Home / Festivals / What’s so interesting about the Kadayawan Festival?


There’s lots and lots and lots of interesting things about the Kadayawan festival. First is the name of the festival itself, KADAYAWAN. Even by hearing the word, it’s already interesting, isn’t it?

What more interesting is the meaning of the word. Kadayawan is derived from the word Madayaw, which means something positive or something great, something good, kind, virtuous, righteous, moral, nice, beautiful, magnificent, astonishing, amazing, incredible, exceptional, excellent, pretty, handsome, sexy, delicious, malasugicious, boombasticalicius, and all of other positive adjectives in the history of mankind.

Second is the festival itself that celebrates through street dancing on costumes, flower parades, playing games, singing, jumping, cheering, clapping, drinking, eating, cavorting, flirting, wooing, and lots and lots of human activities that concern happiness and enjoyment.

Then the people. If you visit the Kadayawan Festival 2011 in Davao, you will see lots and lots of people witnessing the festival; my estimation is about 500,000. I’m not so sure because I haven’t counted them. But it is sure to be fun because Dabawenyos are really warm people and very, very beautiful people. And imagine there are really 500,000 of them. I know they are also ugly people, probably also amounted to 500,000, but as far as my humble eyes are concerned, well, the majority are beautiful. Really. I’m not kidding. Promise.

Next is the exhibition of the original products of Davao, its tourism and some island souvenirs. You can also find some brochures and lots and lots of promotional stuffs about Samal Island. In addition, exotic flowering plants are also being displayed during the festival, including some strange-looking plants that look like of those from planet mars.

What else? Oh. The important thing. The history of Davao. You got to know the Davao history otherwise you’ll never understand the festival. You’ll never understand why people are dancing, cheering, drinking, smoking, eating, etc. if you don’t read and ponder the Davao history. If you want to read a very valuable literature about the Davao history you can check out this page: Davao History. Or if you’re too lazy to click that link, here is what you should read:

“The name Davao was derived from a combination of words spoken by three Bagobo groups with reference to naming the Davao River and in regard with calling a land that is above grounds. The Bagobo group Obos call the Davao river Davoh, while the Clattas call it Davau or Duhwow , Tagabawa Bagobos call it Dabu. The word Duhwow also means a trade where settlers exchange their goods with salt and other basic commodities.

There never was a Spanish influence in Davao City up until 1848, when Don Jose Uyanguren came to the city to institute a Christian community in the mangrove swamps area, which is now called the Bolton Riverside.

In 1900 when the American forces came to the city, farm lands developed, as well as the communication and transportation. In 1903 a Japanese businessman named Kichisaburo was authorized to use vast areas in the city to turn into coconut and abaca plantations. This then the settlers, people from different parts of the country, learned livelihood such as the cultivation techniques taught by the Japanese. Davao then became more and more developed as years went by.

In October 16, 1936, the province of Davao was inaugurated by President Manuel Quezon as a chartered city. In 1941, Davao was occupied by the Japanese soldiers during World War II, but was then recovered by American and Philippine Commonwealth forces in 1945.

1967 was the time when the province of Davao subdivided into 3 different provinces: Davao Del Sur, Davao del Norte, and Davao Oriental. Davao became the regional capital of the Southern Mindanao in 1970’s and the Davao Regions’ regional capital.

With this colorful history, Davao is now one of the numerous cities in the country that are not dependent of any province. Today, Davao city is the tourism and business hub in the whole Southern Philippines.”

What’s more interesting than that? So there you go. These are the interesting things about the Kadayawan Festival! Happy Kadayawan Festival to all! Kamadayaway Kadi! 🙂

[Image Credit: Rhonson Ng]


About the author: Nonoy


A former musician who branched out his interest in creative writing and the World Wide Web.

He writes fiction on his spare time.



  1. I wish I could experience the thrill of “Kadayawan Festival”… I really aim to pay a visit to Davao

  2. I should pay Davao a visit when I’m going to visit the Philippines again 🙂

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