Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival

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Kadayawan 2009.

Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival is one of the most popular and globally famous festivals in the Philippines, celebrated every 3rd week of August in Davao City. This weeklong celebration signifies thanksgiving for the bountiful gifts from Davao's fertile land, forests to rivers and seas.



The term "kadayawan" is derived from the prehistoric word, madayaw, a warm and friendly greeting also used to explain a thing that is valuable, superior, beautiful, good, or profitable. According to legend, the ethnic tribes of Mount Apo usually gather when they had a bountiful harvest. This ritual serves as a thanksgiving to their gods particularly to Bathala, (all-powerful supreme God) where there is so much merriment including singing, dancing and offerings to their divine protectors. They lay baskets of fruits, trays of colorful native orchids, rice and corn grains, fruits and vegetables including farming instruments like bolos and knives on mats--a familiar scene on the village squares of old Dabaw.

In 1986, the term, "Kadayawan sa Dabaw" was first called "Unlad Proyekto Davao", a government-initiated program which aims to unite the Davaoeños after the martial law era as well as to promote Davao as a tourist and business area. At the time, it was called "Apo Duwaling," a name created from the icons Davao was famous for: Mt. Apo, the country's highest peak; durian, the king of fruits; and waling-waling, the queen of orchids. Davao is also home of the majestic Philippine eagle, the national bird. In celebration of the city's bountiful fruits, flowers and ethnic culture, the festival was renamed "Kadayawan sa Dabaw" in 1988 by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

At present, this world-renowned festival honors Davao's artistic, cultural and historical heritage as they celebrate on the streets in complete revelry their thanksgiving for all of Davao's blessings.


The festivities start with tribal dances and music with "Indak indak sa Kadalanan" (street dancing). The street dancers are all dressed in ethnic-inspired and colorful costumes. The Floral Float parade on the other hand showcases the city's floral and agricultural wealth. The streets come alive as they parade the streets and boast the city's rich culture and arts.

The celebration often include fruit and flower show, trade fair, tribal/civic/military parade, traditional sports activities, music festival, dance and singing contests, horse fight, native and power boat races, Search for Bya'Neng ng Kadayawan or the Miss Kadayawan beauty contest and street dancing.

Two of the main attractions during the festival are the "Lumadnong Kasaulogan" (Indigenous Peoples Festival) and the "Subay sa Lumadnong Kagikan" (Contemporary Indigenous-motivated Celebrations) which capture the primary essence of celebrating the life and culture of the indigenous peoples in the province.


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