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Makes a Triumphant Comeback

After a two-year hiatus, the Kadayawan Festival returns to a face-to-face celebration of its various festivities and activities.



The Kadayawan Festival is held every August in the Cityof Davao. “Kadayawan” comes from the Dabawenyoword ‘Madayaw’ meaning good or beautiful. This yearlycelebration is held as thanksgiving for the bounty ofnature and the wealth of culture.

During the olden times, the tribes living at the foot of Mt. Apowould gather after a bountiful harvest and perform a thanksgivingritual to ‘Manama’ the supreme being for abundant produce. Fromthis ritual emerged the modern-day festival that is renownedworldwide.

The festival puts the spotlight on the indigenous cultures ofthe city’s 11 recognized ethnolinguisticgroups.

This year’s Kadayawan Festival,dubbed “Kasikas sa Kadayawan”meaning “Making Noise inKadayawan,” ran from August 15to 21. According to Davao CityCouncilor Al Ryan Alejandre,who chairs the Committee onBeautification and Tourism andis a member of the executivecommittee leading the festival, the37th Kadayawan managed to reelin more than its target of 50,000visitors.

“We surpassed our target,punong-puno ang ating mga hotel,in fact kulang pa gani atong hotelaccommodations (our hotels arefully occupied, in fact our hotelaccommodations are inadequate),”Alejandre reveals.

The 37th Kadayawan sa Davao started on August 5 with theopening of the Kadayawan Village inside the city’s Magsaysay Park.Built in 2017 for that year’s Kadayawan, the village contains 11tribal houses each belonging to the 11 indigenous groups in the city.It is a showcase of their respective culture and traditions, with eachhouse acting like a museum filled with native artifacts.

The formal opening of this year’s festival was held on August15. One of the major events in the festival is Hiyas ng Kadayawan,described as the annual search for that distinctive young ladyrepresenting her indigenous group, knowledgeable of her nativeculture and wisdom through a pageantry of Mindanaoan myths andlegends.

This year’s Hiyas ng Kadayawan is a Maranao lass who teaches atthe Philippine Women’s College of Davao. With her victory, 26-yearoldBeauty Rose Gandarosa became the first Hiyas ng Kadayawansince 2019.

Sayaw Kadayawan, a dance tilt inspired by indigenous culture,was won by Madayaw Cultural Ensemble.Another tribal event is the Dula Kadayawan, a showcase ofindigenous games participated in by the 11 ethnic groups. This washeld at the grounds of the People’s Park in the heart of downtownDavao City.

The two largest and much-awaited events in the Kadayawanwere the Indak-Indak (Street Dancing Competition) and the PitikPamulak (Floral Float Parade and Drum-Beating Competitions).Held on a weekend, the two competitions attracted huge crowdscongregating along the city streets and not minding the intensetropical heat.

The contingent from Bernardo D. Carpio National High Schoolwas crowned as champion for the Davao City-based category of theIndak-Indak while Sindac Anib from Bislig, Surigao del Sur won thetop prize in the open category. The two champions each took homePhp one million each.

The Magallanes Elementary School Muganapak Drum Beaterswon first place in Pitik Kadayawan. While for the floral float, the Del Mar Painitan had the best float for the Small Category,the Tahawrog Tribe in Marilog won the best float for the Lahi(alternative) category and Aeon Towers copped the top prize forthe big float category.

All in all, the 37th Kadayawan Festival was a resounding success. Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte attributed thetriumphant return of the festival to the cooperation of allDabawenyos.The mayor thanked the personnel of the local government unit,the security personnel, various city government departments, andthe private sector for the success of the festival, saying “Salamatgyud kaayo sa inyong efforts. I really appreciate ang ilang ginahimopara sa syudad (Thank you so much for all your efforts. I reallyappreciate what you have done for the city).”

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