Sama Tribe competes in the “Hiyas sa Kadayawan”
Though I hesitate to get involved with Mindanaon politics, I am supporting a candidate. The candidate is Elmia Sailadin, one of the 10 candidates in this year’s “Hiyas sa Kadayawan” cultural beauty pageant. I’m also not a huge fan of beauty pageants, but beautiful adequately describes the depth and breadth of culture that exists throughout Mindanao, especially that of the Sama. The goal of this competition is, “search for the indigenous young lass who, up until the present is knowledgeable of her indigenous culture and wisdom through a pageantry of Mindanaoan myths and legends. Ten young women from the respective distinguished tribes of Davao will be presented in their indigenous garbs, cultural performance, interview and indigenous attire.” You can learn more at the official Kadayawan website.
Kadayawan and the Sama involvement
Davao City’s Kadayawan festival is indeed a gem among other Filipino festivals. The ten tribes of Davao: Ata, Bagobo K’lata, Tagabawa Bagobo, Kagan, Maguindanao, Manobo, Maranao, Matigsalug, Sama & Tausug all participate in Kadayawan. Pride in one’s culture is the goal of many of the activities. We expect Sama to be participating in a variety of the other activities including: Sayaw Mindanao, Indigenous People’s Grande Performance, Lumadnong Bantawan, the Bancarera, and the famous Indak-Indak (street dancing). Of course since the culmination of Kadayawan coincides with the Sama celebration of the end of Ramadan, Hailaya Puwasa, it can be expected that the Davao Sama communities will be extra festive this Kadayawan. So if you are a Sama and can’t return to Sulu or Tawi-Tawi this year, you might want to come to Davao.
The Sama, Dabawenyos?
The Sama connection to Davao starts before the Spanish arrival in the Philippines and it can safely be assumed that it predates the coming of Islam to the Philippines. We at least know that it was Sama who brought Sharif Kabungsuwan from Sulu to Cotabato City. These same Sama were said to have continued along the coast of Saranggani until they reached Davao. The reality of this steady traffic of Sama along the coast of Mindanao is still evident today as Sama communities can be found ranging from Zamboanga, to Cotabato City, Maasim, Tinutu, General Santos, Digos, and then finally Davao.
Sulu province has its own connections to Davao. Some of the first Chinese businessmen in Davao came from Jolo and Siasi, Sulu. Men like Lim Chuan Juna, who is said to have dove for pearls in Jolo, Sulu and the father of Alfonso Angliongto, who arrived in the Philippines from Sandakan and resided in Siasi and Zamboanga before his son moved to Davao. I wonder if it were not Sama who told them of Davao.
The Sama were certainly around Davao at the time of the city’s founding. It is claimed that the Sama helped Spanish General Don Uyanguren in his efforts to claim Davao from Moro Datu Bago. If true, this would be a rare example in history of the Sama siding with the Spanish. And of course, we cannot omit the fact that Samal island is named with the outsiders’ term for the Sama tribe. Various Sama communities have been formed there, some abandoned and some still existing to this day.
Davao, the branches of Sama culture in the Philippines
Here I reside in Davao. Though I have a continual quest to follow the Sama back to their roots, hopefully live in Zamboanga, and one day when peace is realized visit Jolo, Siasi, and Bongao, I cannot help but take note of how Sama culture has branched out throughout Mindanao and the Philippines. Sama influence can be found as far as Cebu, Manila, and Batangas. Here in Davao, the importance of the Sama on the culture and history of the city has not been forgotten.
- To view last year’s bancarera visit our youtube account video.
- To vote for Elmia Sailadin, the Sama tribe representative in Hiyas sa Kadayawan, text “Hiyas2012 Poll F” to 9977 (Smart subscribers only)
- We want to hear what you might know about the connections of Sama to the city of Davao. Please comment below.