Festival fetes Islamic legacies

For a week, a festival of colors recall the life of Shariff Muhammed Kabungsuwan who brought Islamic cultural legacies, commerce and trade, to Maguindanao and Lanao, in the province named after the revered missionary. (PHOTOGRAPHS BY LADE JEAN KABAGANI FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE)

Cotabato City’s Shariff Kabunsuan Festival, which is celebrated every mid-December, showcases rich cultural heritage and legacy of Islamic missionaries on the values, norms, and traditions of mainland Mindanao.

Shariff Muhammed Kabungsuwan was one of the most revered Muslim missionaries from Johore, Malaysia who brought Islamic cultural legacies, commerce and trade, particularly in Maguindanao and Lanao.

Kabungsuwan was believed to be responsible for organizing first ever Muslim communities in Cotabato City and in parts of the Bangsamoro region, as well as the one who spread the Islamic culture and tradition in the Philippines. Through generations, Kabungsuwan came to be known as Kabunsuan.

The Bangsamoro people take pride in the time-honored weaving tradition of Moro weavers who produce the hand-made and vibrantly colored “Inaul” fabric — a cloth design that captures the Maguindanaons’ distinction, royalty and bravery.

Inaul is commonly used to make malong, a tubular skirt that is usually worn by both women and men. Weavers use various designs to showcase the Maguindanao heritage patterned after the promotion of peace and prosperity, not only in BARMM but also in the entire Mindanao.

The city usually celebrates the festival for a week with a series of events including an Inaul Fashion Show, Qur’an reading exhibition, trade fair festival promoting locally manufactured products, and concluded in a suitably grand manner with a Guinakit fluvial parade and Pagana or Kanduli festival.

The parade commemorated the arrival of missionary Muslims to Mindanao some 500 years ago along the banks of Masla Pulangi — now popularly known as Rio Grande de Mindanao — aboard a large banca or boat called Guinakit.

Maranao and Maguindanao are among the 13 Muslim tribes in the islands of Mindanao collectively known as Bangsamoro people including Iranun, Tao-Sug, Sama, Yakan, JamaMapun, Ka’agan, Kalibugan, Sangil, Molbog, Palawani and Badjao.

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