Home to the country’s highest peak, Mt. Apo; its national bird, the Philippine Eagle; and the best durian in the archipelago, Davao possesses a gamut of beauty and bounty that takes center stage on the third week of August every year.
Kadayawan pays tribute to these blessings and then some. A harvest festival and a thanksgiving tradition, the week-long celebration is named after the Davaoeño greeting, “madayaw,” which — with its root word, “dayaw” — wishes upon its recipients joy, bounty, beauty, and all things good in life.
There’s a surprising amount of athletic activity – skimboarding contests, kayak racing, windsurfing, and diving courses – held side by side with more traditional festival fare. Every day there are any number of singing, dancing, and fashion bonanzas to indulge in, not to mention exhibits that educate tourists on what Davao has to offer — and what it has contributed to — Filipino culture at large.
Local indigenous heritage takes center stage during Kadayawan. Ethnic groups hold their own spin-off festivals and figure prominently in the celebrations at the heart of the city, where they flaunt their tribal regalia at parades that hundreds come to see. The week culminates with “Halad,” a floral float parade, countless street and dance parties, food and trade fairs, a marching band, and a concert to cap off a week of Davaoeño culture at its finest.
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For other festivals that celebrate a bountiful harvest, visit the Panagbenga Festival, also in the Philippines; Brunei’s Fruit Festival; Cambodia’s Paddy Art Festival; and Malaysia’s Sabah Fest. For other festivals in the month of August, visit Brunei’s celebration of the Sultan’s Birthday, Indonesia’s Jember Fashion Carnival and Malaysia’s Merdeka Day Celebrations.