ONLY July 1, Davao del Sur will celebrate its 47th year. Part of the celebration is a display of booths from respective towns of the province in the capital Digos City.

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of visiting the booths, which were built near the city hall. It was my first time to see such kind of booths and frankly speaking I was quite impressed -- by the creativity of the people in putting up those booths.

The top three in my list, in alphabetical order, are Bansalan (from where I am based), Magsaysay (known in the past as Kialeg when it was still a barangay), and Malita (from where the current Governor, Claude Bautista, comes from).

What makes the booth of Bansalan unique is that it uses most of the stuff coming from its OTOP (that’s One Town, One Product), which is coconut. The booth looks like a museum and once you get inside you can find several coconut products, particularly coconut sugar and honey produced by Benjamin Lao, a two-time Outstanding Farmer of the Year of the Department of Agriculture.

Magsaysay, which used to be a barangay of Bansalan, is also impressive for its decoration that reminds me of those houses during the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon. Going inside, you get to see colorful vegetables (sweet pepper, onions, and string beans) and fruits (banana and mangosteen) being hang as curtains. On display is its famous Mag rice, an organically-grown rice.

And Malita, well the booth is nothing extra-ordinary but what caught my attention are those that being displayed. Most of these, the lady in-charge there told me, were made by members of the Rural Improvement Club. I also like the “curtain” made of colorful shells.

Special mentions are the booths of Jose Abad Santos and Kiblawan.

Davao del Sur was once part of Davao -- until it was divided into three provinces in 1967: Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, and Davao del Norte. Later on, two more provinces were carved out from it: Compostela Valley and Davao Occidental.

Davao, if you care to know, comes from the Bagobo word “daba-daba” referring to the Sacred Brass of the tribe´s legendary chieftain, Datu Duli, who lived in Mount Apo. According to some historians, the letter “o” was added to the word, making it “daba-o daba-o.” Among the Bagobos, it means means justice and the datu´s fairness to his people. As years went by, the word was shortened to “dab-o” and eventually became Davao.

Davao Del Sur was created under Republic Act 4867 on May 8, 1967 and started as a province on July 1, 1967 comprising 10 municipalities with Digos as its capital.

Perhaps, not too many people know that Davao del Sur as fine sandy beaches, outlying islands, agricultural plains and valleys, ecologically-fragile rainforests, breathtaking rivers, awesome waterfalls, and huge mountains. Mount Apo, the country’s highest peak, is part of Davao del Sur.

Because of its favorable climate and fertile soil, Davao del Sur is primarily an agricultural province. Don’t be surprised if the province is called as Coconut Country; it is the province’s major commercial crop. Its rice and corn production is more than sufficient for its population. Other crops grown are bananas, cacao, ramie, coffee, fruits and vegetables.

Davao del Sur is home to a host of ethnic groups whose culture and way of life have been preserved through the years. Consider this list: the Bagobos, the Mandayas, the Mansakas, the Atas, the Kalagans, the Tagakaolos and the Mangguangans.

The Bogobos, for example, are known for their colorful dresses woven from abaca fiber and ornamented with beads, shells, metal disks and embroidery in geometric patterns. They also wear bells as anklets or costume accessories so they jiggle when the walk or dance. Salinta Monon, touted to be the last Bagobo weaver, was from the town of Bansalan.

By the way, Davao del Sur is blessed with a favorable climate characterized by wet and dry seasons. The coldest time is during the months of December and January and the hottest is during the months of April and May.