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Rahiman Usman, a 16-year-old Maranao lass, performs the singkil during the grand coronation night of the Hiyas ng kadayawan on Wednesday, August 17, 2011. Usman won the pageant and bagged the “Best in Cultural Skills Showcase” for playing the kulintag. MindaNews photo by Ruby Thursday More.

Armm cultural village: Maguindanao

By Teng Lauban Datu
Cotabato City Bureau Chief .

Cotabato City — Sadly, many Filipinos are still unfamiliar with Bangsamoro’s rich cultural heritage. This is the primary reason why the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm ) opened to the public its grandest mock village exhibit that showcases the variety of cultures, traditions, history, and unity of the Bangsamoro people.

The exhibit aims at bringing a lifelike presentation of unity amidst the diversity of the culture and people of the Bangsamoro so that individuals – Moro and non-Moro alike – can learn from, appreciate, and experience such cultural event. The exhibit, located in this city, features a village representing each of the Armm’s five provinces namely: Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

Among the mock cultural villages in the exhibit is that of the beautiful province of Maguindanao. Literally means “people of the flood plain,” Maguindanao is one of the many Moro ethnic groups in the country.

A gigantic Kampilan will welcome visitors as they enter the Maguindanao village. The kampilan, or sword, is one of the well-preserved artifacts featured in the village. Historical documents noted the kampilan was widely used as a weapon during warfare and as a headhunting sword.

Built as the main attraction inside the Maguindanao village is a replica of Tulugan, or the House of Sultan, which symbolizes the government of the Maguindanaons. In the early 15th century, Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuan from the Royal House of Malacca arrived in Mindanao and introduced the Islamic faith, customs, and the Sultanate system of governance.

Found inside the Tulugan is a set of the most important musical instruments of the Maguindanaon tribe – the Kulintang ensemble.  The ensemble consists of five instruments, these are the kulintang (a series of eight graduated gongs), agong (wide-rimmed gong), dabakan (goblet-shaped drum), gandingan (set of four thin-rimmed gongs), and the babandir (small thin-rimmed gong).

The Tulugan is adorned with colorful Maguindanaon traditional weaves such as the Inaul, Tudung, and Galang. Also featured inside the Tulugan are Muslim brassware like the lutuan (silver-inlaid betel box), gadur (food containers with minaret-like tops), and panalagudan (pot holders). These objects usually decorate the affluent Maguindanao home, indicating wealth and status.

The rich culture of Maguindanao is just one of the many things Armm’s exhibit offers. Through the village exhibit, people will experience what it is like to be part of a diverse Bangsamoro culture. (with reports from bpi armm)


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