If you like to party and you love fresh fruits – or like to party while eating fresh fruits – you should definitely join the fun at the Kadayawan Festival in Davao City, Philippines. Held in the third week of August every year, the festival coincides with the harvest season of local produce and the blooming of many of the region’s exotic flowers.
The streets of Davao come alive with colorful costumes, ethnic dances, and extravagant parades during this time and if you can stand the heat and the huge crowd of merrymakers, you will be treated to the time of your life in the so-called king of festivals.
The term kadayawan derives from from the Mandaya word “madayaw,” which signifies all things good, beautiful, superior, valuable, or profitable. “Madayaw” is also a warm and friendly greeting that you are wont to hear everywhere as you make your way around the city to participate in the festivities.
Kadayawan Festival celebrates the artistic, cultural, and historical heritage of the Davaoeños. Visitors from local and abroad gather together to mark this event and at the same time, get a taste of the region’s luscious fruits and harvests.
The festival is free for everyone. All you need to bring is yourself, your camera, some cash, and an umbrella to help you survive the heat. Also, bring plenty of smiles to return those you are sure to receive from the hospitable locals.
People around the world have been holding thanksgiving rituals in celebration of bountiful harvests since ancient times and the people of Davao City do it like no other. You’ll never see a grander and more heartfelf celebration of thanksgiving and maybe it is for this reason that the gods have always favored the Davaoeños with rich and bountiful harvest seasons.
So what can you expect to see in the Kadayawan Festival? Filipinos love to sing and if you do too, you are in for an eargasmic treat at the Concert of 200 Voices, Tugtog World Music Festival, Indigenous Music Festival, and the Parade Band Competition. Just make sure to bring an open mind because you are not likely to hear the latest in the Billboard Charts in the said events – although it will be hard not to appreciate the richness of local music and talent.
For the party animal in you, the Indak Indak sa Kadalanan (Whole Day Street Dancing) is one of the most anticipated events in the festival. Ethnic groups from the Mindanao region showcase their respective dances and traditional garb, their bodies moving to the beat of the drums. The parade is an endless treat for the senses with all its vibrant sights and sounds so let us hope you do not forget to bring your camera. Tourists may also witness the Mindanao Indigenous Dance Festival and party with the locals at the Yanog ug Yugyugan sa Kadalanan (Street Disco).
In case you miss them, do not lose heart because Kadayawan Festival has many other exciting activities in store including a fashion show, a beauty pageant (Hiyas ng Kadayawan), the Davao River Festival, and the other main highlight of the festival: the Floral Float Parade (Pamulak sa Kadalanan). Floats richly decked with colorful tapestries and exotic flowers including waling-waling (“the queen of all orchids”), cattleyas, and anthuriums will take your breath away.
Warning: Do not be surprised, and by no means be alarmed, if the group of girls beside you start screaming like madwomen. It’s probably just because their favorite celebrities just passed by, smiling and waving as they ride on floats sponsored by two of the country’s biggest television networks. The Philippines being basically a “starstruck” nation, you should expect a thick crowd for it is not everyday that these young actors and actresses are seen in the province.