CATEEL’S KUTOO FESTIVAL: A True Heritage Worthy To Be Proud Of

It was in 2011 that I was given the chance to sit as the Chairman of the Board of Judges for the Kutoo Festival, one of the highlights of the Araw ng Cateel celebration. It was a great opportunity for me not only to witness this colorful event and choose the best performing group but also to learn more about my hometown’s rich culture and tradition through this much-awaited event. Kutoo is one of the many old traditions in my hometown widely practiced even today.

Kutoo is a form of ritual or prayer done during a pre-harvesting process of agricultural crops, particularly palay (rice plants) which is considered the main agriculture produce of the town. Cateel is considered as the rice granary of the Eastcoast of Davao Oriental and this practice of Kutoo traces back even the olden times.

The celebration of KUTOO FESTIVAL has become our town’s tribute to the honor this tradition and has become a festival of thanksgiving for the abundance of agricultural products of our hometown. When Typhoon Pablo hit Cateel in 2012, the celebration was put on halt. But this year the Local Government Unit of Cateel initiated the “comeback” of this festival with the participation of the private sectors, public and private schools of all levels. This year, I was again given the opportunity to sit as the Chairman of the Board of Judges.

In the olden days, Kutoo is said to be typically performed by an old woman by way of harvesting a few stalks of palay while saying a prayer during the ritual. The pre-harvesting process involves showing respect and submission to the gods or anitos, specifically Tagamaling and Dagaw, the stewards of crops. This is intended so that the landowner/farmer will be blessed with a bountiful harvest. In the recent days, Kutoo is still practiced by some farmers but the offerings and prayers for the anitos and gods of the crops are no longer performed.

Today, the celebration of Kutoo Festival features a Street Dancing Competition participated by different schools in Cateel. Participating groups are dressed up wearing Mandaya attire and accessories mostly made of cloth known as dagmay dancing along the major streets to the beat of our Mandaya culture. Cateel is home to Mandaya and Mandaya culture and traditions are still practiced to this day – that includes Kutoo. The choreographed performances of the street-dancing and street showdown are patterned after the rituals of Kutoo. Adding to the colors of the festival, palay takes centerstage as the main props.

Kutoo Festival showcases not only our customary harvest ritual but it displays Cateel’s artistic, cultural and historical heritage. Being a festival fanatic who’s been around the country covering different festivals, witnessing our own festival is heartwarming. It is heartwarming because it is my own heritage and it speaks our own culture – the culture and tradition of my people. As I say it before and I say it again, Kutoo Festival is an eye opener for me to know that there is more to discover and more to be proud of of our town – something that the new generation can learn from.

Together with my fellow Cateeleños, I pray that this festival will flourish and this culture will be preserved. For it is a true heritage worthy to be proud of!

CONGRATULATIONS dearest CATEEL!

INDAK-INDAK SA KADALANAN | Kadayawan Festival 2017

“Kadayawan
Kasaulogan
Kasaganaan ng pamayanan
Kahiusahan natong tanang
Napulo ug usang kaliwatan”

Amid Martial Law extension in the whole Island of Mindanao, Davaoenos, Mindanaoans from nearby provinces, local and foreign tourists gathered in the major thoroughfares of the city to witness the much awaited, most watched highlight of Kadayawan Festival, the Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan. This spectacular event has been considered as the biggest gathering of different festivals in Mindanao to compete and be hailed the grand champion. This has made Kadayawan the King of Festivals in Mindanao.

This year, eighteen contingents coming from different schools and communities in Davao City and nearby provinces assembled in the city’s downtown district for this most prized competition.

Kadayawan Sa Dabaw celebrates not only 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. All these are all portrayed and beautifully reflected In their well rehearsed dances and choreography.

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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 18 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.

Being a Dabawenyo, seeing these performances made me feel proud of the heritage of my city. 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. And despite great challenges like the threat of our serenity of living, we can still find the courage in us to find time and celebrate the bounties of our harvest, the gifts of nature and our rich culture. After all, we are Davaoenos, we are Mindanaons – WE STAND TALL. UNITED. RESILIENT.

PILOT BEACH: Baganga’s Newest Beach Craze

Among the 11 municipalities of Davao Oriental sharing these untouched coasts, the Municipality of Baganga secretly possesses long beaches and lengthy coastline teeming mostly with captivating white sand shores. Secluded from crowded commercial tourism, these coastlines remain exquisitely unspoiled keeping its old world magic that exudes quaint setting of untouched nature – the kind of beach so perfect for those who love off-the-beaten type of beach adventures.

Adding to the many coastal wonders of Baganga is the newly opened PILOT’S VIEW BEACH RESORT located in Baybay Bobon, Salingcomot, Baganga, Davao Oriental.

VISIT BAGANGA and be mesmerized by the Coastal Wonders of the Eastcoast Jewel of Davao Oriental.

 

CAMPAWAN CURTAIN FALLS: Davao Region’s Widest Waterfall

Among the five provinces found in the Davao Region, the Province of Davao Oriental is considered as the Water Wonder.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-33White sand beaches are dotting the shorelines of the Province. A number of beautiful islands can also be found here. It also boasts of its unspoiled lakes, pristine riverine system and even hot springs. And when it comes to waterfalls, Davao Oriental is the place to be.

The highest waterfalls in the Philippines and considered as one of the most beautiful is found in Davao Oriental, the Aliwagwag Falls of Cateel. Now adding to the list of the most beautiful falls in the entire Davao Region is the CURTAIN FALLS located in Barangay Campawan in the town of Baganga.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-28CAMPAWAN CURTAIN FALLS has come to fame when the doors of tourism in the eastcoast of Davao Oriental opened last year. For many years, this water wonder was kept preserved and only the local residents living nearby got to enjoy its natural beauty. But with its tourism potential, the roads going to Campawan were cleared and widened giving the way for other locals in nearby towns to come and see the town’s hidden water gem.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-16When a number of photos of Campawan Curtain Falls broke out in social media, many have mistaken it as Tinuy-an Falls found in Surigao Del Sur because of its similarity to the later. Like Tinuy-an Falls, Campawan Curtain Falls boasts of its wide water curtain extending to a width said to be the widest in the whole Davao Region.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-1 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-2 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-7Being situated in the heavily forested hinterland of Baganga, getting to the Curtain Falls entails a long travel from either the town proper or from the town of Cateel. The road is not yet concrete and others may find it uncomfortable. But the green and forested sides that can be seen along the way assured fun and adventure. From the parking area, you need to cross a river and walk for about 5-10 minutes to get to the area of the falls. And the moment you get there, the unparalleled view of the waterfall will keep you in awe as you marvel at its magnificent beauty.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-8 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-9 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-12 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-13 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-14The absence of modern developments around the waterfalls plus its remoteness from the highway promised that Campawan Curtain Falls is still a natural beauty to behold. Unlike Aliwagwag Falls Eco Park, there are no concrete developments made in the area yet. Although there are stores and cottages, one can tell that the place is still unspoiled retaining its natural splendor.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-20 baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-25There is no entrance fee. You only pay for parking fees in the area where owned privately. The cottages can be rented as low as 150 pesos. If you’re going there and you intend not to rent a cottage, that’s not a problem. There are shaded places where you can leave your things and enjoy the scenic view right in front of you.

baganga-campawan-curtain-falls-27Taking a natural shower under the falls and swimming in its shallow basin is among the best way to enjoy the waters of Campawan Curtain Falls. Getting closer to the cascading water is very easy and accessible. Everyone who goes there take time to come closer to the falls and enjoy its cascading waters. If you’re into selfies, go to one side and take that selfie shot for yourself.

Campawan Curtain Falls is now considered as one of Davao Oriental’s must-visit destinations. So, when you visit the eastcoast of the Province, include it in your list of places to see. In fact, most of those who visit Aliwagwag Falls, they also make way to visit the Curtain Falls. Doing so, you get to see and experience not only the highest waterfalls in the Philippines but also the widest falls in the whole Davao Region.

HOW TO GET THERE:

The best way to get to Campawan Curtain Falls is through the towns of Baganga or Cateel. Both towns can be reached by taking a bus or van from Davao City via the Compostela Valley Road or Mati City Road. Buses and vans are on daily schedule located at Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT). When you get to Baganga or Cateel, you can take a habal-habal and tell the drivers to take you to Campawan Curtain Falls. You can hire the habal-habal for Php 500.00 for one day.

MODA MINDANAO SEASON 11: Highlighting the Unique Mindanaoan Heritage

It has been 5 years now since the first time I watched Moda Mindanao. Since then I vowed not to miss this event every Kadayawan Festival.

_DSC0280Moda Mindanao is longest running fashion design competition in the entire Davao Region. Staged every year during Kadayawan Festival, Moda Mindanao aims to promote contemporary Mindanaoan fashion and pave the way for young and emerging local designers to become a recognizable name in Philippine and global fashion.

_DSC0357In its earliest conception, Moda Mindanao was part of the Urog Etnika, a Mindanao Fashion Show that was once an official event of Kadayawan Festival. From Urog Etnika, Moda Mindanao was staged separately to provide local fashion designers and accessory artists from different regions in Mindanao a platform to showcase their skills and creativity as they create fashionable garments and accessories highlighting the fabric, colors and patterns of Mindanaoan culture.

_DSC0356Now on its 11th year, Moda Mindanao is moving to its new home from SM City Davao to SM Lanang Premier. Aside from its new venue, it is now redefined as a “Young Fashion Designers Competition with a new format, new look and new perspective but with the same global aspiration – to highlight the unique Mindanaon heritage in a modern, contemporary and fashion forward way.

Moda Mindanao 2016 1
Participating Young Fashion Designers from Mindanao

Ten local designers from Davao, SoCCSKSarGen and CARAGA Region competed in this year’s Moda Mindanao. The 10 equally talented designers vied in two categories – Pret-a-Porter and Evening Wear for women. Their astonishing and unique creations were showcased in a runway show highlighting the fabrics, patterns, and materials that reflect the unique Mindanaoan heritage.

Moda Mindanao 2016 5All the participating local designers created dazzling and eye-catching creations but it was Jay-R Gamboa Flores, a local designer from Sultan Kudarat who amazed not only the distinguished judges but spectators as well with his skillful ability to bring to life the Mindanao culture and colors through his exceptional creations. He was the runaway winner winning both Pret-a-Porter and Evening Gown categories.

Pret-a-Porter for Women

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According to him, his creations are inspired by the four indigenous tribes found in his Province of Sultan Kudarat – the T’boli, B’laan, Maranao and Maguindanaoans. The evening gown that he fondly called the “Empress of the Four Tribes” is an intricate work combining weaving, beading and handmade works. The fabrics used were from Cotabato City while bells and other accessories were from South Cotabato. The pret-a-porter on the other hand was inspired by Maranao and Maguindanaoan culture.

EVENING GOWN FOR WOMEN

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Every year, Moda Mindanao features a Mindanaoan artist who has excelled in his field. This year, Moda Mindanao Season 11 featured and highlighted the works of young international accessories designer Ken Samudio. He is the very first Filipino designer selected by Vogue Italia as one of its talents for accessories in 2014 and who was also featured on its 50th Anniversary issue.

Ken Samudio’s Award Winning Accessories

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Aside from Jay-R Gamboa Flores of Sultan Kudarat, other local designers who joined this year’s Moda Mindanao are Aloha Lelani Begin of Agusan del Norte, Arwin Mark Meriales of Davao Occidental and Alexis Nickole Rule, Jonas Andrew Amora, Aries Buenvenida, Mimi Tandingan, Bianca Sabellano, Kian Plaza Deocariza, and Neil Patrick Jimlani – all from Davao City.

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Jay-R Gamboa Flores and his winning creations inspired by the four tribes of his province of Sultan Kudarat.

Personally, being there watching the grand runway of Moda Mindanao Season 11 for another year is another astounding opportunity for me to see and be mesmerized by those extraordinary creations that depict the rich culture of my own identity as a Mindanaoan.

Moda Mindanao 2016 2 Moda Mindanao 2016 3Moda MindaNOW, a fashion showcase of what is truly “made in Mindanao”.

Congratulation SM Lanang Premier for hosting yet another successful Moda Mindanaw Fashion Event.