Thursday, August 22, 2013

Side Views: Faces of the Kadayawan

Take a step closer. And see Davao's annual Kadayawan harvest festival in a whole new perspective...

As with previous Kadayawan festivals, The Marco Polo has a special stage directly in front of the hotel where the parade stops to perform their mandatory numbers. The Marco Polo has since been the first stop for all contingents, with the second stop at Davao's City Hall as the different contingents dance their way through the city's streets. The Marco Polo stage provides an excellent vantage point, and a cool opportunity to get up close and see the festivities in a whole new perspective.

Throughout each contingent's performance, it's easy to miss the subtle elements of their routines, including the  emotions and gestures that contribute to their story-telling performance. A traditional thanksgiving harvest festival, the Kadayawan is a reflection of Davao's bountiful resources and cultural diversity. And each year, the annual festival seems to get a notch higher in terms of color and performances. Definitely a once a year event not to be missed when in Davao.

Pre-performance jitters provide a sneak peek into each contingent, providing a human element to the festivities. Seeing each team before their performance, before they put their game faces on, is like seeing them at their most honest, and a real appreciation to their performance.

As they go through their elaborate routines, one can appreciate the hard work behind each contingent's performance, from the costumes to the props, as well as the emotions each cast member goes trough during a performance.

And as the sun continues to bear down on the streets of Davao, each performer carries on with their respective routine with a smile that seems to grow even wider as the heat builds up.

Game faces on, performance levels up, and with a substantial cash prize at stake and regional pride on the line, the performers give it their all in their short 10-15 minute performance.

And the story of their performance is given much more weight as seen through their facial emotions and gestures. And the performance goes deeper than just a dance number.

Intense concentration seconds before the performance, positions checked and rechecked, props on hand, and ready to go.

With drums and whistles providing a rhythmic backdrop, each performance becomes a spectacle of color and movement. And the streets come alive with a frenetic pace leading to the climactic closing number.

Each performance seems like a level up from the previous numbers, and choosing a winner will be no easy task.

They say Davao, the "City of Blooms", has some of the best smiles in the country. And I can see why.

A pause in the performance, just barely enough to catch one's breath.

The performance done, a real smile takes over, as they move to the next stop along a circular route through the city.

A community effort, it's amazing to witness the young performers give it their all, and that's why the Kadayawan will always be special. 

A propsman from one of the contingents, anxiously awaiting the cue. Seeing the Kadayawan harvest festival up close provides a whole new perspective, seeing beyond the spectacle and witnessing first-hand honest and real emotions. And at The Marco Polo, you have the best seat in the house.

For more information on The Marco Polo's impressive facilities, check out my previous post here at See more on Davao's Kadayawan harvest festival here at

Special thanks to Anthony Tan, The Marco Polo General Manager; and the Marketing team led by Emelyn Q. Mauhay, Director of Sales & Marketing; Patty Basa Tan, Media Communications Officer; and Phoebe Kaye Reyes, Public Relations Assistant for an awesome opportunity to see the Kadayawan up close.

The Marco Polo is located at C. M. Recto Street corner M. Roxas Avenue 8000 Davao City, Philippines or call (63 82) 221-0888 for inquiries and reservations. You can also call the Manila Sales Office at (63 2) 893-0888 or send an e-mail to Visit their website at for more information.

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