15 Most Photogenic Tribal Ladies of the 2011 Kadayawan Festival

One of the most outstanding features of the Kadayawan Festival which is held in Davao City in August every year is  its showcase of the various tribes that comprise a significant population of the city and represent the rich cultural diversity and heritage of the region.  Each year, Muslim and Lumad (Indigenous Peoples) tribes; including the Tausugs, Maranaos, Maguindanaos, Kagan, Sama, Matigsalog, Bagobo Tagabawa, Bagobo Klata, Obu Manuvu,  and Ata;  provide the colorful highlight of the celebration through their handicrafts, music and dance, ethnic costumes and traditional rituals  integrated into the Kadayawan Festival’s parades, exhibits, beauty contests and other activities.

#15A

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#15 “Lady in Long Dress” : She looked strikingly different from the ladies in the line of Muslim women preparing for the parade so I snapped some photos without her knowing.  Perhaps it was her dress or the way she stood, but she got my attention (Can you call that an X factor?).  And when I zoomed in to get a close-up, the photo caught the hand of the lady at the back trying to tell her something. A bonus effect.

#15B

In this year’s celebration, I took advantage of the Floral Float Parade and Competition, the grand finale of the Kadayawan celebration, to capture photos of these various tribes who were likewise featured in the parade.  For several hours, I scoured the length of Magsaysay Avenue as various tribal representatives put on their costumes and make-up, applied finishing touches to their floats, and lined-up for the parade.  The atmosphere was amazingly colorful – a treasure trove of magnificent photos – and I took hundreds of shots until a warning light appeared on my camera indicating that my battery was low.

#14A

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#14 “Photo Lover”: I immediately sensed that she knew how to pose because, without me telling her, she automatically shifted into this stance as if she had rehearsed it many times.  Well, just because she belongs to a tribe doesn’t mean she can’t use a camera.  I won’t be surprised if she has a camera-phone tucked somewhere in her props.

 

#14B

It occurred to me while reviewing the raw photos that I can actually choose the most photogenic individuals  among the hundreds I photographed.  In order to narrow down the selection, I set this criteria in choosing the photos: (1) A female is the main subject; (2) She belongs to the younger generations (photos of older tribal members will be featured in other blogs later); (3) She should be an authentic member of one of the tribal groups mentioned above (I have several excellent photos of ladies in tribal costumes but, unfortunately, they are not members of one of these tribes); and (4) She left an impression on me as the photographer.  It also occurred to me that some of the photos I chose were those of the tribes’ candidates for the Hiyas sa Kadayawan pageant but that does not necessarily mean that they will pass as photogenic from my point of view.

#13A

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#13 “Thinker”: I asked her to pose and she agreed but seemed unwilling to smile.  I stole another shot later and she was still in that pretty but pensive mood. Love problems?  Monthly sickness? What?

 

#13B

Thus, for the narrowed down photos, I chose and ranked the “15 Most Photogenic Tribal Beauty”.  It should be noted that this is not a competition between tribes and I myself can’t tell exactly as to which tribe a person in the photo belongs (except in those photos which contain certain identifying marks).   Moreover, aside from the fact that these photos were taken during the Floral Float Parade, this list does not relate to any of the official competitions in the Kadayawan Festival.  This is my own collection and, honestly, I don’t even have the names of the persons in the photos.  It appears however that I have a bias towards cute little girls but, oh well, why don’t don’t you do your own ranking as well. Here’s mine in reverse order.

#12A

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#12 “Hypnotiser” : Her eyes snared me with this sharp side-ward glance so I rushed up the front of their row and snapped another photo.  They all had to stop from walking so I can get a proper shot.  Still the eyes spoke….

 

#12B

#11

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#11 “Dimple”:  I don’t know if at her age she already knew that her dimple was her asset but she was already smiling before I could even raise my camera so I obliged with a couple of shots.  And when she turned for another photo angle, her glorious smile and dimple stayed on and made my day.

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#10

#10 “Simple” : She held a banner that says they belong to the Obu Manuvu tribe.  The tribesman at the back was snarling instructions to them as I approached but she calmly turned toward the camera and gave this confident and captivating pose. 

#9A

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#9 “Cheerful”: They were all smiley in this group but her groupmates appear to be camera-shy.  I had to laugh with them a bit to ease their tension until finally she struck this stunning congenial pose while the other ladies remained bashful, almost hiding behind her back. 

#9B

#8A

#8 “Golden Girl” : Apparently one of the candidates for the Hiyas sa Kadayawan pageant, she and her escort were already on their elaborately-decorated tribal float when I saw them.  Although the float was still stationary, getting the right angle was quite a challenge.  It also appears that family members composed the entourage inside the float and the mother was guarding close by with the traditional umbrella.

#8B

#7A

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#7 “Hiyas”: She was crowned this year’s Hiyas sa Kadayawan.  Her regal costume depicts the intricate and colorful design that her tribe – the Maranaos – are known for.  The tribal float that carried her court was equally elegant and colorful, nothing short of royalty and  truly fit for a beauty queen.

 

#7B

#6A

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#6 “Demure”: She’s probably one of the strongest contenders for the Hiyas sa Kadayawan crown among the Lumads and she deserves her own court in my opinion (Actually, I don’t know how she fared in the competition).  She carried her costume like a real princess and effectively projected her stunning beauty to the camera as well.

#6B

#5A

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#5 “Lavender”: Another Hiyas candidate, she posed like a professional model in her magnificent purplish costume.  A fresh sight in the camera’s lens; she carried her loveliness like a fresh and fragrant waling-waling; exotic, delicate and mesmerizing.

#5B

#4A

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#4 “Shy” : I admit that I have a big bias in favor of children and, milling among various tribes, I always gravitated towards the costumed groups of kids.  This girl looked shy but was not scared of the camera.  And when I asked her to smile, she did so with pure innocence and sincerity – thank God.

#4B

#3A

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#3 “Sophisticated”: She posed and moved about  on the stationary float with a sophistication of Muslim royalty.  Can’t get enough of her photos so I just snapped some then moved away only to return again after a while to see what change of props she has made while waiting for the parade to start. A gong, then a fan. What next?

#3B

#2A

#2 “Dramatic Duo” : I played a little acting game with these girls to produce emotions in their photos, sad… happy…. sad… happy… They quickly caught up with the game and gave me these winning expressions, though one of them included pinching the other’s finger.  I think I’ve discovered a pair of telenovela fanatics and  future actresses in the tribe!

#2B

Finally, here’s my number one…

#1A

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#1 “Angelic” : I don’t know if the tribe where she belongs believes in angels but to me the most photogenic of them all is this young Muslim girl whose angelic beauty  exudes sweet innocence and combines all the beautiful qualities I saw in all the other photos.  She was just a banner holder in this year’s parade but to me she’s the winner and I won’t be surprised if she eventually reigns over a Hiyas sa Kadayawan float someday.  

 

#1B

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And so there goes my count-down of “tribal photogenics” in the Kadayawan for this year (I hope to do this again next year).  Look at the photos again in the slideshow below and tell me which one you think should be number one.  Have fun and see you in my other blogs.

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