In 2016, the City Government of Tagum through the City Tourism Office sustained the implementation of its year-long festivals, which is a full-throttle move that endured the city’s initiative of promoting a culture of tourism. The City Government of Tagum is probably the lone local government unit in the Philippines that hosts nine (9) festivals in a year. This bold initiative of the City Government is guided by its goal of promoting local talents, generate economic activities that will benefit the small and medium entrepreneurs as well as big-time businesses in the city and in turn fattening the local government’s coffers, and most importantly, highlight Tagum as a tourism destination despite the lack of natural tourist spots to boast of.
The City Tourism Office, the city government’s lead office in charge of tourism affairs, is currently composed of 30 personnel working diligently towards the attainment of Tagum’s branding as the “City of Festivals. “The following are the detailed summary of festivals and events of primary significance that are being hosted by the City Government of Tagum and its significant achievements for 2016:
A. MUSIKAHAN SA TAGUM FESTIVAL is the city’s official festival and is the official festival opening salvo of the Davao Region. It is a distinct cultural event that celebrates the Filipino excellence in musical composition, performance and production. The end goal of the festival to provide the youth with more opportunities to excel in the music industry and the Filipino musical culture. Implemented from February 21st to March 7th, the festival features 11 competing events, 7 side events with 85 groups participating in the following musical events: Rondal Awit Competition, Himig Handog Competition, Kantahan sa Tagum, Avenida Musika (Brass Band), Kasikas sa Tagum Drum and Bugle Competition, Tunog Tagum: Battle of the Bands and Barangay Musikahan, and initiated a year-round Musical Outreach Program extended to the 23 Barangays including City and Provincial Jails and public and private hospitals. In 2016, another source of pride is added to the profile of Tagum City as two national institutions declared the City of Palms as the Marching Showband Capital of the Philippines. The recognition was announced and given by the Pambansang Samahan ng mga Banda sa Pilipinas (PASAMBAP) and the Philippine Allianceof Marching Showbands Incorporated (PAMSBI) during the Avenida Musika Brass Band Showdown Competition, one of the featured events of the Musikahan Festival. Said organizations, which lead in helping marching bands in the country to develop and expand through the implementation of their many programs, bestowed the title to Tagum City, having acknowledged the importance given by the city government to the continued execution of programs that help marching bands find a place in the progress of the city. They also commended the local government for having the Musikahan Festival’s Avenida Musika as it is considered one of the few remaining avenues for brass bands in the country to present and share their talent and music.
B. ARAW NG TAGUM CELEBRATION is the city’s commemoration of the city’s establishment as a component city every March 7 of every year. The 18th Araw ng Tagum in 2016 was successfully celebrated through events such as the Tagumenyo Bisag Asa (a special LGU-initiated balikbayan program), a civic fun parade participated by more than 25,000 Tagumenyos.
C. HUGPONG SERBISYO PARA SA TAGUMENYOS FESTIVAL is a month-long festival for beneficiaries mostly living from below the poverty threshold. This is a convergence of health and social services offered by both the local government and private institutions. The free services included minor surgeries, dental services, circumcision, therapeutic massage, haircut, cosmetology, and optical services. Other services that were also offered during the festival include legal consultation, COMELEC registration, civil registration, mini jobs fair, referrals for NSO, DFA and scholarships, random blood sugar test, FBS, ID registration for senior citizens and PWDs, PhilHealth registration for senior citizens, application for social pension and solo parent and anti-rabies dog vaccination. A total of 36,503 individuals from the 23 barangays of Tagum were served for the year 2016. In 2017, this statistic increased by 75%, with a total of 63, 787 individuals served during the month-long social services festival.
D. PRIDE FESTIVAL. It is hereby declared that the Local Government Unit of Tagum values the services and contributions of the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders (LGBT) in the society. Towards this end, the City Government ensures to protect their rights and to recognize their valuable effort and support for the betterment of Tagum City. Tagum’s Pride Festival Pride provides a platform for every part of Tagum’s LGBT+ community to raise awareness of LGBT+ issues and campaign for the freedoms that will allow them to live their lives on a genuinely equal footing. This is institutionalized through the passage of City Ordinance No. 771 passed by the 7th City Council in 2016.
E. UGMAD FESTIVAL (“Uma Gamiton, Mag-uuma Atong Dayegon,”) is a farmer-focused festival celebrating a holiday for the farmers and acknowledging their noble contribution of being the backbone of the society towards the attainment of food security. It is a month-long convergence not limited to the farmers sector but includes the fisherfolks and the livestock caretakers as well. The date of the activity is slated every fourth week of August and until the third week of September in the major event areas of the city. Among the activities slated during the UGMAD Festival are focused on the three major fields, namely the crops, fishery and livestock. It is a showcase of the products produced through trade fair, competitions, cooking demos and technology presentation. One of the festival’s highlights is the pintados y caroza de carabao parade within the central thoroughfares of the city. Along the month-stretched festivity are enriching input of fora and caucus series, farming technical demos and product presentations, sampling and giving away of farm supplies such as seeds, fertilizers, cropping aids and freebies. The event is a jointly organized by the City Tourism Office and the City Agriculture Office.
F. KAIMUNAN FESTIVAL is the gathering of the three dominant tribes in Tagum City (Mansaka, Mandaya, Kalagan) and the five migrant tribes (Dibabawon, Ata Manobo, B’laan, Isama and Mannguangan) to celebrate a bountiful harvest and to give thanks to Almighty God known to them as “Magbabaya”. It is celebrated every 10th day of the Month of October in accordance with Republic Act 8371 known as the IPRA (Indigenous Peoples Rights Act) Law that upholds, promote, develop and preserve the culture and tradition of the Indigenous People. During the Kaimunan Festival, the public is treated to a rare exhibition of their rich cultural tradition that includes its musical instruments, songs, dances, rituals and cuisine.
G. PAKARADYAN FESTIVAL is a unique and special gathering of the dominant Muslim Tribes in Tagum City such as the Ka’gans (original settlers), Maranaos, Maguindanaos, Iranons and Tausogs showcasing their cultural talents in playing the Kulintang and traditional dances with a common goal of preserving and promoting their beliefs and traditions. It is a celebration of music, dances and cultural presentation with the beat and rhythm of Kulintang, Dobakan and Agong.
H. MUTYA NG TAGUM CITY is the city’s annual quest for its Ambassadress of Good Will. This annual pageant celebrates strong, committed young women who are willing to become role models of today through promoting tourism and social development. Aside from the main pageant, the winning candidates also engage on a year-long advocacy work focusing on their identified programs with social relevance that is funded by the local government.
I. PASKUHAN SA TAGUM is a unique celebration highlighting the ecumenical celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Highlight to this celebration is the lighting of the city’s symbol of hope—a towering Holiday Tree—that for the course of time has become a symbol of unity among the tri-people of Tagum (Lumads, Muslims and the Migrants). The celebration ends with a grand fireworks display welcoming the new year. ong advocacy work focusing on their identified programs with social relevance that is funded by the local government.