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The term "Kadayawan" is derived from the Mandaya word “madayaw”, a warm and friendly greeting used to explain a thing that is valuable, superior, beautiful, good, or profitable.
Long time ago, Davao’s ethnic tribes residing at the foot of Mount Apo would converge during a bountiful harvest. This ritual serves as their thanksgiving to the gods particularly to the “Manama” (the Supreme Being).
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. Singing, dancing and offerings to their divine protectors are the highlights of this ritual.
Although times have changed, this practice of thanksgiving or “pahinungod” is still very much practiced by modern day Dabawenyos. This tradition flourished and evolved into an annual festival of thanksgiving.
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.
Finally in 1988, 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.
10 Tribes, 1 Vibe!
Davao City has ten indigenous tribes, the Ata, Matigsalug, Ovu-Manuvo, Klata-Djangan, Tagabawa, Tausog, Maguindanao, Maranao, Kagan, and Sama. Though diverse in cultures, traditions and beliefs, these tribes are very much connected by a common origin that binds them together as one and the same…an origin that traces to the very core of the history of Davao City.
And then there are the 10 reasons why Kadayawan is one of the most-visited and awaited festivals in the Philippines, if not the world.
10 KEYS OF KADAYAWAN SA DABAW
1. HARMONY IN DIVERSITY
As opposed to the rest of the Filipinos who have been colonized by the West, the people are indigenized in a way that they may come from different places with different ways but when they become residents of Davao, they adopt the multicultural and cosmopolitan way of life, embracing the diversity of the city.
2. STRONG GOVERNANCE
The local government of Davao City is recognized to be ahead than the national government in many ways – in crafting of landmark pieces of legislation; in pioneering innovations in local governance; in its strong political will in the implementation of policies and programs; in its high level of self-sufficiency; and in its pluralist and liberalist political climate that result in significant grassroots and civil society participation.
3. COMMUNITY SUPPORT
The success of socio-cultural and even political endeavors of the city has always been attributed to the wellspring of support by the different sectors, groups and institutions both from the private and government.
4. PEACE AND SECURITY
Davao City has one of the lowest crime rates in the world averaging at 0.8 in every 10,000 persons per month. The Davao City Police Office has consistently been chosen as the Best Police Office in the entire country. While the Davao City Peace and Order Council has been elevated to the Philippine Hall of Fame for consistently being the best in the country. The city, through the new administration does not adhere to violence to attain peace.
5. SUSTAINED ABUNDANCE
Davao City boasts of all year round abundance of flora and fauna as well as food, water, and livelihood. It’s tap water has been certified by the World Health Organization as one of the best in the world.
6. GENDER SENSITIVE
Davao City, is the birthplace of the first-ever Women Development Code in the country. Promoting gender equality, upholding women’s rights and recognizing them as full and equal partners of men in development and nation building, and equally sharing with men all forms of productive and reproductive activities.
7. DYNAMIC GEOGRAPHY
Davao City is blessed to be located in an absolutely typhoon-free geography, where it enjoys good weather all year round. From the highlands to the lowlands, Davao City is ideal for outdoor activities because of the stable weather condition.
8. HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Davao City adheres to a wholesome and healthy lifestyle for its residents and encourages its visitors to pursue the same. It pioneered the regulation of smoking in public places in the Philippines. It also has tough policies against dangerous drugs, violence against women and children, and environmental pollution. Leading the ban on aerial spraying of plantations and use of pyrotechnics.
9. EMERGENCY READY
The City is proud to be the only Asian city that has a FREE and integrated emergency response system similar to that of the United States and Canada – th Central 911. It is ready to respond to all kinds of emergency – medical, fire, police assistance, natural or man-made disasters. The Davao City Disaster Coordinating Council is also recognized as the best prepared disaster coordinatng council in the country.
10. OPTIMIZED RESOURCES, MAXIMUM VALUE
This refers to the meaningful celebration of Kadayawan 2011, the City Government along with its private partners have optimized the resources yet anticipates a maximum value in return. In K11 the high quality of celebration does not come at a high cost.