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Tagum: The City of Festivals

Located in the southeastern part of Davao del Norte Province, Tagum City, the capital of the province, is home to nearly 300,000 people and is one of the region’s economic centers.

The city owes its growth to its strategic location with two major road networks (Davao-Agusan National Highway and the Davao-Mati Road) intersecting in the city. Tagum’s flat terrain is home to numerous productive farms, plantations and commercial businesses.

Despite its lack of geographical features such as picturesque mountains and alluring white sand beaches which other localities in the province possess, Tagum City is still intent on attracting throngs and tourists and visitors to the city by means of holding events such as festivals.

“In Tagum, we don’t have natural resources; we don’t have nice beaches;  we don’t have mountains, it's really man-made that is why we rely on our people, the talent and skills of our people,” says Alma Uy, the city’ mayor’s wife and the current president of the Tagum City Tourism, Culture and Arts Council.

Uy wants Tagum City to become a tourism destination with varied festivities that showcases the skills of its various sectors and communities.

Sa talents ng mga Tagumenyos doon kami kumuha ng strength. So why we have lots of festivals because of this? We are promoting Tagum as the city of festivals. We rely on different sectors in the city,” Uy said.

She said the city is inclined on music thus the free music education of the local government and this focus on music birthed their banner festival-- Musikahan saTagum.

Uy said their vision for Tagum City is to become the center for arts and culture in the region, thus, their motivation to hold festivals which caters to the different aspirations of the various sectors and communities in Tagum.

For this year, the city has programmed 12 festivals ranging from a music festival, film fest, culinary fiesta and one for the LGBT+ community.

Visitors to the city will have plenty of festivals to choose which caters to varied interests. Here are among the events held this year in the city:


This annual festival which started in 1999 is one of the longest running music festivals in the country. Held usually in the last week of February, Musikahan celebrates the music and the talent of the Tagumenyos. There are concerts, chorale, rondalla, marching brass and band competitions. The music festival already has attracted tourists from all over the Philippines to witness the artistic spectacle.


Binuhat Festival provides a platform for every part of Tagum’s LGBT+ community to raise awareness of LGBT+ issues and

Musikahan opening ceremony at the Tagum City Hall in Apokon

campaign for the freedoms that enables equality and empowerment.  The event is institutionalized through the passage of City Ordinance No. 771 passed by the 7th City Council in 2016.

Among the many activities in this week-long festival include a Mardi Gras, fashion show, musical show, talent competitions.


This event is the gathering of the three dominant tribes in Tagum City (Mansaka, Mandaya, Kalagan) along with the five migrant tribes (Dibabawon, Ata Manobo, B’laan, Isama and Mannguangan) to celebrate a bountiful harvest and as a thanksgiving to the supreme being “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.

Durian Festival

Touted as the biggest durian celebration in Mindanao, this festival is held in the month of August. This year’s Durian

Festival activities included the Great Durian Eating Showdown, Durian Feastival Fair, Durian Culinary Olympics, and the Durian Techno Forum.

Paskohan sa Tagum

This Christmas festival's main attraction is the lighting of the city’s symbol of hope—a towering Holiday Tree which once was the country’s tallest Christmas tree and  has become a symbol of unity among the tri-people of Tagum (lumads, muslims and the migrants). Bazaars, food fairs,  concerts and other festive activities are held across the city’s parks and plazas attracting droves of people.

The Paskohan culminates with a grand fireworks display welcoming the new year. 


A festival which highlights the cultural talents of Tagum’s Muslim communities ( Iranuns, Maranaos, Maguindanao, Tausug). The celebration is centered in the playing of the kulintang, agong and dobakan alongside the presentation of traditional dances.

Indayog Festival

Indayog means rhythm and the festival pulsates with the energy of dancers who 

The giant Christmas tree outside the City Hall

have converged in Tagum City representing the different dance genres.  Dance performances, competitions, exhibits and a congress aims to elevate the art and make Tagum a focal point of creatives in Mindanao.

Araw ng Tagum

Held every March 7, the event celebrates the conversion of Tagum from a municipality into a component city in 1998 thru Republic Act 8472. The highlight of the commemoration is a civic parade participated by thousands of Tagumenyos.

Sports Festival

Held during summer the sports festival aims to promote fitness activities among Tagumenyos. The main venue of the sports festival is the 25-hectare Energy Park in Apokon. Among activities include wall climbing, rappelling and ziplining.

The Mindanao Film Festival, the longest running regional film festival in the country is now hosted by Tagum City

Earth Festival

This festival is held to celebrate mother nature and raise awareness on the environment. Various arts and culture events are held in various venues across the city. There are workshops (visual arts, music, theater, dance) for kids and teenagers held during the festival.

Kulenaria Fiesta

This festival highlights the various cuisines of the city as presented by the restaurants, catering companies, hotels and other culinary establishments in Tagum. It is usually held in the second week of November.

Mindanao Film Festival

Formerly held in Davao City, the longest-running regional film festival in the country was held last year in the city. Tagum will again be hosting the festival which will feature short films and full-length films of local, national and international independent filmmakers.

About the Author

Rudolph Ian Alama

Regional Editor

Region 11

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