Tribes of Mindanao, the Maguindanaons
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Bangsamoro or Moroland was originally home to the Muslim sultanates of Mindanao, these sultanates resisted Spanish colonial rule, and were therefore not fully integrated with the rest of the islands. The term Bangsamoro is derived from the Malay word bangsa, meaning nation or people, and the Spanish word Moro, from the older Spanish word for Moor, a term for Arabs or Muslims. Their ongoing struggle for self-determination and cultural identity is a struggle of generations. The Maguindanao are one of many groups of "lowland" Filipinos who arrived on the island of Mindanao during sequent waves of migration from the Southeast Asian mainland several thousand years ago. The region of Maguindanao became home to most of the country's Muslim or Moro populations, composed of many ethnic groups such as the Maranao and the Tausug, the Banguingui as well as collective groups of indigenous, non-Christian and non-Muslim tribes. Better known as the Lumad, a complex patchwork of indigenous groups. The Maguindanao, the largest group of Muslims on the Island of Mindanao, live in the most unappealing area, the marshy portion of the present site of Cotabato, their ancestral land is flooded many times a year by overflowing rivers.
Most Maguindanao follow standard Islamic beliefs and practices, but the native Maguindanaons persevere to a form of folk Islam, their believe in spirits, sorcery and supernatural beings is still evident in their culture and ceremonies. The apo na palay, or grandfather of the rice, is a tribe member who conducts rituals and chants incantations over the rice fields at night to ensure a good harvest. During the month of Ramadan, all tribe members will participate in various ceremonies that are associated with fasting. Other ceremonies, such as those related with birth, marriage, and death, have both indigenous and Islamic beliefs and rituals.
Maguindanaons celebrate the Shariff Kabunsuan Festival, an extraordinary display of Muslim religion and culture. It is a colourful feast commemorating and celebrating the arrival of Shariff Kabunsuan via Rio Grande de Mindanao more than 500 years ago. For centuries Islam has brought peace and harmony to the people of the Maguindanao tribe, a tribe with a turbulent past, a vibrant present and uncertain future. Maintaining the unique Maguindanao culture while operating in the modern Mindanao way of life will be a huge challenge and a great opportunity to show the world the real and peaceful face of the Maguindanao tribe.