Urban Design and Landscape

HAYAG: The Light of the Sea. A Proposed Davao Waterfront Culture and Arts Park.

Ma. Michaela Dangaran
National University - Manila

Project idea

Davao City, nestled on the Philippines' southeast tip, is renowned for its vibrant economic development, urban development, and modernized luxuries. It is one of the most significant economies on the islands of Davao and the Philippines' third most important metropolitan hub. Davao possesses all of the characteristics of a global city: agility in incorporating digital with preexisting local culture, multicultural identity, and boldness in preventing negative forces from the periphery. It is the epicenter of Mindanao business and trade, as well as a catalyst in the evolving socio-political environment of the Philippines. The labor force in Davao is youthful, intelligent, and driven.

With various potentials and dynamic lifestyles living up to its slogan name, ‘life is here. having witnessed how dependence on the performance of its cultural tourism industry sector can weaken its economic structure and deteriorate its cultural heritage. Tourism can stretch out development as it is associated with the growing demands from other tourist accommodations, uplifting of the cultural essence of Davao City, employment opportunities, and a local driver for economic stability.

With this, the study aims to strengthen a community and express its cultural experience for Davao City through an emphasis on the socio-cultural essence of Davao and especially the principles and design strategies of placemaking that will establish a strong foundation and development. The study will be embodied in developing the Magsaysay Park and Santa Ana Wharf into a waterfront culture and arts park that portrays a Dabawenyo user experience and inclusion to the Tourism Development Zone of Davao.

The study aims to assimilate these goals in the study and contribute to the attainment of the tourism industry’s Cultural and Sustainable development goals, as a vehicle for inclusive employment opportunities, economic development, cultural advancements, or basically its urban cultural tourism and ecological awareness. Moreover, the study aims to promote Davao City’s brand as a premier tourism node not just in the Southern portion of the Philippines, but, correspondingly in the entire Asia-Pacific Region.

The goal line of the study is to utilize the development of the tourism industry sector through the revitalization of Santa Ana Wharf and Magsaysay Park in the host city using urban placemaking that will help in rebranding tourist-oriented activities within the area and promote pioneering cultural tourism within the Tourism Development Zone for Davao City, the users, and the environment through the development of the Wharf.

In line with this, the following objectives and strategies are listed:

1.2.6 To determine the cultural aspects which embody Davao City that shall be incorporated in creating socio-cultural design strategies for the proposed project.

1.2.7 To develop design strategies in scheming a waterfront destination and cultural park through community architecture that can be applied in developing the cultural park and waterfront destination proposal.

1.2.8 To determine the necessary ideas of the Local government unit as well as their community and incorporate them in the design strategies of the development of Santa Ana wharf and Magsaysay Park.

1.2.9 To develop an urban user-oriented design for the various waterfront and cultural district activities and spaces that can be unified in safeguarding sustainable economic, cultural, and social development in the study of waterfront destinations.

1.2.10 To produce conceptual ideas and formulate urban placemaking principles and apply them as the research’s main guiding strategies and principles in the architectural translation of the proposal.

Project description

“To design through the context of culture, history, and what is contemporary, one must know its function in the community”

The project seeks to provide a catalyst for the tourism node of Davao City called “HAYAG: The Light of the Sea” which will cater to tourists from across the globe, especially from domestic, local, and international. HAYAG coming from a double meaning of “Maihayag” in Tagalog or “To express” and “Hayag Kaayo or Maliwanag” in Bisaya or “Bright”.

The study is directed to the application of the researched concepts Placemaking and Community Architecture into a proposed Architectural project, specifically focusing on the Cultural Center. Hence, the proposed waterfront, culture, and arts park is a new public complex that will complement mainly the urban Tourism Development Zone, along with its adjacent areas, and of course Davao City as a whole.

The goal line of the project is to utilize the development of the tourism industry sector through the development of Magsaysay park as a Davao culture and arts center and develop Santa ana wharf as a waterfront tourist destination in the host city using urban placemaking that will help in rebranding tourist-oriented activities within the area and promote pioneering cultural tourism within the tourism development zone for Davao city, the users, and the environment.


The primary programmatic concept used for the study and its proposed architectural project is to create a pioneering image for the city’s tourism industry sector through designing an interactive waterfront and vibrant cultural park. The programmatic concept aims to harness the potential of the proposed design as a vital location for cities and city dwellers to use as a new landmark for public and community recreational activities.

The project aims to stitch the relationship between the urban waterfront and the emphasis on culture to the community by addressing the lack of open public parks, cultural events places, and recreational spaces of the city. Through the branded image of the site, it also aims to program the surrounding areas through the activated space.

Technical information

The form concept of the Site Development Plan is only for the sole purposes of the massing presentation as it is not yet in its final form but the idea is inspired by the Orchid or Waling-Waling Flower plant, one of the main four icons of Davao City since the city is dubbed as the Orchid Capital of The Philippines due to its symbolism in the Bagobos as “Diwata or Hiwaga”.

The petals emphasizing the main landmark of the site which is the Culture and Arts Center while the recreational and open spaces embodying the leaves, stem, and roots of the plant as it symbolizes the connectivity and interrelatedness of the landmark to the whole masterplan.

Bubu or bubo, a general term for fish traps, is made of woven bamboo strips with a trap door and non-return valve(s) to secure the catch that was used by most of the Davao Tribes. This is incorporated with the façade as it symbolizes their hard work and main livelihood that I would want to emphasize in their means of culture and tradition.

Copyright © 2024 INSPIRELI | All rights reserved. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and use of cookies.