The city's top icons

ONE of the aspects that contribute to the development of a country or a city for that matter are the people behind its development and those who contribute to its continuous growth.

Davao City has attained the glory that it experiences because of those individuals who strive in their own fields by honoring the city through their selfless and excellence contribution.

This article aims to recognize some Dabawenyo personalities in the field of politics, arts, medicine, law, science, and commerce, among others who have played vital roles to Davao City’s development.


1. Mayor Santiago Artiaga — Mayor Artiaga was the first mayor of Davao City since it has been declared as city in 1937 or exactly 75 years ago. Artiaga was appointed by then President Manuel L. Quezon as the city’s father along with other members of the City Council.

2. Rodrigo R. Duterte — Mayor Duterte was the 18th and the longest-serving mayor of Davao City. He was the lone mayor of the city who served a total of six full terms. He was best known of his iron hand in handling the city. Many people not only Dabawenyos have admired Duterte because of his leadership styles. At present, Duterte is still on the public service as vice mayor.

3. Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio — The city’s 21st and first lady mayor. Duterte-Carpio is the daughter of Vice Mayor Duterte.

4. Prospero Nograles – One of the prominent names in the city’s politics and rival of the Dutertes. Nograles was elected as the Speaker of the House of the 14th Congress.

5. Silvestre H. Bello III — The lone senatorial candidate from Davao during the 2010 elections. Silvestre is the father of Davao City Councilor Karlo Bello.

6. Carmelo Porras — Davao’s 13th mayor who served the most number of terms next to Duterte.

7. Jesus Dureza — Politician and was appointed by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as presidential adviser on Mindanao as chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

8. Pedro Layog — One of the first representatives of the city to Malolos congress.

9. Jose Lerma — Along with Layog, represented the city to Malolos congress.

Medicine and other professionals:

10. Dr. Mary Grace M. Magallen, Chief Resident of Department of Internal Medicine in San Pedro Hospital of Davao City, has been conferred as the country’s Most Outstanding Resident in Internal Medicine award-PCP Exemplar in Internal Medicine for 2011 awarded by the Philippine College of Physicians last year.

11. Dr. Pedro A. Velasco — Davao City’s first ever formally trained orthopedic surgeon. In 1966, Velasco was invited by the hospital director of then Davao Regional Medical and Training Center (presently called as Southern Philippines Medical Center, SPMC) to work to the hospital to address the orthopedic surgery needs of Davao City.

12. Dr. Julian Rodriguez – Datu Bago awardee in Arts

13. Yam Laranas — An alumnus of the Davao City National High School (DCNHS) and the first Filipino movie director to have his film remade by a Hollywood studio.

14. Earl Bontuyan — Is a native of Davao City used to be a painter and a visual artist before he ventured into the film industry. One of his masterpieces was the indie movie “Sa ilalim ng tulay.”
15. Kulblai Millan — One of the city’s most famous sculptures. Millan designed some of the city’s landmark structures including figures inside the city’s Peoples Park.

16. Joey Ayala — The country’s most successful regional songwriter-musician. Ayala has been regarded as one of the city’s best talents.

17. Popong Landero — Another brilliant talent and son of Davao City. Landero is one of the best pop-rock artists in the country for the past decades.

Showbiz, Performing arts, TV personalities, etc

18. Bangs Garcia — One of today’s young showbiz personalities. Garcia has been a TV endorser and played a role in various teleseryes in one of the country’s major TV network.

19. Steven Silva — A young actor from Davao City who appeared in various movies and teleseryes. Silva’s mother is a Filipino-Chinese from Davao City.

20. Juliana Palermo — An actress and was first known as a model won a “Hiyas ng Kadayawan” title in 2002 and a runner up in Mutya ng Kadayawan.

21. Sharmaine Arnaiz — A movie actress who was born in Davao City in 1974.

22. Erich Gonzales — One of today’s young faces in the showbiz industry was born and raised in Davao City until her early teenage years.

23. Jay Durias — Lead vocalist of Southboarder band which also originated in Davao City as a local band. Jay Durias, along with the band, became famous because of their music.

24. Bayang Barrios — A songwriter/singer from Davao City.

25. Chad Borja — Though a native of Cebu City, Borja spent several years in Davao City while being a regular performer in a bar at Matina Town Square.

26. Iwa Moto — A young actress from Davao City who was first known after joining a reality show.

27. Champ Luipio — Of the band Hale was born and raised in Davao City.
28. Ivy Violan – An OPM singer who became famous in the 80’s was born and raised in Davao City.

29. Jay Sonsa — A TV personality best known to his previous TV program “Mel and Jay” with his co-host Mel Tiangco.

30. Chocolate — A famous stand-up comedians today who started performing as comedians in local comedy bars in Davao City.

31. Princess Cahigas — Noontime show host and endorser of various products who was born and raised in Davao City. Cahigas was known in a show of a national TV network where she was one of the female hosts.

Other fields:

32. Teodoro Casiño – Bayan Muna representative

33. Luzviminda Ilagan — Gabriela Representative

34. Leonor Domingo — The first chief of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO)

35. Ma. Lourdes Aranal-Sereno — Supreme Court Associate Justice. Sereno got married to a Sereno from Davao.

36. Francisco Bangoy — Is one of the pioneers Davao City. Mindanao’s busiest airport and various streets were named after him.

37. Clovis Thibault, PME — Was appointed as the first bishop of the Prelature of Davao City in 1954.

38. Fernando Capalla — The current Archbishop of Davao City who was also been a president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

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