Foreshadowing Kadayawan 2016: My Kadayawan sa Dabaw Experiences

On August 15 to 21, colors and beats of the Mindanawon culture will dominate Metro Davao. Every third week of August, the city expresses its joviality and gratitude to nature for the bountiful harvest – the Kadayawan Festival.

When I thought of posting this year’s Kadayawan schedule, I really don’t know where to start. And so I scoured for inspiration from other blogs. The problem is, they have marketed the festival well enough. Most blogs zeroed in on the historical and cultural significance of the event, the eleven major tribes – Obu-Manuvu, Bagobo-K’lata, Matigsalug, Iranun, Bagobo-Tagabawa, Ata, Kagan, Sama, Tausug, Maranao and Maguindanao. Those were as far as I found.

And so instead of researching for more similar accounts, I decided to share my own experiences during Kadayawan, having stayed in the city for five years now. Nothing beats a first-hand chronicle.

To be honest, the definition of enjoyment of Kadayawan depends on the kind of person you are. If you are more of an outgoing person, it is best to be on the streets during the main events or on the malls for sales and discounts. But if you don’t like being in the middle of a horde, there are media coverages you can devour at the comfort of your home. I choose to be the outgoing fella that day.

The City Government of Davao usually lays out main events for the week (which I will be posting after this) while malls and other establishments also organizes their own. Here are some of the scenes that had the greatest chance of happening on major activities, so you will be prepared.

150,000 people. That is the number of local and foreign visitors to come to the city on the 31st Kadayawan sa Dabaw as forecasted by the organizers. That is just an estimate. It might balloon on the day of the event.

People are expected to flock the streets during the Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan (Street Dance Competition) and Pamulak sa Kadayawan (Floral Float Parade). The streets will be barricaded and some streets will be closed. So if you are a kind of person who loves to listen to the heart-thumping ethnic beats and see the vibrancy of the traditional garbs and movements but ignores the heat of the sun, you should get to the streets as early as six in the morning or earlier than that.

Most people stay behind the barricades, especially if it is the spot they can clearly see the happenings. If you have secured the spot but decided to go along with the parade, you should not regret leaving the spot as you can not return to that place again. For me, I enjoy following along. I don’t know but it just feels so overwhelming. There is that brimming pride at every strike of drums or kulintang. Aside from that, the Indak-Indak perfomances usually reenact a story, be it a folklore, legend, belief or traditions of the ethnic groups.

Aside from the streets, portions of that 150,000 people can be found in parks where other events are held like Peoples Park and Rizal Park. So be ready to sneak in the middle of the crowd or perhaps wear high-heels so you can see the intriguing happenings.

Another interesting thing to look out for is the search for the Hiyas ng Kadayawan (Gem of Kadayawan). According to the City Government, “It is the search for the festival gem who epitomizes joy, bounty, simplicity, and beauty. She also carries the virtues of a people, who, through time and space have maintained its identity, dignity, and collective memory.” Watching them flaunt their advocacies not only for the members of the tribe they represent but for the people of Davao ignites a sense of pride even if I am don’t belong in any indigenous group.

Major malls such as Gaisano Mall of Davao, Abreeza Ayala Mall, NCCC Mall and SM City Davao and SM Lanang Premier  also take advantage on the inundation of local and foreign visitors. They invite celebrities to do shows.  Alongside the show are the left-and-right sales and discounts for you to take advantage too. But I don’t usually go there. I hate standing for long hours, and wait for the artistas from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM, sings only a couple of songs and the show ends there. Fanatics would considered it worth-it.

In the past celebrations, the night is always young. It is alive with raves, foam parties, color parties and concerts in different spots like Damosa Gateway in Lanang, Crocodile Park, and Rizal Park or San Pedro Square to name a few.

Unfortunately, the City Government recently discourages parties and concerts in the downtown area to be consistent with this year’s central theme, the 11 tribes. Don’t worry. Crocodile Park and Damosa Gateway are not located at the center of the city. If you are a party junkie, you might also check CARPE DIEM at Felcris Centrale.

And how dare I forget the food. Well, I don’t really eat that much in restaurants but one thing I am sure, there will also be discounts and promos!! Still, can’t afford. Haha. For a simple person like me, you should try eating at the city’s street food hub, Roxas Avenue. Fruits are also abundant in every corner, especially Durian. *drools*. This pricky-pungent smelling fruit can be found in Magsaysay Fruit StandBangkerohan Public Market, Anda Street and of course, Roxas Avenue. There’s also the mangosteen and pomelo among others.


Kadayawan 2016 would be lavish of nothing but culture. After all, this is the cause of the celebration. Unlike the past Kadayawan, the City Government said they steered their focus towards the Indigenous People, the Muslims, their cultures and their plight. Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte considered them as the “heart and soul of Kadayawan.” It would be a culture-rich week. And this is something I love about this celebration.

Truth is, feelings are not meant to be explained. They are meant to be…felt. For you to do that, join the Dabawenyos like me on this festivity of abundance!

And by the way, as promised, here is the official schedule of events of Kadayawan 2016:

Kadayawan 2016, Kadayawan Festival, Kadayawan sa Dabaw, 31st Kadayawan Festival, Davao City, festival

For updates, like Kadayawan 2016 on:


Twitter: @kadayawan2016




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