The Davao Writers Guild, Inc., was founded on 11 May 1999 by poet Ricardo M. de Ungria when he settled in Davao City in May 1999.
Its first officers were Don Pagusara (president), Tita Lacambra Ayala (vice president), Eva Aranas (secretary), Margarita Marfori (treasurer), and Macario Tiu and Ricardo de Ungria (press officers). Other original members were Aida Rivera Ford, Saturnino Apoyon, and Josefina Tejada.
The Guild was intended to serve as the home of the literary writers in Davao City, to provide channels for them to hone their craft and publish their works, to hold activities like workshops for the advancement of new writers, to stimulate Davao writers to attain literary excellence, and to pave the way for a vigorous literary movement in Davao that will put it on the literary map of the country and thereby contribute to the establishment of national literatures. It held its induction rites at Hotel Mario a few months after and initiated a series of poetry readings at various colleges and universities in the city under the Bukambibig project of the Committee on Literary Arts of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts.
In August 2001, it finally became a SEC-registered organization, with the following as incorporators: Don Pagusara, Margarita Marfori, Eva Aranas, Ricardo de Ungria, and Saturnino Apoyon. By that time, a second set of officers had been elected: Saturnino Apoyon (president), Aida Rivera Ford (vice president), Margarita Marfori (treasurer), Josefina Tejada (secretary), and Tim Montes (press officer).
In the same year, the first issue of Dagmay came out. The literary journal was meant to showcase the literary works not only of the members of the guild but also of other writers—old and new—from other parts of Mindanao. It accepted contributions in English, Pilipino, Cebuano, Waray, and the other languages, whether poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. It was funded through private donations and contributions and distributed for free to libraries and universities and interested individuals.