Davao Occidental

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Davao Occidental
Province of Davao Occidental
Flag of Davao Occidental
Official seal of Davao Occidental
Etymology: Davao Occidental (i.e., "Western Davao")
Location in the Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 6°05′N 125°40′E / 6.08°N 125.67°E / 6.08; 125.67Coordinates: 6°05′N 125°40′E / 6.08°N 125.67°E / 6.08; 125.67
RegionDavao Region
Founded28 October 2013
Capital (and largest LGU)Malita
 • TypeSangguniang Panlalawigan
 • GovernorClaude P. Bautista (HNP)
 • Vice GovernorFranklin P. Bautista (HNP)
 • RepresentativeLorna Bautista-Bandigan (NPC)
 • LegislatureDavao Occidental Provincial Board
 • Total2,163.45 km2 (835.31 sq mi)
Area rank57th out of 81
Highest elevation1,624 m (5,328 ft)
 (2020 census) [2]
 • Total317,159
 • Rank65th out of 81
 • Density150/km2 (380/sq mi)
 • Density rank59th out of 81
Demonym(s)Western Davaoeño
 • Independent cities0
 • Component cities0
 • Municipalities
 • Barangays105
 • DistrictsLegislative district of Davao Occidental
Time zoneUTC+8 (PHT)
Spoken languages
Income classification4th class
Websitedavaooccidental.gov.ph Edit this at Wikidata

Davao Occidental (Cebuano: Kasadpang Dabaw; Filipino: Kanlurang Davao) is the 81st and newest province in the Philippines located in the Davao Region in Mindanao.[3][4][5] Its capital is the municipality of Malita. To the east lies the Davao Gulf. It also shares a maritime border with the Indonesian province of North Sulawesi to the south.


What is now Davao Occidental was once a part of the now-defunct Davao Province which encompasses the entirety of present-day Davao Region. Section 1 of Philippine Commission Act No. 164 dated December 10, 1904 indicated that much of its area as far as what is now Malita once belonged to the municipality of Santa Cruz. The original chief inhabitants of the area were the indigenous Lumad tribes including the Matigsalugs and Tagakaulos. Around the early 1900s onward, migrants from Luzon and the Visayas settled in the area, many of whom intermarried with the indigenous people; as decades progressed the descendants of the migrants became the majority of the population.

The municipality of Malita was founded on November 13, 1936 per Proclamation No. 64 signed by President Manuel Quezon.[6] It was the first town to be established in the area of what is now Davao Occidental and would later serve as its provincial capital. More towns in the area are established later: Trinidad (now Jose Abad Santos) on 1948, Sta Maria in 1968, Don Marcelino in 1979, and Sarangani in 1980.

In May 8, 1967, Davao Province was split into three provinces, one of them being Davao del Sur which included the municipalities of what would later comprise Davao Occidental.


Davao Occidental was created through Republic Act 10360 enacted on July 23, 2013, comprising five of the eight municipalities that constitute the 2nd district of Davao del Sur. RA 10360 was passed by the House of Representatives and Senate on November 28, 2012, and December 5, 2012, respectively, and signed by President Benigno Aquino III on January 14, 2013.[3][7] A plebiscite was held on October 28, 2013, along with the barangay elections and the majority of votes cast were "Yes", ratifying the province.[4]

The motive of creating the province was to boost the economic condition and social progress of the municipalities. Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who sponsored the creation of Davao Occidental, said that the distances of Digos, Davao del Sur's provincial capital, to other municipalities in the second Congressional District are far-off that impairs the effective delivery of basic services, as well as the access to government offices.[8] However, Davao del Sur Representative Marc Douglas Cagas considered the creation of the province as nothing more than gerrymandering and political convenience.[9]

Government officials of Davao del Sur with assistance from the Department of the Interior and Local Government exercised jurisdiction over the Davao Occidental until the elected local officials of the 2016 elections assumed office.[10][11]


Davao Occidental covers a total area of 2,163.45 square kilometres (835.31 sq mi)[12] occupying the southwestern tip of the Davao Region in Mindanao. The province is bordered on the northwest by Davao del Sur; west by Sarangani and northeast by the Davao Gulf.

The topography of Davao Occidental is hilly, rugged and sloping, with nearly the whole province consisting of mountains. Its eastern shoreline consists of cliffs and beaches with hills immediately on their backs. Coconut trees and hardwood trees mostly dominate the provincial mainland.


The province of Davao Occidental is governed by a governor and a vice governor. The whole province is a lone congressional legislative district.[12] The municipality of Malita, the largest and most populous in the province, serves as the provincial capital and the place where the provincial officials of Davao Occidental convene.

Administrative divisions[edit]

The province comprises 5 municipalities.

Political divisions
Municipality[i] Population ±% p.a. Area[12] Density Barangay
(2015)[13] (2010)[14] km2 sqmi /km2 /sqmi
6°12′02″N 125°41′40″E / 6.2005°N 125.6945°E / 6.2005; 125.6945 (Don Marcelino) Don Marcelino 14.1% 44,554 41,942 +1.16% 407.30 157.26 110 280 15
5°54′46″N 125°38′39″E / 5.9129°N 125.6441°E / 5.9129; 125.6441 (Jose Abad Santos) Jose Abad Santos 24.1% 76,332 69,631 +1.76% 600.06 231.68 130 340 26
6°24′40″N 125°36′30″E / 6.4110°N 125.6082°E / 6.4110; 125.6082 (Malita) Malita 37.2% 117,746 109,568 +1.38% 883.37 341.07 130 340 30
6°33′13″N 125°28′27″E / 6.5537°N 125.4742°E / 6.5537; 125.4742 (Santa Maria) Santa Maria 17.0% 53,671 49,349 +1.61% 175.00 67.57 310 800 22
5°24′44″N 125°25′17″E / 5.4123°N 125.4215°E / 5.4123; 125.4215 (Sarangani) Sarangani 7.6% 24,039 23,290 +0.60% 97.72 37.73 250 650 12
Total 316,342 293,780 +1.42% 2,163.45 835.31 150 390 105
 † Provincial capital  Municipality
  1. ^ The globe WMA button2b.png icon marks the town center.


Population census of Davao Occidental
YearPop.±% p.a.
1918 17,050—    
1939 30,775+2.85%
1948 39,087+2.69%
1960 48,704+1.85%
1970 99,907+7.44%
1975 127,604+5.03%
1980 161,366+4.81%
1990 209,429+2.64%
1995 219,825+0.91%
2000 254,512+3.19%
2007 272,570+0.95%
2015 316,342+1.88%
2020 317,159+0.05%

The population of Davao Occidental in the 2020 census was 317,159 people, [2] with a density of 150 inhabitants per square kilometre or 390 inhabitants per square mile.

The population mostly consists of people whose ancestors originate from the migrants from Visayan Islands and Luzon. The Lumad natives only form a small part of the population and live in the more mountainous and forested areas of the province.


The shores of Malita as seen from the hilltops.

The main industries in Davao Occidental are aquaculture and agriculture. Economic produce in the province include fish, bananas and coconuts which are then exported to several major cities within southern Mindanao, including Davao City. Rice farms are only limited to the few flat lands in the province due to its mountainous and thickly forested nature.

The capital town of Malita is the province's main commercial hub.

Tourism has started to gain traction in the province, with potential tourist destinations mostly concentrated at the province's coastal beaches and the Sarangani and Balut islands in the south.[16]


Davao Occidental is served by only one partially-coastal highway that traverses the whole length of the provincial mainland from north to south, and could only be accessed by going through the road crossings in Sulop in Davao del Sur province and, farther ahead, in the city of General Santos. Buses, jeepneys and passenger vans that originate from and serve the cities of Davao and Digos are the main primary modes of transportation in the province. Boats serve as the primary maritime mode of transportation for coastal areas not yet accessible by roads and the island municipality of Sarangani.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Province: Davao Occidental". PSGC Interactive. Makati, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Archived from the original on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b Census of Population (2020). "Region XI (Davao Region)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Republic Act No. 10360: An Act Creating the Province of Davao Occidental". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Metro Manila, Philippines: Congress of the Philippines. January 14, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ a b Cayon, Carina (October 30, 2013). "DavSur voters approve of Davao Occidental". Philippine Information Agency. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  5. ^ "Davao Occidental, PH's 81st province". Manila Bulletin. Yahoo! News Philippines. 31 October 2013. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  6. ^ Executive Order No. 64, s. 1936
  7. ^ "COMELEC to conduct plebiscite for the creation of Davao Occidental". Official Gazette. COMELEC. September 18, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Davao Occidental Province Soon To Be Realized". Senate of the Philippines. May 16, 2012. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  9. ^ Regalado, Edith (January 24, 2013). "'Creation of Davao Occidental just for political convenience'". Philstar. Retrieved November 7, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Carillo, C.A. (November 10, 2013). "Davao Occidental province to be created". BusinessWorld. Retrieved January 27, 2016.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Plebiscite results favor new Davao province". Philippine Daily Inquirer. October 30, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2016.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ a b c "Province: Davao Occidental". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  13. ^ a b Census of Population (2015). "Region XI (Davao Region)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  14. ^ a b Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region XI (Davao Region)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  15. ^ Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Region XI (Davao Region)". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. NSO.{{cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ Top 10 Must Visit Attractions in Davao Occidental

External links[edit]

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML