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Lanao Del Sur

Capital: Marawi City

No. of towns: 37

Location. Located in the southern portion of the former province. It is bounded by Lanao del Norte in the north of Lanao. Illana Bay on the East, Cotabato on the South and Bukidnon on the West.

Overview. Lush Green. The hallmarks of the Mindanao, the virgin country. Horses and jeepneys both abound. Then Lake Lanao hoves into view, the second largest and deepest in the Philippines and one of the most breathtakingly beautiful.

This is the land of the Maranaos, the "people of the lake". The Maranaos are the last group to be Islamized but turned out to be the strongest of adherents.

The Maranaos settled around the edge of Lake Lanao, at 2,300 feet above sea level, and along the banks of the small rivers which lead into it. Marawi City, the capita, is the only chartered city in the country with a predominantly Muslim population.

The lake is surrounded with myths and legends. A particularly interesting version says that before the Spanish regime, St. Francis Xavier came to Marawi to preach and convert the Muslims. He is said to have failed because of the unusual ferocity of the people living there.

One day as he was crossing the lake, one of St. Francis´ sandals fell off. He was not able to retrieve the sandal. Soon, the lake began to grow into shape of a sandal. Eventually, the belief grew that when someone succeds in taking the sandal out of the lake the Maranaos will be converted to Christianity. And peace will flow into the land.

The climate is envigorating and fine grazing land strech into the distance. Excellent soil plus the varying altitudes help account for the usual staples and some rarities - one of them the durian, a heavily aromatic but heavenly tasting fruit.

Life, specially on market days, centers on the lake. Motorized boats ply thelake, providing transport and communication between lake communities.

Their relative isolation rendered them less susceptible to advances, thus, they cling stronger to traditional ways, than do their Tausug or Maguindanao brothers

People. The Maranao tribe is among the most artistic. Their numerous ceremonial artifacts and everyday tools are trimmed with the sensuous "okir" (carving) and colorful "nagas" (serpent figures).

Long, low and sleek, the boats sport a rainbow of brilliant colors matched only by the exuberance of the malongs, the Maranao native wear for women.

Violet, purple, green, red, yellow. Floral. Geometric. The women are resplendent in their finery, as if to make up for the drabness of the men´s wear. However, the men again stature by wearing certain headgear, such as white caps signifying their having made a trip to Mecca. The trip is almost a religious obligation to be fulfilled by all Muslim men.

About 12 meters long, on the other hand, the malong is made of woven and highly decorated cloth. It is joined lengthwise to create a tube or cylinder and worn as a shirt or a dress. Occasionally, they are pulled all the way up to cover the head either as protection against the sun, cold, as a gesture of modesty when used to cover the face or a blanket when asleep. A most popular item among tourists and souvenir hunters, a flurry of bargaining usually precedes each purchase of "malongs" from the natives!

Fiercely independent, the Maranaos surrendered last to the Americans then to the Japanese.

Climate. The province has a climate that is cool and pleasant. It falls under dominantly type F which is distinguished by an even distribution of rainfall througout the year. Summer time in the Philippines is not quite distinct in the area. The most wet month is February and the most dry month is June. The province is out of typhoon belt having rolling hills and valleys, placid lake and river which dominated the landscape.

Language / Dialects.

Maranao dialect is commonly used. Almost all Christians residing in city can understand Maranao.

Tagalog and Visaya. Almost one half of the city populace can understand and speak the dialects.

English. School medium of instruction, with the number of schools in the city. English can be understood by (approximately) 1/4 of the city populace.

Arabic. Since Arabic studies is now widely taught to the people of Marawi, a great number of the population can read, write and speak Arabic language.

Points of Interest

Aga Khan (Mindanao State University, Marawi City). Named in honor of King Aga Khan who contributed to the realization of the museaum. Historical development of the country is bank on the large space upon the conservation of cultural materials. It has huge, collection of indigenous art, displayed ethnic music tape recorded, the native folk dances from different regions of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan, the native tools and weapons used by the Muslims and different artistic designs of houses are the main attractions of museum. Indegenous art and cultural material are being diaplayed.

Moncado Colony (Moncado, Cadingilan). Named in honor of Hilario Camino Moncado, a native Filipino, leader, an organizer, author of books and lecturer of humanities. He graduated with honor at the age of nine at India Collage of Mystery and Psychics. Moncado monuments and wild animals monuments can be found here.

Torogans and Sambitory old Building (Amito, Dayawan, Marawi City, Sambitory building, Barrio Naga, Marawi City). The feeling of the unique natural setting of the Maranao in Marawi City is manifested by the presence of many large "Torogans", an antique royal high roofed with curving designed houses of Maranao.

Beautiful Rolling Hills and Mountains. They are found in Marawi City. Signal hill, Arumpac hill and Mt. Mupo are considered beautiful but mysterious. Angoyao hills served as natural watch over tower to the water of the Lake Lnao. Mt. Mupo is known for its untouched trees, beautiful and perfect cone.

Lake Lanao. Marawi lies in the rolling terrain commanding majestic view of the fascinating Lake Lanao. The 2nd largest deepest lake in the Philippines.

Bagang Beach (Caloocan, Marawi City). It is located 2 meters away from the commercial site of the city; filled rocks and boulders, trees in the lakeside that served benches and the latter as shades. Besides are floating woods, where the brgy. residents take a bath and ablution. Ideal for picnics, nice place for boating and swimming because of the clear water.

Agus River. Located in between Saduc and Lilod, Marawi City. Swiftest river in the country, its famous cataract is the Maria Cristina Falls, outlet of Lake Lanao to Illana Bay.

Golf Course. Located at the Mindanao State University, Marawi City. A 9 hole course laid out on the gentle greenery of Mindanao State University. Visitors who play golf will enjoy playing at the greenery ground, one can relax and breath the clean country, air and bath under the gentle sun.

Kilometer Zero Point Marker. An important lamdmark in Lanao del Sur, from which all distances in Mindanao are measured. This is similar to the measures of distances in Manila which begin at the Rizal Monument in Rizal Park.

Mindanao State University (MSU). Marawi City draws the most number of visitors within Lanao del Sur in which the MSU is located. Founded in1962, it serves as an educational institute and a center of social and cultural integration.

King Faisal Center of Arabic Studies. Marawi City.

Mahaad of Arabi. Marawi City.

Jainiatyl Philippine Al Islamic. Marawi City.

Dansalan College. Marawi City

Aga Khan Museum. It is a repository for Maranao and other Moro artifacts.

Sacred Mountain. A 150 meter with a pond at its summit. Visitors are forewarned not to climb the slopes or suffer the consequences. However, there is no solid evidence that tragic events did occur when the warning was violated.

Dasalan Handicraft Building. It houses the Maranao art in execution-carves and weaves in live demonstrations display their crafts and skills imprssively and expertly.

Tugaya Town. Has a near exlusivity reputation for producing brassware. It is the only community in the province that produces excellent brassware. Practically every family has a bellows in the area where the metals are smelted. Using the cire perdule or lost wax technique, cannons and gongs, betelnut boxes and rice pots are made.

Festivals

Maulid En Nabi. The entire Muslim world celebrate the feast, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad . This is movable feast on which the Sultan or Datu of the place is oblige to give for his people. Some of the Maranaos celebrate it ahead of the set day and the rest on the specified date, birthday of Prophet Muhammad .

Ramadan. The muslims seem eagerly looking forward this 12th month of the year. They believe that they have to spend what they have earned for the rest of 11 months in the whole month of Ramada. Not only looking for the best foods in town but searching for the best kitchen utencils. Some have been accustomed to buying new equipment and keep the old ones during this month. On the very first night, others called it Pegang, special foods displayed in new beautiful glasswares were being served happily. Some believed that once you begin with the above, surely the following nights will be repetitions. Giving and praying during this month will be rewarded a thousand times than the rest of the months.

Wedding Day. Wedding cost a lot wherein the presence of both the bride and groom´s parents, relatives and friends are necessary. The celebration varies from the class of the family where the couple belongs. Food served and money is divided among the crowd.

b. Festivity started one week before the crowning of the Sultan, Bae and datus. People are invited together in this occasion wherein food is served in abundance. It is therefore the best time for the coronation of the nobility such as Sultan and other Datus.

Morod A Miskin. Is a feast given to the poor of the community. Food is prepared and people are invited including the Sultan to partake the feast.

Morod A Lomalayag. Feast given by travellers or sailors after they have returned from a trip in thanksgiving for their success and safety.

Dances.

Kini-kini. A special artistic way of walking of Maranao women, as dramatized in their dances.

Singkil. A world famous dance which has for its basic accompaniment the clapping of two bamboo poles. An interesting footnote to Maranao dances: The women are not allowed to dance with the men

How to get there. From Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, flight is one hour and twenty minutes via Cagayan de Oro City. From Cagayan de Oro City, you have two options. One is take a ride by bus which will take you to Iligan City, where you can take your ride in a public utility (PU) jeep to Marawi or from Cagayan de Oro City, you can automatically take PU jeep to bring you to Marawi without necessary stop at Iligan City. Direct PU jeep from Cagayan de Oro City to Marawi City is about two hours and thirty minute, travel.

From Cotabato City, the seat of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Region XII, you can either take plane of 30-minute flight or you can go by land. Should you choose to take a plane,it will bring you to Baloi Airport at Baloi, Lanao del Norte. Then take a PU jeep to Marawi, about 30-minute ride. If you choose by land, then you have to choose either via Malabang or via Davao - Butuan - Cagayan de Oro City - Iligan City tri before you finally reach Marawi.

If you want to reach Marawi City by water transportation, from Manila, you can take about direct to Cagayan de Oro City for two days or to Iligan City for two and a half days. Also, from Manila to Cebu City to Iligan then from Cagayan or Iligan, PUj´s can take you to Marawi City.