Brass gongs and horsehide drums will again burst into ethnic rhythm in Davao’s streets in this most awaited season of the Kadayawan. Dubbed as the king of all Mindanao festivals, the Kadayawan festival is held every August to perpetuate the ancient thanksgiving ritual of the lumads–the ethnic tribes of Davao. The official Kadayawan website recounts that in antiquity, Davao’s ethnic tribes residing at the foot of Mount Apo would converge during a bountiful harvest to manifest their gratitude to the gods, particularly to the “Manama” (the Supreme Being), giving them respect and thanks for the year’s abundance. In this ancient practice, the lumads would display various farming implements, fruits, flowers, vegetables, rice and corn grains, engage in singing and dancing, and give offerings to their divine protectors.
This year’s festivities will be held on the week beginning August 16 and ending August 22, and is called “K10“, a voguish contraction for “Kadayawan 2010.” In spite of the festival’s August 16-22 official time-frame, various shows and events have been scheduled since the beginning of August. I will not list down all of these events here because the Kadayawan website pretty much does that for all of us.
My favorite events occur during the official Kadayawan week and have something in common–they are all celebrated in the streets of Davao City. Among them is Hudyakaan, from August 16 to 22, which offers everyone on-the-street food and live band entertainment at Bolton St., right in the middle of the city and a few paces from the City Hall, the Sanggunian, and San Pedro Cathedral. Another favorite is the Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan, on August 21, where youths and tribes folks trail the city’s streets donned in colorful ethnic costumes to regale the street crowd with a parade of tribal dances and music. Of course, there is the Pamulak: Floral Float Parade, on August 22, which serves as the festival’s glorious finale and showcases the abundance of Davao City and neighboring areas through a parade of colorful and artistic floats covered in flowers and fruits.
There are few things other than the Kadayawan that push me to take to Davao City’s streets despite the searing heat or mounting rains. For sure, the Kadayawan festival provides me the rare opportunity to traverse the city’s streets on foot and with a lot of fun while at it. But the prospect of walking during the festivities can be met with, uhm, the usual concerns. Here are some tips to enjoy the Kadayawan street events without the “ouch” or “haay,” but (hopefully) with an “ooh” and “wow!”
1. Clothing. Wear comfortable clothes. Wearing a top made of light fabric is recommended especially during the day, when the Indak-indak street dance parade and the floral parade are held.
2. Footwear. Wear rubber, breathable shoes, sandals or slippers. Closed, leather shoes and heels are a no-no, otherwise you could develop sore and swollen feet.
3. Bring an umbrella and use it wisely. What do they say about Filipinos using umbrellas even when it’s not raining? Well, you should bring one for the unlucky eventuality of a downpour. However, you may also use it under the sun–but not all the time. When you’re out to see the Indak-indak or the Pamulak floral float parade and you’re in the street with all the other festival goers, a little sensitivity can go a long way. Allow everyone the opportunity to see the show without obstruction. Put yourself in their shoes; you wouldn’t like a multicolored umbrella in your face blocking your sight of colorful costumes and exciting dance moves of the delegates from, say, Bukidnon, would you?
4. Headgears. To have the benefits of the umbrella without obstructing the view of other festival goers, you may wear a hat or a cap. You can even add relevance by putting some feathers on them or decorating them with ethnic accents.
6. Cooling off. Apart from wearing light and comfortable clothing, bring bottled drinking water to keep yourself cool during hot weather. A can of cooling mist could also come in handy.
7. Parking. Don’t expect to be a part of the festivities in your car, unless you actually drive one of the vehicles used during the floral float parade. The streets used for the Indak-indak and the floral float parade are off-limits to motorists. Hence, you should park your car in a mall or along any of the streets where parking is allowed. I would usually park mine along Roxas Ave. near Ateneo de Davao. There’s a parade stop-over at Roxas Ave., so it’s a good place to park your car. My friends and I usually set off from there, following the parade to its conclusion at the Rizal Park on San Pedro St.
8. Pack light. Imagine walking the entire route of the parade, from say, CM Recto St. to Roxas Ave., then snaking through Davao City’s downtown all the way to San Pedro St.–a good 3 or 4 kilometers–on a hot day (or rainy day) with those “mobile home” bags (like the ones my sisters have where they pack everything from toiletries to a mini trash bin). The sheer weight of your baggage could easily take your attention away from the sights and sounds of the festival to your strained shoulder, perhaps. It is suggested that you bring only the essentials, such as bottled water, your wallet and mobile phone, toiletries, or an extra shirt. And never, never forget the camera!
9. Food and Refreshments. You can have food and refreshments at any of the delis or foodstalls you pass by along the parade route. You can head over to Selera along Legaspi street for great, reasonably priced food, or if you opt for pricier fare, troop to Lotus Court inside Marco Polo at the corner of Roxas Ave. and CM Recto St., or to Entree inside Apo View Hotel at the corner of Legaspi and Bonifacio Streets. Rizal St. also has a fabulous selection of upscale bistros and cafes. If you’re after the simple yet exciting, go to Bolton St. where the Hudyakaan event can be found, with its many food stalls providing food and refreshments and even live entertainment.
It might help to keep these tips in mind for a trouble-free Kadayawan experience in the streets. As for me, it’s the street events that keep me giddying up for this yearly festival, thrilled to experience yet again the street party atmosphere of the Hudyakaan, to witness the vibrant parade of dance and music of the Indak–indak sa Kadalanan, and to behold the burst of colorful flowers and fruits of the Pamulak floral float parade. True enough, hitting the streets on Kadayawan has been a yearly ritual that I, a modern day Davaoeño, has learned to love and come home for.
To those who, like me, plan to witness K10 in the streets, may you have a fun, safe and trouble-free Kadayawan experience!