IN PHOTOS: Davao City's rich culture, as told through the Kadayawan Village

The village showcases the history of Davao's tribes

Manman Dejeto

Published: 10:07 AM August 18, 2018

Updated: 8:07 AM August 18, 2018

KADAYAWAN VILLAGE. Ata tribe members warmly welcome Kadayawan Village visitors and have regular performances of their dances. All photos by Manman Dejeto/Rappler

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A peek into a city’s culture is an enriching experience for any visitor – the soul of the city is bared through its people and culture.

As a city with a vast land area of 2,444 square kilometers, it is no wonder that a multitude of cultures and peoples are in Davao City.

Five Lumad (Bagobo-Klata, Ata, Obu-Manuvu, Matigsalug, and Bagobo-Tagabawa) and 6 Moro (Sama, Maranao, Kagan, Iranun, Maguindanaon, and Taosug) tribes are the original inhabitants of Davao City. Multiculturalism runs deep in Davao City’s history – it echoes in its tag line “Life is Here.”

Obu-Manuvu women, shown here using also bamboo, prepare a meal outside their tribal house.

Visitors to Davao City can experience its rich culture starting with the Kadayawan Village, an area inside the Magsaysay Park shared by the city’s recognized tribes.

Each of the 11 tribes has its own tribal house and has in full display their musical instruments, colorful attires and trinkets, even harvests from their own farms.

Visitors are given a glimpse of their traditional dances and can even try on their traditional attires or try delicacies from the different tribes. Tribal members warmly welcome guests to go inside their houses and freely answer questions for those who wish to know more about indigenous practices.

The tribal house of the Ata tribe has walls made from tree bark and stairs carved from a single piece of log.

For Quido Lerio, from the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe, “Sa amoang tribo nagpasalamat mi sa gobyerno kay naa gyuy programa nga ingon ani, nga  mashowcase ug mapakita kung unsa among kultura, unsa among panginabuhi sa bukid, ug unsa ang among mga naandan (Our tribe is thankful to the government for having a program like this where we can show our culture, our livelihood in the countryside, and our way of life).”

He says that the Kadayawan Village not only shows their indigenous practices but also a reminder for Lumads like him that may have forgotten their roots. 

The Maranao tribal house, traditionally called 'torogan', is made out of thick hardwood and features intricate carving patterns called the 'okir'.

Plans are being laid out to make a bigger Kadayawan Village – one that will feature not just a single house but hopefully a full community per tribe. –