COTABATO CITY – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is showcasing and promoting the region’s grandest mock tribal villages narrating the variety of cultures, traditions, history, and oneness of the Bangsamoro people.
Launched on June 18, the ARMM villages’ expo is held inside the Office of the Regional Governor’s Compound here and is mounted to give the visitors a snapshot of the Moro’s vast cultural heritage.
“People will experience the beauty of the culture of the Bangsamoro people. We will provide them a complete image of what ARMM has,” ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said.
The exhibit focuses on celebrating the diversity of cultures of the region’s five component provinces that will form part of the 29th founding anniversary of the region.
The villages will feature a wide array of traditional living, tribal communities, livelihood, heritage, arts, cuisines, and products. Through the villages, people will be able to recognize and appreciate the similarities and the differences of the Moro culture.
Atty. Rasol Mitmug Jr., Department of Education-ARMM Secretary and a chieftain in a village in Lanao del Sur, said that to capture the feel of his province, the mock village built the Plaza Cabili, a landmark at the Islamic City of Marawi, which was ruined during last year’s fighting between militants and security forces.
The Lanao del Sur village, which carries the tagline, ‘Sarimanok Rising’, also features the Torogan, or House of the Sultan, that displays different artifacts of Maranaos. “We also emphasize the Maranao’s entrepreneurial side that’s why we built a Padian, or market. We will also have the replica of the Bacolod Grande Mosque,” Atty. Mitmug said.
The Tawi-Tawi village, or the Island Paradise as described by its chieftain, Secretary Dyan Sangkula Jumaide of ARMM’s Agrarian Reform department, is the simplest village among the participating provinces. “We prefer to depict the real life of Tawi-Tawians, which is peaceful and simple,” Sec. Jumaide said.
The village has set up the Sheikh Makhdum mosque and mimics the scenery of the province with its white sand beach – Panampangan, Bud Bongao, and Tabu, or the public market.
Tagged as the Pearl of Sulu Sea, the Sulu Village highlights the Astanah Darul Jambangan, a wooden life-size replica of the royal palace of the Sultanate of Sulu. Don Mustapha Loong, Public Works and Highways-ARMM Secretary and Sulu Village chieftain, said the Astana Darul Jambangan narrates the fact that the Sulu Sultanate already exists prior to the arrival of the Spaniards and the creation of the Philippine government.
The Sulu Village is the largest structure among the five villages built by far. It features the different cultures, arts, flags, handicrafts, swords, and food and information areas.
For the province of Maguindanao, two of its well-preserved artefacts were featured in its village — the Lantaka (cannon) and the largest Kampilan (sword). A replica of Tulugan, or the House of the Sultan, was also built as the main attraction inside the village, which symbolizes the government of Maguindanaons.
Inside the Tulugan are various ancient instruments of the Maguindanaon tribe, which include Gandigan and Kulintang and the traditional weaves such as Inaul, Tudung, and Galang. Also in the Maguindanao village is a replica of the Quirino Bridge and Padian, or market.
In Basilan’s tribal village, Yakan cloth, or Tennun, is seen all over. “The Basilan village uses the tagline ‘Weavers of Peace’ as the Yakans are basically weavers of peace,” said Executive Secretary and Basilan village chieftain Atty. Laisa Alamia.
Villages symbolize legacy, good governance of the Bangsamoro
“When I learned the intention of this day’s event, there are only two things I would like to emphasize the legacy and good governance of the Bangsamoro,” Marian Pastor Roces, an independent curator, writer and researcher, said in her speech during the launching of the region’s tribal villages expo.
Roces said (ARMM proved that the Moro’s lifestyle and heritage remain alive and relevant in the country. She said the Moro has left her fully inspired to learn more and appreciate its unique and distinguished history. “Hindi kayo natinag nang digmaan o anumang kaguluhan dahil hanggang ngayon andito kayo para ipakita ang tunay na ganda at kahalagahan ng kultura ng Bangsamoro,” she said.
Governor Hataman noted that the villages were not meant to be built just for celebration but to show the unity of the Bangsamoro people. “Ang mga villages ay hindi lamang itinayo para magsaya, itinayo ito upang mas maunawaan ng ibang mga tao ang kulturang meron tayo dito sa ARMM,” Governor Hataman said as he urged the Bangsamoro people to give value and share to others what the ARMM can uniquely offer.
As a symbol of unity, representatives from each of the five ARMM provinces performed their traditional dance during the launching ceremony. ARMM comprises Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
The public can visit the villages until the end of December to appreciate the pride of the Moros. (Bureau of Public Information)
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