Metro Davao

Coordinates: 7°04′N 125°36′E / 7.07°N 125.6°E / 7.07; 125.6
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Metro Davao
Kaulohang Dabaw (Cebuano)
Metropolitan Davao
Skyline of Davao City
Skyline of Davao City
   Metro Davao within    Davao Region
Coordinates: 7°04′N 125°36′E / 7.07°N 125.6°E / 7.07; 125.6
Country Philippines
RegionDavao Region
(Region XI)
Managing entityMetropolitan Davao Development Authority[1]
Established1995 (as metropolitan area)[2]
2022 (as administrative area)[3]
Cities and Municipalities15
 • Total6,492.84 km2 (2,506.90 sq mi)
 • Total3,339,284
 • Density510/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
 • Highly urbanized cities
 • Component cities
 • Municipalities
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)

Metro Davao, officially Metropolitan Davao (Cebuano: Kaulohang Dabaw; Filipino: Kalakhang Davao), is a metropolitan area in Mindanao, Philippines. It includes the cities of Davao, Digos, Mati, Panabo, Samal and Tagum and spanned parts of all five provinces of the Davao Region. Metro Davao is one of three metropolitan areas in the Philippines.[5] It is administered by the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority.[1] It is the largest metropolitan region by land area and the second most populous in the Philippines.


Comparison with other metropolitan areas[edit]

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 then First Lady Imelda Marcos as a 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[edit]

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. Because of this, the region, having no official legal framework (although they have a de facto one, the Davao Regional Development Council), exists not as a juridical identity but only as an informal reference to the area. However, the said council have formally adopted the concept in 1996 for the development of the area, especially Davao City.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11708 on April 27, 2022, paving the way for the establishment of the Metro Davao Development Authority which would oversee the administration and planning in the metropolitan area.[1]


Metropolitan Davao Development Authority
Agency overview
FormedApril 13, 2022
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionPhilippines
Legal jurisdictionMetro Davao
Governing bodyMetropolitan Davao Development Council

Prior to the creation of the Metropolitan Davao Development Authority in 2022, Metro Davao had its three own development and governance councils, namely: Davao Integrated Development Program Board, Metropolitan Davao Committee, and Metropolitan Davao Management Office. Davao Integrated Development Program Board served 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.[6] As such, it was not an administrative political unit but an agglomeration of independent local government units, the third level government in the Philippine political system. With Republic Act No. 11708 signed into effect in 2022 however, the then newly created Metropolitan Davao Development Authority will replace the provisional entities that are overseeing the affairs of the metropolis, thus effectively turning Metro Davao into an administrative political unit in the same level as Metro Manila.[3] It is considered to be a special development and administrative region.[7]

Definitions of Metro Davao[edit]

As years passed on, the definitions of Metro Davao had changed in recent years.[8] Metro Davao, as of now, has taken on three identical geographical definitions,[6] namely:

  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[edit]

  •   Highly urbanized city
  •   Component city
  •   Municipality
Local government unit[1] Population
Pop. density
(per km2)
Davao City 1,776,949 2,443.61 727.2
Digos 188,376 287.10 656.1
Mati 147,547 588.63 250.7
Panabo 209,230 251.23 734.8
Samal 116,771 301.30 387.6
Tagum 296,202 195.80 1,330.5
Carmen 82,018 166.00 449.9
Hagonoy 56,919 114.28 498.1
Maco 83,237 342.23 284.4
Malalag 40,158 186.12 215.8
Malita 118,197 883.37 133.8
Padada 29,878 83.00 360.0
Santa Cruz 101,125 319.91 284.4
Santa Maria 57,526 175.00 328.7
Sulop 35,151 155.26 226.4
Total 3,339,284 6,492.84 622.6

Geography and demographics[edit]

The metropolitan area has 6,492.84 km2, making it the largest metropolitan area in the Philippines in terms of land area. It also has a population of 3,062,291 in the combined population sizes of the local government units that make up the metropolitan area during the 2015 census,[13] making it the third most populous metropolitan area in the country after Metro Manila and Metro Cebu and the most populous in the entire Mindanao region.


Most of the region's inhabitants, originally mostly descended from migrant settlers from Visayas and Luzon in recent centuries and decades, mostly speak Davaoeño Cebuano Bisaya vernacularly, whereas English is the primary formal medium of instruction in schools, besides Filipino (Tagalog) class, and is widely understood by residents, who often use it in varying professional fields. Aside from Davaoeño Cebuano Bisaya, Tagalog, Hiligaynon, and Chavacano Davaoeño are also widely casually used in Metro Davao in addition to languages indigenous to Davao City, such as Giangan, Kalagan, Tagabawa, Matigsalug, Ata Manobo, and Obo. Other languages also varyingly spoken in the main city include Maguindanao, Maranao, Sama-Bajau, Iranun, Tausug, Kapampangan and Ilocano. Among Chinese Filipinos and Japanese Filipinos in Davao, Philippine Hokkien and Japanese can also be heard privately used among their fellows. Mandarin (Standard Chinese) and Japanese is also taught in Chinese class and Japanese class of Chinese FIlipino schools and Japanese Nikkei schools respectively.

A linguistic phenomenon has developed in Metro Davao whereby some Cebuano-speaking locals have either shifted to Filipino (Tagalog) or begun to significantly mix Filipino terms and grammar into their Cebuano speech; this is because of varying factors such as, the normalcy of older generations in some Cebuano-speaking families speaking Filipino (Tagalog) to their children in the household, some migrant settlers and visitors to Davao are also from families coming from Luzon where Filipino (Tagalog) is widely casually spoken, the Filipino mass media is mostly in Filipino (Tagalog) and Filipino class is also taught in schools in Davao, and Cebuano is spoken in other everyday settings, making Filipino (Tagalog) a secondary casual lingua franca.


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 the overall hub of Mindanao.

There are several industrial and business establishments within the metropolitan area as well. Industrial plants in Davao City, Santa Cruz, and Digos generate income for their respective LGUs 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 LGUs in Metro Davao by annual income[edit]

City/Municipality Annual Income as of 2019 (₱) Classification[11][12]
Davao City 10,508,640,000.00 1st class highly urbanized city
Tagum 1,705,431,000.00 1st class city
Digos 1,178,112,000.00 2nd class city
Panabo 1,211,434,000.00 3rd class city
Samal 823,122,000.00 4th class city
Santa Cruz 456,000,000.00 1st class municipality
Carmen 280,700,000.00 1st class municipality
Total 16,119,745,000.00


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, as a whole, is being served by Davao City's Francisco Bangoy International Airport. It is the largest and the most developed airport on the island of Mindanao. It comes second for having the longest runway on the island at 3,000 meters after that of General Santos International Airport. The airport is currently the third busiest airport in the country after Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Mactan–Cebu International Airport, and the busiest in Mindanao. This international facility is one of the domestic hubs of Philippines AirAsia, Cebu Pacific Air, and Philippine Airlines. Presently, the airport serves flights to Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Pampanga, Bacolod, Tagbilaran, Tacloban, Puerto Princesa, Caticlan and as far as Singapore, Hong Kong, Quanzhou (suspended), and Doha. So far, Davao's ATC Tower is considered the most sophisticated in the country.

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

Three of the four main seaports in the region operate in Metro Davao, namely: Sasa International Seaport in Sasa and Santa 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.


Metro Davao is served by the Pan-Philippine Highway as well as provincial roads connecting nearby provinces outside of Davao Region. The cities of Davao and Tagum are the metropolitan area's major land transportation hubs. All cities and towns in the metropolitan area have overland transport terminals connecting the area to other parts of Mindanao and the Philippines via buses and passenger vans.

The Mindanao Railway will have its first segment on the Tagum–Davao–Digos line, and its construction is targeted to begin in 2023.[14]


The cities of Davao and Panabo and the town of Carmen has their electricity needs served by Davao Light and Power Company, a distribution utilities subsidiary of Aboitiz Power which also operates the 300-megawatt Therma South Coal-Fired Power Plant located in Brgy. Binugao, Davao City.[15] The cities of Samal and Tagum and the town of Maco are served by Northern Davao Electric Cooperative (NORDECO), the city of Digos and the towns of Hagonoy, Malalag, Padada, Sulop, Sta. Cruz, Sta. Maria and Malita by Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative (DASURECO), and the city of Mati by Davao Oriental Electric Cooperative (DORECO).


Metro Davao currently does not have a unified sewage and sewerage system as to the fact that it is rather disconnected in terms of urban contiguity. As such, every city and town in the metropole has their own drainage system.

Davao City has its own water service via Davao City Water District. Other towns and cities within Metro Davao are served by their own water utility service providers.

The sanitary landfill at Barangay Carmen, Davao City are shared by both Davao and Panabo. The city of Tagum and the town of Carmen also had their own landfill located at Brgy. Nueva Fuerza, Tagum 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.




Davao City, having over a million night-time population and an estimated 4 million day-time population is home to many media outlets and Large media networks, 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 to the local viewers.

TV stations[edit]

Cable and satellite TV operators[edit]

  • Sky Cable Davao – Davao City
  • Davao Cableworld Network – Davao City
  • Eastcoast Cable TV Network – Davao City and Mati City
  • Digos Cable TV Network – Digos
  • Prime Cable Network – Digos and Samal
  • Wise Cable TV Network – Tagum and Maco
  • Love Net TV – Tagum
  • Panabo Satellite Cable TV – Panabo, Carmen and Samal
  • Asymmetrical Cable TV Network – Carmen and Padada
  • G Sat Cable
  • Sky Direct
  • Cignal TV

Aside from the 24 national daily newspapers available, Davao City also has 21 local newspapers. Among the widely read are SunStar Davao, the Mindanao Times, and the Mindanao Examiner.


  1. ^ a b c d Joviland Rita. "Duterte OKs creation of Metropolitan Davao Development Authority". GMA News Online. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Che Palicte. "Metropolitan Davao to bolster Mindanao dev't: Go". Philippine News Agency. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  4. ^ a b "2020 Census of Population and Housing (2020 CPH) Region XI". Metro Manila, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. July 7, 2021. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  5. ^ Building globally competitive metropolitan areas in the Philippines PDF
  6. ^ a b[bare URL PDF]
  7. ^ Cruz, Maricel; Ramos-Araneta, Macon (April 28, 2022). "Metro Davao now has own development authority body". Manila Standard. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
  8. ^ New Definitions of Metro Davao
  9. ^ "Davao City, Philippines". WordAtlas. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  10. ^ Cervantes, Filane Mikee (November 23, 2022). "Implementation of Metropolitan Davao Dev't Authority law pushed". Philippine News Agency. Archived from the original on November 29, 2022.
  11. ^ a b "Province: Davao del Sur". PSGC Interactive. Makati, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Archived from the original on March 17, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Province: Davao del Norte". PSGC Interactive. Makati, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  13. ^ Census of Population (2015). Highlights of the Philippine Population 2015 Census of Population. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved June 20, 2016.{{cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ "Construction of railway targeted to start in Q1 2023". SunStar. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  15. ^ Existing Coal Plants in the Philippines to Date (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 29, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2022 – via