Ten Tribes, One Vibe

In the Southern portion of the Philippine island of Mindanao where the country’s highest peak of 2,954 meters is situated, the home of the Philippine Eagle, the king of all fruits – Durian, and the famous People’s Park acknowledged for its original sculptures is the Land of Promise, Davao City. In this first class city in the island of Mindanao resides the “King of Festivals,” also known as the Kadayawan festival of the Davaoeños. It is celebrated every third week in the month of August, a thanksgiving celebration for the blessings and abundance of the city throughout the year


In the 2011 and 2012 Kadayawan festival, the theme “Ten Tribes, One Vibe” was used to highlight the ten different existing ethnic tribes of the city. To be specific, these are the tribes of Ata, Matigsalug, Ovu-Manuvo, Klata-Djangan, Tagabawa, Tausug, Maguindanao, Maranao, Sama, and Kagan. Though diverse, one best entity of these Davao tribes is that they believe they are one and the same. Long ago, it was said that the tribes especially those residing at the foot of Mt. Apo (the country’s highest peak) would gather during a bountiful harvest and perform a ritual with dances and songs that would serve as their thanksgiving to their gods whom they believe to have given them the abundance. This practice was then passed on from generations to generations. Even though times have changed and the city became modernized in time, this folklore of thanks retained by the modern Davaoeños, the descendants of the ten different tribes, by gathering for a celebration every third week of August. It was scheduled in August because it is the season of harvest for Davao’s city fruit, the Durian. In this season of the year, the whole town is in a fun-loving mood through street dancing, heart-pounding band beats and marches of different groups along the streets. Thus, Kadayawan Festival is quoted to be “a glee of blessings intended for the abundances of nature, the productivity of culture, the favor of magnanimous harvest and the serenity of living.”


With this annual practice of acknowledgment, Davaoeños believe that the gods (or for most, it’s God) continue to give more abundance, the main reason why they should keep the tradition. With the most appropriate way of governing the people, Davao City has improved to fifth in the ranking of the recorded safest Cities in the World, has maintained peace and order, succeeded in rationalizing public service and has attained numerous landmark legislations. A place of the ten tribes, having one vibe which one would surely love to spend the rest of his life. Davao, Life is here!