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From 1985 to Now: The History of Kadayawan Festival

From 1985 to Now: The History of Kadayawan Festival

August 2022 marks the 37th year of Kadayawan Festivities. However, Kadayawan Festival has gone through numerous changes before it became known as the festival we know today.

Photo Credits | Facebook: Kadayawan sa Davao

From 1985 to Now: The History of Kadayawan Festival

During Elias B Lopez’s term as Davao City Mayor in the 1970s, he encouraged the indigenous and Muslim groups within Davao to celebrate their thanksgiving rituals.

Apo Duwaling

Photo Credits | Facebook: Kadayawan sa Davao

All these festivities were combined into one during Zafiro Respicio’s term as Davao City Mayor in 1986. Then known as Apo Duwaling Festival, named after three things that Davao is known for: Mt. Apo, the durian fruit, and the waling-waling flower.

Back then, it was just a week-long event held every last week of September. The first day starts with a fair and waling-waling contest. Then, a bicycle race and different parlor races. In the evening, they end the day with the folk song and dance contest as well as the selection of the festival queen.

A parade and a battle of the bands are held on the second day. They also hold a fruit contest and showcasing of local and international cuisines and delicacies. The rest of the day and the first half of the third day is dedicated to the Lumad and their tribal activities. Finally, the festivities end with a horse fight.

Kadayawan Festival

Photo Credits | Facebook: Kadayawan sa Davao

Finally, during Rodrigo Duterte’s term as Davao City Mayor, he signed Executive Order No. 10 on 1995 May 11. Kadayawan was declared as an annual festival to be celebrated during the month of August with the third week set as a holiday. What started as Apo Duwaling became known as Kadayawan Festival from the Mandaya word “madayaw” which means treasured or valuable.

Since then, the festival has become more than parlor races and horse fighting. Extravagant and dramatic parades, exhibits, and competitions featuring the Lumad and Moro tribes gain more of the spotlight. In 2018, they introduced 3D Mapping at the City Hall of Davao. Now, the Kadayawan Festival holds month-long events for people from all over the world, the country and Mindanao to join and witness.

Kadayawan during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020 to 2021)

Photo Credits | Facebook: Kadayawan sa Davao

Kadayawan was first celebrated online in 2020 for less than two weeks from August 17 to August 24. During this period, they made use of social media and online sites like Facebook and Tiktok for people to watch and/or still be able to join the festivities. They also featured highlights of past competitions, parades, and exhibits. The last day was then dedicated to honoring the front liners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The pandemic restrictions eased the following year. While the performers and participants of the events get to perform on-stage with face masks and face shields on, the audience gets to watch only from live streams on Kadayawan sa Davao’s Facebook page from August 20 to August 22.

37th year of Kadayawan sa Davao

Photo Credits | Facebook: Kadayawan sa Davao

This year, 2022, is the first time since the start of the pandemic that celebrations are back in full swing. They still kept the live streaming and documentation of each event. However, this time people from all over the world could witness the events in person and join in the festivities as long as they wore a face mask.

Look forward to next year’s bigger and better Kadayawan Festival! Follow Kadayawan sa Davao on Facebook for more information and updates.

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