How do you say "Madayaw Davao" in Sinama? (The Sama Tribe's Inclusion in Kadayawan)

Sama Tribe competes in the “Hiyas sa Kadayawan”

Hiyas sa Kadayawan Candidates

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.

3 thoughts on “How do you say "Madayaw Davao" in Sinama? (The Sama Tribe's Inclusion in Kadayawan)

  1. salam. Thank you, Luke. Nice, feel-good piece there you've got on the Sama in Davao. I wish you cited the sources as well, like the Sama collaboration with Uyanguren against Datu Bago. How strange when the Sama alliances with the Sulu sultans and consistent [piratical] campaigns against western colonialists are well documented from Malakka, to Makkasar to Borneo and down to Sulu archipelago. In Sulu, the longest resistance ever launched by individuals registered against Spanish conquestadores and American colonialists were also by the Sama; namely Panglima Taupan and Panglima Alip of Balangingi and in more contemporary times that of Jikiri andi Kamlun of Sulu. I could not fathom why there should be a change of heart upon landing in Dabaw where the Kaagan datu Bago blood line is half-Suluk [from the land of Spirits in Agusan-Surigao] and half-Maguindanao, and noting that about this time the memories of Spanish attacks of the Balangingi was still smouldering and I'd imagine fanning the Sama hatred for the 'aa luwar'.

  2. Just to give us a spatio-chronological sense of things then, Don Jose Uyanguren, a Spanish businessman came to Davao in 1847 at the time Ka'gan-Maguindanao Datu Bago was reigning in what is now Davao City and the Spaniard attempted to conquer where Datu Bago ruled. Elsewhere in Sulu archipelago, around 1845-1848, Sulu and the strongholds of maritime trading of the Sama [i.e. the Balangingi base] and generally of Suluk were continually being bombarded by Spanish frigates, eventually the Spaniards successfully penetrated into the barricade of Jolo in 1851 and also dispersed the Balangingi resistance, causing to some of the Sama to flee and sought refuge in Tawitawi while some listlessly prowled the seas from the southseas of Borneo down to Celebes and Sulu waters whereupon many must have also passed off time around the gulf [i.e. Sarangani and Dabaw] are.. It is not plausible to infer that the Sama in Dabaw could have sided with Spain when they were infact being attacked and disenfranchised in their homeseas [and eventually some forced to bring their trade to Dabaw] by the same foreign conquestadores. My source for above is James Francis Warren's Sulu Zone (sorry I couldn't cite page for now, as I am just retrieving this from memory; and that of Shinzo Hayaze's 'Mindanao Ethnohistory beyond Nations', pp.31-35).

  3. Magsukul Kaꞌ Mucha. I’m glad to have your input on this. I wrote “claimed” and “rare” because it seemed an oddity to me as well when I saw it written on the Davao Timeline at the Davao Museum. I wonder if it might only be confusion between the inhabitants of the Island of Samal and the Sama people, referred to by many Filipinos as Samals. I am still trying to learn as much as I can from both Sama in their communities as well as in print material. I now have two books to add to my reading list.
    My former impression on the Sama presence in Davao is that it has always been a territory of the more mobile Sama. In more recent history, those living in Sasa Km11 first came here on long fishing trips (magkaldiya in Sinama Tabawan) and then at a time when Sulu was especially chaotic they decided to bring their families and transfer here permanently.
    If the Sama in Davao at Uyanguren’s point in history were refugees from Sulu, I would only assume that they were joining relatives that had already migrated to the area or fished the waters regularly.
    Anyway, I love history and very much welcome corrections and additions to my not very professionally written historical posts 🙂 Magsukul pabalik.

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