities, after the Supreme Court of the Philippines granted a petition filed by the League of Cities of the Philippines, and declared the cityhood law (RA 9389) which allowed the town to acquire its city status, unconstitutional. The said cities, the court ruled, did not meet the requirements for cityhood.[6]

More than a year later, on December 24, 2009, acting on the appeal of the so-called "League of 16 Cities" (an informal group of the sixteen local government units whose cityhood statuses had been reversed), the Supreme Court reversed its earlier ruling as it ruled that "at the end of the day, the passage of the amendatory law (regarding the criteria for cityhood as set by Congress) is no different from the enactment of a law, i.e., the cityhood laws specifically exempting a particular political subdivision from the criteria earlier mentioned. Congress, in enacting the exempting law/s, effectively decreased the already codified indicators."[7] As such, the cityhood statuses of the said 16 LGUs were effectively restored.

On August 27, 2010, Mati lost its cityhood again. It shares the fate of 15 other cities, after the Supreme Court reinstated a 2008 decision declaring the cityhood laws converting 16 municipalities into cities as “unconstitutional."[8]

A previous law required towns aspiring to become cities to earn at least P100 million annually, which none of the 16 did.

Voting 7-6, with two justices not taking part, the SC reinstated its Nov. 18, 2008 decision declaring as unconstitutional the Republic Acts (RAs) converting 16 municipalities into cities again.

On April 12, 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that Mati and the other 15 municipalities would be turned back into cities even without complying with the P100-million annual income requirement imposed by the Local Government Code.[9]

The Baywalk of Mati

Developments for 2012[edit]

After it reclaimed its cityhood status, the local government of the City of Mati focused on infra and eco-tourism projects in 2012 to give the local economy a boost. The local government also improved its education program with the construction of additional school buildings, allotted a bigger budget for health services, and started a housing project worth P13.5 million in Guang-guang. ii


Population census of Mati City
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 93,023 —    
1995 93,801 +0.16%
2000 105,908 +2.64%
2007 122,046 +1.98%
2010 126,143 +1.21%
Source: National Statistics Office[3][10]

Ethnicity and Languages[edit]

Cebuano is the widely spoken language and the corresponding ethnicity accounts for 68.5% of the total household population according to a 2000 census. Mandaya ranks second with 12.74% followed by Kalagan and Boholano with 6.87% and 3.05% respectively. Residents of Mati are migrants from Visayas who came for employment opportunities in logging, mining, farming, fishing, trading and teaching.[11]


Roman Catholicism is the major religious group, comprising the 80% of the total population. Islam comes in second with 8 percent, Iglesia Ni Cristo comes in third comprising with 6 percent and a small number of believers of other Christian groups like the United Church of Christ and Seventh Day Adventist are in the city as well.[11]

The Cathedral of San Nicolas de Tolentino is the center of Diocese of Mati under the jurisdiction of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Davao or DADITAMA.


This region is linked to the markets of Mindanao, Malaysia and Indonesia. Most of the local people rely on agriculture and agro-industries for a living. Exports include bananas, pineapples, coconuts and fish. Because of its tropical nature and beaches, tourism is a rapidly growing business. Mining is also a contributor to the city's economy, due to the large deposits of copper in the city outskirts.[12]


Pujada Bay and Sleeping Dinosaur Island, view from Badas Point

Mati offers beautiful landscapes and a number of beautiful resorts. The Provincial Capitol building and park rises atop the hill commanding a fantastic view of the Pujada Bay. Other locations that offer a bird's-eye view of the city are the Mati Tourism Complex and Badas Viewdeck.

Mati has always been known as a beach destination, with foreigners flocking to the city to enjoy what its beaches have to offer. Dahican is one of the most popular destinations in Mati with its 17-kilometer pure, fine white sand shore. It has recently become a prime destination for surfers and skimboarders. Pujada Bay boasts 15,700 species of sea life and has been considered as among the richest bays in Southeast Asia. As such, locals take measures to preserve the diversity of marine life, protecting animals like lobsters, sea cows (locally known as Dugong), bottlenose dolphins, hammerhead sharks, manta rays and different kinds of turtles.

Recently, skimboarding, surfing, and frisbee sports have established a wide fandom among young locals with Dahican being the favorite hub for tournaments in the region.

Mati is home to three protected areas, the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, Mati Protected Landscape, and Pujada Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape.

One of the attraction in Mati Park and Baywalk.

Culture and festivals[edit]

Mati celebrates two annual grand festivals: the Pujada Bay Festival every June, and the Sambuokan Festival every October. Compared to the Kadayawan of Davao and other festivals, both of Mati's are relatively new. The Pujada Bay Festival started in 2004 to promote and protect the Pujada Bay, while the Sambuokan Festival started in 2001 to unite Matinians during the commemoration of the municipality's founding anniversary every October 29. In years, both festivals have become alternative tourist destinations as competitors from various regions in the country start pouring in for competitions like streetdancing, boat racing, skimboarding, and frisbee.


The pedicab or tricycle is the major means of transportation around the city. In recent years, underbone motorcycles have earned quite a popularity among professionals and students, thus easily becoming a public transport alternative to commuters who prefer more speed. Jeepneys are available for travels from Mati to its neighboring towns while vans and buses are still the only means of transportation from Mati to other cities.

Mati Airport is to commence scheduled operations between late 2012 and early 2013.[12]

Sister cities[edit]


  1. ^ "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 11 September 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: DAVAO ORIENTAL". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "An Act Changing the Name of the Barrio of Cabuaya, Municipality of Mati, Province of Davao, to Barrio Dawan". Retrieved 2011-04-12. 
  5. ^ Sun.Star Davao - Mati now a city
  6. ^ Supreme Court of the Philippines
  7. ^ Residents of Davao Oriental hail SC’s reconsideration of cityhood decision
  8. ^ Manila Standard Today - Cityhood ruling overturned - 2010/august/28
  9. ^ Supreme Court cityhood ruling on 16 towns welcomed
  10. ^ "Province of Davao Oriental". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "About". Official Website of the City of Mati. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Mati Travel Guide, Philippines |". Retrieved March 30, 2011. 

External links[edit]