The Colors of 'Dayaw'

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

MORE than four hundred Indigenous Peoples (IPs) from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao braved the scorching heat of the sun to celebrate the richness of culture and colorful tradition in an exciting celebration of "Dayaw" Festival.

The three-day festival held last October 6-10, 2001 at the spacious and green Energy Park of Tagum City in Davao del Norte provided the venue for the IPs to discuss their rights, allowed cultural exchanges that will foster deeper cultural understanding and gave the visitors, especially the students, the opportunity to deepen their awareness and appreciation of indigenous cultures.

"Dayaw was a fitting word for the IP festival as it generally means good," said Commissioner Joyce Alegre of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCAA) who was also the festival director.


This year's theme "Paghahabi ng Ating Pagkakatulad Tungo sa Kapayapaan" (Interweaving Our Commonalities towards Peace) tried to find some common grounds where the IPs can be united despite the differences in language, beliefs and customs to achieve peace and development.

According to NCAA, there are more than 40 IP clusters in the Philippines. In Luzon are the Iloko/Bago, Bolinao/Pangasinense, Gaddang/Isinay, Bugkalot, Ibanag/Yogad/Itawit/Malaweg, Ivatan/Itbayat, Ayta of Tarlac, Pampanga, Bataan and Zambales, Kapampangan/Tagalod/Sambal, Kasiguranin, Tinggian/Itneg, Kalinga, Kalanguya/Ifugao, Ibaloy/Kankanaey, Balangao/Bonto/Applai and Isnag.

In South Luzon and Visayas are the Palawani/Molbog, Jama Mapun, Mangyan, Tagbanua/Palawan/Agutaynen/Cuyunon, Batak, Agta/Ita/Kabihug, Bicolano, Ati of Guimaras/ Iloilo, Ati of Antique/Aklan, Ati of Negros Occidental, Sulod/Bukidnon, Ilonggo/Hiligaynon/ Kinaray-a/Aklanon and Abaknon/Waray.
While in Mindanao and Sulu are the Yakan/Sama-Bangingi, Subanen/Kolibungan, Manobo, Bukidnon/Higaonon/Talaandig/Matigsalug, Bagobo, Mandaya/Mansaka/Dibabawon, Manguangan, Kalagan/Tagakaolo/Mansaka/Kagan, T'boli, B'laan/Sangir, Mamanwa, Kamayo/ Banwaon/Manobo/Higaonon, Maranao/Maguindanao/Iranon, Teduray/Arumanen, Sama and Tausug.

During the festival, these diversified groups were unified through arts and crafts, rituals and performing arts, cuisines, sports and dialogues. Their vibrant and splendid outfit and accessories was an attraction to many as they danced, sang, and mingled with each other.

Exposition halls were also built for weaving textiles and garb, mats, baskets and bamboo exhibit; musical instruments and Indonesia gamelan; traditional culinary and food presentation, Moro peoples traditional arts that include carvings, metal craft and ritual implements; traditional kitchen and traditional games.

In these exhibit areas, one would be glad to know the incredible way of life of the lumads, which is still passionately being practiced and preserved by the present generation.

With its huge success, Dayaw was indeed more than good. It was a momentous event, not only for the City of Tagum, now the center for cultural affairs in Mindanao, who took the lead in the preparation, but for everyone who gave their commitment to continually support the IPs.

For comments and suggestions, pls. email me at

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 19, 2011.


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