INDAK INDAK SA KADALANAN 2014: My Struggle to Capture the Kadayawan Vibe

At eight o’clock in the morning, the sun was up scorching at 32 degrees already. Despite the agonizing heat, people started occupying the sidewalk of the city’s main thoroughfare where performers of the Street Dancing Competition will pass by. The mood was extra festive. Colorful buntings were all over dominating the major streets. Everyone was in high spirit. The reverberating drumbeats were getting even louder. Beautiful smiles were everywhere and the whole sight was getting so picture perfect. And there I was along with hundreds of men and women geared with heavy cameras and long lenses – the media and the hobbyists – waiting for the perfect timing and perfect frame to freeze and capture candid moments that will silently speak how colorful and vivid the celebration of Kadayawan sa Dabaw is through Indak-indak sa Kadalanan, the most watched event of the festival.

Kadayawan Indak Indak Sa Kadalanan 2014 (563)Indak-indak sa Kadalanan has been my personal favorite even before I wasn’t travel blogging. It is this Mardi Gras of Indigenous Music and Dances that can prove Kadayawan sa Dabaw is indeed the Festival of Festivals as it gathers different festival winners from different towns and provinces in Mindanao to compete and be hailed the grand champion among other festival winners. Thus, the moniker Mother of Festivals in Mindanao.

Kadayawan Indak Indak Sa Kadalanan 2014 (2)For many years now, I’ve been covering Indak-indak sa Kadalanan as main feature of my blog for the month the August. In fact, I would not plan any trip or accept any out-of-town projects during this season just to be here in my city and cover this event that has become very significant to me as a Dabawenyo. For me, Kadayawan Festival is not just a merriment of bountiful harvest but also a cheerful celebration of the rich heritage and diverse culture not only of this city but Mindanao as a whole. All of these can be witnessed and experienced at Indak-indak sa Kadalanan. Thus, even the burning heat of the mighty sun can’t stop me from going out into the streets to capture the joyous and candid moments of the celebration. And I guess, every travel writer, blogger, photographer and hobbyist share the same feeling of passion and love covering this colorful experience.

Kadayawan Indak Indak Sa Kadalanan 2014 (588)Like the previous years, this year’s Kadayawan Festival gathered foreign and local spectators, local and national media, professional photographers and hobbyists for another vibrant and rhythmic staging of Indak indak Sa Kadalanan with 17 contingents coming from and outside of Davao City.

Kadayawan Indak Indak Sa Kadalanan 2014 (448)But talking about covering this year’s Indak-indak Sa Kadalanan, it was a different story. It is way too different compared from the previous years that I was on the streets covering this event with fellow festival fanatics. Just like the old days, tourist police and marshals were spread everywhere just as the media and photographers were scattered hoping to capture photographs we can publish on mainstream and social media. But this year’s festival marshals seemed too hard, too strict restricting photographers, professionals and hobbyists alike, from going closer to the performing contingents to get good photos and best angles of their choice. Even the media and photographers sticker passes were of no use as these tourist police and festival marshals would yell out shooing us away from areas where we could capture good shots. In fact, even at San Pedro Street where the main performances were done, we were limited to one specific area. Move away from there, you’ll be shouted at and reprimanded.

Kadayawan Indak Indak Sa Kadalanan 2014 (178)Stories from fellow photographers, bloggers and friends in the media circulated on the net narrating their horrendous experience with these marshals while covering the event. I had my share of unpleasant experience. In fact, I thought my camera was broken after one tourist police grabbed the rope that served as the cordon hitting our cameras badly. I felt so dismayed I wanted to leave the place right away but then I realized I owed it to these tireless performers to capture their performances rehearsed for so many days not only for us to see and experience but for the world to appreciate through our humble efforts of showing it to social media. And I embraced that promise to my readers and followers to bring the highlights of Kadayawan Festival to where they are in the planet. And so, despite that very disappointing incident, I went on struggling to capture and freeze expressions and special moments of Indak-indak sa Kadalanan.

Kadayawan Indak Indak Sa Kadalanan 2014 (595)The vibrant colors, heart pounding drum beats and awe inspiring dances of the different contingents from Davao and other provinces of Mindanao enthused me to continue shooting despite being contained in a limited space. There were instances that my view was blocked but I had to find ways to take good shots. The groovy rhythm of the smashing drums somehow helped lessened the dismay I felt. And I reminded myself, “this is a festival, I must be on a festive mood.”

Kadayawan Indak Indak Sa Kadalanan 2014 (279)At the end, Indak-indak Sa Kadalanan was still a great showcase of different culture reflected on the well-rehearsed performances of the 17 contingents vying for the grand prize. The choreographed dances showcasing tribal rituals and the way of life of the different tribes truly showed the rich and diverse culture each contingent portrayed enthusiastically during the performances.

ONE HUNDRED CAPTURED MOMENTS. ONE VIBE

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Nevertheless, I hope and pray that what we, photographers and media, horribly experience this year’s coverage of Indak-indak Sa Kadalanan won’t happen again next year.

I am OLAN EMBOSCADO, your Travel Teller and this is KADAYAWAN FESTIVAL 2014.
I am OLAN EMBOSCADO, your Travel Teller and this is KADAYAWAN FESTIVAL 2014.

MADAYAW DABAW!

KADAYAWAN’S INDAK INDAK SA KADALANAN 2012

Twenty contingents coming from different schools and communities in Davao City and nearby provinces assembled in the city’s downtown district to compete and be hailed prestigious winner of this year’s Indak Indak sa Kadalanan, the much awaited, most watched highlight of Kadayawan sa Dabaw 2012.

Dali Kamo, Mag Indak Indak Kita!

Dubbed as the King of Festivals, Kadayawan Sa Dabaw features not only the merriment of blessings for the City’s bounties of nature and the gifts of bountiful harvest but also highlights the rich heritage and diverse culture that define Davaoeños’ affluent history and colorful past.

Shagit ug Kusog, MADAYAW DABAW!
Shagit ug Kusog, MADAYAW DABAW!

Ten Tribes, One Vibe. This has been the city’s Festival theme honoring the early ten settlers of the City that despite differences of cultures, traditions and beliefs, these indigenous tribes are connected by a common origin binding them together as ONE and the SAME – an origin that traces the core of history of the City of Davao.

Ang Pagpaabot.

In the much awaited Indak Indak sa Kadalaan, a Mardi Gras of Music and Dances, the vibrant colors of captivating Red and Yellow dominated the streets while the heart pounding drum beats reverberated all over the city’s downtown district. These were the colors and rhythms brought by 20 contingents as they performed rituals and dances of their respective places while dressed in multihued costumes and flanked by colorful props. The resounding ethnic chants and the deafening beat of the smashing drums ecstatically set the whole district in a jovial groovy mood.

Hugway! Hugway!

The awe inspiring performances of different contingents vying for the most coveted title showcased the rich and diverse cultures of Davao and Mindanao as beautifully reflected on their well rehearsed dances and choreography.

THE STREET DANCING SCENARIOS

Kay Kinsa Isabwag Ang Mga Lukay?
Pag-ampo ug Pagpangaliya!
Dali kamo, magsaulog kita!
Dawata, Oh Diwata! Dawata Among Gasa!
Pasalamat Para Sa Gasa!
Ang Pagpas-an Sa Dakung Bukag!
Manyaget Kita, KADAYAWAN NA!
Ang Kaanyag sa Kadayawan
Si Inday ug ang Iyang Matam-is nga Pahiyum!
Hiyaaaaaaaaaaa! Hiyaaaaaaaaa! Hiyaaaaaaa!
Kadayawan Indakers!
We called them Kadayawan Indakers!
Sweet Kadayawan Smile!
Unya Siya Miusbaw!
Enter the Indaker!
Kadayawan! Kadayawan! Hey! Hey! Hey!
SILIP! Pasilip!
Into the Multitude of Hues
Pinakurat!
Hugpong sa mga Pula ug Dalag!
Sa Akong Mga Ngabil!
Madayaw Kasulaw!
Hala, Mag-Indak Indak Kita!
Ang Babayeng Maninikop
Diwata, Oh Diwata!
Ang Dagway sa Mindanao
Girl Air Bender
Batang Indaker
Magtiayon
Kadayawan Chanter!
COLORS
Ang Kaanyag ug Katahum sa Kadayawan
TEN TRIBES. ONE VIBE. FEEL IT. YEAH!

As a proud Davaoeño and a Mindanaoan, seeing all these made me grateful that I was born and raised in this Island blessed with multi-cultural influences and heritage truly unique and Filipino. This made me realized despite differences of culture coming from different ways of lives; we all got to embrace the multicultural diversity of the city. Just as we all say, DAVAO: Life is Here!

The Travel Teller with the 2012 Kadayawan Indakers

MY HOME, MY LIFE, MY DAVAO CITY

If someone would ask me how far I have gone travelling around the Philippines, I would humbly say I have gone too far traveling around the 7,107 islands of the my beautiful country. In the course of my travels, I’ve discovered many spectacular places, been wowed by lots of amazing sights, tasted various regional cuisines, experienced diverse culture, and commune with different people. Somehow, I could claim I’ve seen and experience that so called “more than the usual” thing about my homeland. I have traveled so great and so hard it became my passion but toward the end of these journeys, I still shiver in excitement knowing I’m heading back home again – back to my home, my life, my Davao City!
Davao City has been my home for 15 years now. Living here was just a dream. Enjoying fully an awesome life at this Big City was something I never expected. As they say, when one wishes something zealously, everything just falls into place. In my case, it was dream come true.
I was born and raised in the beautiful coastal town of Cateel in the province of Davao Oriental. It used to be 10 long hours away from Davao City. For somebody who grew up in far-flung province, living in Davao City was a big dream. In the early days, vacationing here was by then a luxury. It was every little kid’s dream to come here during summer. Only the privileged though could easily be allowed. In my case, I could only count the times I was able to set foot here. So, whenever I got the chance vacationing to Davao City, I lived from hand to mouth experiencing the so called city life there is here so when I come back to my province I could tell exciting stories about the Big City. Every kid in my hometown was like that – passionate about Davao City! Who wouldn’t be crazy experiencing things we never had at the province in the very first place. Like my first escalator ride at Datu Complex, my first movie experience at Odeon Theater,  my first telephone conversation, my first ride on a Ferris Wheel, my first visit to a big store called NCCC, my first visit to a park called Gap Farm  – all of my “firsts” took place at Davao City. And so, that dream of living at this city was born.
After high school, I was sent to Davao City to pursue my college education. Being a probinsyano, starting a student life here was hard. There were times I missed my life back at the province. But whenever I think of that Big Dream to live in Davao, I became willed and determined. Little by little, I learned many things about living in the city. I got to appreciate its comfort and convenience. Bit by bit, I met new friends, acquired new experiences, developed my skills and learned many things that molded me to become sociably dynamic. Sooner, I began to discover different places and explore natural wonders within Davao City. At one point I muttered I need not to go out of the City to see the Wonders of Nature because the whole city alone is an abode of such. I have learned to love Davao City. I have learned to love everything about her. Never did I know that this love that grew in my heart turned into something greater than it is – the passion to live and settle down in Davao City.
As wished, my life has been very blessed here. I was able to get a very good compensating job, acquired a house of my own, bought a car, got to travel to different places and lived a life I have always wanted. Everything just falls into place. Davao City becomes my home. It has become my life. For 15 years now since that day I moved here for college, Davao City becomes home. My LIFE IS HERE.

I just love DAVAO CITY. I love the fact that it perfectly exudes of what I called “a city of different getaways”. When I have the itch for the sand and the sea, Davao City has nice beaches. When I’m in the mood for mountain and waterfalls trekking, the highland districts of the City await for me. When I’m the mood for shopping, dining and entertaining, Davao City’s fabulous malls, restaurants and bars are just within reach. When I want experience colorful cultural convergence, Davao City takes pride of Kadawayan Festival and the Araw ng Dabaw. Everything is here – great finds, tropical fruits, the famous Durian, the Philippine Eagle, exotic Waling-Waling orchids. There is no room for boredom in the Big City.
For the past 15 years, I’ve witnessed how Davao City grows from a laid-back city into a brand new metropolis. Progress and growth has come to her. It has become an important gateway to Mindanao. Today, Davao City has soared high but the quality of life here is still the same – absolutely livable! It is a high quality of life that does not come at a high cost. An ideal place to live in and settle down.
Part of my personal growth, I have been traveling around the many beautiful places in the country for many years now. I must say I have toured around the different islands, cities and towns of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. At some point, I have been lured to live in those places but whenever I’m back at the City, I always realize I can never trade Davao City for any place on earth. I can never trade my life I have here in Davao City for any alluring place on earth.

Because LIFE IS HERE in Davao. My life is here!

Davao life is here
Submitted as an entry to the 75th Araw ng Dabaw Blog Competition

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