“Ramadhan Village” showcases Moro culture, food

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/15 July) – Visitors to the Ramadhan Village inside the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) compound here have had their fill of cultural presentations and a taste of Moro culinary delights every night since the start of the month of fasting on June 16.

The Ramadhan village, also known as “Ramadhan Fair” may be likened to a Christmas village during the yuletide season.

After breaking the fast and a prayer called “Tarawi,” visitors would be entertained by various cultural presentations from different tribal villages inside the ARMM compound.

“Here you can tour the region in an hour,” said Samaon Ismael, one of the visitors who joined the congregational prayer Monday night.

Visitors can witness a war dance and listen to the melody of kulintang at the Iranon villages.

At the nearby Tausug village, they can watch the Pangalay dance taste free native Sulu coffee in front of the replica of Darul Jambangan Royal House.

The Badjaos in the next “village” display their prowess by performing the famous Jangay dance.

The Meranaw or Maranaw from Lanao del Sur are not to be outdone. They are showcasing the famous Torogan, the Royal House where handicraft and the world famous malong (shawl) are on display.

In between “tours,” guests can taste different Moro delicacies for a very reasonable price.

“The atmosphere is really great here; our identity is shown here, in just one setting. In less than an hour one can feel, learn and be educated about the Muslim culture, tradition and food,” Secretary Don Loong of the ARMM Department of Public Works and Highways said.

The Ramadhan village is a reflection of Muslim Mindanao, Bai Shalimar Candao, Maguindanao tourism chief, said.

“You can see here what you have not seen in the past because our history is reborn here,” Candao said in Filipino, citing the case of Maguindanao.

“This is Walay na Sultan (House of Sultan),” she said, gesturing to the structure nearby.

“The concept of Maguindanao village is to showcase the Maguindanao culture on how it has evolved from [past] centuries to the present,” she added.

“Of course we are very happy. It is only now that our visitors learn about our Iranun culture and how we evolved in the autonomous region,” said Mayor Abolais Manalao of Buldon, Maguindanao and host of Maguindanao Iranun village.

Days before the Eud’l Fitr celebration marking the end of Ramadhan, organizers said they have prepared a grand event that includes several cultural presentations for guests.

During Ramadhan Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and devote more time to prayers and charity works as a religious obligation. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)