THIS beautiful city, in using the term DaWOW recalls how its name originated from the Bagobo word “duhwow,” which refers to a place “beyond the high ground.”

DaWOW was first used in 2008 by the City Tourism Office (CTO) in its aim to establish the city as a premier socio-economic and tourism center in Mindanao, the East Asean Growth Area, and the Asia-Pacific Region.

Click here for Election 2010 updates

Thus, the term DaWOW is the tourism sector's mechanism to look both at the past and the future. The grace that God has given this land is remembered and now the leaders of its people are striving for this bountiful city to have a much comfortable future.

This month, the tourism sector gears the local stakeholders to a series of capability building mechanism.

The CTO, after the 73rd Araw ng Dabaw, will hold the 1st Davao City Tourism Summit: shooting for an all-encompassing stakeholders meeting with the aim that by the end of it, the stakeholders will be able to move with each other, bending, adapting, and imminently ready for the throng of tourists that continues to rage the streets of the city.

The summit will run from March 22 to 26, convening two meetings per tourism cluster, CTO chair Rizal Giovanni "Bong" Aportadera said in an interview Friday.

"Big or small, organized or not organized, all the players of the local tourism are expected to attend the meeting. There will be two meetings per sector; the restaurants, resorts, transportation, travel and tours, accommodations, etc., they all have to attend," Aportadera said.

Aportadera said the City Tourism Code approved last year by the City Council and the tourism senate bill of Senator Richard Gordon, will be discussed in the summit.

"This is the best way to support the Tourism Code passed by Councilor Susabel Reta and also the local stakeholders chance to work with each other. We expect that after this, all systems go na and tourism sector in city," he said.

"We will be working on how we can harmonize with each other, be organized so that whenever a tourist asks for an adventure package, cultural package, or a sight-seeing package we will be able to provide that. We will be ready," Aportadera added.

The move is akin to the Lord of the Rings minus the sword slaying. With this, the CTO is doing a bold move to bring all the tourism powers together.

But in many ways, it will be ‘one of the many last shots' as Aportadera put it.

For one, the CTO aims that by March 26, they will be able to pass their resolution to City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to avoid the summit's intention misconstrued as being election-related.

"The mayor doesn't want it after that," Aportadera said, refreshing the fact March 26 marks the beginning of the local election campaign.

Two, Aportadera disclosed that it would be his last term as City Tourism Officer under the city mayor.

"We're working double time talaga. Hindi lang ang Araw ng Dabaw yung kailangang tuonan ng pansin kundi itong mga ongoing activities natin. Also we have to prepare for the next wave of activities like the Kadayawan Festival," Aportadera said.

In fulfilling his position and advocacy for local tourism, Aportadera sealed with his words why Davao City is truly a DaWOW city.

"It's a typhoon-free zone, it has one of the best water in the world, it has a multi-cultural and cosmopolitan population, it has a strong and independent local government, it's one of the safest destination in the world, it's very well-prepared in responding to emergencies," he stressed.

It also has the needed public utilities and infrastructure, it strictly follows a no-smoking ordinance, has the freshest quality of produce, he enumerated.

Best of all, "It has zero tolerance for all kinds of abuse and discrimination and humility and openness are valued virtues," he said.