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Utilitarian Analysis of the Maranao Archaic Artifacts and Thier Material Cultures

Utilitarianism Analysis of the Maranao Archaic Artifacts and other Material Cultures
Sohayle M. Hadji Abdul Racman
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Statement of the Problem
Archaic refers to tangible and intangible entities belonging or relating to a much earlier period. Artifact refers to any object made by humans, e.g. a tool or ornament,
especially one that has archaeological or cultural value. Archaic artifacts refer to a wide range of objects or tangible materials that a certain culture used for a specific purpose or
for a wider range of utilitarianisms in the early times.
1. What are the Maranao archaic artifacts and material cultures they used most?
2. What are the socio-cultural relevance, and utilitarianisms of these archaic artifacts and material cultures?
3. What are the strategies to preserve the Maranao archaic artifacts and material cultures?
Objectives of the Study
1. Identify the Maranao archaic artifacts and material cultures they used most;
2. Elucidate the socio-cultural relevance, and utilitarianisms of these archaic artifacts and material cultures; and
3. Identify strategies to preserve the Maranao archaic artifacts and material cultures be preserved.
This study shall explore, understand and explain the complexities of Maranao culture, their material culture, arts, traditions, religion, practices, and aspirations. Since most
of these material cultures are made of brassware, a portion of this study is devoted to shed light on the complex processes of crafting a brassware.
The Maranao
The Maranaos are popularly known for their finest and colorful woven textiles made of cotton, silk and rayon thread; exquisite brass wares and bronze works; stylistic
wood carving like the sarimanok (legendary rooster), panolong, and awang (dugout boat); and their well-engineered houses known as torogan commissioned for the well-to-do
sultans and bae-alabi. The term "Maranao" translates to mean "People of the Lake". Literature’s advance manifest like salsila (genealogy) puts that the term “Maranao” refers to
“the native people living around the Lake Lanao”. Maranaos speak Maranao language. The rest speak local dialects, others are fluent in Arabic, English, and other foreign
languages. Maranao literatures are express in oral and written tradition. Islam influences their Islamic festivities and celebrations, including religious and ritual practices. Maranao
literatures include folklore literature such as legends, myths, epics, folktales, and the symbolic speech of courtship, proverbs, riddles, poems, songs, and ballads. Maranao
musicality and rhythmic dancing play a vital role in expressing joy and bravery as depicted in sagayan (war dance). Their music is the language of grandeur nobility, courtship,
and other endeavors. The Maranao epic song, known as the Darangen was proclaimed by UNESCO in 2005 as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of
Demographically, Maranaos settle in the surrounding shorelines of Lake Lanao in the Province of Lanao del Sur in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
Maranaos are the largest Islamic groups in the Philippines; they stint predominantly in Marawi City, Butig, Masiu, Lumba-a-bayabao, Baloi, and Bayang. Maranaos are like any
other Filipinos. Maranao professionals and alike seek job abroad as far as Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and in Europe, in the United States of America,
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Australia, and among other countries. Many rich and well-to-do Maranaos are extremely dispersed in Metro Manila, in San Andres Bukid, Greenhills in San Juan, Pasay, Makati
City, Taguig, Baclaran, Quiapo, Quezon City, Baguio, Pampanga, Bicol region, Bulacan and among other regions in Luzon. The rest are scattered in Cebu, Leyte, and
otherneighboring Islands. In Mindanao, Maranaos are immensely dispersed in Lanao del Norte’s municipalities, Cagayan de Oro City, Davao, Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon,
Cotabato, Zamboanga, Pagadian City, and among other islands and cities in Mindanao. Maranaos make up the Muslim minority group in Camiguin Island, and in Puerto Princesa
in Palawan.
Maranaos are industrious, traders and business minded people, outside observers passionately compared the Maranao traders to the Filipino-Chinese traders in the country.
These traits resulted to a massive diaspora of the Maranaos within the country, they spanned out to the different places in the Philippines in search of a better life, for trading
ventures as well as in engaging retail businesses. Lack of lucrative livelihood in the Lanao regions have contributed to this so called diaspora.
Culturally, the Maranao rich cultural heritage is developed through a series of contacts with their South East Asian neighbors. Maranao women produce expensive hand
woven textile pieces called landap (a tubular textile used as a dress). Maranao men manufacture silver, brass, gold ornaments; they also make beautiful bed made of nickel,
stainless and wood. Across the Lanao Lake, engine boats are widely used by the locals to transport several hundred tons of sand used for concrete housing, construction and similar
purposes, it is transported from the shorelines of Butig to the ports of Marawi City.
Maranaos use traditional musical accompaniments like the kulintang ensembles; it also used during festivities, enthronement of Sultan, coronation of bai-a-labi (a female
sultan), and other similar occasion. Kulintang tradition predates Srivijaya era. It is performed on a set of eight graduated gong miniatures.
Maranaos literacy rate have increased to 90% among young ones and young adults, this data is based on the number of enrollees in both private and public learning
institutions in the whole country. Many Maranao professionals are employed in Mindanao State University in Marawi City, the rest serve in the highest echelon in government
agencies. Many are serving in private agencies as well.
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Lake Lanao Map
Lanao Lake
Ranao is a Maranao term which literally means lake; in other words Ranao Lake translates to mean “Lake Lake”, a redundancy of terminology. The lake’s shorelines are the
home-range of the Maranaos, it is located in North Central Mindanao, approximately 135 sq. miles in area. Lake Lanao fills the crater of the volcano at an elevation of 2,300 feet
above sea level. David G. Frey (1969: np) of Indiana University in Bloomington theorized that the Lake Lanao was developed as a result of "the tectonic-volcanic damming of a
basin between two mountain ranges and the collapse of a large volcano. The formation of the basin could have resulted from depressed fault blocks caused by the movement of the
underlying magma." Experts say that Lake Lanao had developed during the late Tertiary Period and ended about 10,000,000 years ago. Lake Lanao is about 10 million years.
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Lake Lanao is the largest lake in Mindanao, and is the second largest lake in the Philippines after Laguna Lake; it is considered one of the 17 ancient lakes of the world.
Lake Lanao lies between 8° North Latitude and 124° East Longitude. Lake Lanao makes up approximately 147,460 ha watershed. Its area is approximately between 340 to 354.60
square kilometers with a mean depth of 60 meters; it has the deepest part at 112 meters. The lake is fed by rivers crossing through Maguing , Taraka, Gata, Masiu, and Bacayawan.
It is also fed by small rivers originating from the mountains and valleys of Lanao draining it through Mulondo in Sarimanok and in Gata, as well as in Buntong, Bubung-Ramain,
and Ditsaan Ramain gushing through the Lake Lanao. The lake's only outlet is the Agus River, which exits southwest into Iligan Bay by the Maria Cristina Falls and Linamon
Falls. Lake Lanao serves as a reservoir for the Agus hydroelectric power plants tapped by the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) which generates about 75% of Mindanao’s
power. Maria Cristina Falls has a very strong surge of water which generates the hydroelectric power that supplies the electricity (see Encyclopedia Britannica, 2014).
The Maranao Okir
Orellana (1973:26-28) puts that the Maranao okir is a conventionalized elements put together to come up with an intricate designs. These elements include: matilak or
matiboron (circle), potyok (bud), dapal or raon (leaf), pako or piako (fern or spiral shaped figure), todi or tiodi (leaf spiral at one edge), pako longat (fern leaf with a cut at one
edge), naga or niaga (serpent figure in shape of the letter S), obidobid or tialitali (rope-like motif), onga (fruit), piowas (betelnut seed), and kianoko (finger nail-like marks).Saber
& Orellana (1973:23) posit that Maranao okir is classified into a okir-a-dato (gentlemen’s art) and okir-a-bai (ladies art).Gentlemen’s art refers to carving on wood surfaces, and
engraving and or by inscription on metal surface, it is usually rendered in curvilinear motifs. Ladies’ art refers to the weaving of textiles or mats on which the okir designs are
dominantly angular or zigzag geometric configurations. Gowing (1979:139) adds that Maranaos used to combine a number of various elements to form elaborate designs such as
birdo motif characterized by a growing or crawling vine that is horizontally and vertically cast or oblique movement. The magoyoda motif shows the naga (dragon) or serpent
figure arranged repetitively that is enhanced with leaf and bud designs. Pako rabong is the most suited ones; it features a blossoming fern in upward and sideward direction in
intricate sweeps, curves, and curls. Maranao okir artists employ infinite motifs across the spectrum of flora or fauna rendered on the surface that is being carved out.
Jehad and Pangcoga (2014: np) put that “the okir (motif) is an exclusive artistic cultural heritage of the Maranaos of Lanao, Philippines. It is as an artistic design of the
Maranao native inhabitants of southern Philippines beginning from the early 6th Century C.E. before the Islamization of the area. okir is a design or pattern often rendered or
curved in hardwood, brass, silver and wall painting in curvilinear lines and Arabic geometric figures. The okir Motif is an art depicting the ingenious originality and skill of the
Maranaos. It is a fine art of figuring, painting, curving and sculpturing depicting the social and psychological identity of Maranao Society. It is being patronized long time ago,
until today and possibly in the coming generations of Maranao people. Every artifact or Maranao made ornament or device or decoration is designed with authentic okir revealing
that the Maranaos have a distinct and original culture and civilization not being imitated from other culture.” Pangcoga did not notice that the panolong’s main motif is a serpent,
naga or a dragon depicting that this motif is actually patterned from a Hindu-Buddhist, Chinese, Malay, and or Greek and Roman legendary and mythical dragon or a snake.
Hindu-Buddhist and those old civilization eventually influenced the Maranao arts as observed in most of the panolong’s okir carving with a naga motif, hence, a panolong
depicting a naga motif is heavily influenced by a those archaic culture.
It is the legendary bird of any sort that has become iconic symbol of Maranao art and Maranao royalty. It is depicted as a rooster or a peacock with colorful wings or
feathers, usually holding a fish on its beak. A sarimanok figure is designed in association with a fish. The head is profusely decorated with old silver coins, scroll, leaf, and spiral
motifs. Sarimanok is used as a home décor. It is carved on wood, depicted in woven mats and textiles, or by inscription in brassware tray’s surface or applied on many kinds of
surfaces. It is usually free-standing ornament pieces of arts made of brass, copper, wood, and other indigenous materials. Gowing (1979:141) puts that “…Southeast Asian peoples
(such as the hornbill motif of the Iban of Borneo and the garuda of Indonesia)…it is probably autochthonous, though various writers have attempted to see Indian, Chinese, and
even Persian and Islamic influences behind it.” Saber and Orellana, (1973:39) put that the antiquity of bird-figures in Maranao art are very old as were mentioned in the Darangen
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as decorative emblems on the boats of the epic’s legendary heroes. Nagasura Madale (1974b:12) puts that in old copies of Darangen texts it describes a certain mera bolawan
(golden peacock) while in the latest version of Darangen texts use the term sarimanok. The Hindu culture revered peacock, as it serves as transportation or a vehicle of their
Alex, et al., (2001; n.p.) “The peacock is the most important animal in Murukan symbolism. The colour and fertility of the bird equated with the vibrant hills and its beauty
was like that of women and fresh vegetation. The peacock danced in the rain and so brought rain like Murukan did. Peacock feathers decorated the kuntu, small pillar, used in
worship, and the lance of war and worship. Later the peacock became the mount of Murukan and flew around the world and to the heavens. When the peacock holds a serpent in
claws or beak, this symbolizes its control of malevolent cosmic forces. By the medieval period the peacock is also a symbol of the ocean. As a cosmic symbol the peacock
represents totality as does Murukan. The cock and elephant are also important animals with Murukan. Of minor importance are the ram, goat, horse, and serpent. Murukan's
weapon is the lance, commonly the leaf-shaped Tamil vel, sometimes the Sanskrit sakti. The priest of Murukan is the velan, a bearer of the lance. When Murukan holds the lance as
sakti, he and his lance symbolize Siva-Sakti, the cosmic pair, god and soul, heaven and earth, god and world. The two extremes of the cosmos, earth symbolized by the peacock
and primordial sound symbolized by the cock, are held together by the lance. Murukan is worshipped with water, coconut milk, sandal paste, red millet, honey, rice, blood, and red,
yellow, or white flowers. Goddess Saraswati Saraswati is the consort of Lord Brahma and is the Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge. She is the personification of knowledge -
arts, science, crafts. She represents Shakti, creativity and inspiration and presents herself when the weather is complacement and Nature is in its full grandeur. Goddess Sarawasti is
represented as a graceful woman with white skin, wearing a crescent moon on her brow, she rides a swan or a peacock or is seated on a lotus flower. The Padmapurana describes
Goddess Saraswati being seated on a white Lotus clad in a spotless white apparel ( denotes that She is the embodiment of pure knowledge) with a necklace of white beads, decked
with white flowers and holding the Vina. As the spouse of Brahma and the goddess of wisdom and eloquence, Saraswati is known by various names such as Vinapani (due to
holding the Vina), Sharada (giver of essence), Vagisvari (mistress of speech), Brahmi (wife of Brahma), Mahavidya (knowledge supreme), Satarupa, Sarbasukla, Mahasweta and so
The peacock is shared in most of world’s religion, tradition and ancient culture such as Gnosticism, Sumerians, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Maya, Greece,
Egypt, Persia, and Tibet. Sarimanok motif became integrated to Maranao arts prior to the coming of Islam to the Philippines; it is deeply rooted from Indian culture and other old
civilizations. Despite Islam strict prohibition of animal motif or figure in any art forms or to any useful object, sarimanok motif somehow survived from this injunction.
Metal craft
Brass and bronze products are produced by the people in the town of Tugaya, it is located on the West side of Lake of Lanao, about 25 kilometers from Marawi City. The
people developed brassware industry as early as Srivijaya to Majapahit era. Their products range from rare tea-kettles, pots, gador (ceremonial jar), tabaks (trays), cauldrons, betel
nut containers, vases, kris handle, kulintang, gongs, mortar and saddle. The designs on these products are unique and mostly carved with okir motif.
The process of casting a brassware
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KAPAKAYAW (HEATING) - The wax (TARO). A mixture of bee wax, candle and lumbang oil, is made tender by heating in boiling water.
KALISEG (FLATTERING) - A lump of wax is collected with two rolling pins (LISEG) on the flat board (LISEGA) to produce wax sheets, before the
first step. The worker utters a short invocation to God, “BISMILLAH” (IN THE NAME OF ALLAH), which marks this step as the real start of the work.
KAKOKOS (WRAPPING) - The wax sheets are wrapped around the wooden mold (KOKOS) and then trimmed and soldered with a heated iron known as PAMATRI (SOLDER).
KABARANDIYAS (DECORATING) – Petroleum is rubbed upon the surface of the wax the desired designs. Cut from other wax sheets, are superimpose on the former. The four
basic designs used are: 1. ONSOD (TRIANGULAR); 2. LAPIS (LINEAR); 3. MATIBORON (CIRCULAR); and 4. ALOKALOK (SPIRAL), which is made of wax thread rolled
by wooden tool known as PANILIN.
KAWPAK (CUTTING) - The wax is removed from the wooden form by cutting it vertically with GELAT (KNIFE).
KAPATRI (SOLDERING) - The removed wax form is put back to shape by soldering the cuts ends.
KALALEK (FILLING) - To further keep it in good shape, soil is placed inside the wax form with upright bamboo sticks on top to prevent chickens from stepping on it.
KABONKOS (COVERING) - The wax form is covered with a coating of clay and other materials. The first coating is a mixture of charcoal and sand in a 2:1 proportion. This is
again wrapped by a mixture of clay and sand. One or two openings are lift in the clay envelope.
KA’AGAS (SUN DRYING) - The mould (LIMBAGAN) is left to dry in the sun for two to five days.
KADODOS (FIRING) - The moulds are fired on top of the IYAWA furnace to bake and harden. In the process the wax melted by the heat is “LOST” and runs out of the openings
in the clay envelope. Thereby creating a hollow inside.
PAGIYAWON SO LIMBAGAN KA TONA-ON (MELTING) – The brass is melted from night to morning for 5 to 10 hours.
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KAWODOD (POURING) – With the use of the crucible made of a mixture of clay and charcoal, the molten brass is poured into mould through is opening. The charcoal mixture in
the crucible as well as in the mould is burned, producing heat which keeps the brass in its liquid form.
KATONGKAS (BREAKING) – After cooling for about 30 minutes or less, the mould is broken to bring out finished product.
KAGAROGADI (FILING) – The finished product is then made shiny by filling it with the GAROGANI (IRON FILE).
KASOMPAT (JOINING) – If the object consist of two or more pieces, these are joined together by soldering (KAPATRI).
KATATA (INLAYING) – Graves are sometimes copper or silver inlayed. See Aga Khan, Museum, Marawi City
The history of Maranao metalcraft
Excavations in Palawan provide evidence which suggest that the brass-casting in the Philippines dates back in 2,500 years ago. Fox, (1967:11-12) and Gowing (1979:154)
put that bronze and brass are imported metals, there are no known sources of tin and zinc in the country, copper, though is abounds. They postulated that over the centuries, these
metals had to be imported from neighboring Asian countries such as China, Singapore, Borneo, and Siam.
Gowing (1979:154) puts that brass-casting industries in Mindanao goes back in 16th century, this era, the Moros established contacts and trade relations with the people of
Brunei whom at that time were knowledgeable in casting of brass wares they had learned from the Chinese. The people of Borneo were casting brass canon. Documents in Brunei
Kampong Ayer (Water Village) museum puts that the trade relations between the people of Brunei and the Chinese began in 960-1279 A.D. during the reign of Song Dynasty, early
Chinese record shows that Chinese merchants in Brunei had known Brunei as Po’ni. These merchants demand for protection from the Sultan of Brunei for their merchant ships. In
the 13th century, Chau-Ju Kua records show that Brunie has a commercial center and port. Its inhabitants traded their jungle products for ceramics, gold, silver, and silk. In 13 th
century Dadi Nanhai Zhi recorded that Brunei was rich in camphor, pearls, and gaharu. It was a port for merchandize and goods from Sulu and East Indonesia before being
transported for trade in Champa, Siam, south China and the Philippines.
This indicates that brass wares were imported from China and other Asian countries which were traded to Philippines and Mindanao. It can be inferred that the Chinese
merchants may have introduced the brass ware industries to the people in Mindanao, Visayas, and Luzon as early as 960 A.D. Tom Harrison (1969:99-100) put that in 1521, the
Moros had confronted the invading Spaniards with fine brass cannon modeled after Brunei or Chinese canon. This means that the Maranao had learned brass casting earlier than
15th centuries.
Theory on how brass casting is introduced to Maranaos
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Madale (1974:174) narrates a story about a certain young man named Maruhom Maulia, the son of the Sultan of Tugaya whom had voyaged to a place nearby a river called
Tampasuk on the west coast in Sabah. The inhabitants of Tampasuk were from Brunei whom were known for producing brass articles. Maulia married the daughter of the Sultan of
Tampasuk. Maulia learned the crafting of brass wares; and traded them for a living to support his family. Ten years later, he returned to his home Tugaya, brought brass articles,
and introduced brass and bronze industry to his people. This knowledge has been passed on to many generations to the present generation. The Maranaos produce a brass tea-kettle
called kendi a Boronai (kettle of Brunei). The rendering of this tea-kettle were derived from Bruneian models.
Brass and Bronze
Valdes (2014: np) puts that “…brass and bronze represents a second set of trade metals whose import into the Philippines has been going on for a long time. They are
treasured as heirlooms and form part of the transactions and rituals engaged in from tribe to tribe such as engagements, weddings, peace pacts and the payment of blood money.
Brass is a copper-zinc alloy while bronze is made from a tin-copper mixture. Brass is cheaper and softer than bronze. Some evidences of brass working have been found among the
Bontoc and other peoples of the Cordillera. Brass and bronze however, are chiefly worked among the Muslims communities in Mindanao in the same way they are prevalent in
Indonesia and Malaysia [and Borneo]. The process of casting brass seems to be essentially the same everywhere: a model of the desired object is made in beeswax that is then
surrounded by a clay mould. When heated, the wax melts and runs off as it is replaced by molten brass or copper while the clay mould is broken away. This process is technically
known as the "lost wax" or cire perdue process. Muslims make betel boxes this way.”
Maranaos are engaging in a wider scale of industrial agriculture; they farm rice in flood plains and rice paddies, and grow upland-rice in the hilly areas of Lanao through
contour farming technique. Their major agricultural products are cassava, coconut, peanuts, scallion, ginger, turmeric, chili, corn, coffee, sweet potatoes, spring onion, chives, and
varieties of fruits, vegetables, and timber. Maranao fishermen are engaging in aqua culture which includes tilapia, carp, cat fish, and imported koi cultured in fishpond, traditional
lake fishing is still popular among fishermen; they use small boat called “awang” or dugout boat for fishing in Lake Lanao.
Maranao Women’s Economic Activities
Maranao women are actively engaging in various socio-economic and political activities contributing to the holistic progress and development of Lanao del Sur as a whole.
Maranao women are significantly contributing to market and trade industry. Maranao women dominates the business industry, many are working in both public and private
institutions providing social services, many Maranao women are well-educated with varying accomplishment such academic professionals, medical doctors, nurses, health aid
workers, lawyers, the rest are politicians, government and private employees, contrastingly though, majority of Maranao women do not have direct participation in various facets
of social movement for progress and development, which this case, it bars them for their empowerment, at the grass root level, there are dozens of thousands of Maranao women
who are poor, marginalized, unproductive and unemployed.
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The Maranaos make one of the 13 ethno-linguistic Muslim groups in the Philippines. Their religion Islam is the religion of over 2 billion people in the world. There is an
estimated 10 million Muslim Filipinos in the Philippines.
Hadji Abdul Racman (2012: xv-xvi) says, Islam regulates all aspects of ways of life of a believer encompassing his personal affairs, daily prayers, fasting, seeking for
knowledge both scientific and religion, morals, social etiquette, his economic affairs, socialization, marriage system, law, politics, and among others. Islamic teachings adheres a
well-balanced social life, justice, equality, morality, piety, piousness, good values and doing an act of kindness to the poor and every living being indiscriminately. It does not
tolerate tyranny, oppression, corruption, immorality, hypocrisy, aggression, evil, chaos, murder act, terrorism, racism and injustices in the society. These anti-social attitudes are not
compatible with the “Shariah” or Qur’anic legal code, nor with Islamic teachings and ideologies. Islam carries the idea of establishing harmony, peace and order in the society, it
commands the actualization of faith, and it directs individual to have a wholesome attitude in their public and private life. Islam upholds the idea of attaining perfection and
bringing happiness and contentment in life. In Islam, the purpose of creation of mankind is the ebaadah (worship) of Allah (swt).
Saleem writes in the book Enlightenment of the Hereafter Part 1, (p.77) “...A wise man is one who plans his affairs well in advance and does things for good reasons.
Therefore, Allah (swt), the all wise creator of man, must have created us for a very important purpose. We all know that the purpose of our creation is not that obvious, otherwise
everyone would be aware of it, and we would all be involved in doing similar things. Because our purpose is somewhat hidden, Allah (swt) Most Merciful, chose to reveal it to us
by sending prophets with divine books containing the words of God. He could have sent angels with the message or revealed it by some other miraculous means and no one would
be in any doubt about their purpose, but Allah (swt) chose to send men to mankind in order to test their faith. He also sent along with these prophets certain miracles, to show the
people that they were sent by Allah (swt). Allah explained in the Qur’an, the last book of revelation brought by the last prophet (peace be upon him), exactly what that purpose
was. He, Allah (swt) said,“Verily We have sent to every nation a messenger saying: Perform the ‘ebaadah (worship) of Allah (swt). Qur’an, Surah Nahl (TheBees) 16:36
“And I (Allah) created not the Jinn and Mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone)” Qur’an, Surah adh-Dhaariyaat, (TheWinds That Scatter) 51:56.
The above Qur’anic verses imply that the nature of our existence have a very important purpose, which is the ebaadah (servitude) of Allah as well as doing da’wah
(invitation towards Allah).’
As Saleem puts that (p.78): “Islamically, ebaadah is to obey Allah by doing whatever He has commanded and by avoiding whatever He has forbidden. This form of
obedience is called ebaadah, because it involves serving God and surrendering (giving up) one’s will to God’s will...”
Ebaadah is the core of Islam because the word “Islam” means the surrender of one’s will to Allah (swt), which is the highest level of obedience that one can reach. Our
physical bodies obey Allah’s laws, commonly called the “laws of nature,” without any choice. Therefore our bodies can be considered Muslims, in submission to Allah like the rest
of creation. But our minds, which are run by our souls, have the ability to choose to submit to Allah’s social and spiritual laws or not. When we make the mental choice to put our
souls in line with the rest of creation by accepting Allah’s supremacy, we then become Muslim in the full sense of the word. That choice is expressed in two particular ways: (1) In
the words of the declaration of faith (the Shahaadah) “Laa elaaha illal-laah” There is nothing worthy of our ebaadah except Allah, and “Muhammadur-Rasoolullah” Muhammad
(peace be upon him) is the Prophet of Allah; (2)The acts of obedience or ebaadah, e.g. salaah (prayer), zakaah (obligatory charity payable on wealth), sawn (fasting) and hajj
(pilgrimage to Mecca).”
Saleem continues (p.79): “The khaleefah (vicegerent), therefore ,if we are to fulfill our purpose in this life, we have to find out what Allah wants from us in all areas of our
lives. After finding out what is required of us, we then have to put that knowledge into practice so that it may result in righteous deeds. If our lives become in a state of harmony
with Allah’s laws, we then become higher and more noble than all of creation... If we reach the higher levels of submission through sincere ebaadah, we fulfill the role of
khaleefah;” who is responsible for governing the inhabitants of the earth, and maintaining law and order among all living and non-living beings. This is the purpose of man’s
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creation in relation to the rest of creation. This state is the fulfillment of Allah’s statement: “And when We informed the Angels saying: Verily I will place on earth a Khaleefah.”
Qur’an, Surah Baqarah (The Cow) 2:30.”
Islamically, Allah (swt) has informed us through His revealed Divine Words in the Qur’anic verses to observe our religious obligations or the acts of ebaadah of Allah.
Thus, we can only fulfill the role of khaleefah (vicegerent) of Allah on earth by doing the acts of ebaadah of Allah, and by following His laws, teachings and commandments, and
by refraining from whatever Allah has forbidden to us.
Maranao Industrial Arts and Functions
The Maranao decorative and industrial arts can be classified into eight headings: stainless assembling, woodcarving, metalwork, textile weaving, embroidery and sewing,
mat weaving using sesed (indigenous plant), basketry, jewelry making made of silver and gold. Basically, there are three major purposes of brasswares i.e. 1) the utilitarian (the
various uses of brasswares); 2) the aesthetic value (brasswares are priced as a work of art); and 3) the social aspects (brasswares are a sign of status in the community). Gowing
(1979;157) says for the Moros as well as the people of Southeast Asian peoples, “the ownership of brassware-especially gongs and ornately decorated ceremonial containers-has
been a sign of status and prestige. Brass and bronzeware traditionally have been important items for the bride-gift in marriages, for the settlement of disputes, and for the
accumulation and transmission of wealth.”
The Maranao Archaic Brassware, Material Cultures, and their Utilitarianisms
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Gador is a container of any sort; it is made of brass or aluminum. It is used as a decorative object, a flower vase, or a centerpiece in modern homes. The gador design shows a
broader range of elements essentially found in nature such as flowers, petals, ferns, and leaves; its design variation comes in various shapes which includes diamond, triangle,
curve stroke; and lines such as straight, vertical to zigzag line as shown below; these shapes and lines are geometrically aligned on the surface to create a spectacular design motif,
notice the etchings rendered on these gador (center). The process of crafting brassware and aluminum ware is similar. The gador (right) is dated in 1920 based on Fraser
(1989:108) in Silverware of South East Asia, Oxford Press University, it says “…this extraordinary-looking lidded jar is known as kabul [gador] jar and is of silvered brass or
copper alloy covered with geometric motifs and designs in applied wire and filigree work. It is from Islamic Maranao people of Mindanao in the Southern Philippines. It has
conical, flared foot; a flattened spherical body; a lid with a tall spire; and two round handles on either side. Such jars were used to hold the ceremonial gifts for the bride’s family
given by the groom’s relatives during wedding festivities. The jar is in fine condition with only minor losses to the applied wire decorations. It sits in a flat stable fashion and is
free of dents or repairs”. This gador (left) is artistically designed with okir motif and is made of silver cut-outs inlaid on the brass surface.
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Tabak (food tray) is used for serving food for guests during wedding ceremony and other similar occasion. These precious heirlooms have been passed on to many generations. In
Maranao traditional wedding, these pieces are given in dozens as part of dowry from a groom to his bride’s family. These tabak are being replaced with modern ones made of
stainless or aluminum (see the tabak in the right) originally from China, South Korea, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries. When it is used, it is covered with a colorful
textile called ampas (brass tray cover). Take a closer look as shown below. Notice the base stand of a tabak is hollow, and it has many tiny holes that come in various shapes and
sizes; it is as well etched for additional design. These are also used for healing ritual. The old folks believed that a sick person may have had offended the unseen beings i.e the jins
and spirits; or he must have stepped on them, or hit them unaware, this eventually bring him illness, hence, the old folks ask the parents or the relatives of sick person to cook
yellow rice and yellow chicken (using turmeric) intended to be offered to the unseen beings. Ritually, a plate of yellow rice and cooked chicken are placed on a tabak, after which,
a pamomolong (shaman) summons them (the offended beings or spirits) through chanting, his way of asking them to partake of the food offered to them to appease them (not
literally), and anticipating that the sick person will recover. Nowadays, this practice is prohibited by the ulama, (religious leader). This ritual is not in accordance with Islamic
teachings. It is a pre-Islamic practice.
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Kendi (kettle). These kettles are used as water container used for drinking, washing and ablution. Etchings were rendered on the kettle’s surface to enhance its design. These kettles
have a handle and a spout; these two big kettles are preserved in the Muzium Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Malay people called these kettles kendi; a similar term used by
the Maranaos and Maguindanaos for a kettle. The Maranaos in Tugaya, Lanao del Sur are making these sort of kettles made of copper, however, they stopped their production
many years ago. Some of the remnants of these kettles were preserved in Aga-khan Museum in Mindanao State University in Marawi City, as these six pieces kendi shown below.
These kettles are being replaced with aluminum kettles made in South Korea which the Maranao traders exported from. The rendering as well as the design of these kettles were
similar to the rendering and the design of the archaic kettles made by the Malay people. The question is; were the Malay people copying the brassware craftsmanship of the
Maranaos or were the Maranaos copying the brassware craftsmanship of the Malay people? Who copied who?
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Kendi. This kettle miniature is used as a decorative item in modern homes; it is made for commercial used, as well as to cater the demand for souvenir items in tourism industry.
This kettle miniature reaches as far as Europe, the USA, Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, Japan and China. Souvenir shops in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao sells this
souvenir item to foreigners, as well as those local brassware collectors and hunters.
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Kod’n (pot). These brassware pots are used for cooking rice as well as boiling water. It is as well used for storing water used for drinking, and washing vegetables and fish before
cooking it. A palayok (clay pot) must have inspired the local brassware artists in making these pieces; notice their round shape, similar to the shape of clay pot. These precious pots
have been passed on from one hand to another. The lidded pot with rectangular handle (right) is Borneo’s brass pot artifact. The crafting of brass in Borneo is developed in early
13thcenturies. Notice the similarities and differences in rendering of these pots. Borneo’s pot has stylized Arabic scroll on its body, and it has two round ears on the sides.
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Panalagadan is used as a decorative object, a flower vase, or a centerpiece in modern homes. Its body contour is hollow. Its peculiar design is characterized by tiny holes in a
broad range of shapes ranging from diamond, triangle, half-moon, circular ones, to irregular shapes. These beautiful panalagadan are kept by the author in his museum in Mulondo
Lanao del Sur. In Maranao tradition, these pieces are given in dozens as part of the groom’s dowry to his bride’s family, or they were used as a gift from a bridegroom to his bride’s
family and relatives, especially in Mulondo, Taraka, Butig, and Masiu in Lanao del Sur. These pieces were being passed on for three generations; these are more than100 years old.
Some Maranao families keep their panalagadan as a memorabilia of their love ones who passed away.
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Tangla (tray). This rectangular tray is used for holding cups, bowls, plates, fruits and pastries; it is also used for serving food and refreshments for guests. This tray is vividly
inscripted with flowers, petals, leaves, branches, ferns, grasses, and circular moon engulfing a mosque with curtains rolling down the door and windows. This mosque has two
small domes on the both side of a big dome, three all. It has four minarets; two each erecting from the both side of the mosque. Interestingly, Islam has truly inspired the local
artists’ vivid creativity and imagination in creating this piece. The quest for spiritual purification has surpassed human intellect, body, and creativity beyond. It is a transcending
phenomenon that has no boundary. This piece of art is truly amazing and inspiring, take a closer look.
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Popoga (ash tray) is used for dispensing ashes. This tray exhibits a triangular design on the exterior surface of its mouth and base. It design is inspired with okir, petals, curve
strokes, and flowers embossed on the surface. Its tubular handle makes it unique, and different from modern ash trays. Its handle is used for keeping incense stick.
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Kaloda (ladle) this brass ladle has a long and sturdy handle made of bamboo. It is used for dishing out rice, soup, or vegetables into a plate or a bowl. It is also used for stirring
cookery. This ladle is being passed on from one generation to the next. Nor-ain M. Magarang, the sister of the author got this ladle as a gift from her mother-in-law. Giving of gift
is important to Maranao culture. These coconut shell ladles shown below are replica of this brass ladle.
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Saronay (kulintang miniature) is played in the same manner as the actual size kulintang is being played. A beginner uses it in practicing before she can play kulintang in a kalilang
(festivities). This is also used as a home décor by hanging it on the wall individually, or them all. Notice the lid cover of this baor it is carved with okir showing ferns, petals and
leaves; it is also inlaid with mother-of-pearl cut outs as shown below.
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Lesong is a mortar made of wood. It is used for pounding rice to remove its hull. It is also used for making a pinipi (an oatmeal-like that is made of rice). It is also used for
pounding cooked saba (a species of banana), or cassava, camote (a variety of sweet potato), and other root crops that are sweetened for dessert. This mortar is made of jackfruit
trunk or wood. Jackfruit wood is one of the finest and hardest woods in the Philippines. Jackfruit trees grow in a tropical climate of South East Asian regions.
FIG. 21 LESONG (mortar)
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Sangkad a payong (parasol’s crown) has a hollow base stand; it is used to enhance the metal tip of umbrella by inserting it into the metal tip of umbrella. The Maranao folklore
Indarapatra features a mythical colorful bird called sarimanok (sari-manok) or rooster. The narratives on sarimanok had inspired many local artists to create a fish preying bird-
sarimanok. The Maranaos are the most dispersed group in the country searching for a better life; they are like sarimanok whose wings are widely open suggesting movement to
catch its prey i.e. fish, a symbol of a better life. They too held coins suspended on their beak and wings, these coins symbolize prosperity. Their open wings represent freedom and
bravery. Before the colonization period, there were Muslim inhabitants of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. In the advent of colonization period, these Muslim fought the colonizers
and gave their lives, they refused to be colonized. It is said that the desire of Moro for freedom can be achieved without bloodshed, on one hand, peace in Mindanao can be
achieved if the leaders of both camp; the national government and the Bangsamoro government are putting aside their personal interests, additionally; both must be sincere in their
aspiration to establish peace in Mindanao. Historically, the war in Mindanao reigned for more than 493 years; it is the longest war in the history of mankind. The policy makers of
this country must focus on to country’s progress and development rather than destroying it by staging war or genocide; and they must act diplomatically in addressing Bangsamoro
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Lutuan (betel nut box).This lutuan has four compartments. A silver inlaid brass. Its artistic okir designs are made of silver cut-outs which are artistically inlaid on the brass
surface. This object is used for storing betel nut (the fruit of areca palm), betel piper vine(a species of vine plant), and lime. Betel nut is a fleshy fruit of areca palm; it grows in
tropical regions of the earth, in the Pacific Rim, Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia and Southeast Asia. The betel nut is chewed together with a leaf of the betel piper vine added
with a pinch of apog (lime) made of burnt sea-shells, finely ground thickened with water or oil. This practice is prevalent throughout the Philippines from the mountains in the
north, the Igorots in the Cordillera to the Muslim communities in the south, the Maranao, Iranun, Tausug, and the Maguindanao. It is also practice by the people in East Africa,
Pakistan, India, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Fiji, Philippines, Brunei, Singapore, China, Malaysia, and other South East Asian countries. Betel
chewers in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh add their betel nut with spices, tobacco, and mint to enhance the after taste of chewing betel nut. Betel chewing stimulates the
production of saliva. Betel nut chewing is only for chewing, it is not eaten. This precious piece is about 200 years old. This piece is owned by the author’s mother. Hadja Sittie
Omaimah Abdullah.
The tradition of chewing betel existed in ancient China. Tang dynasty (7th to 9th centuries) chroniclers put that chewing of betel nut plays important part of marriage
ceremonies. Ma Huan, 15th century annals, reports about Chinese hospitality, when they receive guests, they serve them with areca nut. Valdez (2004:np) writes, “Although the
custom is prevalent in the coastal areas where the climate and the soil are suitable for the cultivation of the nut and the leaf and where there are adequate sources of lime, it is less
common inland unless the ingredients can be obtained through trade.” Betel has been called "the daily social lubricant of Southeast Asia". Professor Anthony Reid, of Southeast
Asian history at the Australian National University, writes. "Although betel chewing was also widespread in South India and South China by the 15th century, it appears to have
originated in Southeast Asia". The areca nut and the piper betel leaf grow naturally in Southeast Asia and this fact, according to Reid, is borne out by the "extraordinary diversity of
indigenous words for them". Undoubtedly, chewing of betel nut is prevalent in Central Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia.
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Lutuan is a betel nut container. This type of betel nut container is small, light-weight, and handy. It is religiously kept by the old folks in the past; and they bring it anywhere they
go as they move from one place to another. As they head on to their relatives in the far villages in Lanao del Sur; they bring their betel nut keeper filled with betel nut, betel leaf,
and apog (lime); as they arrived, they share it while discussing their lives and so on. Betel chewing played a major social and cultural role in the past. In the past, the groom must
give a sack of betel nut, betel leaf, and apog (lime) to the relatives of the bride as part of dowry. This piece is owned by the author.
In the 16th century, Magellan's chronicler Antonio Pigafetta, describes the inhabitants of Samar (an Island in Visayas) …whom were constantly chewing a [palm] fruit
called " [buyo] areca. . . which resembles a pear.. They cut this fruit into four parts and wrap it in the leaves of a vine that they call betre (betel) which resembles the leaves of the
mulberry. . .They mix it with some lime and when they have chewed it thoroughly, they spit it out. It makes the mouth exceedingly red. . .All the people in those parts of the world
use it, for it is very cooling to the heart, and if they ceased to use it, they would die."
Betel chewing existed in India, they called tambula (" tambool" is a Sanskrit word) in ethnographic accounts, it is popularly referred to as "paan". To Indians, betel chewing
brings pleasure; its cultural significance is both mysterious and magical. India's classical literature Kalidasa's (4th to 5th centuries) narrative plays have mentioned paan.
"Caraka sambita" an early medical words which refer to betel. The Ayurveda (the science of natural medicine) has recorded uses of the piper betel leaf ( piperaceae family).
When combined with paan spices and condiments, it is believed to provide "carminative, stimulant, astringent, aphrodisiac, digestive and cosmetic" attributes. Gode provides
numerous inscriptions relating about tambula from AD 1028 to 1800. When Marco Polo traveled to India, he noted that the people of India were used to chew tambula. According
to Gode, tobacco came to coexist with tambula in 17th century. Tobacco has no religious significance unlike the tambula.
Sumati Morarjee in her article" Tambula (Tradition and Art)" writes, "Betel stimulates passion, brings out the physical charm, conduces to good-luck, lends aroma to the
mouth, strengthen the body and dispels diseases arising from the phlegm." It bestows other benefits, "Bitterness, pungency, heat, sweetness, saltiness, astringency... power to
remove gas, kill worms, remove phlegm, destroy foul odors from the mouth. . .to beautify it, bring about purification and to kindle passion... The 13 qualities of tambula are
unobtainable even in heaven".
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Baor (wooden box) is used for keeping clothes. This precious baor were inlaid with mother-of-pearl cut-outs that come in various shapes such as triangular ones, various size
diamonds and circles of various sizes artistically arranged in various styles and patterns on the surface. Notice the intricate design of this baor, it is mainly characterized by a
flower-like design, an okir, and starlets inlaid on the exterior. The okir is the range of folk motifs, geometric forms, that is prominent in Maranao artworks, in wood and metal
carvings, and clothes, the intricate the design, the higher the prestige has to the one who bears it. This baor is made in Tugaya, purchased by Hadja Sittie Omaimah Abdullah, the
mother of the author.
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Aladin-a-kendi is a concoction of Middle East kettle like the magical kettle in the famous story Aladin and the Genie. These goblets are similar to those glassware goblets in
Europe. This round tray is embossed with flower-like motif, and is inlaid with gemstones such as coral, turquoise and amethyst. This collection is used as a home décor or a
centerpiece in modern houses. This brass ware articles are kept by the author in his museum. Based on the research these pieces were imported from Pakistan, which later, the
Maranao craftsmen replicate them.
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Dodai is a spittoon made of brass. These spittoons are kept by the author in his museum and were exhibited in St. Peter’s
College Audio Visual Room in 2014. Over one thousand spectators have seen this exhibit. These spittoons were heirlooms.
If they could speak, they could tell a lot of stories, and great memories maybe, or to unfold sealed deals, transactions,
arguments, bargaining, and discussions. These spittoons were used by chewers of betel nut in the old days. They were also
used to contain water for washing the hands before and after eating. Chewers of betel nut spit their reddish saliva in a
The Philippine historian, William Henry Scott, wrote "the preparation, exchange and serving of betel nut was the
most important social act among the Visayans". Old folks bring with them their betel chew ingredients and share these
with their friends or relatives. Chewing of betel nut plays a very important role in strengthening the natives’ social milieu.
The early natives in the Philippines traded extensively with the Chinese and Arabs, this trade existed several
centuries before the Philippines discovered by Magellan. Ma-i, the old name given by the Chinese for Mindoro was listed
in the Zhufanshi (Description of Barbarian Peoples) it states that the people of Ma-i traded their products such as yellow
wax, cotton, pearls, tortoise shell, medicinal betel nuts and yuta cloth for which the Chinese bartered porcelain, trade gold,
iron censers, lead, colored glass beads and iron needles. Zhou Rugua chronicled while he was Superintendent of Maritime
trade at Quanzhou, in Fujian province. This was the most important port of the 12th and 13th centuries in China.
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Maranao dress is accompanied with a tubular textile called malong-a-landap as shown below; it is hand woven textile made of cotton, rayon or silk thread. Non-woven textiles
can be made into a malong which can be used in many ways such as skirt, a dress, and a blouse, a gown, as hammock, a fruit basket, a sleeping bag, a bathrobe, a baby carriage or
a simple market bag. Muslim Maranao women wear head scarf called kumbong. Islamically, Muslim men and women are required to cover their aurat. The aurat of women
includes their whole body, neck, breasts, navel, private part, hair, shoulder, arm, elbows, and their thighs down to their ankle, while men’s aurat are their body, navel, private part
down to their thighs and knees. Affluent Maranao women wear accessories such as earrings, necklace, bracelets, and rings made of gold they traded or exported from Saudi Arabia,
Dubai and other countries. Maranao produced textiles which symbolize the socio-economic rank of the wearer through the richness of the colors used and intricacies of the design
motifs woven into the fabric. The yellow color is associated to royalty, nobility, and wealth. This gold plated brass bracelet is handmade by Maranao goldsmith, this ornament is
called boroso.
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Maranao men’s traditional and ceremonial headdress are worn in special occasion, in festivities, and during the enthronement ceremony of a new sultan in the Maranao
Sultanates in Lanao del sur. Maranao young men wear these sorts of head dresses during school activities if the activities’ theme has to do with Maranao culture. These headdresses
are similar to those headdresses worn by the Malay, Bruneian, and Indonesian men. Maranao rich cultural heritage stems from the Malay regal culture. These headdresses are made
of finest silk and cotton. Notice the intricate design of these langkit used as a sash of these Maranao young royalties. These young Maranaos speak of their genetic ancestry by
merely looking at their facial profile, (from left) an Arab-Greek or Caucasian looks as depicted in his big deep seated eyes, and high-bridged nose, the rest are mixed breed of
Chinese, Malay.
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Landap is made of cotton, rayon and or silk thread, woven using back-strap loom. The Maranaos produce landap, it is highly priced textile. Landap is characterized by vertical and
horizontal stripes called langkit as shown below. The designs rendered on the langkit help the people identify its origin and the one who wears it. Back-strap looming or kaa-ul is
developed among Maranao women in Lanao del Sur, however it is diminishing. The holistic process of kaa-ul is quietly seldom taught to the young ones. Back-strap looming is an
Asian culture though.
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Dempas (mat). It is made of plant called sesed, a species of plant that grows in wet paddies or marshy land on the east side of Lake Lanao. (Latin: fimbristylis miliacea). The
Maranaos cultivate sesed for their mats. A bunch of sesed is cut-off from the roots; it is then washed with freshwater, after washing, it is sprinkled with a handful of ash powder for
sun drying, when the sesed is dried; it is bundled, and dyed using randang (coloring agent). Dyeing sesed is very tedious; bunch after bunch of dried sesed is boiled in water mixed
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with randang. Different colors are achieved depending on the color of randang used. A dyed sesed is dried under sunlight. When the drying process is done, it is combed, flattened
and weaved. Take a closer look of this colorful dempas. The desired colors are magenta, green, and yellow; mat weavers also make any desired color, or a mixture of colors
depending on the colors combined. Mat weavers exhibit designs that are geometrical, featuring straight, zigzag patterns and diagonal lines. This dempas show zigzag lines which
represent snakes; and open winged butterflies. See also the checkered colors shown at the left corner and triangles shapes at the right side corner of this mat. Diamond shapes are
also depicted in the design of this mat. This mat has stripe patterns; multicolored squares; a checkered pattern of yellow, green and magenta.
Bags, these are made of plant called sesed,a species of plant that grows in wet paddies. Maranao women passionately make dempas (mat) and these pieces. Selling dempas and
these pieces contribute to sustain the handicraft industry. The process of making these pieces is similar to the process of making dempas.
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Sara (strainer) is used for separating the liquid from coarse debris, for example, squeezing out the coconut milk from a finely grated coconut, the strainer is put under a container
while squeezing out the coconut milk. Most Maranao delicacies, viands, sweets and cuisine are mixed with coconut milk. Nowadays, China made plastic strainers are commonly
used than brassware ones, they are cheaper, handy and plenty to go around. This strainer is about 200 years old now.
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Babandir is one of the of kulintang musical accompaniments. It is played along with a set of kulintang ensembles such as agong (gong)it is usually suspended while being played,
dbakan, a type of drum which is covered with a goat’s skin or hide, and eight pieces of graduated kulintang suspended on a langkungan (kulintang case). Kulintang playing is a
common cultural practice among the inhabitants of Mindanao particularly those Muslims in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao such as the Tausugs in Jolo, Sulu and
Tawi-Tawi, the Maranaos in Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte and Davao, and the Maguindanaos in Maguindanao province and Cotabato as well as the native inhabitants of Brunei
Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, particularly the Iban tribe in Sarawak, Borneo and other countries. Traditional musical instruments such as those mentioned have been played in
various social events, wedding ceremony, enthronement ceremony of Sultan, and celebration of festivities. In the ancient past, many Chinese emperors kept a humongous gong
which radiates an extreme loud sound when stricken. Owning a set of kulintang is considered as a status symbol among wealthy and noble Maranaos.
Kakulintang playing is composed of five players, one player on the d’bakan, two players on the agongs, one player on the babandir, usually played among musically
inclined men and a lady player on the kulintang, the players play their instrument collaboratively, sensibly, and simultaneously. In Darangen, Bantogen takes over the d’bakan,
Madali and Mabaning on the agongs, each with agong, while Rangaig on babandir and Lawanun and Ikada alternately play the kulintang; they all play the kulintang melodiously.
In playing of kulintang accompanied with kapangolilat (exhibition) the lady player uses a finely decorated kulintang sticks, and fans. Kulintang is part of the larger pan Asian
gong-chime culture, playing of kulintang began many centuries ago in Malay Archipelago, in the Southern Philippines, Eastern Indonesia, Eastern Malaysia, Brunei and Timor.
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Buyuwa or mortar and pestle, cooking is an integral part of human daily life and existence. Maranao people cook their food with utmost perfection from the finest ingredients
used, garnishing, preparation, and to the taste. This buyuwa is used for preparing a palapa ,it is a mixture of finely blended spices made of luya-a-pagiresen (ginger), luya-a-tid’k
(Philippine bird’s eye chili), and sakurab (a species of scallion that grows in Lanao region), it is mixed with grated coconut, toasted and pounded in a mortar, and a salt to taste, all
these is added to Maranao cookery. This mortar was imported from Saudi Arabia by the Maranao pilgrims there from. Maranaos love for hot and spicy food is a trait they shared
with their Arab, Indian, Chinese, and Korean kins. Maranaos are known for their spicy, hot cuisine mixed with palapa. Palapa has two-fold purpose and nature. It is the main
ingredient in all Maranao cookery, and cuisines; at the same time, it is also an appetizer. Maranao dish, cuisines, and meals could only be perfect with their hot and spicy palapa.
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Payong a diakatan or traditional ceremonial parasol; this umbrella is beaded with yellow, white, green, blue, silver, pink and red sequins and beads, and tassels. It used for various
social events during wedding ceremony, festivities, traditional dances, and during the enthronement of a new sultan, etc. The maker of this precious umbrella uses a colorful
circular flat bead disks they artistically stitched on the textile. This beautiful umbrella costs 5,000 pesos or more. Its metal tip holds the sangkad-a-payong in placed. In making this
ceremonial umbrella, the maker will buy a regular umbrella for its frame, and replace its waterproof cover with thick textile usually hand woven or textiles purchase from the
padian (market place).
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Wall and ceiling décors. These textile décors are characterized by a colorful design. It is inspired by an okir motif, and sometimes, it is incorporated with Arabic calligraphy taken
from the verses in the Holy Qur’an, or from the 99 names of Allah (swt). Maranao women used a plastic flat bead disks they artistically stitched or embroidered on textile to create
a sophisticated design. This textile décor demands time during embroidery.
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Maranao torogan (royal house), this royal house belongs to the well-to-do datus in the past. This torogan has soaring, salakot-shaped roof, it was built in1900s; this torogan has
28 massive columns made of sturdy wood carefully selected from the finest and resilient woods in the lush green forest in Lanao del Sur. This torogan has spacious bed rooms,
cozy living rooms, and kitchen. The architecture of torogan is exclusive to Maranaos in Mindanao. This torogan is in the Municipality of Bubong-Ramain in Lanao del Sur. It is a
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home sweet home for the nobles. In the olden times, the torogan serves as the ancestral house of the upper-class Maranao. Torogans are used for big ceremonies such as weddings,
wakes, and religious gatherings. It is also where the datus, leaders, sultans, and elderly discuss the major conflict resolutions to rido (feud between individuals or clans). Here these
activities are held, celebrated, or deliberated upon. Maranao believe that torogan signifies nobility, ones’ status, rank, and power in the society.
This mosque is built along the high way in the municipality of Bubong-Ramain, Lanao del Sur, notice its concrete gold painted panolong, and intricate carvings geometrically done
on the mosque’s wall.
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Panolong, these wood carving are used as beam ends of the Maranao torogan (royal house) Maranao artisans use chisel and mallet in carving out the wood surface. Panolong
enhances the design of torogan by putting them on the front and rear view of torogan. Maranao architecture is heavily influenced by the Malay, Brunei, Chinese, Indian, Indonesia,
Middle East, and Islamic religion. Indian influence to Maranao culture can be depicted in a naga (dragon) or S carvings as shown below. Naga is a group of serpent deities in
Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Naga is a Sanskrit term which describes a mythical serpent or dragon in Asian literature (cf Francisco, 1977b). Gowing, (1979:143) argues that
Moro naga originated from Hindu-Malay culture. It symbolizes bravery, wealth and power. Baradas (1968:136) says that some Maranao old folks believed that naga carvings on
panolong brings protection to the household from evil spirits, this belief however is pre-Islamic.
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The variations of Maranao small flags
These flags are used during big events and celebrations such as enthronement ceremony of a new sultan, wedding ceremony, welcoming of pilgrims home from hajj in
Saudi Arabia, graduation day, among other similar occasion. These flags called pandi-a-maito (small flags) are in a bamboo sticks, they are usually designed in two different colors
of textile, the rest of the design come in different colors of textile being combined or defending on the choice of colors of those who make them.
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The Maranao big flags
This tri-colored flag comes in blue, white and red hues; it is used during big events and celebrations such as enthronement ceremony of a new sultan, wedding ceremony,
welcoming pilgrims home from Saudi Arabia, graduation day, among other similar occasions. These standing two flags known as “dupo” in a bamboo poles are usually designed in
two different colors of textile, the rest of the design comes in four different colors of textile combination or defending on the choice of colors being combined. The United States
of America also uses this tri-colored flag during important event in the White House. The blue color symbolizes continuity, the water, the sky; and the clouds which give birth to
life; the white color represents the moon, tranquility, harmony, peace and order, while the red color suggests boldness, bravery, valor, and defending ones faith, land, dignity and
pride. Red color also means the sunrise which radiates light; it gives a warm feeling, and life, the process of photosynthesis where billions of living organisms and plants depend
on. All Muslims believe that the magnificent and heavenly creations emanates from Allah’s supremacy and power.
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Another variation of Maranao flaglets called “kum’ntay”
Kum’ntay is used together with other Maranao set of flags during big events and celebrations such as enthronement ceremony of a new sultan, wedding ceremony,
welcoming pilgrims home from hajj in Saudi Arabia, graduation day, and among other similar occasions. Kum’ntay comes in seven colors. It symbolizes the seven layers of
heaven, the seven days of the week, or the seven colors of rainbow i.e. red, orange, yellow, green, violet, indigo, blue.
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Baradas, David B.
Some Implications of the Okir Motif in Lanao and Sulu Art, Asian Studies, VI/2 (August), 1968.
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The Philippine Islands 1493-1898, Cacho Hermanos, Manila.
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Relacion de las Islas Filipinas (The Philippines in 1600), translated by Ramon Echevarria, Historical Conservation Society, Manila, 1969.
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Sucesos de las islas Filipinas, translated and edited by John S. Cummins, London, 1871.
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The Tabon Caves, Archaeological, Explorations and Excavations on Palawan Island, Philippines, Monograph of the National Museum, No. I, Manila, 1970.
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Silverware of South East Asia, Oxford Press University, 1987.
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Physical Anthropology: The Creation of Human Species in Islam, Races, and Racism with Islamic Addition. Ivory Printing and Publishing House, Pala-o, Iligan City. 2012
Harrison, Tom
Brunei Cannon: Their Role in Southeast Asia (1400-1900 A.D.), Brunei Museum Journal, I/1, 1969.
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Les Philippines, Histoire, Geographie, Moeurs..., translated by Pura Santillas-Castrence, National Historical Institute, Manila, 1983.
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Sarimanok and the Maranao Set of Flags, Mindanao Journal 1/2 , October-December, pp. 11-22, 1974.
Tropical Crops (Monocotyledons), Longman Group Ltd, Singapore, 1972.
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Reid, Anthony,
Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce (1450-1680), Vol. 11, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1993.
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Noli Me Tangere, translated by Ma. Soledad Lacson Locsin, edited by Raul L. Locsin, published by Bookmark, Manila, Philippines, 1996.
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Maranao Folk Art: Survey of Forms, Designs and Meaning. Marawi City: University Research center, Mindanao State University, 1973.
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SOHAYLE “Maxxie” M. HADJI ABDUL RACMAN, served in Local Government Unit in Cormatan,Mulondo, Lanao del Sur, Philippines. He is one of the
youngcontemporary Muslim scholars. He was born on February3, 1982 at Cormatan, Mulondo, Lanao del Sur. In 2011, hedelivered a lecture series on various social sciences
topicsin Mulondo National High School and in Mulondo CentralElementary School, Department of Education, where hefinished Elementary Education, a consistent honor student.
He is a member of UP Muslim Student Association and UP International Center Association (UPICA), committed to developing young leaders among Filipino students and
international exchange students in UP-Diliman. He received awards from the UP-Diliman for his active participation and service as member of the UPICA and for spearheading the
International Week and Filipino Cultural Night in 2008 to 2011.
In 2014, he joined the faculty member s in the Department of International Relations in the Institute of Middle East and Asian Studies, University of Southern Mindanao, in
Kabacan, Cotabato, where he held subjects in International Relations such as Diplomacy of Europe, Diplomacy of Major Powers, International Law, Asian Studies, International
and Regional Organization, Methods of Research.
In 2011-2014, he held subjects in International Relations, Sociology, Humanities, Logic and Philosophy, Peace Education, and the History of the Muslim Filipinos in the
Philippines,at St. Peter’s College, in Iligan City.
In 2014, he finished Professional Education from St. Peter’s College, Iligan City. He authored several academic researches.
In 2013, he traveled to Malaysia, Sarawak, Borneo, Brunei Darussalam, and Singapore for his research on South East Asian ancient culture, material cultures, politics,
tourism and economy.
In 2011, heestablished Maxxie Museum Internationale and Arts Galleria, a world class minimuseum, committed to community development, and in contributing to socio-
culturaldevelopment and bio-ethics research, and to preservation of the Maranao cultureand archaic artifacts.
In 2010, he worked as Field Research Assistant of Ms. Hiroko Aihara, an Asian fellow in the Nippon Foundation for ASIAN PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS, a staff writer at
the Fukushima Minyu Shimbun, Newspaper, JAPAN, Nakada Yamaguchi, Fukushima prefecture.
In June 2008, he earned the core courses units in Ph.D. in Philippine Studies at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. He earned graduate units in
Historical Foundations of Physical Anthropology, World Archeology, and Sikolohiyang Pilipino from the same university, these graduate units are some of his specializations in
research under interdisciplinary approach.
In September 21, 2007, he served as one of the Forum Panelists in the: “Government of the Republic of the Philippines-Moro Liberation Front Conflict and its Impact on
Moro Women,” initiated by Dr. Amaryllis T. Torres, Dean, College of Social Work and Community Development, UP-Diliman.
In 2006 to 2007, he worked as English Language Instructor for Koreans at JJ Language Center, Inc., Quezon City.
In April 23, 2006, he finished Master of Arts in Islamic Studies from the same university. He received a scholarship study grant under Erap Muslim Youth Foundation
Scholarship Inc.
In 2004-2005, he served as committee on Academic Affairs, Ipil Residence Hall, UP-Diliman, he also served as Vice President in ASSABIYYAH, a student organization at
the Institute of Islamic Studies, UP-Diliman.
In November 27, 2002, he finished Bachelor of Science in International Relations at Mindanao State University (MSU), Marawi City, where he received a scholarship study
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In 2002, he was designated as Vice-President of the SeniorStudent Council, MSU Graduating Batch 2002, Marawi City.
In 2002, he had his on-the-job-training at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippines, with office assignment: Social Division, Protocol and Social Conferences
and Arrangement, 6th flr. As a protocol officer trainee at the DFA, he assisted many Ambassadors with a post assignment in the Philippines during the Social Affairs and
Conferences which were hosted by the DFA.
In 1999, he finished High School education at Dansalan College Foundation Inc. an American founded school in Marawi City.
In 1990 to 1994, he studied Arabic at Madrasatol Khairiya, Mulondo, Lanao del Sur, Philippines.
In 1989 he studied Arabic at Madrasatol Rahmaniya.
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