The Kadayawan is an annual festival in Davao City, Philippines. Its name derives from the friendly Dabawenyo greeting “Madayaw”, meaning good, valuable, superior or beautiful. It is a celebration of life, a thanksgiving for the nature’s gifts, the wealth of culture, the bounties of harvest and serenity of living.
The Kadayawan Festival of Davao started in the year 1986 as a group of tribal festivals put together to showcase the thanksgiving rituals of the indigenous tribes of Mindanao.
Mindanao, the southern region of the Philippines, is home to indigenous peoples collectively called the Lumad. What makes the Kadayawan a unique festival is that it pays tribute to the lumad, which is a collective group of indigenous people living in the city.
At one time, the festival’s theme was “Ten Tribes, One Vibe.” But it was found out there were actually 11 tribes living in the city: Ata, Bagobo-Klata, Bagobo-Tagabawa, Iranun, Kagan, Maguindanaon, Maranao, Matigsalog, Ovu Manubo, Sama, and Tausug.
Today, it has evolved into a week-long colorful and energetic celebration of life and bountiful harvests.
History of the Kadayawan Festival
In the 1970s, then-Mayor Elias B. Lopez, encouraged the Davao ethnic tribes to showcase their thanksgiving rituals. In 1986, the Davao City government launched a project that aimed to unite the people during the turbulent times of the Martial Law.
That time, the festival was originally called Apo Duwaling, named after three natural wonders you can find the region: Mt. Apo, Durian, and the Waling-waling.
It was officially renamed as the Kadayawan Festival in 1988 by then-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Every 3rd week of August each year, thousands of tourists in Davao wear a Kadayawan costume to join and experience the Kadayawan street party, feast on the best Davao delicacies, and enjoy the Floral Float Parade, among other equally entertaining events. It’s no wonder that Kadayawan has come to be known as the king of Philippine festivals.
From street dancing and a floral parade to trade fairs, the Kadayawan festival is a whirlwind of activity and colors, honoring Davao city’s historical, cultural and artistic heritage.
Experience a unique local experience that you will never forget. Learn why Dabawenyos celebrate it, when is it usually held, and get some travel tips on how to best enjoy this festival.
Top Reasons Why You Should Go To Davao City
Need a good reason to see and experience the Kadayawan Festival in Davao City?
Since the festival is a thanksgiving for bountiful harvests, you’re going to see a wide variety of fruits like durian, marang, mangosteen, lanzones, and more from all over the Davao Region displayed everywhere in Davao City during this festive week-long event. And, best part is, these fruits are sold quite cheaply compared to other months.
Why not go on a shopping spree in Davao during the Kadayawan Festival? Expect to see stores, malls and street vendors offering bargained deals for a range of items. Just don’t forget to buy “pasalubongs” like durian bars, durian pies, and everything durian or souvenirs from the Aldevinco Shopping Center for your family and friends back home.
Trust us, the Kadayawan Festival will leave you exhilarated in so many different ways. Join the biggest and most vibrant party in Davao!
Things to Do in Davao During the Kadayawan Festival
- Enjoy the best food of Davao
- Shop for souvenirs
- Get a street massage in the Roxas Night Market
- Go to Samal Island for a Day Tour
- Travel to top tourist attractions in Davao City
Don’t miss out on experiencing the fun activities and make sure to check out as many tourist spots and events as you can during your stay.