Kadayawan Festival in Davao City, Philippines

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Kadayawan Festival is one of the most popular festivals in the Philippines. The thanksgiving is a convergence of the indigenous peoples and the modern residents of the Davao Region as they celebrate a bountiful harvest. Kadayawan is a month-long celebration marked by agri-trade fairs, street markets, food festivals, parades and various competitions. Experiencing Kadayawan is experiencing the true Dabawenyo spirit.

The city’s slogan “Davao: Life is Here” is also a central theme in the celebrations. Davao City is known as one of the safest and cleanest cities not only in Mindanao but in the entire Philippines. Every year, the festival is held to promote not just the culture of the tribes but also the city as an ideal place to call home, to visit and to invest in.

Kadayawan Festival dancers in traditional dress.
The month-long festival usually kicks off mid-August in one of the public parks in the city. In most cases, the opening is held in Rizal Park which is adjacent to City Hall or in People’s Park, a beautiful park open to everyone. No other places are more fitting for the grand opening of the festivals; the park are both icons of the city, with awe-inspiring sculptures of the Philippine Eagle, waling-waling, durian and the Lumads (indigenous people) of the region.

There are a lot of activities scheduled for the entire month of August but here are some of the events to watch out for:

Hiyas ng Kadayawan

Considered as one of the most unique pageants in the country, Hiyas ng Kadayawan (Gem of the Kadayawan) is a gathering of the most beautiful women representing the 10 tribes of the region. It is not your regular pageant with bikini-clad slender women strutting their stuff on stage. Instead it is a showcase of the culture and heritage of the indigenous people. Elaborate tribal costumes, cultural dances, old rituals, and grassroots values are featured in this one-of-a-kind competition among tribes.

The crowned Hiyas will reign until the next one is declared in the succeeding year and a set of activities are already planned for her. She will be the icon of the Dabawenya, armed with values and cultural awareness. She will also spearhead various programs involving her tribe and the other tribes in the region. Runners up of the pageant, crowned as Hiyas ng Tingusbawan (Gem of Ambition) and Hiyas ng Kauswagan (Gem of Progress), will help the winner in her duties for the whole year.

Agri Trade Fair

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Mangosteen

Kadayawan Festival is a thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest and it is also the best time to indulge in the fresh produce of the Davao Region. August is the peak season for Davao fruits durian, mangosteen, marang and rambutan. All these fruits and plenty of other flora are on display and for sale during the Agri Trade Fair at the SM City Davao Car Park.

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Waling-waling

Furniture and marble vendors, and herb and fruit tree growers are also present during the trade fair. The city’s waling-waling along with other flowers take center stage during the month-long event.

Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan

Kadayawan Indak Indak sa Kadalanan.

Kadayawan 2013

Indak means dance and kadalanan means streets in the native tongue and that is what this event is about. Indak-indak sa Kadalanan is a street dancing competition showcasing the rituals, dances, festivals and folklore of Mindanao. Contingents from different parts of Mindanao gather in the streets of Davao City to showcase their own festivals through dances and music. The event aims to promote other festivals in Mindanao; hence Kadayawan’s deserved reputation as the ‘festival of festivals’.

Kadayawan 2015

Kadayawan 2015

Participants, spectators and photographers line the major streets of the city to watch as the dancers gyrate, shout and dance in abandon. Indak-indak sa Kadalanan is a magnet for photographers; the vibrant costumes, elaborate props and authentic tribal instruments are something that any lens man will want to capture. There are cash prizes for winners of the event but the sheer pleasure of dancing in the streets are reward enough for most of the dancers.

Pamulak Kadayawan (Kadayawan in Bloom)

Kadayawan Festival in Davao City, Philippines.

Huge floats decked with multi-colored flowers grace this much-awaited part of the Kadayawan Festival. Grandiose floats made of flowers, fruits and other local products pass by major streets of the city, admired by spectators under umbrellas, standing in the sidewalks. The event is also a competition between floats from different members of the private sector, schools and other stakeholders of the city.

Pamulak is one of the culminating events of the Kadayawan and it is also one of the grandest parts of the festival. It can easily compete with some of the grandest parades all over the world. Photo opportunities are almost endless during the event; the floats are huge, depicting different icons of the city like the Philippine Eagle, durian and waling-waling.

There are plenty of other exciting events scheduled every Kadayawan Festival. Add to the events are the countless mall-wide sales in almost all shopping venues in the city. Kadayawan is also the season for the famous durian, the pungent smelling-fruit that hides a milky, sweet surprise inside its hard outer shell.

Kadayawan comes from word dayaw which means beautiful or good and the festival is indeed a celebration of a good harvest and the city’s beautiful people. Madayaw!

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