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The Davao Region, officially designated as Region XI, is situated in the southeastern section of Mindanao. It is bordered, clockwise from the North, by Caraga, the Philippine Sea, Davao Gulf, Celebes Sea, SOCCSKSARGEN, and Northern Mindanao. It has 5 provinces, 43 municipalities, 6 cities (1 of which is a highly urbanized city administered independently from any province), and 1,162 barangays. [1]

Festivals [2]

There were about 13 traditional lumad arts festivals throughout the year and these are spread around the island. Some of them are:

  • Kagayhaan in Cagayan de Oro City
  • Kaamulan Festival in Malaybalay, Bukidnon
  • Kalingan Festival in Surigao del Sur
  • Balanghai Festival in Butuan City
  • Tambulig Festival in Zamboanga del Sur
  • Maranao Arts and Culture Festival in Marawi City
  • Simballay Festival in Nabunturan, Davao del Norte
  • Kinaadman in Southern Davao
  • Kadayawan Festival sa Dabaw in Davao City
  • Kalibongan Festival in Kidapawan
  • Kalilangan in General Santos City
  • Tinalak Festival in Koronadal City
  • Hlobung Festival of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato

These festivals give us a glimpse of what Mindanao was like during the pre-colonial time. On these special occasions, lumad men and women in red, blue, white, green, and yellow tribal attire dance in the streets to show off “unrehearsed” dance steps - a combination of dugso, binanog, babansil, saut, and kayumatan that rhythmically jives to the infectious beats of the agong, kulintang, bamboo, and brass percussion instruments. What makes these traditional arts festivals contemporary are the agri-industrial trade fairs, beauty contests, and other programs.

Because of media mileage and accessibility, the most well-known of these festivals are the Kaamulan festival celebrated in Malaybalay, Bukidnon in March, and the Kadayawan Festival sa Dabaw in Davao City in August.

Lumad [3]

LUMAD is a Bisayan term meaning “native” or “indigenous”. It is adopted by a group of 15 from a more than 18 Mindanao ethnic groups in their Cotabato Congress in June 1986 to distinguish them from the other Mindanaons, Moro or Christian groups. Its usage was accepted during the Cory Administration when the word Lumad was used in R.A. 6734, Art. XIII sec. 8(2) to distinguish these ethnic communities from the Bangsamoro.

In the 11th century, or also called as the “emergent period” by the anthropologist, F. Landa Jocano, the dynamic interactions between the indigenous cultural elements and that of the migrants brought about the eventual narrowing down into distinct ethnic groups. Pigafetta, Magellan’s chronicler in 1521, mentioned four Mindanao groups: Caragan, Mandanaos, Lutaos, Subanus and Dapitans. Apparently, the Caragans were found in the Misamis Oriental, Agusan, and Bukidnon area. The Mandanaos in Central Mindanao; Lutaos in Zamboanga del Sur and Basilan; Subanus and Dapitans in Zamboanga del Sur and del Norte.

Called ” infieles” during the Spanish regime, the subjugation of the Lumads was equally important as that of the Muslims. Thus, Jesuit missions were established near infieles territories. They were found among the Tiruray in Cotabato; the Subanons in Dapitan; the Manuvus and Caragans in Misamis and Surigao; and among the Bilaans in Davao.

Economically, Lumads practiced swidden agriculture depending on the land’s productivity. Communal sharing of resources based on the belief of the sacredness of land and nature as divine endowments define their relationship with their environment. Their socio-political arrangements were varied. The Mandaya were led by their bagani or warrior while the Bagobos, Manuvu, and other Lumads were governed by their datu. The Datu’s subjects were his sacops. The Lumad remained isolated and withdrawn from the hills and forest that were difficult to penetrate. The Spanish colonial strategy was to begin colonization along the coast towards the plains for purposes of trade and political consolidation.


  1. “Davao Region.” PhilAtlas Website, https://www.philatlas.com/mindanao/r11.html. Accessed on January 07, 2021.
  2. Ortega, Christine. “A Cycle of Being and Becoming in Mindanao.” National Commission for Culture and the Arts Website, https://ncca.gov.ph/about-culture-and-arts/in-focus/a-cycle-of-being-and-becoming-in-mindanao/. Accessed on January 07, 2021.
  3. Ulindang, Faina.”LUMAD in Mindanao.” National Commission for Culture and the Arts Website, https://ncca.gov.ph/about-ncca-3/subcommissions/subcommission-on-cultural-heritagesch/historical-research/lumad-in-mindanao/. Accessed on January 07, 2021.



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