Here’s my column head below for Manila Bulletin
Kadayawan sa Davao goes bigger and brighter
Text and photos by Jojie Alcantara (Scene Stealer), published in Manila Bulletin, Sept. 18, 2011
Davao’s major festival underwent a facelift this year. With the private sector taking rein, backed up by the local government, Duaw Dabaw Foundation Inc. was tasked to make sure this year’s revelry becomes unforgettable again, rain or shine. True enough, no intertropical convergence zone or low pressure area could mar the new stage built for the performances that draw thousands of crowds from all Mindanao each year.
The island’s biggest and most pulsating celebration, Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival, pays tribute to Mindanao’s indigenous tribes as the focal point of the festivities. Derived from the Mandaya word “madayaw”, Kadayawan signifies anything that is of good value, meaning “beautiful, superior, or beneficial”.
Celebrated every month of August, Kadayawan sa Dabaw’s theme this year is “Ten Tribes, One Vibe,” focusing on the multicolored mix of Davao and Mindanao’s indigenous communities as well as migrant settlers, whose identities make up the rich cultural heritage of this land.
Long ago, Davao’s ethnic tribes which used to reside at the foot of Mount Apo would converge in a bountiful harvest to celebrate a thanksgiving ceremony to the supreme beings. The rituals involve showcasing produce like fruits, flowers, vegetables, rice and corn grains as offering, while villagers sing and dance in gratitude to the year’s abundance.
This traditional practice of thanksgiving is still being observed by Dabawenyos today, as it has evolved into the tribal festival once initiated in the 70s by former Mayor Elias B. Lopez, of Bagobo descent himself.
In 1986, after the Martial Law conflict, the government attempted to bring the people together through the “Unlad Proyekto Davao”. A festival was initially coined “Apo Duwaling,”, derived from Davao’s famous icons: Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak; Durian, the king of fruits; and Waling-waling, the queen of orchids. “Apo Duwaling” showcased the city as a peaceful destination to visit and to do business after the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte renamed the festival “Kadayawan sa Dabaw” in 1988 to embrace the abundance of blessings Dabawenyos were continually bestowed upon, from the bountiful harvest of flowers, fruits and other crops, to the city’s growing distinct accolades (the long list can be viewed in www.davaocity.gov.ph), and more importantly, the restoration of the peace and order.
With the young and dynamic leadership of Davao’s first lady mayor, Honorable Sara Z. Duterte, the delegation of tasks to private sectors is one way of encouraging them to fully participate in any activity the city government undertakes.
The week long revelry showcased highly participated activities every year and the launching of new ones. Big prizes were in store for the competitions which regularly draw participants from all over Mindanao.
The colorful contingent of Purok Sison Elementary School from neighboring Surallah, South Cotabato easily won again as champion in the open category of Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan (streetdancing) with a whooping prize of P300,000.00, while Davao-based category champs from Magallanes Elementary School romped away with P150,000.00 cash prize.
Around 115 contingents participated in the biggest number of delegates who joined the most festive Pamulak or Floral Float Parade, where uniquely designed floats showcased the abundant vegetation of Davao Region. Abreeza Mall romped away with a whooping P500,000.00 in cash prize for the open or big category.
During this week, Department of Tourism (DOT) and leading wireless services provider Smart Communications Inc. (SMART), launched the SMART-DAVAO DOT partnership of providing a customized SIM for Dabawenyos during the Davao Regional Tourism General Assembly at the Marco Polo Hotel.
As part of the Pilipinas, Tara Na! tourism advocacy program, the DOT Infoboard is an information technology system where tourists and locals can benefit from materials delivered right into their mobile phones, providing tourists and domestic travelers relevant SMS announcements and advisory.
The Infoboard provided by SMART enhances DOT’s capability to inform the travelling public and assist them in their travel information needs, providing them with choices for decision-making at the touch of a key and through a credible source.
Other festival highpoints were the agro-fairs, trade exhibits, sports activities, free concerts as “pasasalamat ni Mayor Inday Sara and Vice Mayor Rody Duterte”, various song and dance competitions, arts and culture exhibits, tribal performances, food and photo exhibits, and more. Visit www.kadayawan.com for more information.
* * * *