Before it Kadayawan sa Dabaw, the festivity was then known as Apo Duwaling.  It was named after the three icons for which Davao City is known for: Mount Apo, durian, and waling-waling. 

Let’s take a closer look at each:

Mount Apo

With an altitude of 2,954 meters (9,692 feet), Mount Apo is a flat-topped mountain with three peaks.  It is capped by a 500-meter-wide (1,600 feet) volcanic crater containing a small crater lake.  

As the country’s highest peak, it is known as the grand father of all mountains and a dream mountain of every Filipino mountaineer.  “Mount Apo is one of the must-sees and -experiences for every adventure tourist or backpacker who visits the country, especially in the Davao Province where it lies,” a blogger wrote.

“The first two attempts to reach Mount Apo’s summit ended in failure: that of Jose Oyanguren (in 1852) and Señor Real (in 1870),”Wikipedia recorded. 

On October 10, 1880, an expedition led by Don Joaquin Rajal made a successful scale of the mountain.  “Prior to the climb, Rajal had to secure the permission of the Bagobo chieftain, Datu Manig,” Wikipedia reported.  “It is said that the Datu demanded that human sacrifice be made to please the god Mandarangan.  But the datu agreed to waive this demand, and the climb commenced on October 6, succeeding five days later.  Since then, numerous expeditions followed.”

During the time of President Manuel L. Quezon, Mount Apo was declared a national park, which covers an area of 80,864 hectares, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

The Mount Apo National Park is one of only two Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Natural Heritage Parks in the country.  In 2009, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) submitted the country’s highest peak to be included in the World Heritage List of United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

Mount Apo is the ancestral domain of six indigenous peoples: Manobos, Bagobo, Ubos, Atas, K’Iagans, and Tagacaolo.  These tribes have lived around the mountain consider Mount Apo as a sacred ground, their place of worship and burial ground of their great forefather.  In fact, the term “Apo” was coined from the name of their great grandparent, Apo Sandawa.

Like most mountains in the country, Mount Apo is teeming with natural sources of water – from waterfalls to rivers, from springs to creeks.  The Tudaya Falls, at 100 meters, is the tallest waterfall in Mount Apo National Park.

Mount Apo has four lakes: Lake Agco (used to be called “The Blue Lake”), Lake Venado (a stopover for mountaineers towards the peak), Lake Macadac and Lake Jordan, the last two of which are found in the summit grassland.


“If Davao City were a fruit, what kind of fruit would it be?”  If you ask that question to someone who is not from Davao, the most possible answer you will get is: durian.

That’s what most people think of when they hear Davao. More often than not, people who visit the city always bring back home some durian as pasalubong – in various forms like candy bars, candy cubes, durian preserves, and durian cake. 

Actually, durian is not a native fruit of Davao and no one knows who brought the fruit here.

But these days, durian is now associated with Davao because it is the place where most people can have it almost all year round. Foreigners and locals who come to the city should not miss eating the “excellent taste” of the fruit whose “flavor surpasses all the other fruits in the world,” to quote the words of old traveler Linchott.

Those who despise the fruit say durian “smells like hell” or “rotten onion.” But durian aficionados describe “this fruit of a hot and humid nature” as something that “tastes like heaven.”

One foreign scribe wrote it aptly: “Love it or hate it – there’s no emotion in between. People either swarm to it like bees to honey, or bolt from the room. They faint with lusty joy, or they faint, period, with a handkerchief pressed to their nostrils.”

In his book Following the Equator, Mark Twain wrote about his durian experience in Southeast Asia: “It was a most strange fruit, and incomparably delicious to the taste, but not to the smell.”

By weight, the edible portion (or aril as experts call it) of durian fruit is only 26 percent on the average. Sixty percent of it is the rind while the remaining 14 percent are seeds.

According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, the fruit is rich in vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, and iron. It also contains fair amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin. It is also a good source of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

According to a website, “the fruit is made of soft, easily digestible flesh made of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose that when eaten replenishes energy and revitalizes the body instantly. Though it contains a relatively higher amount of fats among the fruits, it is free from saturated fats and cholesterol.”


“The waling-waling’s beauty adorns our treetops, especially in Davao, Cotabato, and Zamboanga where it is endemic. But there are threats to its survival, as the flowers that grow and thrive in the wild are harvested for commercial and decorative purposes, and their habitat is destroyed by deforestation,” said then Senator Loren Legarda, who pused for the declaration of waling-waling as the country’s national flower.

Waling-waling “is one of the finest orchid species endemic to the Philippines, desired by orchid growers and breeders alike for its showy and attractive flowers and ability to impart its vigor and floral characteristics to its progeny,” wrote Dr. Helen Valmayor in her book,Orchidiana Philippiniana.

The waling-waling, named in “allusion to a moth in flight,” was discovered on Mindanao in 1882.  It used to grow on tree trunks in the rainforests of Davao, Sultan Kudarat and other parts of the island.  It is worshipped as “diwata” (fairy) by the native Bagobos.

There’s an interesting on how the world came to know waling-waling.   Valmayor, in her very informative book, shared this story: “One of the most successful and secretive collectors was Carl Roebelin, who was in the employ of Frederick Sander of the Orchid House of Sanders at St. Albans, England.

“About 1879, the Spanish government of the Philippines initiated a regular mail service between Manila and Mindanao.  This provided a satisfactory means of sending collected plant material from the southern island to Manila.  Consequently, Sander commissioned Roebelin to explore Mindanao for spectacular and still undiscovered orchids.”

It was February or March of 1880 when Roebelin came to Mindanao in the Bay of Illana near Cotabato.  The place was described as “a very mountainous region on the western side of Mindanao.”

Roebelin took some plants. When the orchid flowered in England in 1882, German taxonomist Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach named the plant after Sander, hence the name Vanda sanderiana, or Euanthe sanderiana, as another taxonomist preferred to call the plant.

After that, Sanders introduced waling-waling to orchid enthusiasts and lovers in London the following year.  Since then, it has influenced another thousand or more colorful and attractive vandaceous hybrids that are now part of the world’s multibillion-dollar orchid and cutflower industry.