After 2 years, Kadayawan Festival is back!
As we enter the world again two years after the COVID 19 pandemic made us pause for a while and stay at home, celebrations of vibrant Filipino festivals are finally back! This 2022, Davao City pushed through its annual celebration of Kadayawan Festival, which is now celebrating its 37th year since the term was coined by then mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
The festival started on August 15 after almost a two-year hiatus. The festivities are ready to bring back joy and pride among Davao locals and an exciting experience to try for tourists.! Of course, AirAsia wouldn’t miss the opportunity to join one of the major festivals in the Philippines. AirAsia now flies Manila to Davao 3x daily, and Cebu to Davao 4x a week!
The festival is celebrated with activities like street dances, gigantic float parades, good food of the city, and most importantly, highlighting the colorful culture of the 11 tribes of Davao.
Kadayawan Festival: Origin Story
The festival traces its roots from the 1970s. In these times, then mayor Elias B. Lopez encouraged the 11 tribes of Davao to showcase their thanksgiving rituals. Ethnic tribes then would do their rituals on the foot of Mt. Apo to pay respects to pagan nature gods Manama and Bulan for a successful planting and harvest season.
To further celebrate the bountiful harvests, people would display their crops, such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, grains, and more, to express gratitude for another fruitful year. Then during the turbulent times of Martial Law in 1986, the Davao LGU launched a project that aimed to unify and boost the morale of the people of Davao. It was then called Apo Duwaling, which highlights the city’s pride of natural wonders: Mt. Apo, which is the Philippines’ highest mountain, Durian, which is dubbed to be The King of Fruits that abundantly grows in the province and other nearby regions, Waling-Waling which has the title for Queen of Philippine Orchids, which is endemic in the island of Mindanao.
In 1988, then mayor and former President Rodrigo Duterte coined the term Kadayawan. The term is derived from the Dabawnon term Dayaw which means good, valuable, and beautiful. In Tagalog, it literally translates to Pagpapahalaga. From then on, the celebration was referred to as Kadayawan Festival.
What not to miss in Kadayawan?
Pamulak sa Kadayawan
Over the years, AirAsia has actively participated in one of the culminating activities of Kadayawan, which is the Pamulak sa Kadayawan or Float Parade Competition. The float parade competition is similar to the Panagbenga Festival of Baguio, wherein colorful floats of various businesses, community organizations, and more.
The float parade competition 2022 comprises two categories, Gamay or Small Category, Dako or Big Category, and Lahi for alternative floats, wherein a total of 43 floats in both categories compete for this year’s generous prizes!
All of the floats in the Pamulak sa Kadayawan are unique and highly reflect the personalities of the people and organizations they represent. But like any contest, some floats definitely stood out. Just like the Del Mar Painitan, which won the grand prize of P400,000 for the Gamay Category, the AEON Towers by AEON Properties float took home P800,000 for the Dako Category, and the Tahawrog Tribe Marilog District Davao City won P150,000 for the Lahi Category.
Indak Indak sa Kadayawan
The Indak Indak sa Kadayawan is one of the festival’s most anticipated events. Watch Face-to-Face street dancers again as they grooved on the streets of Davao, showcasing the extravagant costumes that perfectly depict their vibrant cultures and well-orchestrated choreography from various groups and organizations that they represent.
Visit the Kadayawan Village
Another experience you shouldn’t miss is the one-of-a-kind immersive experience in the Kadayawan Village in Magsaysay Park. Kadayawan Village perfectly exhibits the indigenous people of Mindanao, also known as the Lumads, all in one place! Visitors can engage themselves and see up close cultural dances, homes, food, and clothing. You don’t need to visit each of their provinces as you can experience them all in a span of a few hours.
Some houses in the little community also offer products that these indigenous people make or harvest. We’ve seen the lively and colorful malongs, handmade baskets, handicrafts, souvenirs, necklaces, and other accessories. Be sure to check their merchandise and take home a piece of the Lumad culture to your homes. Aside from that, you’re able to help these people earn back their livelihoods which were lost for two years due to the pandemic.
Eat Durian or Durian Products
Eating Durian is something that every tourist should do when visiting Davao. But due to the intimidating smell of the King of fruits, several tourists stir away from it. But don’t let negative feedback keep you from trying out this fruit!
As a matter of fact, there is a Durian variety that even first-timers can enjoy! Be sure to look for the Puyat variety when you’re on Durian shopping. The best spots we can recommend are the ones in Bankerohan and just outside Magsaysay Park. There are several Durian and other Davaoeño fruits that are ready for you to bring home.
We even spotted some people eating Durian on the spot, as some stores offer seats and tables for their customers to enjoy.
If the Puyat Durian variety is still intimidating for you, be sure to try out Durian Ice Cream, Yema, and candies! Apo ni Lola Durian offers all of these sweet Durian products. You can start your Durian journey with the Durian Ice cream, which only costs P40. Or Durian Yema, which costs P50 for a small pack. Not bad, right? Then you can understand that the flavor of the fruit gets better the more you eat it. Durian lovers say that the fruit is an acquired taste, just like fine cheeses and wines.
Go Pearl Shopping!
Pearl is another product that the Davaoeños take pride in. Davao is a province that has access to a rich shoreline. The Davao Gulf is very rich in marine life, and Pearl is just one of the fruits of the Davao waters. Davao pearls are either from freshwater or saltwater sources.
If you want to buy gifts for yourself or your friends, be sure to get them. Davao pearls start at P250 for a pair of small stud-type earrings. It would get higher, of course, depending on the type and size. Feeling fancier? Then the South Sea Pearl is for you! It is a bit more expensive compared to the ones from freshwater resources. A string of South Sea Pearl bracelets would cost you P2,500.
There are several spots where you can get these small yet gorgeous jewels, from merchants in Poblacion Market Central to jewelers in malls and even from pasalubong center stalls. There is a pearl item for every budget.
Kadayawan Festival is such a great way for the Davaoeños to express their gratitude towards the blessings that they are all receiving by sharing their lively, and energetic culture to the Philippines and the whole world. That’s why it is one of the major festivals in the country worth visiting.