Celebrating a heritage of fusion at Kaizen Davao
March is a very special month for Davao City, a time when the city takes pride of its colorful history and heritage.
On the 16th, Dabawenyos takes to the streets as it celebrates the 81st Araw ng Dabaw. It is a public holiday in the city highlighted by Parada Dabawenyo which is held along the old city streets.
Happening on the eve of the anniversary is the Mutya ng Dabaw, the annual beauty pageant that features lovely Dabawenyas proudly representing their respective barangays in the city.
The Araw ng Dabaw celebration is actually a month-long festivity marked by cultural performances, concerts, trade fairs and other citywide activities held throughout the month.
It is interesting to note that a significant part of Davao’s progress as a city can be attributed to the Japanese.
In the early 20th century during the early years of American colonial rule, Japanese migrants came to Davao, originally serving as laborers in American-owned abaca plantations, the hardworking migrants eventually became a prosperous community.
The Japanese built factories, schools, hospitals, irrigation works and a power plant. They were concentrated in the area now known as Mintal, which residents considered as Little Tokyo.
The Japanese were so well-placed in Davao that it eventually prompted the creation of Davao City.
Commonwealth Act 51 or the charter of Davao City combined the old Municipality of Davao and Municipal District of Guianga where the Japanese community is located.
For fear that the rich Japanese community would influence politics of the city, the first Mayors of Davao were all appointed by the national government. It was only in 1954 when the residents could elect their city officials.
World War II and the eventual liberation ended the decades of peaceful coexistence. Now only a few monuments and shrines remain. During August to commemorate their Obon Festival, batches of Japanese tourists would flock to the cemetery in Mintal to honor their ancestors buried there.
Japanese legacy could also be seen in the huge number of Nikkei Jins or second and third generation of Japanese descendants living in the city.
Indeed Davao was born out of a glorious fusion between different cultures, a harmonious melting pot whose diverse people have produced a progressive and beautiful city.
To celebrate its legacy Kaizen Davao: Japanese Street Dining will showcase several creative dishes inspired by this heritage of diversity and harmony.
These would include our fusion line of sushis such as the iconic Mt. Apo Roll and its bestseller Du30 rolls, a delectable taste of the familiar and the new.
Celebrate a part of our heritage here at Kaizen Davao. Happy Araw ng Dabaw. (old Japanese photos courtesy of Barangay Mintal- Little Tokyo)