August is the Month for The Kadayawan Festival in Davao City

Madayaw Dabaw!

When the month of July nears its end, it hails the beginning of the harvest of different kinds of fruits and flowers here in Davao. As August and the bountiful harvest comes in, this signals the start of the grandest festival of Davao City, The Kadayawan Festival. It is an annual Thanksgiving celebration of the Dabawenyos for a bountiful harvest, the serenity of life, the wealth of its cultures, and the gifts that nature gives to its people. Derived from the Dabawenyo word "dayaw" that translates to good, beautiful, superior and valuable, the Kadayawan Festival is a celebration of a good life. As the Dabawenyos put it, " Davao City: Life is here."
As fruits fill nearby fruit stands and flowers of various plants come to bloom, Davao City prepares for the influx of tourists who would like to experience the many activities the Kadayawan Festival has lined up as well as filling themselves up with all the fruit they can manage to eat. Due to the high supply, the prices of fruit is very low. Durian, for example, may sell at the low low price of 20 Php/kilo (just under $0.50 USD) and the fruit seller often offers buyers a free sample of his produce as a thank you. Right now, rambutan (a fruit similar to lychee) and mangosteen can be seen all around. My neighbor who has a tree filled with rambutan gave us a bag of this fruit since his family had had enough. As for mangosteen, the current going price per kilo is 50 Php ($1 USD). I'm actually waiting for the harvest of lansones which is a favorite of mine. Last year, lansones sold for 5 Php/kilo ( $0.01 USD). The sellers were practically giving it away.
Waling-waling, Davao's Pride, Queen of Philippine Flowers
Waling-waling by Rugged Lens is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
If you are an orchid aficionado, agricultural plant and tree trade centers/fairs can be seen outside the various malls around the metro. They even have an orchid competition. If you do not have the time to visit the various orchid farms, rest assured they have a stall in these fairs. Here's a tip, buy your orchids near the end of Kadayawan. They usually give buyers a discounted price since the fair will be ending as well. Waling-waling is still a bit expensive though. Make sure you buy orchids with flowers and not seedlings. It may be a bit pricey but, at least you know what you are buying.

The Kadayawan Festival starts around the second week of August and culminates at the end of the third week. This year 2018, the formal opening of festivities start on August 10 and ends on August 19. As of recent, I have read an article in Sun Star Davao that all hotels and inns are fully booked. I don't know if this is true but, I do know that there are a lot of rooms for rent around the metro. You can check your favorite hotel and accommodation sites like Airbnb for listings.

The itinerary of the Kadayawan Festival 2018.

A Brief History into the Kadayawan Festival

The Kadayawan Festival started as a thanksgiving ritual by the early Visayan settlers and the various ethnic tribes of Davao residing at the foot of Mount Apo (the tallest peak in the Philippines). On a night of the full moon after a bountiful harvest, it was said, these people would all gather and celebrate, displaying their cornucopia of fruits, flowers, and vegetables on mats, giving offerings and expressing their gratitude to the gods particularly to the Supreme Being known as "Manama" and "Bulan,", a moon Deity through song and dance. All believed that during the brightness of the full moon, the "diwata" (goddess) came down and blessed the earth giving the people a bountiful harvest. The beauty of the full moon, its spectacular shape and sunset-to-sunrise brilliance was believed by these pre-colonial people to be the main reason for their bountiful harvest. Many names were given by the people to symbolize the vastness of the moon. One of the most significant is "dayaw" epitomizing the moon's perfect and praiseworthy beauty which for the people during that time was so beautiful and for them, such beauty deserved their reverence.

This tradition of thanksgiving or "pahanungod" or "halad" that first started by the ethnic tribes and early Visayans evolved through the years and has now become an annual festival held here in Davao City.

In the 1970's, under Mayor Elias B. Lopez, tribal festivals were held featuring the Lumad and the Muslim tribes of Davao City who would showcase their dances and rituals of thanksgiving. After the Martial Law era, under the "Unlad Proyekto Davao", the festival was called " Apo Duwaling", a name created by the combination of the famous icons of Davao: Mount Apo, Philippines' highest peak; Durian, the King of Fruits; and Waling-waling, the Queen of Orchids. The festival was aimed to promote Davao City as a peaceful city to entice business investors as well as make it a tourist destination after the Edsa Revolution. Finally, in 1988, then-Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte (he is now the current Philippine President), renamed the festival to "Kadayawan sa Dabaw" bringing the festival back to its roots.

Today, the Kadayawan Festival continues on with tradition, a grand celebration of thanksgiving for all of Davao City's blessings and to recognize the contribution of the Lumads to the rich culture that is Davao. 
Kadayawan Festival 2014 by Constantine Augustine is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

The Most Anticipated Activities of the Kadayawan Festival

Davao City has made improvements for this year's Kadayawan Festival by adding more amusements and activities and of course, increasing the budget for the festival. Here are some of the Highlights of Kadayawan:

Hiyas sa Kadayawan Coronation Night

Each of the various ethnic tribes of Davao is represented by their most talented and their most beautiful in this pageant. This search crowns the distinctive indigenous young lady who not only is beautiful and talented but is also knowledgeable of the native culture as "Hiyas sa Kadayawan". The candidates of this pageant will also be seen riding on the floats in the floral street parade " Pamulak sa Kadayawan" which culminates the Kadayawan Festival.

Indak- indak sa Kadayawan (also known as Indak-indak sa Kadalanan)
Kadayawan Festival 2016 Photos by Constantine Augustine is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Indak-indak sa Kadalanan literally translates to "dancing on the street". This is one of the most awaited events of Kadayawan, a must-see if you are a tourist since it is a huge dance competition done on a major thoroughfare of the city that has been closed to traffic. You will see a parade of hundreds of local talents decked in colorful costumes and props performing amazing jaw-dropping dance numbers to ethnic-inspired music on a wide street. Why is it a huge dance competition? The first prize winner will be taking home 500,000 Php ($10,000 USD). On top of that, this year, as an incentive for better and quality performances, if the first prize winner reaches a score of 95% or higher, they will receive an additional 500,000 Php making the prize a total of P 1 Million.

It can get pretty warm while watching, so make sure you bring water or refreshments to cool you down, a fan, and I've seen some bring their own chairs. Also, before picking a spot to watch from, make sure you are near a restroom. It's hard to hold it in.

Pamulak sa Kadayawan (also known as " Pamulak sa Kadalanan")

The Floral Float Parade, aimed at showcasing the luscious vegetation, the various fruits and flora indigenous to Davao, is the culmination of the Kadayawan Festival signaling the end of the Festivities. The parade is done in the morning usually on the third Sunday of the month of August.
A float of the Pamulak sa Kadayawan.
Kadayawan Festival 2016 Photos by Constantine Augustine is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

One by one floats covered with different types of flowers, vegetables, and fruits in intricate designs symbolizing Kadayawan and recognizing the native heritage of the ethnic tribes of Davao parade through the city's streets. This is also a must-see as celebrities, the pageant beauties of Hiyas sa Kadayawan, the Mutyas of Dabaw and of course, some of the local government officials can be seen riding on the floral floats in the parade. 

Here's a tip: If you want a photo-op with a float/s, head to the end of the parade or ask people where the floats will be parked after the parade has finished. Usually, the floats are open for display to the public after the parade. A few years back, I was able to catch some of the floats at the parking area at the back of SM Ecoland. You will be able to get a nice photo of a floral float to post on social media without the hassle of moving around or being photo-bombed.

The Nightly Music Festival

For those who like to listen to bands and also like to drink, you can head to the Nightly Music Festival at San Pedro. You can get great deals on beer and appetizers and drink and eat while listening to some of your favorite bands. There is no entrance fee and all are welcome but, they are very strict with the "no smoking" and "no sharp objects" policies. The police officers on duty perform a search through your belongings and pockets and they also frisk you. If you have cigarettes, lighters, or any object that they deem as dangerous, it will be confiscated.

As for bands, sometimes, popular mainstream bands of the country perform at this music festival. I was able to catch Bamboo, Parokya ni Edgar, and of course the Mocha Girls in the past. The Nightly Music Festival usually starts on the Wednesday of the Kadayawan Week celebration and ends on the last day of the Kadayawan Festival.

So mark your calendars this August and let's celebrate the Kadayawan Festival in Davao City! 
This year's celebration is 9 days long and bursting with new activities for everyone to enjoy. So, come to Davao City! I hope to see you at the festivities.

Madayaw Dabaw!

Sources and Related links:
Kadayawan Festival available at Wikipedia -



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