Mautak Ako: Manay, Davao Oriental’s Unique Festival Event
Ida Damo | November 16, 2018
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Manay is a second class municipality in the province of Davao Oriental. It is composed of 17 barangays situated from the coastal to the uplands with farming and fishing as their sources of income.
In my frequent travels to the province, this is the first time that I was able to stay in Manay and the first time also to witness the Mautak Ako Showdown Quiz Bee as part of the celebration of the town’s 121st Parochial Fiesta.
What makes the Mautak Ako showdown unique? For one, although there are the usual pageant night and agricultural trade fairs, this one stands out because it is a quiz bee.
Manayan students battle it out in two categories--- elementary and high school. The questions are about the history, general information, and current events of Manay. In this way, the students are acquainted with their heritage which would make them grounded in their roots.
When you get to be there during the contest, the air is thick with the spirit of competition and yet, the element of fun is still there as they happily cheer for every correct answer.
The Mautak Ako Showdown is indeed a welcome event to the usual festival activities. However, when you get to tour the 17 agricultural and trade booths of the 17 barangays, you would appreciate retaining this traditional part of a festival.
At the fair, each bahay kubo booth is festooned with the agricultural products to the barangay from which it belongs. Abaca is dried and hanged on ceilings, posts, and walls along with woven baskets made from romblon, bamboo, and rattan.
Various fruits of banana, mango, balimbing, coconut, guavas, tambis, and the unfamiliar indigenous fruits of pan-on and dalican from Barangay Del Pilar are on sale or on display.
There are kakanins or native delicacies of suman, bibingka, cassava roll and cake from the kakanin capital of Manay, Barangay Manreza.
Vegetables of string beans, pechay, alugbati, talong, okra, kangkong, tomato, squash, ginger, onions, cassava, camote, saluyot, cabbage, sili, are for sale at farm gate price and come in different sizes, quantity, color, variety, and price.
Grains of rice, munggo, corn were displayed.
There were native freshwater shells, eels, fish, frog, and chicken cooked in bamboo chambers or lolot.
What goes best with the native viands? The native wines from coconut (tuba and lambanog) and sugarcane (bya-is) from Barangay Rizal.
Through the agri-trade fair, each barangay’s identity shines through in keeping with getting to know Manay not just through the quiz bee but also from its products.
Manay is indeed one destination worth exploring and offering unique experiences for the traveler.
How to get there:
Major airlines fly daily to Davao City from Manila and Cebu. Manay is 4-5 hours by land from Davao City passing through Mati City onboard private vehicles, buses, and vans.