Proud of their rich culture and heritage, the Mandaya people coming from different parts of the Davao Region hummingly trooped to this beautiful coastal town of Davao Oriental to celebrate their uniquely colorful and soulful songs and music which they aim to popularize in mainstream media in a bid to strengthen their sense of identity in this culturally-diverse society.
Mandaya Songs Festival
The Mandaya Songs Festival staged recently in this town was the first of its kind in the country.
Popular and budding Mandayan artists and singers throughout the country graced the momentous event that enriched their unique culture that emanated from the province of Davao Oriental.
The overjoyed Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon, herself a full-blooded Mandaya, also graced the event that showcased the Mandaya people’s unique creativity and ingenuity in belting out their passionately romantic and soulful songs and music that very clearly reflect on what is inside their hearts and minds.
“The Mandaya Songs Festival features a song-writing contest with its lyrics written in Mandaya language and blended with our national language which is Tagalog,” said Ramon Ramos, one of the organizers of the event.
“It is considered the first of its kind of Mandaya-inspired popular songs presentation. This initiative is focused on preserving the Mandaya culture that includes the enrichment of the native literature utilizing the resources and talents of the indigenous communities from different municipalities of Davao Oriental and other areas within the Davao Region,” Ramos said.
“The idea of combining the lyrics in Mandaya and the national language which is Tagalog gives the Tagalog-speaking people a chance to understand the song compositions. All the selected 12 entries shall be arranged by a popular music arranger, Rebel Magdagasang, of the GMA Records who is himself a full-bloodied Mandaya lumad. All the arranged 12 songs will be submitted for recording, production and distribution for local and perhaps international market,” he added.
In judging the numerous entries for the song-writing contest, a panel of judges used the following criteria: originality, 50 percent; musicality, 40 percent; and timing, 10 percent.
The first prize winner for the songwriting contest bagged P30,000 in cash, the second prize winner got P20,000 and the third prize winner, P15,000.
For the pop dance contest, the first prize winner received P15,000; second prize winner, 10,000; and third prize winner, P5,000.
“This activity would hopefully mark the beginning of an annual Mandaya Songs Festival as we expect it to greatly contribute to tourism-related industry development. And consequently, this will inspire people from different places in the country to come to Cateel to witness the Mandaya-inspired songs festival either as participants or spectators,” Ramos said.
Organizers of the event hope that the resounding success of the first Mandaya Songs Festival in Cateel, Davao Oriental will encourage their sponsors to continue to help them stage the same event next year.
Cateel Mayor Camilo Nunez was very grateful for the full support and cooperation extended by his constituents to the first Mandaya Songs Festival in his town.
The successful event was also the initiative of the Cateel Mandaya Tribal Council of Elders and Leaders (CAMTRICEL) and the Anak-Cateel Association of the Philippines.
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