For someone like me who was born and raised in one of the far flung towns of Davao Oriental, seeing the showcase of what my province has to offer featured in the metropolis is such great delight. There is a sense of pride and honor whenever I see them adored and admired by flocks of spectator. Just like today in this season of Kadayawan sa Dabaw 2012, true members of Mandaya Tribe from the town of Caraga, one of the 11 municipalities of Davao Oriental, is featured by the Apo View Hotel as one of the highlights of the Kadayawan Fiesta at the Apo View 2012.

The proud tribe of Mandaya is one of Mindanao’s surviving minority tribes in the Philippines. Most of them live in the mountainous areas above the coastal town of Davao Oriental particularly in Boston, Bagangga, Caraga and Manay including my hometown of Cateel. The Mandayas are exemplary known to be artistic and creative.

I can still vividly recall back on those days growing up in Cateel how amazed I become every time I see members of Mandaya Tribe fully dressed up in their colorful and intricately woven dresses. Every year, Mandayas would come down from the mountains to the town’s Poblacion to take part of the town’s parochial fiesta. They would showcase their ritual dances, chant their songs and display a colorful culture truly one of its kind. It was always a mesmerizing sight for me and I grow up loving my tribe’s culture.

The Colorful Accents
The Intricately Hand Woven Dress
The Earrings Attached to the Headdress

Aside from the colorful costumes, unique dances and exuberant chants, the Mandaya are known for their creative skill in weaving cloth they called Dagmay. Passed on from generations to generations, they have woven cloth from fibers of native abaca tree which is abundant in the region for many years. The finest grade of hemp extracted from abaca stalks is stripped pounded, combed then prepared for dyeing. They used mud, root and other organic materials as dyes making the woven fabric colorful and bright.

The Weaving of Dagmay Fabric
The Tie-Dyed Abaca Fiber
The Loom
The Design
The Mandaya Weaver

Dagmay is distinguished from other tribal weaving by the intricate figures and patterns said to depict the folklores and beliefs of the Mandaya tribe. This art is handed down from one generation to the other. There is no patterns copy. Each design is an expression of individual weaver, thus, making it most intricate, unique and skillfully mastered. Today’s dagmay weavers are proud product of their ancestors’ masterful skills.

The Weaver, The Loom, The Fiber = DAGMAY

In this Kadayawan Festival week, the Apo View Hotel pays tribute to our tribe’s cultural and historical heritage through the Mandaya’s participation in the weeklong celebration of Kadayawan Fiesta at the Apo View 2012. Two Mandayan women, Minda Amorayon and Dina Mangilawod are housed at the hotel to showcase the intricate Weaving of Dagmay Fabric at the main lobby. Dressed in full Mandayan attire, Minda and Dina are proud to show a pure Mandayan tradition that has been passed on from generations to generations. Seeing them at the lobby flocked by amazed crowd, I can’t help but take pride of my province’s true treasure – the Mandaya people.

By Products

You can still catch my Mandaya sisters at the Apo View Hotel for the Weaving of Dagmay Fabric until August 19, 2012. Kadayawan Fiesta at the Apo View 2012 runs from August 6 to 19, 2012.