August 30, 2023
by Jeremiah Agonia
Located in the southeastern corner of the Philippines, Davao City is well known for its vibrancy and diversity. It is the home of the iconic fruit Durian, the land where the highest peak of Mt. Apo, 9,692 feet, is situated, and the Orchid capital of the country. Tourists and even locals love to party, eat, drink, and wander around this majestic city. Moreover, the people here are notable for the hospitality they furnish.
One of the most anticipated events in Davao City is the annual Kadayawan Festival, where the rich culture, unity, and abundance of the town are unveiled. This week-long celebration has been going on for many years, since the 1970s. The festival was first called Apo Duwaling in 1986 by the former mayor Zafiro Respicio. It is a term that is a combination of the names of Mt. Apo, Durian, and Waling-waling. Later on, the festival was rebranded to what it is called today, together with an executive order stating that the festival will fall every third week of August. Various events and activities that celebrate the existence of the 11 tribes of Davao. Certainly, it is a time to showcase the traditions and heritage of Ata Manobo, Bagobo-Kalata, Bagobo-Tagabawa, Matigsalug, Ovu Manobo, Iranun, Kagan, Maguindanao, Maranao, Sama and Tausug. Besides, it is a time for the locals to acknowledge the gifts of nature, bountiful harvest, and serenity of living. The Kadayawan is indeed a one-of-a-kind festival, as many locals, tourists, and visitors do not miss their chance to experience this Davao culture.
This year, the government of Davao has once again opened their doors to the commemoration of the festival in the prominent places around the city. On August 10, with the presence of Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte, the festival officially started at the Bantawan Amphitheater, Magsaysay Park. The 38th edition of the festival unfolded with the theme “Colors of Abundance, Vibrance of Diversity, Festivals of Festivals.”
The Habi Kadayawan, a fashion show, showcased the talents and creative visions of Mindanao designers at Ayala Malls Abreeza. An event featuring the ravishing culture and weaves in town through clothing and accessories masterpieces. Hiyas sa Kadayawan, one of the most awaited events, embraces the thought of searching for the most deserving Dabawenya that embodies her tribal roots. Kristine Claire Tar, a Bagobo-Kalata indigenous, secured the title with her advocacy on maintaining the Bagobo-Kalata cultural heritage and livelihood initiatives.
The Indak-indak event also did not fail the audiences as the participants proved that the fun and excitement in experiencing and watching street dancing is an unmeasurable moment. Under the scorching heat of the sun, the loud music is played continuously while the dancers perform each step of their routines gracefully with full power and enthusiasm. At the end of the day, Sindac Anib Performing Ensemble was announced as the grand champion of the event.
Indeed, Roxas Avenue was filled with colorful costumes, creative props, cameras, tourists, and locals in the afternoon of August 19th. Pamulak ug Hudyaka concluded the festival with the astonishing floral floats entries alongside the Drum and Bugle organizations that let their beats and music entertain the whole crowd.
Kadayawan 2023 in Davao City truly lived up to its purpose of tribal appreciation and diverse celebration. With its unique blend of cultural heritage, artistic expressions, and engaging events, the festival showcased the rich tapestry of Davao City’s traditions and proved to be a resounding success. As the festival came to an end, it surely left the locals and tourists eagerly anticipating the next auspicious celebration of Kadayawan.