To get an overview of Davao’s turbulent history and ethnic make-up, visit the Museo Dabawenyo (082/222-6011, http://www.davaocity.gov.ph/museo), housed in the restored court building opposite Osmeña Park on A. Pichon Street. It’s small but well presented, and though there are more objects on display at the Davao Museum, this one is easier to reach (and it’s free). The main impression you’ll be left with is that Davao’s history is incredibly complex; its indigenous tribes are described in detail, as is the fateful struggle between Datu Bago and conquistador Don José Uyanguren in the 1840s. Panels also throw light on the American occupation boom years in the early twentieth century, the massive migrations that took place from the Visayas thereafter and the arrival of Japanese settlers in the 1930s – hard to believe this was once “Little Tokyo”.
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