Kadayawan Festival in Davao City, Philippines

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Slated to be the grandest Kadayawan Festival ever, this year’s festivities showcases the best that Davao City has to offer. With the theme “Ten Tribes, One Vibe”, the festival will be 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. This year’s Kadayawan is aimed to promote the city as an ideal place to call home, to visit and to invest in.

The month-long festival kicked off August 3, 2012 at the People’s Park, a beautiful park open to everyone in the city. No other place is more fitting for the grand opening of the festivals; the park itself is an icon of the city, with awe-inspiring sculptures of the Philippine Eagle and the Lumads (indigenous people) of the region. After the opening ceremony is the Panagtagbo (gathering) of the tribes; the event will feature the rich and diverse cultures of Davao’s natives.

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


Date: August 8-10, 7PM
Venue: RSM Events Center- Philippine Women’s College Davao

Encantada is known in the local artist circle as the first authentic Filipino full-length ballet production. The ballet is a masterpiece of venerated Filipino artist Agnes Locsin, herself a Dabawenya (woman of Davao), in collaboration with some nationally-famous Davao artists Al Santos, Joey Ayala and the late Salvador Bernal. It was first staged two decades ago and it now makes a comeback in the hometown of its artists.

Encantada will be a spell-binding tribal ballet that tackles pressing issues of environmental rape and deforestation. It will be a perfect avenue for Agnes Locsin to advocate her cause for nature. The gala night will be on August 9th, featuring singer Bayang Barrios and the music of Joey Ayala and the Bagong Lumad. The ballet is produced by the Philippine’s premier dance company, Ballet Philippines.

Hiyas ng Kadayawan

Talent Night

Date: August 17, 6PM
Venue: Gaisano Mall of Davao Atrium

Coronation Night

Date: August 17, 6PM
Venue: Davao City Recreation Center

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.

Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan

Date: August 18, 8AM
Venue: Roxas Avenue to San Pedro Street

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 folklores 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’.

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)

Date: August 19, 7AM
Venue: Roxas Avenue to San Pedro Street

Huge floats decked with multi-colored flowers grace this much-awaited part of the Kadayawan Festival. The day starts with the Pamukaw (wake-up call) all around the large city, followed by the Pamulak Floral Float Parade two hours after. 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 for this year’s 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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