Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sarimanokish Marawi

Islamic City of Marawi, the capital of Lanao del Sur and home to my sister’s alma mater Mindanao State University (MSU) can be best described with the Maranao’s colorful symbol, Sarimanok. Haven’t been to anywhere as colorful as this Muslim-dominated city. Affirmative to it the noticeable Dodols, a sticky delicacy rolled in colorful packaging, hanged and displayed outside some houses along the way to the city. And the colorful engraved designs can be seen everywhere.
Upon arriving at Marawi from the 12-hour land trip, I immediately took the opportunity to stroll around the wide MSU compound. Aided with the Marawi tourism info I printed out from the Internet and guided by my sister, here is what I captured:
Aga Khan Museum

A repository of Maranao and other Moro artifacts boasting a huge collection of indigenous and cultural materials, ethnic music, native tools and weapons used by the Muslims, and houses of different artistic designs. It was named in honor of King Aga Khan who contributed significantly to the realization of the museum.
MSU Golf Course

A 9-hole golf course laid out on the gentle greenery of the campus. Aside from golf, it is also a good place to relax, breathe the clean country air, and bathe under the gentle sun.
King Faisal Mosque
King Faisal Mosque
Marawi Resort Hotel
Marawi Resort Hotel
The Sleeping Lady (Mountain Formation)
Maranao Sambolayang in Peace Plaza
Mindanao State University
Melting pot of the south (producing cream of the crop professionals), campus of diverse culture (Muslims-Christians-Lumad gathered together), and university of survivors (students outlive and outlast). MSUan is a trademark of students of educational excellence in Mindanao.

The next day I requested my sister to wander on the city’s downtown area. Though a bit hesitant because she was scared, I was able to convince her anyway telling her it would be the last time she’s stepping in the city. In the jeepney, we kept on questioning a friendly Maranao named Walid seated next to us about how we would get to the places in the imprint. After warning us to be more extra careful, he volunteered to accompany us thereafter. These were our toured sites:
Sambitory Building
C&D Centerpoint. The only mini mall in the district
Jameo Dansalan
Caloocan Waterfront
Torogan sa Dayawan

The residence of the Sultan first constructed in the early 18th century by Sultan Boowa Ayop, founder of the royal house of Dayawan. In the early 19th century it was rebuilt by Sultan Conding and Datu Cotawato with the help of Datu Bacarat, Bae Dalomabi and Bae Cuyog.

In 1935 the Dansalan Declaration of opposing the inclusion of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan in the proposed Philippine Republic was signed in this Torogan.

The National Museum in coordination with the Mindanao State University and the National Historical Institute has declared the Dayawan Torogan a “National Cultural Treasure and Regional Museum of Living Traditions”.
Lake Lanao

At 2,300 feet above sea level, I believe this second largest and deepest lake in the country was a crater of once a volcano that had erupted centuries ago. Wondering where the Maria Cristina Falls get its water, which has been the source of hydropower and natural wonder? It may not known to all but no less than Lake Lanao provided it. Now one thing that the Marawi people should learn is how to conserve power and water.
Sacred Mountain

It is a 150-meter high mountain with a pond at its summit. Visitors are not allowed to climb the slopes in reverence to the mountain.
Agus River

If Lake Lanao provided the water to Maria Cristina Falls, the means to where the water is channeled is the Agus River. It serves as the outlet of Lake Lanao to Illana Bay.

I should consider myself lucky for the opportunity to go around the town because not everyone does. Most of the populace especially Christians are scared. Even my sister, in her 5-year stay in Marawi it was her first time to roam around. She should thank me for my courage. Hehe. And I thank our new Maranao friend Walid for touring us around Marawi.

One reminder: The Muslims are highly territorial people. I remember somebody said they don’t have real property tax in the city because Muslims believed nobody owns the land and it’s a God-given bounty. Perhaps the same reason why dorms and cottages mushroomed in the MSU campus making it part of the compound. But Muslims should not be feared of. Danger is anywhere. The right thing to do is to be cautious. One way to ease the worries when in strange land is to bring with you someone who knows the culture of the place and can vouch safety. Fear is only in the mind. You wouldn’t know if the thing is worth the fear unless you try it. Here, the motto “No guts, no glory” applies.

And my Marawi tour proved a one unique colorful experience in the land of mosques capped with fogs and seasoned with breeze of cold winds.


the donG said...

ayos! may golf at resort pa. ganda din pala ng campus na yan. ngayon ko lang nalaman na sarimanok pala ang symbol nila.

galing ng shot mo sa caloocan waterfront.

ayos din ang sambitory building.

The Islander said...

thank you dong. ang bilis mo naman maka comment. kapo post ko pa lang ah. haha.

kamusta naman ang kabundukan natin jan?

Budget Traveler said...

wow!thanks for letting me see the 'whole' of Marawi. I've been there before
(more than 10 yrs ago) but I think for only about an hour..I had an errand from our company to do a bank transaction..and as expected , I was a bit scared because I was traveling alone and had those misconceptions about the locals. so, I didn't get to see the whole city.

re: your comment from my blog: I think you better get a passport na..who knows you'll get to travel at least some parts of asia.. cebu pacific offers zero fares at times..last year, i booked my mom's ticket for only 2,800 pesos Cbu-Singapore- Cebu flight. :)

FerBert said...

nainggit ako sa pinaggagawa mo sa buhay mo.. pwede mo ba akong isama sa susunod mong destinasyon? bwahahaha

The Asian Traveler said...

I'm already contented seeing Marawi through your photos. Whew! I admire you and your sister the courage to roam around the city.

The Islander said...

@budget traveler.. huwaatt?? P2,800 cebu-Singapore round trip?? wow thats suicide *exadge. hehe* but really, that's very affordable. okay, okay... i'll expedite having one.

you must tour the marawi city next time. worth it talaga. alam mo yun.. yung may halong thrill ang tour mo. may hype. that's what we call adventure. hehe.

The Islander said...

@ferbert.. haha. wala akong panlibre sayo eh. cge isasama kita pero yung kinita mo sa paypal etcetera extra income ang gamitin natin sa paglaboy. haha.

@asian traveler.. thank you. but it would be good if you will experience the tour personally. like what i replied to budget traveler, you will experience the hype and the thrill.. cute mixture of an unforgettable adventure.

Raft3r said...

i better explore mindanao more
davao at cdo pa lang ako nakakapunta dyan, e
great pix, btw
nakaka-enganyo lalo tuloy bumisita dyan

The Islander said...

@raft3r.. salamaters. yep. daming pwedeng i-explore sa mindanao. kaso dami ding takot at misconceptions na pumipigil sa mga turista. di nila alam andun yung thrill. hehe. alam mo yun.. taking the risk. pero di naman yung style ni ces drilon na presenting herself to the abductors.

Rio said...

next time na bumisita ako ng mindanao try kong dumaan d2 sa Marawi..ang cool ng lugar!=)

Dakilang Islander said...

di ba may sarimanok sa tv dati, inspired ba dito yun? hehhh

oo nga ang ganda ng waterfront pic mo! pang postcard na yan ah

The Islander said...

@rio.. cool at makulay. parang sinabawang gulay. advice lang if you go there, try wearing their thing... yung shawl para mukha kang muslim. that way you will be spared with unkind look.

@dakilang islander.. yata. and it was a kewl tv station id. pinanalo nya ang abs-cbn in international tilt.

maganda ba? tsumamba yata ako. haha. photogenic lang talaga ang lake. tas kaaliw pa ang mga mosques.

Lawstude said...

ibang-iba talaga culture jan sa mindanao. makulay. the best i have gotten near a muslim place is in sultan kudarat at sa johor, malaysia.

sige post mo lang mga places sa mindanao and one day pupuntahan ko talaga yan.

Jake Tornado said...

Wow, what an excellent travelogue of Marawi City. I've never been to that place (the nearest place that I came to it is at Cagayan De Oro City which is like 2 hours away).

Your photos are inciting to a traveller like me. Curiously, though, I wonder why every person I meet who has gone to Marawi never fail to advise me to be "extra-careful" when visiting the place. Is security that bad? A colleague of mine is a graduate of Marawi State University (MSU) where he earned his pre-law degree. He's one of our better law graduates from UP-Diliman. I bet there is really a truth to the belief that MSU is a breeding ground of successful professionals.

Nice post you have here.

The Islander said...

@lawstude.. meron din ako sa sultan kudarat. pero malayo ang pasyalan nila eh. hanggang downtown area lang ako ng takurong at isulan. pero yung pinaka attraction naman nila is yung provincial capitol. which i have covered.

The Islander said...

@jake.. thank you so much for the comment.

as i said, muslims are highly territorial people. so once you are there, you will expect those stares at you being a stranger in the place. i dunno. maybe they already know which one is a familiar face.

and to be "extra careful" is a caution about your moves. one false move and commit mistakes and you will surely be enlisted in their redo list. hehe.

TENTAY™ said...

Never pa ako nakapunta ng Mindanao. Pero sana makapunta ko sa mga pichurs na yan. kahit un dun sa resort at pag napunta ko jan bibili ako madami payong kagaya non last pichur! super cuteee!

The Islander said...

hahaha! talagang pinagtripan ang payong eh. cute nga pero ewan ko lang kung may binibenta na ganun.

Kim said...

It is one of my desire to visit Marawi because I heard that the place is super lamig and it has so many nice places to see. But because of the news that goes around I chickened out hinde kaya nang mga powers ko lol!

bariles said...

Thanks for featuring this Islander. It brought back memories of my college days at the MSU where I took my 1st year, after which I transferred to UP.

When I was still a student there, I lived in the house of Capt. Kamid Marohombsar and his nurse wife. I would have preferred staying in the dorm but my parents felt with was safer staying in a private house... which is inside the campus actually.

Those days, there wasn't much danger that we students felt despite the frequent holdups of jeeps travelling the Marawi-Iligan route. We even had a chance to watch a movie in downtown Marawi, all 10 of us, university scholars from Gensan and Davao.

At that time, MSU had the highest number of unwanted pregnancies among campuses all over the country... due mainly to its cool weather...hehehe! That's what my older classmatess told me. I dont know if that still holds tree.

In any case, your post is great! Thanks again. :)

The Islander said...

@kim.. hehehe. sabi nga nila, swerte swerte lang yan. and it happens na medyo adventurous lang ako ng konti. konti lang naman. hehe.

marawi is worth a visit. especially when youre aiming to be near the shore of the lanao lake but you didnt know how. the thrill is there also.

The Islander said...

@bariles.. thanks for that very long comment. you really spent your seconds of time.

hehehe! yeah, i still hear from my sister rumors about unwanted pregnancies and those hold ups along the highway. sayang nga eh, di pa ko naka-try maholdap. hehe. atsaka dahil sa klimang mala-bagyo and students freely interacting with each other and no restrictions in admission sa mga cottages, thats why.

travelphilippines said...

wow ganda pla sa marawi

The Islander said...

@travelphils.. thats definitely right.

Anonymous said...

lol, why so afraid sa Marawi eh all you have to do is to be more conservative lang, and thats it. Be careful-YES, hinde lang sa Marawi kasi anywhere you go there is danger diba kahit nasaan kaman nakatira sa mundo BE CAREFUL talaga. Marawi is cool (literally) and has fresh air. wish i could comeback and stay forever :)

mardyjun said...

am just wondering how ur able to capture these images? well anyway, i bet you would want to see more of Lanao? you have just wander within the city and haven't went beyond it....i suggest if you have plan to go back...tour around the lake...a circumferential tour for you to see more of Lanao's'll see more of Torogans...very well painted, how about a twinned torogan and a lot more. You also missed the visit to Tugaya...see more of their handicraft products. You know...Lanao has more to showcase but it doesn't open doors to tourists who feared through impression.Me?...since am a able to see those though i havent reli toured circumferentially. I have seen falls, caves, and oh yeah i was able to climb sacred mountain...and yeah its flat on top and its actuali a two hills seen as one. shukran.

The Islander said...

Hi Mardyjun,

yeah i would love to roam around Lanao and anywhere interesting. I hope i was given the chance. Anyway, i pitied the destruction of the monument of Amay Pakpak i guess which when we were there we are looking for it but then some locals said it was destroyed by local treasure hunters hoping to find treasures buried beneath it.

Anonymous said...

wow! I wish to visit this place soon! Will add this to my list this 2010! thanks to your post! Wishing you more travels this 2010!:)

mardyjun said...

i think statue doesnt reli exist in lanao...becasue its unIsLamic. well, der s the Rizal monument but it cant be seen anymor since they covered it with thick trees. if u will go back...dont miss tugaya and wato falls...msuans are the often tourists of the falls...8s quite far from the concrete road so hiking is a must.hehe. dats how adventurous it is(was). i heard once from the natioanal artist dat he draws inspiration on his art from the maranao rich culture. i jaz forgot his name but he was the one who sculpt the 'rotonda' in global city.

日月神教-任我行 said...