May 26, 2024


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The Origins of the Kadayawan Festival

The Philippines is a country that values its history. As many traditions have molded its people’s culture and points of view, Filipinos are still dwelling on old customs and are still evident in their lives today. Among these followed traditions are the festivals in honor of the higher beings old-age Filipinos believed to be the givers of their fortune. As a country that overflows with numerous celebrations, who could forget Davao’s Kadayawan Festival?

Dubbed as one of the country’s most spectacular festivals, the Kadayawan Festival is celebrated during the whole month of August in time for the harvest of Davao’s prized fruits. With grand parades, cultural programs and exhibits and various sporting events, this month long event is an absolute sight to see.


The first Kadayawan Festival can be recorded back in the 70s when former mayor Elias Lopez initiated various festivals that featured Mindanao’s tribes specifically the Lumads and the Muslim community. Most of these festivals featured the tribal dances and rituals of the said natives.

Originally, the tradition of the Kadayawan Festival was derived from the rituals of the ancient tribes of Davao that resided on the foot of Mt. Apo. The purpose of the ritual was to thank their superior being for the bountiful harvest. Because of this, they offer their first harvest with dance rituals in thanksgiving especially to their god “Manama”.

It was in the 80s where the festival was accredited does making it an annual celebration for Davao City’s culture and history. It was then named as “Apo Duwaling”, where words were derived from Davao’s natural icons, the Mt. Apo, Durian and the Waling-Waling orchid. The celebration was initiated in time after the Martial Law where Davao’s government was looking for ways to showcase the city as a peaceful and progressing city. Finally in 1988, the festival was renamed as “Kadayawan sa Dabaw” in 1988 by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and remained that way ever since.

Kadayawan Festival Today

Every year, Davao prepares for a grand celebration that involves parades also known as the Indak Indak sa Kadalanan, bazaars, fairs and cultural events. Many tourists, media men and professional photographers head to Davao during August to witness an event as such.

For foreign and first-time tourists, it’s advisable to hire a Davao tour package on one of the city’s traveling agencies. For a well-planned itinerary that will definitely present Davao in its best form, traveling in Davao is truly one of a kind.