NOTHING brings back pride like photos of the past, recognizable landmarks that bring surprise and awe; memories of long ago that we were no longer able to witness.
With today's advancement in information technology, sharing of memories and photos have become easier. More and more books too are being written and have been written.
We thus share excerpts:
The Undivided Davao (from Ernie I. Corsino's "Davao History")
"Davao or Nueva Guipozcoa (its first Spanish name) was not known as a geopolitical entity until the middle of the 19th century. A decree dated 29 January 1849 provides the earliest delineation of the heretofore uncharted territory that fell into Spanish control following Don Jose Oyanguren's conquest of the Taglooc Bay (now Davao Gulf) area. The decree reflects Governor General Narciso Claveria's appreciation for the courageous exploit of Oyanguren in gaining control of Davao Gulf territory, for he named it Nueva Guipozcoa in commemoration of Oyanguren's home province in Spain. The main capital settlement was named Nueva Vergara, in honor of Oyanguren's hometown, Vergara.
The boundaries of the territory of Nueva Guipozcoa were not explicitly defined because the area needed to be explored further at that time. The initial concept of the Province of Nueva Guipozcoa was the land mass periphery to the Davao Gulf from Sarangani Island going upward.
Following the same coastal line on the east side of the Gulf, it proceeds down to Cape San Agustin and from there on the Pacific side, the territory goes up to Point Cauit, near Lanuza, then part of the ancient province of Caraga."
Unrecognizable Davao as described by a Jesuit (from Jesuit Missionary Letters from Mindanao Vol. 3: The Davao Mission)
Letter of Domingo Bove to the Mission Superio, Davao, 2 December 1877:
"A month ago I wrote your reverence from here reporting with a brief sketch or plan, my safe arrival down the Salug and Tagum Rivers. Now I am sendin you another of a second route by the mouth of the Baobo River, a day and a half from Bunauan (in Agusan). But one must hiike for two or three hours before entering Salug.
"With this map one can form an idea of the Agusan route from Bunauan, and the three points whence one can reach Davao, spending nine to ten days from whichever point one leaves.
"It would be good to write ahead of time whenever one has to go from Bunauan to Davao, so that the people here can see to sending up a boat to the small Baglasan River, or, with an eight-day notice, send from Bunauan three men to go to Magao at the midpoint of Salug to look for a banca. If neither of these is possible, and there is no way of notifying us, do what I have done, namely make a bamboo raft to saild down from Baglasan to Magao."
Bankerohan before the Spaniards came (from "Sang-awun sa Dabaw [Once Upon a Time in Davao 1848-1950s] by Rogelio "Noning" Lizada, 2000)
"Before the Spaniards and the settlers came, there was a place from across Davao River (Matina bank) not far from the Muslim settlement where stood clusters of trees whose branches and leaves cast a wide shade on the ground.
"It was here where the Bagobos brought down their crops on kanga, a horse of carabao-pulled sled. These crops and other produce were used to barter with the Muslims' salt, fish and Bornean goods such as elephant tusks which were used for earrings, bracelets, dagger handles, shells and beads. All these were signs of Bagobo prosperity."
The people-ing of Davao (from "Making Mindanao, Cotabato and Davao in the formation of the Philippine Nation-State" by Patricio N. Abinales, Ateneo de Manila Press, 2000)
"Davao's appeal came from its wide expanse of public land. In 1949, out of Davao's total land is of 1,949,895 hectares, 373,383 hectares were 'certified alienable' and 4,818 hectares were pending certification from the Bureau of Lands, 'leaving therefore an area about 1,571,649 hectares of public forest lands, 87 to 90 percent of shich are heavily forested' (Pacis 1930, 99). This land was available for settlement once timber companies have cleared their concessions (MinT, 20 March 1951). Migrants from central and northern Philippines quickly seized the opportunity and arrived in substantial numbers. There were also former Japanese abaca lands which were reverted back to the Philippine government after the war."
There are many more snippets of history that are buried in thick history books and academic dissertations. It helps to pick out a few every once in a while so that regular readers with not much academic inclination to study Davao history can pick up along the way and share.
After all, it is in knowing our city's history and past that we can all learn to love and nurture it more.