Handpicked as ambassadors of goodwill by their respective community’s deputy mayors, 11 young, vibrant, talented and beautiful tribal maidens vied for the honour to represent Davao City as Hiyas sa Kadayawan 2019 at the RMC Petro Gazz Arena (RMC Gym) last August 11, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. Months of preparation culminated in one spectacular pageantry professionally directed by Dan Salvana of Salvo Events with the full support of the Davao City Government and the Davao City Tourism Office led by Generose Tecson. The event, as expected, was a veritable gathering of Lumad tribes and their leaders, government officials and department heads, the Diplomatic Corps of Davao and prominent representatives of the various sectors of the Davao society.
Davao City’s annual Kadayawan Festival is highlighted by many events and activities during its month-long celebration. But one stands out for its distinction and that is the search for the Hiyas sa Kadayawan. Athough many consider the Hiyas as a beauty pageant, what they neglect and omit is the fact that these young ladies are vying for the title that would make them the face that would represent the festival for the next 12 months. Unlike other beauty pageants, the Hiyas sa Kadayawan focuses on the cultural uniqueness of each indigenous tribe and their muse’s knowledge of their tribe’s cultural identity. These ladies perform solemn rituals of their respective tribes, garbed in their colourful costumes, swaying to their clan’s rhythmic dance steps accompanied by their delightful music and chants, all of which are intimately interwoven with their rich customs and traditions. And this is what makes the Hiyas of our 11 tribes stand out.
This year’s candidates include Jurica Jordan (Bagobo-Klata), Sittie Aleyah Hadjisalim (Maranao), Jessa Andian (Bagobo Tagabawa), Kausar Jakilan (Tausog), Aiza Grace Oquina (Obu-Manuvu), Cherry Anne Saripada (Kagan), Aileen Maray (Ata), Nurainie Ampatuan (Maguindanaon), Rosephine Ambala (Matigsalug), Sittie Lailie Aragasi (Iranun), and Coraima Hasim (Sama). All the candidates are naturally beautiful, morena or fair-skinned, frank, and talented in showing the best of their tribe which made it truly difficult for the judges’ daunting task of choosing that singular, distinct and multifaceted gem. To think that the Hiyas sa Kadayawan pageant is the only one of its kind in the Philippines “giving women from different cultures recognition for their role in their community.”
“The Hiyas sa Kadayawan must naturally be blessed with beauty and wisdom as the winner becomes the official festival symbol and spokesperson of the Kadayawan sa Davao; and will be tasked to promote Davao City and Mindanao— its products, industries, and particularly its tourism, fashion and floriculture,” informed City Tourism Officer Generose Tecson.
In the Hiyas sa Kadayawan Talent Competition, I was overwhelmed with the kaleidoscope of Mindanao’s rich tribal dances and songs presented by the candidates before an excited crowd that converged at the Abreeza Mall of Davao.
The Hiyas sa Maguindanaon, Nurainie Ampatuan, danced gracefully the royal “Silong sa Ganding” showcasing her beautifully woven malong, sang well “Bayuk,” and played amazingly the kulintang while blindfolded . She rightfully won the Best in Talent Award during the coronation night.
For the proclamation of the Hiyas sa Kadayawan 2019, the judges Dr. Eric B. Zerrudo, Sheraton-Cebu GM Dottie Wurgler-Cronin, DOT Assist. Sec. Robby Alabado III, Davao City Chamber of Commerce Pres. Arturo Milan and Arch. Michael E. Dakudao, Ph.D. voted for Nurainie Ampatuan of the Maguindanaon tribe as this year’s Hiyas sa Kadayawan 2019. The Hiyas sa Panaghiusa title went to the Sama tribe’s Coraima Hasim who received the loudest cheers from her supporters all throughout the presentation; while Jessa Anidan of the Bagobo Tagabawa tribe was proclaimed Hiyas sa Kalambuan.
The artistic 22-year-old Hiyas ng Kadayawan 2019 Nurainie Ampatuan has a degree in Fine Arts major in Fashion Design. She has her own clothing line where she utilizes and highlights her tribe’s Inaul fabric in her contemporary designs. The judges admired the young Maguindanaon maiden for her strong values of hard work, perseverance despite all the odds, and the importance of her tribe, and the preservation and respect for the Maguindanaon cultural heritage and identity being a true Filipino citizen.
Yes, only in Davao City do you have a tribal beauty, talent and intelligence pageant such as the annual Hiyas sa Kadayawan. Congratulations! Madayaw!