EDITORIAL: Respect to our heritage

The Hiyas ng Kadayawan as a pageant competition has always been unique than the usual. For one, the premium is not physical beauty but substance.

That, in essence, separates this pageant from the rest and it’s also what separates its contestants from the norms and perception of beauty contestants.

Not to put down other pageant platforms but for sure, Hiyas ng Kadayawan has a different perception of beauty.

This year, eleven young women are vying for the coveted title as Hiyas sa Kadayawan. They were officially presented to the media at the Acacia Davao Hotel in Davao City on Wednesday, representing the 11 tribes of Davao City.

To begin with, the competitions feature these contestant’s vision of how they can be significant to the community by presenting various advocacies emphasizing the right to education, ethnic representation, and cultural preservation. The advocacies ranged from cultural preservation, equality, women empowerment and right to education.

During the media presentation, one contestant Sitti Rohilmina Emani of the Sama tribe shed tears as she shared the struggle of his tribe due to discrimination, the reason why she is advocating for equality and the right to education for the Sama tribe (Badjaos).

Leizly May Mendoza of the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe is advocating the strengthening of cultural identity and continuity of her tribe. She beamed with pride that Vice President Sara Duterte wore their traditional attire during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The Hiyas sa Kadayawan aims to showcase the diverse beauty of Davao City’s eleven ethnolinguistic tribes as well as add more visibility to the city’s minority populations and expand its platform through socio-cultural representation in the form of a city-wide cultural talent show.

The big winner here is our cultural heritage. Its preservation and respect.

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