EVERY third Saturday of August, the main streets of Davao City hogs the spotlight as thousands of spectators flock to watch the Indak-indak sa Kadalanan or street dancing take place to celebrate the Kadayawan Festival.
After missing the Kadayawan for six years, I finally got the chance to watch and shoot some photos of the dancers last week. Shooting these images was not an easy feat though. You have to jostle your way through the mad throng who all wanted to get a better view of the parade and you have to be really quick with your finger to capture expressions and special moments but it’s worth the effort.
The Kadayawan festival got its name from the friendly greeting “Madayaw”, from the Dabawenyo word “dayaw” which means good, valuable, superior or beautiful.
Kadayawan festival is a celebration of life, a thanksgiving for the gifts of nature, the wealth of culture, the bounties of harvest and serenity of living. According to stories, the ethnic tribes of Davao who resided at the foot of Mt. Apo meet during a bountiful harvest in a ritual to thank the gods particularly to the “Manama” (the Supreme Being) by displaying various fruits, flowers, vegetables, rice and corn grains on mats as villagers give their respect and thanks for the year’s abundance.
The ritual is highlighted by singing, dancing and giving of offerings to their divine protectors.
Times have changed but the modern day Davaoeños continued the practice of thanksgiving or “pahinungod” is until it flourished and evolved into an annual festival of thanksgiving.
Since 1988, after City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte renamed the festival as “Kadayawan sa Dabaw” to celebrate the bountiful harvest of Davao’s flowers, fruits and other produce as well as the wealth of the city’s cultures, it has become a festival of festivals. The event is no longer celebrated by Davao City alone but several participants from other parts of the region come to join in the annual street dancing competition which finishes with a grand showdown at the Rizal Park.
Be at the next Kadayawan Festival in Davao to experience the rich cultural experience, the flash of colors, the jostling of thousands of people as they push for the best places to watch the parade. The celebration does not end with the Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan. The next day, come back for the Pamulak sa Kadayawan, a grand parade of floats made of the region’s colorful flowers.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly to Davao City from Manila (less than two hours) and from other major airports in the country including Butuan, Clark, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Dipolog, Iloilo, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Zamboanga and even Singapore.
Getting around by taxi is easy and cheap once you get to Davao City. You can hail a taxi at the arrival area or you can take other means of transportation like the jeep which is the most convenient and cheapest way to travel around the city, car rental, or buses. Hotel pickups can also be arranged. Check here for more information on getting around Davao.