The Colorful Kadayawan Festival of Davao City

The Colorful Kadayawan Festival of Davao City by

Kadayawan Festival is an annual celebration in the City of Davao. Every third (3rd) week of August, the Davaoeños celebrates life, give thanksgiving for the gifts of nature, the wealth of culture, and the bounties of the year’s harvest. This festival focuses on the mix of Davao and Mindanao’s indigenous communities as well as its migrant settlers which make up the rich cultural heritage of this island.


It was said that, long time ago, Davao’s ethnic tribes residing at the foot of Mount Apo would converge during a bountiful harvest to perform a ritual that serves as their thanksgiving to the gods particularly to the “Manama” (the Supreme Being). In this ritual, various farming implements, fruits, flowers, vegetables, rice and corn grains were displayed on mats as villagers give their respect and thanks for the year’s abundance. The ethnic tribes would sing, dance and give offerings to their divine protectors. With modern times these rituals have changed but this practice of thanksgiving or “pahinungod” is still very much practiced by modern day Davaoeños.

In the 1970’s, Mayor Elias B. Lopez, a Bagobo, initiated tribal festivals featuring the Lumad and the Muslim tribes of Davao City where they showcase their dances and rituals of thanksgiving.

Later in 1986, a program called “Unlad Proyekto Davao” was initiated by the government which was aimed to unite the Dabawenyos after the turbulent Martial Law era. At that time, the festival was called “Apo Duwaling,” a name created from the famous icons of Davao: Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak; Durian, the king of fruits; and Waling-waling, the queen of orchids. “Apo Duwaling” was meant to showcase the city as a peaceful destination to visit and to do business after 1986 EDSA Revolution.

It was in 1988 when 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. To this day, the festival continues to honor the city’s richness and diverse artistic, cultural and historical heritage in a grand celebration of thanksgiving for all of Davao City’s blessings.


Today, Kadayawan is known as one of the must-go -to festival in the country. It has transformed into a festival of festivals, with a number of spin-off festivals in the region. It honors Davao’s artistic, cultural and historical heritage, and its past is personified by the ancestral Lumad people, its people celebrating in the streets, and a parade showcasing its booming floral industry in full regalia for the blessings granted on the city.


  1. HUDYAKAAN SA KADAYAWAN · A 3- week long food and beverage market within Rizal Park that offers local cuisines to tourists and guests every night.
  2. OPENING CEREMONIES · An ecumenical ceremony in thanksgiving for a year of blessing and bounty. This also marks the start of the Kadayawan activities.
  3. ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS · Environmental projects will be done in thanksgiving to the goodness of nature.
  4. LUMADNONG GAMA · A showcase of indigenous people’s artifacts, wares, products and cuisines.
  5. DAYAW MARKET · A two- week market showcasing Davao’s products. These products are homegrown, some in organic farms and are also environmentally friendly.
  6. LUMADNONG BANTAWAN · Tribal performances in different locations of the downtown area filled with music and dancing will be brought for public viewing, courtesy of the city’s ten tribes.
  7. TUNOG MINDANAW · A music competition bringing together different Mindanaoan musicians and composers.
  8. HIYAS SA KADAYAWAN · A contest to find the Festival Gem of Davao, the Hiyas sa Kadayawan will be participated in by the members of the ten indigenous tribes of the city.
  9. IP GRAND PERFORMANCE · The Indigenous People’s Performance is a grand show of the culture and practices and way of living of the ten indigenous tribes.
  10. INDAK – INDAK SA KADALANAN · A street dancing competition along Davao’s major thoroughfares will culminate in a grand showdown in the Rizal Park area.
  11. PAHALIPAY CONCERT · The Pahalipay Concerts will feature various local and national artists in different barangays in the city.
  12. PAMULAK SA KADAYAWAN · A grand parade of floral floats from competing and non competing entries will be staged at the city’s major thoroughfares.

Kadayawan Festival is a celebration that interfaces the three aspects: tribal; industrial and; arts and entertainment which is shown in highlights of the festival, and in its activities.

VIDEO SOURCE: ArtBoncato on Vimeo