History and Culture
Subangan Museum: The Heart of Davao Oriental
Ida Damo | Feb 26, 2014
A huge skeleton of a sperm whale called DavOr greets you as you enter Subangan’s doors. At 53 feet long and weighing 20 metric tons (live weight), it's the 7th largest in world exhibits.
DavOr was found in Davao Oriental’s shores and attests to the province’s clean waters. It's the museum’s focal point, and rightly so, as the concept of the museum evolved around it. But in viewing DavOr, you also get to know the history, culture, natural heritage, and direction of the province and its people.
One section is an interpretation exhibit of Mt. Hamiguitan. Having climbed this mountain, I was transported to the site as the beautiful fauna and flora, such as the pitcher plants, are displayed in a way that you will become a part of it.
Waterfalls flow, forest trees can be touched, and even the glass steps with tadpoles or ants mimic that of a forest floor. The sounds of the birds surround you. It was experiencing Hamiguitan as is. Being there can only strengthen one's support for Hamiguitan to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Coming from the forest, you pass through a cave complete with stalactites and stalagmites. Even the snakes, spiders, and bats that inhabit the caves are present. Don’t worry, not the real ones -- just photos.
Then you go on to the beautiful and rich coastal environment of Davao Oriental. Different hues of blue and green of its oceans and seas, white sand beaches, shells, dugongs, dolphins, whales, and turtles await to amaze you. Even the corals that grow in the province's rich sea bed is a rainbow of colors.
Another section of the museum is devoted to the cultural heritage of the prominent tribal groups of Davao Oriental, the Mandaya and Kaagan/Kalagan. Here, the woven cloth "dagmay" is displayed along with the baskets that they also weave. Weapons of war and tools for everyday life are also shown.
Davao Oriental’s colorful history occupies one section. Here, the province's movers and shakers are remembered and given importance.
One section that moved me was the Typhoon Pablo (Bopha) Memorial. As part of countless volunteers during the relief efforts, the scene was just too real and too painful.
But I know that in remembering the devastation and loss, we also remember how each one is accountable for the other person, and that the people of Davao Oriental were just bent low by the storm, not broken, and in fact they are rising up. (See related article.)
Present-day Davao Oriental is represented in the Trade and Industry and Governance section, where the province’s industrial activities and investment opportunities are displayed.
Given this abundance of heritage in one place, Subangan, which means "a place where the sun rises" in the local tongue, attains a different meaning -- where the heart of Davao Oriental beats.
How To Get There:
Davao Oriental can be reached from Manila and Cebu by taking any of the daily scheduled airline flights to Davao City. From Davao City, Mati City in Davao Oriental is accessible via a 3-hour private car ride or a 3-31/2 hour public utility bus or van ride on a fully concreted highway.
Bus rate is from Php 200-220, Van rate is Php 230-250.
The Subangan Davao Oriental Provincial Museum is located at the Tourism Complex, City of Mati, Davao Oriental. Contact Ms. Lyrna Padohinog or Ms. Amy Ponce at mobile numbers 0998-977-2935 or 0926-836-2345; email at [email protected]; and visit its website at davaooriental.gov.ph.