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Davao City grand Kadayawan Festival | Philippine News Agency


By Jun Ledesma

GO south, fly south! For the whole month of August starting from Day 1, Davao City celebrates Kadayawan Festival which will culminate in grand festivities on August 16 replete with activities that include an array of colorful tribal dances at their best performances and originality, fruits and floral parade which can only be seen in great abundance in Davao. All these up till August 31 and beyond.

Kadayawan sa Davao has in fact metamorphosed into Mindanao grand festival since the competition for the tribal street dancing has drawn entries from all nooks and corners in the region bringing together an exciting display of ethnic dances, sounds, costumes, cultural attires.

Weather had been kind to fruit growers this year. There will be great abundance in every street corner of Davao City. Consider this,  Durian, which smells like hell but taste like heaven, comes in so many varieties now so you can opt for what suit your taste. Mangosteen has flooded all fruit stands and peddled by ambulant street vendors. Pomelos and mangos, of course, are ever-present. Rambutan, marang, native lanzones, duco and longkong are likely available in just a walking distance from your hotel.

Do not worry about the price. The last time I was in Rockwell mangosteen sells at ₱600/ kilo. Yesterday, it was ₱45/kilo. Durian which cost ₱200/kilo offseason is down to ₱50. Marang is practically yours for the asking. Bananas, which is the prime agricultural export product of the region is commonplace so you don’t see this peddled except for exotic varieties.

Since you are in Davao City you might as well visit some tourists attractions. It will surprise newcomers to find that mountain and beach resorts are all within a 30-minute ride. Famous are Eden Nature Park which at an elevation of about 350 meters above sea level but you can go catch tilapia and hito using hook and line. The resort will cook these for you -- fried, broiled or pinaputok. You can buy organic veggies and other stuff there too. They have a sanctuary here which is about 35vkilometers from your hotel. On your way back ask your driver to stop by fruit stands. Vendors there will sell you fruits at a much-reduced price. The Island Garden City of Samal is 10 minutes by banca but if you opt for a ferry ride will take you a little longer. Plenty of resorts to go to. Famous are The Pearl Farm, Paradise Beach, and Club Samal.

Davao City today is abuzz with infrastructure activities the most important of these is the transfer of arial power and telecoms cables underground and replacements of old and small water pipes in anticipation for the additional bulk water supply in 2021. Expect some inconvenience in pedestrian walkways. There is a frenzy of construction of high-rise buildings in the urban center too. The city economy is nearly more than double that of the national average. We now have traffic problems but too far yet compared to metro Manila but Mayor Inday Sara is focused on solving that with the full implementation of her bus system that will banish the jeepneys. By next year, if the Land Transportation Franchising & Regulatory Board will not come in the way, 1,000 brand new buses will ply the city streets. Drivers of jeepneys will have the first crack at employment provided they pass the required TESDA refresher course and other basic requirements. There are several ongoing constructions of bypass roads that include a coastal boulevard.

Davao City is home to many indigenous tribes, Muslims and Christians from various places in the country that migrated here. Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s father, Vicente, who served as Governor of the undivided Davao province is from the Visayas but his mother, Soledad, is from Mindanao with Maranao blood. The paternal parent of Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go’s is from Batangas while that of Sen. Bato dela Rosa is from Cebu and Bohol. Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez parents are from Luzon. The present Appropriation Chairman of the Lower House, Rep. Isidro Ungab, is a Lumad, local term for indigenous peoples. Muslims and indigenous peoples have representations in the City Council in addition to having Deputy Mayors. Despite the diversities, Davao City has been recognized as the Most Livable City in the Philippines, Most Child-friendly, Most Competitive, in the top 10 countries in the world dubbed as most peacefull.

Davao is home to the most beautiful eagle in the world - the Philippine (monkey) eagle. It is also the natural habitat of the king of orchids -- Waling-Waling (Vanda sanderana). A German plant explorer, Karl Roebelen, ventured here decades ago and found this fascinating orchid in what could be swampy coastline in the foothills east of Mt. Apo since he used a raft to navigate the water. The story had it that night caught up with him so he tied a hammock in trees way above the water for fear of crocodiles and other beasts. Towards midnight a strong tremor happened and a huge orchid plant in full bloom was dislodged from a branch and landed right on his hammock. Roebillin shipped his find to London to a famous orchid collector Frederick Sander who commissioned him for the search and in whose name Waling-waling was named by a taxonomist.

There are other legends in Davao that one can write about but I have space limits. Besides many accounts had already been written about Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Welcome all! And Mabuhay ang 2019 Kadayawan Festival!



About the Columnist

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Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.