Davao is the largest city on the island of Mindanao, and is the Philippines' largest city in terms of land area. Davao (2007 population 1,650,337) is one of the Philippines most progressive cities, and is also one of the several cities in the country that is independent of any province. This city's international airport and seaport are among the busiest cargo hubs in the southern Philippines. Davao is the regional center for the Davao Region, and is also known as the 'City of Royalties', because of the 'kings' and 'queens' of nature present here. Here, the Queen of Philippine Orchids--the Waling-waling-- can be found, along with Durian-- the King of exotic fruits, and the King of the Philippine skies-- the Philippine Eagle. This city boasts some of the finest beaches and mountain resorts found in the nation, and offers close proximity to the country's best diving spots and its highest peak-- Mount Apo. Asiaweek ranked Davao among the '20 Most Livable Cities in Asia', above Manila and Cebu, as the number one most-livable city in the country. Before Spain, America and Japan had a part of Davao, the region was originally inhabited by the Obo People, who had settlements at the mouth of the Davao River.
Davao is a very progressive city, with a vast number of varying cultures, religions and ethnic groups-- giving this city a unique face. The majority of the country is Roman Catholic, and it is much the same in Davao, with many temples, mosques and places of worship dotting the city's landscape. The Spanish influence is evident, with the celebration of barrios (or villages) for the day of their respective patron saint-- called "Fiesta". Different songs, dances, art forms and merrymaking from various cultures have evolved their way into the celebrations of modern Davao-- leading to the celebration of all celebrations, the weeklong Kadayawan SA Dabaw Festival. The city of Davao is home to many historical and memorial sights, such as the Battle Memorial-- a historical marker of the longest-fought battle between Filipino and American forces. To balance out the latter, is the Monument of Peace and Unity, depicting the peaceful relationship between migrant and indigenous inhabitants of Davao in the last century. For animals lovers, visit the Philippine Eagle Center. The center is home to the Philippines' national bird, the Philippine Eagle, which is the largest eagle in the world (known to eat monkeys). This center is where the eagles are bred in captivity, in order to increase the population of this endangered animal, and is also home to other animals native to Davao's forests.