It was a pageant like no other: no long and bulky gowns and definitely no skimpy swim suits. Hiyas ng Kadayawan is a search for the perfect role model of a modern Dabawenya (Davao woman) among the ten tribes that reside in Davao city. No minimum height required; only unique beauty, confidence and a sense of culture are what it takes.
Each of the ten tribes namely Kagan, Ata, Maranao, Bagobo Klata, Sama, Bagobo Tagabawa, Maguindanaon, Obu Manuvu, Matigsalog and Tausug had their own representatives. Garbed in their most elaborate traditional costumes, these ladies showcased the best of their tribes for the world to see.
This year’s Hiyas ng Kadayawan Talent Night was held August 15 at the Gaisano Mall of Davao Atrium, where thousands of spectators oohhed and aahhed at the amazing abilities of the candidates. The mall was also holding a huge sale, adding to the already dense crowd.
Falling off the bamboo poles she was dancing Singkil on, this talented lady continued with grace, later quipping that it only made her more determined to win the competition. Hannah’s tribe are the Islamized people of Davao, mostly living in Muslim Areas in the metropolis.
Runners up for the talent competition were Ajema “Baby” Malatus of the Maranao tribe and Jean “Babyjean” K. Ali of the Maguindanaon tribe. A special award, Hiyas ng Mall was won by Tausug candidate Jehan Kartini Andan.
Come coronation night on August 17, thousands of spectators and photographers flocked to the Davao City Recreation Center. The event was open to the public, as are most of the major activities and highlights of the grandiose festival.
Maguindanaon candidate Jean Ali won the crown as this year’s Hiyas ng Kadayawan after promising to promote the city by setting herself as a model Dabawenya and as someone who knows the city like a “walking encyclopedia.”
Jean Ali is a tourism student of the city representing the tribe from the central plains of Mindanao. The Maguindanaons are of Islamic beliefs and the Hiyas Queen claims that her strong faith in Allah helped her win the crown. Jean Ali is now set to promote the city and help in programs for children and the youth.
Ajema Malatus won as the Hiyas sa Kauswagan (1st runner-up) and Hannah Catucag was crowned Hiyas sa Tingusbawan (2nd runner-up). Ajema is a member of the Maranao tribe who were residents of the shores of Lanao Lake. The tribe became traveling traders, later settling in Davao City where commerce is booming. Hannah, as mentioned previously, is of Kagan roots.
All ten representatives of the tribes displayed utmost grace and beauty during the entire pageant. All of the tribes were proud of their bets and now that the new Hiyas is crowned, it’s only a matter of time before they will choose a new representative for next year’s pageant.