August is a merry month in Davao City, because it is on this month that Dabawenyos celebrate a thanksgiving for the year's blessings of bountiful harvest of flowers, fruits and other agricultural produce, and honor the city's richness and diversity of artistic, cultural and historical heritage in a grand annual celebration called Kadayawan Festival. The festival is celebrated every 3rd Week of August.
The Kadayawan Festival has its roots. Long time ago, Davao’s ethnic tribes residing at the foot of Mount Apo gather after a bountiful harvest in a ritual called "Pahinungod" to honor the gods, the "Manama" (Supreme Being) in thanksgiving.
Different farming implements, fruits, flowers, vegetables, rice and corn grains were presented on mats as villagers pay their respect and give thanks to Manama for the year's bounties. Singing, dancing and offerings to their gods ensued which are the highlights of this ritual. While times may have changed, Pahinungod still remains in practise by modern day Dabawenyos. This tradition flourished and eventually evolved into an annual festival of thanksgiving.
Davao City is the Fruit Basket of the Philippines
In the 1970's, the then mayor of Davao City, Elias B. Lopez, initiated a yearly festival among the natives of Davao, the Lumad, and all the Muslim tribes of Davao City in a showcase of their dances and rituals as a way of thanksgiving. Mayor Elias B. Lopez himself was from a Bagobo tribe.
Davao City Mayor Elias B. Lopez
(1968 to 1971, and 1981 to 1986)
In 1986, the city government initiated a program called "Unlad Proyekto Davao," whose objective was to unite the Dabawenyos after the turbulent Martial Law era. The festivity was called "Apo Duwaling," in honor of the three royalties of Davao: The word "Apo" was taken from Mount Apo, the King of Philippines Peaks, the country's highest mountain peak at 10,311 feet above sea level; "Du" came from Durian, the King of Tropical Fruits; and "Waling" from Waling-Waling, the Queen of Orchids, all of which Davao is famous for. Apo Duwaling was meant to promote Davao City as a peaceful destination in Mindanao.
The following are the three royalties of Davao, from which the festivity called Apo Duwaling was coined:
Mount Apo, the King of Philippines Peaks
Durian, the King of Tropical Fruits
Waling-Waling, the Queen of Orchids
Two years later, in 1988, then mayor, Rodrigo Duterte, renamed the festival to "Kadayawan sa Dabaw." The word "Kadayawan" is derived from the friendly greeting "Madayaw," from the Dabawenyo word "Dayaw" which means "good," "valuable," "superior" or "something that brings good fortune." Mayor Duterte envisioned the festivity as a way for the people of Davao to celebrate the bountiful harvest of Davao's produce as well as the wealth of the city's cultures.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte
(Three-term office from 1988 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2010)
Today, the Kadayawan continues to honor every year the city's richness and diversity of its artistic, cultural and historical heritage personified by the ancestral Lumads, as the people of Davao celebrate on the streets, and together with its floral industry as its representatives parade in full regalia in a grand celebration of thanksgiving for all of city's blessings.
Kadayawan is a celebration of life
Kadayawan Festival interfaces three aspects: tribal, industrial, arts and entertainment. It is a week-long celebration which is highlighted with a parade of floral floats, street-dancing competitions, and exhibits that showcase the island's tourism products and services.
Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan
The two of the biggest parades of the festival are often held during weekends: The street dancing, called "Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan", is done on a Saturday, while the floral float parade on a Sunday.
Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan has two main components: The first is the street parade, where performers groove it up while parading along pre-selected routes of the city which are usually along the streets of Claro M. Recto, San Pedro, Pelayo, Bonifacio, Ponciano, and Roxas Avenue. The second is the showdown, where the very same performers compete traditionally held at the San Pedro Street. The parade normally takes place in the morning, while the showdown starts in the afternoon and ends in the evening.
Street dance formation
Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan has become a widely popular entertainment as it features distinctively Mindanaoan beat and costumes. Many foreign tourists visit Davao City to witness and join-in with the hundreds of Dabawenyos dancing vigorously in the streets, who are clad in their colorful native attire and carrying extravagant props.
This annual competition is open to any group, organization, institution, or community. Participating Mindanao-based contingents showcase the festival of their own locality, while participating Davao City-based contingents interpret the Kadayawan festival based on Mindanaoan folklore, myths or legends.
Prizes for the best in performance, in costumes and parade are given to the winning participants which may range from P10,000 to P300,000.
On the other hand, the floral float parade, called "Pamulak Kadayawan", is a spectacular parade of flowers and fruits set in colorful floats by participating business establishments, community assemblies and organizations as they proudly promenade on the streets symbolizing all the year's bounty enjoyed by the city's residents.
The competition is open to any person, group, organization, institution or company. It has three categories, namely, Small (maximum size of 8 feet x 16 feet), Big (over 8 feet x 16 feet) and Alternative (use of miniature cars, golf carts, mini tractors, push carts, karo, kalesa, pedicabs or similar vehicles, motorized, mechanical or animal driven).
The competing floral floats are required to use at least 80 percent fresh flowers, plants, fruits and vegetables as medium, while non-competing entries are required to use at least 10 percent. Prizes are also given to the best float from P50,000 to a whooping P500,000, judging on symbolism, design and execution.
For more information and latest updates, please visit the Kadayawan Official Website:
The United Colors of Kadayawan