DAVAO CITY — What would a Philippine festival, or even a small-town fiesta, be without a beauty pageant?
Davao’s version is the Hiyas ng Kadayawan, which features 11 candidates, each representing the different Mindanao ethno-linguistic groups present in the city — the Ata, Bagobo Klata, Bagobo Tagabawa, Iranun, Kagan, Maguindanawon, Maranao, Matigsalug, Obu Manuvu, Sama, and Tausug.
Instead of the typical casual-swimwear-gown runway show, the Hiyas contestants don their colorful traditional clothing, complete with headpiece and other accessories.
The usual “talent portion” has also been tweaked into a cultural presentation, where the women lead a show of their respective arts and values.
This year, the coronation ceremony was moved to the start of the main week of the month-long Kadayawan festival so that the winners can grace the major events wearing their crowns.
“This year’s Hiyas ng Kadayawan crown is grander and more functional,” said Dan Salvaña, Jr., Hiyas ng Kadayawan events director.
City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) Head Gene Rose D. Tecson said the crown — designed by Tres Roldan Cartera who was inspires by the waling-waling (vanda sanderiana) orchid, an icon of the festival — has evolved from being big and heavy into something “simpler but more elegant.”
Nes-Ann Naraga of the Kagan tribe was crowned Hiyas ng Kadayawan 2018, while Maranao Sittie Aisha Salim is Hiyas sa Panaghiusa, and Bagobo Klata Karen Joy Dowing is Hiyas sa Kalambuan.
At the celebration’s opening held at the tribal village in Magsaysay Park, Festival Director Renato Gatchalian, Jr. stressed that the Kadayawan is “a thanksgiving for nature’s gifts, bountiful harvest, and the essence of this festival is celebrating unity in diversity, paying respect to our 11 tribes of Davao.” — Maya M. Padillo and Carmencita A. Carillo