Kadayawan Village: A showcase of diversity (Philippines)

(Reposted from: Philippine Information Agency. August 16, 2023)

By Rudolph Ian Alama – Regional Editor for Region 11, Philippine Information Agency

Located in a portion of Magsaysay Park are clusters of houses which flanked the main plaza of the three-hectare park named after President Ramon Magsaysay.

They represent the homes of the 11 recognized ethnolinguistic groups of Davao City, which include the Ata, Bagobo-Tagabawa, Klata, Obu-Manuvu, Matigsalug, Iranun, Kagan, Maranao, Maguindanaon, Sama and the Tausug. The structures were built to closely resembles those in their ancestral homelands exhibiting their ingenuity, practicality and craftsmanship.

William Banzali, current adviser to Kadayawan Village and former community- based eco-cultural officer of the City Tourism Operations Office, revealed that they encouraged the IPS, the indigenous political structure, and the tribal council to help ensure the authenticity of the home construction. Through the years, the IPs have increasingly participated in sprucing up and running the village.

 “Their creative ideas are coming out and these are reflected in the architecture of their houses.” Banzali said.

He said the village is not just as a tourist come-on for Kadayawan but also has a peace education component as here the different indigenous communities are united and co-existing peacefully with each other as neighbors.

He said the village is not just as a tourist come-on for Kadayawan but also has a peace education component as here the different indigenous communities are united and co-existing peacefully with each other as neighbors.

Iranun Deputy Mayor Pamikeren Latip Arumpac, Jr. expressed that the beauty of the Kadayawan village lies in the camaraderie among the 11 tribes. He shared that their houses convey the message that the Moro people’s compassion and warmth.

Built in 2017, during the incumbency of then City Mayor now Vice President Sara Duterte, the village was seen as a window that allowed people to witness and experience their way of life, culture, and tradition.

“This Kadayawan Village encapsulates what our city is – a melting pot of various cultures and colors all living in one community recognizing the similarities between the tribes when celebrating the unique identity of each one,” then Mayor Sara Duterte said during her message at the village opening in 2017.

Intended as a temporary attraction inside Magsaysay Park, the village served as a means to extend the Kadayawan festivities. Due to its overwhelming popularity among tourists and local residents, the village became a beloved attraction. Consequently, the city government decided to establish Kadayawan Village as a regular attraction in the park. 

In 2021, the village’s enhancement was coupled with the restoration of the dilapidated Magsaysay Park amphitheater, a project realized through a P5-million grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). This revamped structure was subsequently named the Dinehey Amphitheater.

For this year’s Kadayawan Festival, the City Tourism Operations Office has allocated P3.4 million for the annual sprucing up of the village in time for the crowd of visitors. An estimated P1.6 million is for the enhancement of the structures while P2.7 million is for the logistical subsidy during the duration of the festival. Further, CTOO OIC Jennifer Romero said that P150,000 will be given to each tribe for the improvement of houses while an additional P250,000 logistical fund was allocated for each tribe that they can use for the entire festival. 

A Kadayawan Festival experience is not complete without visiting the Kadayawan Village, you can visit each house and explore their way-of-life presented by the IPs staying at the houses. Here is a guide into each of the replica structure at the village:

Ata’s Binanwa

Their homes are built of round timbers. The structures are elevated to protect them from attacks during pangayao or tribal wars. The roofing is made of cogon gross and is adorned by a bundle of cogon called manok-manok which resembles a chicken’s head.

Klata’s Bolloy

Klata houses are called Bolloy. It’s made of bamboo and materials from the forests. The centerpiece of their home is the kitchen where they welcome visitors with food and drinks. The Bolloy is built on stilts and the underfloor serve as storage areas.

Matigsalug’s Baley

The Baley is made of bamboo and other forest timbers. The house is built on stilts and the lower floor serves as shelter for livestock.

Bagobo Tagabawa’s Bale

Their homes are supported by timber poles with the capacity to accommodate up to 10 occupants. A thick and sturdy door is built as a defense against enemies.

Obu Manuvu’s Baoy

This is a square-shaped house built on high stilts to protect them from snakes, wildlife and also from dampness. The Baoy is made up mostly of bamboo and forest timbers.

Kagan’s Togan

The traditional house of the Kagan Datu is made of bamboo, lumber and rattan. The house is filled with woven ornaments called the barrabudi  imbued in green, orange and yellow colors which symbolize royalty.

Maguindanao’s Walai

The Royalty House of Maguindanao, the Walai is a rectangular structure.  The house is typically made of lauan, coco lumber, nipa, and bamboo. Various parts of the house features Okir embellishments.  

Tausug’s Bay Sug

The single, partitionless house features a porch that serves as a welcoming area for visitors.

Sama’s Luma

Their houses are found in the coastal areas and are made of bamboo and nipa. The houses are painted yellow, red and green.

Iranun’s Turogan

The Kadayawan Village Iranun structure is a replica of their traditional palace. It consists of three floors. The basement functions as defensive hiding place, the ground floor serves as the main living space, and the third floor holds a tower known as the gibbon, where the princess resides.

Maranao’s Torogan

The Maranao community constructed a replica of the Torogan which is the biggest structure in the village. It is a large hall and serves as a venue for special occasions. The house is embellished with Okir motifs. These intricate designs are not merely decorative elements but also convey a deeper cultural symbolism. Okir motifs are expressions of the Maranao people’s rich heritage, spirituality, and identity.

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