A peek into the tribes

DISCOVERING the multi-cultural history of the city has been one of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s encouragement to everyone, from the local residents to tourists, on how they should give the Kadayawan Festival a deeper understanding.

The Kadayawan Village, a cultural park that has been opened to the public for three years in a row, is one of the most sought destinations of during the annual festival.

Setting aside the tourism influx, discovering the 11 tribe’s unique and valuable rich culture and history through visual representation of their own tribal houses would mean understanding and appreciation to these tribes that carried out the true blood of a Dabawenyo.

Within the area, accessories and products are also available within the area.

To give you a starter, here are some of the tribal houses you should explore once you reach you reach the village.

Some reminders though before you head off to the Kadayawan Village: be at your best behavior, ask permission before entering the houses, respect customary laws, and buy some items sold in the houses as a form of gratitude and appreciation. Have fun!


Ata’s, are known to be “dwellers in highlands”. Their houses are made of round timber, and are elevated to prevent attacks in times of pangayaw or clan wars.


Bagobo Klata’s heritage house is purely made of bamboo materials, a distinct feature apart from other houses. Their kitchen serves as a main attraction for guests, wherein they are served with their special food and refreshments.


Guest who step into Tagabawa’s houses would notice its sturdy built and foundation as it is made of round timber and bamboo. Noticeably, Tagabawa houses do not have any room.


Their houses, made up of bamboo and other lumbers, are mostly situated at the hinterlands near the rivers. Often times, they are also on the forks of trees.


The Ovu-Manuvos’s traditional homes are mostly made with round timbers, bamboo, mahogany, gemilina, and ipil-ipil, and cogon. They have a special area for a fireplace, which serves as a place wherein they cook their food, and a place to light them up and keep them warm.


Iranun’s tradional house serves as a visual representation of the royal house of the Sultans. One unique feature from among other houses is an underground tunnel and foxholes that serves as a hiding and escaping area for the sultan and family in times of war. Another unique feature is a two path in frontyard and backyard, symbolizing that everyone is welcome in the palace.


The traditional house of the Kagan tribe are 100-percent made of bamboo. But in the ancient times, they use other woods such as lumber, and rattan. The exterior houses have icons and patterns carved by burning a portion of the wood, symbolizing royalty.


The inaul fabrics that dressed the exterior traditional houses, with emblem colors green, red, and yellow, which symbolizes peace, strength, and royalty respectively, represents the identity of the Datu of the Maguindanaon people. Their houses are made of lauan, coco lumber, nipa, and bamboo.


The traditional Maranao residence replicates the ancestral houses of the elites. Torogan, a large area with no barriers, serves as a venue for big occasions. A torogan was a symbol of high social status. Such a residence was once a home to a sultan or Datu in the Maranao community.


Most for Sama tribes built their houses in the coastal shallows. Their houses are made up of bamboo and nipa, with curtains that serve as dividers. In the cultural village, their house is painted in yellow, red, and green, which according to the residents, would also serves as a distress call for fishermen (most of them rely on fishing as a source of livelihood) who would encounter emergency situations on the waters.


Bay sug, one of the houses of Tausug, is usually a one-room partitionless structure. Usually located on flatlands, the house is entered through a sala (porch). The porce serves as a welcoming area for visitors.


SunStar website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of the SunStar management and its affiliates. SunStar reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules:

Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!