WHENEVER we go around Davao City or provide directions, we utter street names as it is. However, for some streets in the city, there is a deep history in their names.
In celebration of the city's 86th founding anniversary, here is a bit of history of some of the popular street names in Davao City.
San Pedro Street
Known as the oldest street in Davao City, this area is where the heart of the city is, as the Sangguniang Panlungsod and the City Hall are located. The street and the church, the San Pedro Cathedral, were named after San Pedro (or Saint Peter). When José Cruz de Oyanguren defeated Datu Bago during a fierce battle, it was the feast day of San Pedro. The street, since the early days of the city, has been the center for commercial activities.
Before it was formally called Ramon Magsaysay Avenue, Uyanguren Street is part of the roads that bordered the Chinatown area, wherein it has been a primarily residential area of the Filipino-Chinese community in the city. The name was taken from Oyangoren, the Spanish leader who led the colonization of the town Nueva Vergara, which was later known as the Davao Province. People still call the area Uyanguren up to this moment.
One of the longest boulevards in the city, it was named after the first-elected assemblyman from Davao, Romualdo Quimpo. He was responsible for the creation of the City of Davao due to the rapidly increasing progress of the town. Davao was inaugurated as a charter city on October 16, 1936, by President Manuel L. Quezon; the charter came into effect on March 1, 1937.
The street between the City Hall and the city capitol building (now Sangguniang Panlungsod), was named after American Lt. Edward C. Bolton, appointed district governor of Davao on October 23, 1903. Bolton was killed by a Tagakaolo chief Mangulayon. The murder of the governor led to one of the bloodiest chapters in Davao history: the American juez de cuchillo, or indiscriminate killing. The Bolton Bridge, which crosses over Davao River, was also named after him.
Governor Duterte Street
From the name itself, should already give you a hint of how the Dutertes have an influence on the city. Being the father of former mayor and president, Rodrigo Duterte, and the grandfather of Vice President Sara Z. Duterte, Governor Vicente Duterte served as the last governor under the single province of Davao. Vicente previously served as Mayor of Danao, Cebu after he was appointed in that position in an acting capacity by then-President Sergio Osmeña. He and his family moved to Davao in 1949. From 1959 to 1965, Duterte served as the last governor of the single province Davao.
One of the streets intersecting Roxas Avenue, Artiaga was named after the first mayor of the city, Santiago Artiaga, who only served from 1937 to 1938. This was the first year when Davao formally became a city on March 1.
Ponciano Reyes Street
Before it was renamed Cayetano Bangoy Street, old-timers, and even the GenZ Dabawenyos, would still call the thoroughfare that links Quirino Street to San Pedro Street as Ponciano. The street was named after an illustrious lawyer known for his contributions to governance in the southern Philippines, including the memorandum of agreement forged between the governor-general of the Philippines and the Sultan of Sulu.
Palma Gil Street
This street was named after Don Teodoro L. Palma Gil, a distinguished educator, and eventually, a politician. He was one of the first known teachers of the natives of Davao. In the field of politics, he held the position of municipal councilor, municipal president, Justice of the Peace of Davao sometime in 1911 and 1912, and representative of Mindanao and Sulu to the Philippine Legislature (one of the first appointed) in 1916. He was also appointed as senator from Mindanao. Among the many achievements of Don Teodoro Palma Gil as a government official were: (a) presentation of the first bill creating the Davao Public Hospital (first hospital in Davao); (b) securing the appropriations for the main road constructions; and (c) construction of the wharf at the Sta. Ana. In recognition of his achievements the government of the City of Davao named in his honor one public elementary school, the Teodoro Palma Gil Elementary School in Tomas Claudio Street which is now Quirino Avenue.
For millennials, Suazo Street may ring a bell as a known hotspot bar. However, the Suazo family is also part of the colorful figures in the history of Davao politics. The street is named after Damaso Suazo who was the first municipal president of Davao. His son, Arsenio, meanwhile, also made a name for himself. As to Suazo’s other accomplishments, he founded Davao’s first political party, the “partidodemocrata.” He was remembered by his family as a lawyer who shared his legal expertise with others, especially with the Bagobos, Moros, and other ethnic tribes who could not readily afford to pay for the services of a lawyer, thus leaning on him for those legal services, all for free.
It's named after Manuel Generoso Cabaguio, Sr., a prominent lawyer during his time. He was first elected city councilor of Davao from January 1, 1938 to August 1938.
One of the towering figures of Davao’s Political history was Sebastian Generoso, a native Dabawenyo and former governor of Davao who served for three terms: 1925-1928; 1928-1931; and 1934-1937. He was a scion of the prominent Generoso clan from Sigaboy, now part of Davao Oriental. As governor, Generoso was well-liked by Dabawenyos from all walks of life because of his generosity and other admirable qualities. His glittering record of achievements in politics was capped when he was able to pacify the conflict between the warring Philippine constabulary group and the Muslim group in 1930. His other accomplishments during his incumbency as governor were: the building of the bridge which was named after him; the asphalting of the roads in the Poblacion area; and the further beautification of the Osmena Park in old Davao. RGL