My 15 Most Photogenic Street Dancers of Kadayawan Festival 2011

15th Pensive Yellow - she could have used the big smile of the person at the background

14th A - Basket Girl1: Shout out loud!

14th B - Basket Girl2: Shout out strong!

13th - Basket Girl 3: Calm and well-guarded

The Kayawan Festival of Davao City held every 3rd week of August each year is also called the “Festival of Festivals” because, aside from focusing the festival on the various Muslim and Indigenous Tribes of Davao and highlighting the many natural treasures that the city has been generously blessed with — Mt. Apo, Philippine Eagle, waling-waling and other exotic flowers, durian and other succulent tropical fruits to name a few —  it also showcases the festivals of other regions.   In this year’s Kadayawan Festival for example, several contingents of the street dancing competition of the previously-held T’nalak Festival of the Province of South Cotabato found themselves competing once again in the “Indak-indak sa Kadalanan” (street-dancing competition) open category of the Kadayawan Festival.  The davao-based category of course was likewise well-participated with several schools, mostly elementary level, sending young tireless school kids stomping on the city’s streets then wowing spectators at the final competition at Rizal Park.

Professional camera buffs, budding photographers, and hobbyists like myself, as can be expected, had a field day during the actual competition.  I for one prepared my gear the night before, woke up and took a shower early, then drove to Claro M. Recto – one of the major streets, and joined the huge crowd waiting for the street dancers to pass by.  I thought that the front of Marco Polo hotel and Ateneo University was a perfect spot as their nice buildings can provide a good backdrop to the photos.

In the afterthought, the site was not a good choice after all.  The place was crawling with other photographers, almost half of the crowd, who were almost wrestling and stepping on each other just to catch the best angle for their photos.  This was complicated by tourists and locals alike who love to pose with the dancing kids on their background, sometimes unmindful that the dancers were about to trample on them.  In short, it was a merry mess and pleasantly stressful affair for a photographer.

Nevertheless, I got excellent photos of the street dancers and some close-up shots came out perfectly.  Just like my blog on “15 Most Photogenic Tribal Beauties”, I have put together in this blog  a reverse list of 15 photos of individual street dancers who I thought were the most photogenic among the photos I’ve collected.  It should be noted that these are mainly costumed school kids who do not necessarily belong to a tribal group.  Similarly, this is my own ranking of the best photos I’ve collected and this is not related to any of the Kadayawan competitions.  My main objective is to share these beautiful photos and I used a very subjective (“my own choice”) personal criteria in ranking them.  The viewer has every right, and is in fact invited, to choose his/her most photogenic person in the list.  Here it is.

12th Heads-up, Face the Challenge

11th Princess in White

10th Mahlong Royalty

9th Fairy Butterfly

8th - Beaded Beauty

7th - A Ladylike Gait

6th - A sweet smile

5th - Princess in Flowers

4th - Simple in Yellow

3rd - Joyful and Lovely

2nd - Kayumanggi

1st - A Perfect Smile and Pose


There you go.  I don’t know if you noticed but those who smiled wholeheartedly got the top 6 positions in my ranking.  I did not use smiling in my personal criteria but it seemed to just come out naturally as a favorable choice.  Of course, having a serious face in this competition has its own merits in terms of projection but I personally think that a hearty smile can go a long way in terms of connecting with the audience — and the photographers.

Why don’t you look at the slides and tell me what you think…..


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