CONTINUING on the issue of Kadayawan, does anyone know about its history and context?
It may come as a surprise that Kadayawan is not an original from Davao. It traces its roots to a festival in Kidapawan called Kalibongan organized by the Ubo Manobo group called Mindahila (Mindanao Highlanders Association) in the early 1970s.
The festival stalled because martial law hampered visitors to come. Hence, the tribal leader Datu Joseph Sibug introduced this to Davao City post Edsa.
The festival was first called Apo Duwaling, to highlight the three popular symbols of Davao -- Mount Apo, durian and waling-waling. The name was later changed in 1988 by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte into Kadayawan.
These facts were presented during a forum way back in 2016 in Ateneo de Davao University on the significance of this celebration to the city. The details of this forum was narrated in an article of Davao Today.
Because the City Government said this festival must remind Dabawenyos of the culture and tradition of the indigenous, this 2016 forum offers a deep glimpse into how the indigenous people live, and fought for their land and their identity.
Much of the history of Davao is about the struggle to protect the land. The premiere historian of Davao is Professor Macario Tiu, PhD, from Ateneo de Davao, who recorded two significant phase of the indigenous struggles against colonialism.
The first was the resistance waged by Datu Bago to block Spanish colonists and traders into the place in the mid-1800s. It was in 1835 that a Spanish conqueror, Jose Oyanguren, and clashed with the Davao chieftain. Davao was given the name Tagalook by the conquerors.
Interestingly, Oyanguren was the name given to a major street occupied by Fil-Chinese traders. Not a single street is named after Bago. But Mayor Elias Lopez, of Bagobo lineage, institutionalized the Datu Bago Awards since 1969 to outstanding Davao-based citizens who contributed to the development of the city.
Another phase of resistance came during the early 1900s. Tiu noted that during 1901-07, Davao was the “most Americanized” place next to Manila. Americans grabbed the land from the Lumad, and built plantations from coconut to hemp in the place called “the garden of the gods.”
Knowing this piece of history should make us understand that these issues are still happening much around, and most especially to the ancestral lands of both the Lumad and the Moro people.
This helps us understand that to this day, the Lumad and Moro people are fierce to defend their land and culture from the threats of militarization, mining, utility projects and plantations. This may be diluted by the commercialized aspect of Kadayawan culture, but knowing this history enriches us about the values they fought for.