Davao City throws out ‘commercialized’ Kadayawan

The city government here announced today that it would discontinue holding high-prized street competitions and street parties that had drawn participants from many provinces in Mindanao.

Wendel Avisado, city administrator and co-chair of the Kadayawan Festival 2007 steering committee, told reporters today that the Kadayawan, renowned as the "festival of festivals in Mindanao" would push through in August “but revelers would have to brace for fewer commercialized activities as the city government prefers a highly educational appeal, with focus on the uniqueness of the city's blend of tribal communities.”

Avisado briefed reporters about preparations two months ahead of the scheduled dates on August 8 to 19 and said Kadayawan would retain activities “that project the real Davao City”.

"The festival is an expression of thanksgiving, not necessarily for it s commercial value," Avisado said. He clarified that the city will no longer hold competitions offering high prizes and would encourage instead, "voluntary" performances and presentations.

Last year, former City Tourism Officer Id Acaylar was forced to resign over the controversy surrounding the Hiyas ng Kadayawan, a fashion show involving both young men and women. The show, Avisado, has been scrapped.

The Kadayawan Foundation, Inc., which managed the festival, has also decided not to handle it this year. Avisado said this prompted the city government to organize a private sector-led steering committee just like the one running its Araw ng Dabaw foundation anniversary celebration.

Avisado also disclosed that the city’s fruit industry has requested the city to move the holding of the festival in September, which was the original month of the festival. He said the city would forego that decision for next year as hotel bookings and other tourist arrangements made since last year were already meant for the August festival.

The festival opens on August 8, the day the city government will also inaugurate and open to the public the renovated PTA Grounds Park.

On the second day, public and private schools under the Department of Education will feature dance presentations depicting the history of Mindanao.

The daily cultural showcase of the city's eight tribal groups will dominate the 12-day scheduled festivities.  From August 10 to 17, the tribes will take turns in showcasing their culture through food, dances, rituals, and other presentations at the Rizal Park,