DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 2 Aug) – The tourism industry in Davao City has suffered a major blow after martial law was declared last May 23 but tourists are urged to participate in the month-long Kadayawan revelries, with Department of Tourism (DOT) 11 director Roberto Alabado III saying it is much safer now because of the tighter security plan in place.
“Go out into the streets to experience what is to be a lumad, what is to be a Muslim, what it is to be a Filipino,” Alabado said during 4th Turismo Café organized by the Davao Tourism Association (DATA) at the Marco Polo Davao Tuesday, Alabado said.
The tourism official said the Kadayawan Festival is part of the regional effort to showcase the culture and tradition of the city’s 11 recognized tribes – Bagobo-Kalata, Bagobo-tagabawa, Matigsalug, Ata Manobo, Ovu Manobo of the Lumad, Sama, Kagan, Maguindanao, Iranun, Maranao, and Tausug.
As one of the major festivals in the country, Alabado highlighted the importance of the Kadayawan because it is a display of the lumad culture preserved even after being under the rule of foreign powers.
“Visitors will be able to experience real culture because in some parts of the Philippines, they have been colonized by Spaniards for a few [centuries]. When Filipinos would like to know culture, what is Filipino culture, we would like to tell them – come to Davao, come to Kadayawan,” he said.
Alabado said that if “there is one bad news, then we have to provide 10 good news so that we can balance things out.”
DATA president Gatchi Gatchalian said the tourism players have to double their efforts to promote Kadayawan this time due to martial law, and visitors can expect a grander festival this month.
He said the tourism stakeholders have remained unfazed to the challenges, claiming this is “the most secured Kadayawan” festival.
Gatchalian said they encourage visitors from neighboring cities and provinces to join in the celebration, and witness the celebration in honor of the 11 tribes and “we want to thank our wonderful god for the beautiful harvest.”
He added they will set up Kadayawan billboards along EDSA in the country’s capital and other major cities to inform the tourists that the City Government is not cancelling the festival.
“Cancel should not be part of our vocabulary,” Gatchalian said.
In an interview on TV Patrol over ABS-CBN Davao Friday, Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director Alexander Tagum said they will have maximum deployment of security personnel during Kadayawan festivities to ensure the safety and security of the tourists.
“We are on double alert,” he said.
Tagum reminded tourists that backpacks are not allowed inside the activity areas.
Among the activities are Kadayawan Village and Bantawan – Cultural Show on August 14 to 20; Hiyas sa Kadayawan Talent Competition on August 15 and coronation on August 18; Habi Kadayawan on August 15; Kaondayawan (Food and Music) on August 17 to 20; Subang Sinugdanan and Panagtagbo (River Float Parade), Dula Kadayawan (tribal games) and Mugna Kadayawan (Doodle Competition) on August 18; Indak-Indak sa Kadayawan, Sayaw Kadayawan and Tunog Kadayawan on August 19; Pamulak sa Kadayawan and Pitik Kadayawan on August 20. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)