My First Kadayawan Festival in Davao: 10 Tribes, One Vibe
Since 2004, I have promised myself to witness Kadayawan Festival in Davao City, but it didn’t come. However, when I resettled in Mindanao and Davao was just a three hour ride by bus, and the long weekend came, then I didn’t hesitate to enjoy Mindanao’s King of Festivals! It was my first Kadayawan, and I wasn’t disappointed at all! Madayaw!
Kadayawan Festival is an annual festivity held in Davao City, usually during August—the time of harvest for most fruits and other agricultural produce in Davao region. It is a celebration of thanksgiving for the bounty of harvests. Also, it is a celebration of the diverse cultures, as Davao City is a melting pot of Kristyanos, Muslims, and Lumads peoples. It is highlighted by the traditional Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan (Dance in the Streets) on a Saturday, and Pamulak sa Kadalanan (Floral Float Parade). During this time, Davao City is in its party frenzy, full of people.
Kadayawan’s name came from the Mandaya word “Madayaw,” which means a good welcome or greeting to a person or a visitor.
This annual event has been done for generations, most especially the old Lumad tribes of Davao. It was only in the 1960s when former mayor Elias B. Lopez initiated a celebration of Lumad and Muslim festivities. Then in the 1980s, it was renamed as “Apo Dulawing Festival,” a merger between Mount Apo, the durian, and waling-waling orchid. Then finally in late 1980s, it was renamed “Kadayawan sa Dabaw” by none other than former mayor (and current vice mayor) Rodrigo Duterte himself.
My first time experience in Kadayawan didn’t fail me. I did enjoy my four-day vacation during the weekend at Davao City. The rich tapestry of diverse cultures, specifically the ten tribes of Davao (Ata, Matigsalug, Ovu-Manuvo, Klata-Djangan, Tagabawa, Tausog, Maguindanao, Maranao, Kagan, and Sama), got synced into one jive, one vibe, one colorful festivity of sights, smell (floral and that ever-beloved odor of durian, which personally one of my favorite scents), and sounds (of kulintang, agung, kudyapi, tambol).
This is just an overview post. I’ll be posting more on my experience in Kadayawan Festival and more on Davao for the next two to three weeks. More photos to come too!
For now, Madayaw Dabaw! Du-aw Dabaw!