It is once again that time of the year when fruits are bountiful, tourists are coming by the droves, and Davaoeños celebrate with great pride the annual tradition that is the Kadayawan Festival.
The practice of thanksgiving during this time of year has long been practiced by the tribes residing at the foot of Mt. Apo. In the 1970s, Mayor Elias B. Lopez, a member of the Bagobo tribe, encouraged tribal festivals featuring the Lumad and the Muslim tribes within the city. During these festivals, they showcased their traditional dances and rituals for thanksgiving.
By 1986, it had bloomed into the festival known as “Apo Duwaling”. The name is a celebration of Davao’s three iconic symbols—Mt. Apo, durian, and the waling-waling flower. In 1988, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte renamed the festival as “Kadayawan sa Dabaw” and officially inaugurated the festival as a key celebration of Davao’s flowers, fruits, and other signature produce as well as city’s rich culture.
Today’s Davaoeños continue to join in on the celebration and its many events, many of which hold interesting stories in themselves.
Experiencing The Rich Culture of The Tribes
The Kadayawan Village is one of the foremost attractions of the festival proper. Because of its strong links to the origins of Kadayawan, it’s truly a must-see for anyone who wishes to have a glimpse of the 11 tribes of Davao and how they live.
In the village, you will get to see the how the Ata, Klata, Ubo-Manuvo, Matigsalog, Tagabawa, Maguindanaoan, Kagan, Iranun, Tausug, Sama and Maranao tribes live and experience their indigenous cuisine, music, dances, arts, and architecture.
Proudly Mindanawon Designs
Habi Kadayawan is the annual fashion accessories and luxe apparel design competition of the festival. It aims to showcase the rich and diverse culture and heritage of the 11 tribes of Davao through materials sourced from the tribes and innovative designs by professional, student, and hobbyist/artisan Mindanawon designers.
The Search For The Gem of The Festival
Unlike other beauty pageants, the Hiyas ng Kadayawan pageant is an annual search that focuses on contestants who can distinctly represent their respective tribes the best. These young ladies are tested on their knowledge of their native culture through different sub-events relating to Mindanaoan myths and legends.
Instead of parading in swimsuits and gowns, the contestants work the stage in colorful traditional clothing, complete with headpiece and other accessories, representing their tribal origins.
Street-dancing Like No Other
The Indak-indak sa Kadayawan is definitely the most well-known and most exciting event of the festival. In this dance competition, various school-based contingents, private dance groups and companies compete in the streets of downtown Davao City, performing dances that represent different ethnic folklore and customs found in their respective locations of origin.
With colorful costumes, captivating tales told through dance, and the beat of the drums, the Indak-Indak is truly a must-see.
Showcasing The Blooms of Davao
This floral parade is the perfect ending for the Kadayawan celebration as it is all about giving thanks for a bountiful harvest.
The annual float parade, known as Pamulak sa Kadayawan, showcases numerous floral floats decorated with indigenous materials through the streets to the beat of drum beaters.
Davao is definitely a beautiful and culturally-rich city, and the Kadayawan Festival is one of the best times to enjoy it.
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