News Release

Kadayawan FamilySearch Exhibit 2019 Introduces Mobile App to Davaoeños

Kadayawan Festival is deemed as the most celebrated event in Davao City. It is observed through parades, street dances, night markets, light shows, art displays, and concerts. More than these avenues of entertainment, the city’s culture and heritage lies behind the celebrations.


This year, the Kadayawan FamilySearch Exhibit, a sponsored event of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, joined the locals and tourists in remembering the history that built the city. During the five-day exhibit that run from 5-9 August at the Sangguniang Panlungsod, more than 6,000 patrons have been introduced to family history research, nearly doubling last year’s attendance.

Diverse groups of patrons – government officials and employees, military, businessmen, students, tourists, local residents – have come and visited, largely contributing to its huge success.

During the opening ceremonies on Monday, 5 August, the acting city mayor, Honorable Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte, addressed the audience. “This love for Davao City is all born from our experiences within it, and that includes the history of our families. We are one with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their pursuit to preserve and enhance the relationship within every family. After all, understanding our roots will help us learn how connected we all are,” he said. Later, he joined Elder Ferdinand Pangan in the ribbon cutting, formally opening the exhibit to the public.

Other notable names in Davao City politics who graced the exhibit include City Councilors Hon. Melchor Quitain Jr., Hon. Myrna L’Dalodo-Ortiz, Hon. Pilar C. Braga, Hon. Jessica Bonguyan, Hon. Maria Belen Acosta, & Hon. Wilberto Al-ag; and Sectoral Representatives Hon. Edgar Ibuyan Sr.,  and Hon. Jaffar Marohomsalic. Area FamilySearch Director Felvir Ordinario also came to visit. 

This marks the second year that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have partnered with the City Government of Davao in organizing an event made primarily for Davaoeño families, particularly in offering resources for family history work.

As previously announced at the Kapehan sa Davao press conference held on 29 July, a new feature of FamilySearch, the FamilySearch Tree app, was introduced during the exhibit. “The Church is in the forefront of family history and there are variety of tools that are already available to the public. The app is capable of syncing information from the FamilySearch website, which was introduced during last year’s exhibit,” explained Church leader Luis Phillip Tan on how the app creates a better experience for patrons.

FamilySearch’s commitment to helping people connect with their ancestors is rooted in the Latter-day Saint belief that family relationships are intended to continue beyond this life.

In his address, President Federico de Dios, local Priesthood leader from the Davao West Stake [diocese] encouraged every Davaoeño the need to better acquaint themselves not just with the living but also those who have died. He later emphasized, “I know that we could have not reached this point in our lives without recognizing those who have gone forth before us. Their accomplishments are our accomplishments also. We have grown greater as a city and as citizens of this country because of them.”

The FamilySearch Tree app is also capable of searching and finding links to ancestors, uploading photos, and storing memories. A high school student, Vishafel Banio, shared her experience at the exhibit. She said, “I feel grateful that this app helps us discover names and dates that are commonly forgotten by the younger generations.” She added that it gives her a feeling of assurance that the app will tell her story to her own posterity.

Sister Marielle Macapawa, an interfaith representative from Brahma Kumaris, remarked, “It is interesting that you can trace it back. It is good to discover your tree. It made me more interested because I was able to trace the name of my grandparents. This only means that I will discover more.”

In an interview, Councilor Pilar Braga told reporters, “I would like to encourage this time because it is the most unique event every year. Every Davaoeño should be able to trace her family tree.” She then congratulated and thanked the Church for building and supporting awareness for every Filipino on tracing one’s family tree.  

Elena Soriana, one patron who have already been doing genealogy work, visited the exhibit after hearing about it from a local radio station. She shared that the app brought her to the exhibit. Thrilled, she then expressed, “I have a big family and I want my children to know their relatives. Getting acquainted with each other is a common challenge for big family reunions.” She said that she will continue exploring her family tree through the app because she wants to learn about her paternal ancestry who are known to have come from Pangasinan, a province on the northern part of the country. “I want my family to use the app so they can personally discover their ancestors who live on the other sides of the country.”

Aside from its striking success for the past five years, Elder Ferdinand Pangan of the Area Seventy, explained why the Church continually sponsors events like Family History Exhibits, “Discovering, knowing, and understanding our roots through family history will surely help us know who we are; and from that knowledge, we act differently,” he said.

Nina Angelie Villanueva, one of the volunteers trained in genealogy research, expressed how the exhibit created an impact to her life. “I was given the chance to meet all sorts of people – different in attitude, age, and even nationality. It was interesting to see that despite all those differences, they all share the same love and passion towards their roots. It was indeed a heartwarming event that I am grateful to be part of.”

The joys of family discovery experience through family history exhibits have gone and have been taken to different parts of the country, year after year, and this commitment will continue to provide Filipinos the means to strengthen beliefs in the importance of tracing ancestry.

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