Festival returns to its roots, comes home to North Cotabato
KIDAPAWAN CITY—Considered the mother of Davao City’s Kadayawan Festival, Kalivungan Festival returns to where it started—in North Cotabato.
Gov. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza said this year’s festival is a tribute to the province’s indigenous people and how, over the years, a strong bond between them, Moros and Christian settlers developed.
“This is a festival that recognizes the culture of the indigenous peoples and how the richness of this culture contributed to the growth of the province,” the governor said.
Kalivungan is a Manobo term for gathering. Now in its 97th year, the festival used to be called Hinugyaw, a Hiligaynon term that means boisterous celebration.
The first Kalivungan festival was held on May 8, 1974, in Kidapawan City, then the capital town of North Cotabato. It was stopped in 1984 for lack of funds and was only revived in 1996.
But while it was not celebrated in the province, lumad leaders of North Cotabato continued to look for ways to share the richness of their culture. The lumad, through the group Mindanao Highlanders Associations Inc. (Mindahila)—then headed by Datu Joseph Sibug—brought Kalivungan to Davao City in 1986.
Mindahila’s goal was to gather tribal leaders and celebrate in Davao, then headed by Mayor Zafiro Respicio. In Davao, the festival was called Apo Duwaling, a tribute to three things that Davao is known for—Mt. Apo, durian and waling-waling.
Under former Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the name was changed to Kadayawan.
Today’s Kalivungan Festival takes on a new task—raise funds for the construction of a church.
Mendoza said officials of the province were looking for ways to make the festival more meaningful.
“This is really a kombira (feast) and we want to make something out of this, something that will leave an impact,” she said.
Instead of distributing food packs for free, the province will prepare 30,000 food packs to be sold at P20 each.
The provincial government will spend more than P2.5 million for the food packs and earn only P600,000.
“We cannot give directly to the Church because that is not allowed under the Constitution,” Mendoza said.
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