In the beginning, there was only one Davao. But on May 8, 1967, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed Republic Act No. 4867 (authored by Representative Lorenzo S. Sarmiento) dividing the region into three provinces: Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental.
“The beginnings of both Davao Region and Davao del Sur were associated with that of the foundation of Davao, which was the first town to be founded in southern Mindanao in 1848,” the Wikipedia reports.
When Davao was divided, Digos served as its capital. It would take 33 years before Digos would become a suburban city. However, Santa Cruz is the oldest town of the province as it was the first town to be founded in 1884.
Here’s a bit of history as Wikipedia recounted: “As part of the ‘food bowl’ of what is now the province of Davao del Sur, otherwise known as the Padada Valley, the agricultural area south of the town of Santa Cruz lured many migrants, majority of whom came from the Visayas and Ilocos regions to settle permanently in the area. Before World War II, an enterprising American by the name of N.E. Crumb leased 10.24 square kilometers and transformed the place into an abaca plantation. This became the hub of economic activity in the locality during those days.”
Fifty years later, Davao del Sur is now of the most progressive provinces. Two years ago, the National Competitiveness Council ranked the province as the most competitive province in the country.
Last July 1, I had the opportunity of witnessing the golden anniversary celebration. Although I am from Davao del Sur, I usually don’t cover the event as I don’t anyone and I am not sure what to do.
But thanks to Lanier Cadungog, who is a board member from District II, I did. He assigned one of his staff, Sandy Rabadon, a photographer, to accompany me during my coverage.
What I was really interested to find out was the floral floats from various municipalities of the province. Digos City was also represented along with five other private institutions which joined the parade. There was the beautiful floral float which carried the five beauties who won the competition the previous night.
The nine municipalities which competed were the following: Bansalan, Hagonoy, Kiblawan, Magsaysay, Malalag, Matan-ao, Padada, Santa Cruz, and Sulop. Digos was the only city in contention.
All floral floats were colorful and beautiful. But judges had to choose the “fairest of them all.” And it so happened that my hometown, Bansalan, was chosen as the first prize winner.
When I posted the photos in my Facebook account, Luzon journo Frank A. Hilario asked why it won. “I don’t see a single message (in the float),” he wondered.
Since I didn’t know the criteria, I answered him, “I don’t have any idea.” But Leila Rispens-Noel commented: “It’s the most beautiful among the floral floats.” Business Mirror columnist offered this thought: “It won because it matches the message of the classic traditional song, Bahay Kubo.”
But it was Rosario R. Moreno, a municipal government employee, who wrote what perhaps was the reason why it won: “Gold flowers represents golden anniversary celebration and the waterfall represents the National Irrigation Administration dam. The materials are made of coco products, our one town one product (OTOP). The layers of flowers represents slope farming (which our barangay Kinuskusan is noted for: Sloping Agricultural Land Technology. More importantly, it features the Bagobo tribe with their hut and the bountiful harvest of Bansalan.”
Declared second prize winner was the Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (DASURECO), whose main office is based in Cogon, Davao del Sur.
Digos City National High School (DiCNHS), formerly known as Davao del Sur National High School, was adjudged third prize winner.