As part of Davao City’s celebration of the Kadayawan Festival, HCDC hosted the National Commission for Culture and the Art’s (NCCA) Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GaMaBa) Forum to honor indigenous Filipino artists on August 22, 2023 at the Sedes Sapientiae Auditorium.

This prestigious event recognizes the exceptional contributions of traditional and folk masters to the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines. The GaMaBa Award is considered the highest cultural honor in the country.

The NCCA held a forum in Davao City to increase the recognition of the area’s rich culture and heritage at the national level. Executive Director Oscar G. Casaysay emphasized the importance of acknowledging the cultural and artistic contributions of Davaoeños, particularly the indigenous peoples who have dedicated their lives to preserving their crafts.

According to Casaysay, the level of awareness about GaMaBa, an indigenous arts and culture festival, is still low among the people of the Davao Region. The NCCA hopes to broaden this awareness through the forum. At the event, two dance troupes, the Panay-Bukidnon Dance Troupe and the Blaan Cultural Dance Troupe, performed cultural dances that have been preserved by their indigenous communities.

Prof. Felipe De Leon Jr., who was formerly the Executive Director of NCCA and is now a GaMaBa Executive Council Member, shared his expertise and discussed the overview of GaMaBa and cultural sensitivity.

Maricel Cayas, the Head of HCDC Center for Culture and the Arts, praised the people for their efforts in promoting and recognizing traditional culture. She expressed her admiration for their unwavering commitment to keeping traditional arts alive and relevant in the modern era.

The event was attended by various groups, including the GaMaBa Executive Council Head Comm. Reden S. Ulo, Davao Historical Society, Davao City Tourism Office, Museo Dabawenyo, HCDC representatives led by President Br. Noelvic H. Deloria, S.C., as well as the Institute of Davao Studies Focal Person, Mr. Rhys Lloyd Lacia, and the faculty and students of the Bachelor of Science in Social Studies and the Bachelor of Arts in History.