This March, Davao City is set to celebrate the 84th Araw ng Dabaw which commemorates the city’s founding day. It is during this event that Dabawenyos feature their best and grandest through a series of festivities that highlight their culture.
Araw ng Dabaw is an annual month-long celebration held in March that puts Davao’s best foot forward as it features everything that makes the city unique and worth visiting.
But this year, Davao’s culture isn’t the only thing being highlighted. According to Davao Mayor Sara Duterte, this year’s celebration will have the Dabawenyos at the core of the festivity.
During her message for the 84th Araw ng Dabaw, Duterte called on her fellow Dabawenyos to pay tribute to the frontliners, who have given their all to fight against COVID-19 in the past year.
Although the pandemic was daunting for Filipinos and other countries alike, Araw ng Dabaw is set to continue its festivities like before but with safer circumstances for its participants.
The Davao City Mayor added in her opening remarks that even though the threat of COVID-19 is still rampant in the country, their resiliency and unity as Dabawenyos shall help them overcome any face of adversity.
To show its support for the celebration, Malacañang Palace declared March 1 as a special non-working holiday for the Dabawenyos so they can be part of the festivities.
Much like during last year’s celebration of Araw ng Dabaw, the festivities will be taken online so that Dabawenyos can celebrate their founding day as they have before.
Someday, Dabawenyos hope to be able to get back on the streets and safely celebrate Araw ng Dabaw with the music, dancing, vibrancy, and other elements that they were accustomed to.
In the meantime, the events scheduled from March 1 to 3 were all done online.
Last March 1, Araw ng Dabaw began with a flag ceremony at the Davao City Hall, followed by a Thanksgiving Mass at the San Pedro Cathedral. Mayor Duterte gave her speech during the online opening ceremony.
On March 2, the schedule of festivities shifted to highlighting the culture of Davao as well as notable Dabawenyos in their respective fields.
It began with Tilaw Dabaw which featured the city’s cuisine from homegrown and classic restaurants. What followed was the Hugyaw Dabaw, which headlined talented and award-winning Dabawenyos in the field of dance and music.
On the third day of the celebration of Araw ng Dabaw, the spotlight remained focused on the art and culture of the city as Obra Dabaw and Istilo Dabaw were held.
First was Obra Dabaw which showcased the works of various community artists in their respective fields. Held shortly after was Istilo Dabaw, which featured local fashion designers and their creativity.
All these events were meant to fully highlight the culture of Davao as well as the talents of Dabawenyos, who have made a name for themselves in their chosen fields.
History of ‘Araw ng Dabaw’
Davao City wasn’t always the bustling city that it is today. It began as a simple village composed of several organized barangays and was known as Nueva Vergara when a Spaniard named Don Jose de Cruz Uyanguren, a native of Vergara, Guipuzcoa, colonized the region on June 29, 1848.
But when the Philippine Revolution broke out, two Davao locals named Pedro Layog and Jose M. Lerma represented the town and region at the Malolos Congress of 1898, solidifying Davao’s position in national history as a part of the First Philippine Republic.
As the years passed, the small town of Davao grew to become a key player in the Philippines’ economy. Coconut and banana plantations changed the small town into a thriving economic center. Foreign businessmen would later tap into the rich agricultural resources of the region.
This demand for resources would soon lead the way to the construction of Port Davao, thus opening the region to more economic and trading opportunities that eventually developed the city’s credit.
Davao’s development did not go unnoticed. On March 16, 1936, then-Congressman Romualdo Quimpo, a Dabawenyo, filed Bill 1609. The bill was passed as Commonwealth Act 51, which created Davao City from the town of Davao and the municipal district of Guianga.
By October 16, 1936, Davao was inaugurated as a charter city by President Manual L. Quezon. The charter came into effect on March 1 of the following year, explaining why Araw ng Dabaw is celebrated annually for the whole month of March.
The charter made Davao City known as of the first towns in Mindanao to be converted into a city.
With Davao’s growing economy and community, it became home to several famous people, who have left their legacies in their respective industries. Today, it continues to cultivate the elements that have contributed to its success as a city as well as move forward to keep up with the ever-changing times as well as the demands in the market.
Araw ng Dabaw is one of the holidays in the Philippines that many people are looking forward to celebrating because it is one that proudly puts the spotlight on Davao’s culture as well as the notable achievements that its community has achieved over the years.
Hopefully, the following years will become more fortunate so that Dabawenyos and tourists alike can enjoy the festivities that belong on the lively streets of Davao.