Davao del Norte

Musa Festival

Musa Festival, also called Musa Banana Festival, is the yearly agricultural and banana festival and the founding anniversary of the town of Kapalong in Davao del Norte, Philippines every August 1. Its schedule coincides with Araw ng Kapalong (Kapalong Day), the date of the establishment of the municipality.

History of Musa Festival

Musa Banana Festival was first held by then Mayor Dominador Cruda in August 2005 in time for the 57th anniversary since the creation of the municipality of Kapalong. Its name comes from the word musa taken from the scientific name of banana, musa paradisiaca sapientum.

It pays tribute to the farming and production of banana, one of the vital crops of the town. A few of the rice paddies were transformed into banana plantation which provides sustenance, income, and livelihood among its people. The event was conceptualized to bolster the tourism profile of the town too.

In a 2005 article, the town was reported to have 2,501 hectares planted with Cavendish variety under big food conglomerates such as Banana Gardening Agricultural Corporation, Dole Stanfilco, Global-Delta Farms, and JK Mercado and Sons. Their produce were of export-quality and traded in international markets.

Another 1,024 hectares were allocated for the cultivation of the cardava variety, a plantation owned by Kapalong Cardava Grower Multi-Purpose Cooperative (KACAGMUPCO). Cardava was best suited for banana chips. In general, Davao del Norte had over 25,000 hectares of its land for banana plantation according to a 2004 report by the local government.

History of Kapalong, Davao del Norte

The name of Kapalong came from Kapalong River that traverses the town. According to oral tradition, the river dried up in one of severe droughts in the past and the communities built along its floodplains were abandoned. Such a situation was described as napalongan, which translates to “in a state of being extinguished”.

The town was a settlement of diverse people including Aetas, Mandaya, and Dibabawon. They lived along bodies of water particularly Libuganon River which they navigated to reach the seas and other surrounding areas. Migration of people coming from Luzon and Visayas began during the American occupation. They moved to Mindanao with the encouragement of the colonial government.

Formerly, it was part of the municipality of Saug. Its status became a municipal district to a full-fledged municipality in succeeding years. It was declared a municipal district through Executive Order No. 8 by Governor Francis Burton signed on February 23, 1921. Its constituent barangays were: Abaca, Esperanza, Florida, Kapalong, Jaguimitan, Mabanto, Maniki, and Mobaquid.

Kapalong was formally declared a town by virtue of Executive Order No. 151 by Elpidio Quirino on July 8, 1948 and enacted on August 1, 1948. This is the date that Araw ng Kapalong commemorates. Over the next decades, its jurisdiction would be redefined by succeeding legislation.

Musa Festival Activities

In its maiden year, a kilometer-long grill was set up in the circumferential road where bananas were cooked over coal and offered to festival-goers as part of the festivities in 2005. A giant Cavendish banana cake was also unveiled; it was three meters long and comprised of 4,000 cup cakes.

How to reach Kapalong, Davao del Norte

Book a flight to Davao International Airport then take a bus bound for Davao del Norte, which is about 70 kilometers away in a trip that takes about two hours. Then take take a public transport to Kapalong (about 35 kilometers away with estimated travel time of 45 minutes to an hour).


Musa Festival Summary

NameMusa Festival
CelebrationAgriculture, Banana, Food, Founding Anniversary
Contact(084) 807 0004
DateAugust 1
FounderDominador Cruda
LocationKapalong, Davao del Norte
OrganizerMunicipal Government of Kapalong
Other NamesMusa Banana Festival
Simultaneous eventAraw ng Kapalong