Coordinates: Davao Region or Southern Mindanao (Filipino: Kadabawan) is one of the regions of the Philippines, designated as Region XI. It is located on the southeastern portion of Mindanao, and consists of five provinces, namely: Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, and the newly created, Davao Occidental. The region encloses the Davao Gulf and its regional center is Davao City. Davao is the Hispanicized pronunciation of daba-daba, the Bagobo word for "fire" (the Cebuano translation is "kalayo").
Many historians believe that the name "Davao" is actually the mixture of the three names that three different tribes, the earliest settlers in the region, had for the Davao River. The Obos, an aboriginal tribe, referred to the Davao River as Davohoho. Another tribe, the Bagobos, referred to the river as Davohaha, which means "fire", while another tribe, the Guiangan tribe, called the river as Duhwow.
The history of the region dates back to the times when various tribes occupied the region. It is believed that the Manobos, Mandayas and the Bagobos actually occupied the area. These are the same tribes that created the small settlements and communities that eventually became Mindanao.