I travel not just to travel. I travel to taste culture. I this post, the Maranao culture.
I travel around the country for work and I have the opportunity to see sights and eat local delicacies but I don’t write about it.
But I am really proud about having visited Marawi City, in fact we explored the lake and stayed and slept in the city for a few days in a hotel.
Marawi Resort Hotel has several cottages sprawling on the resort estate. Our group were billeted for free at the Radia Moda Cottage for a night, courtesy of our gracious sponsor. The cottages were built Maranao style. There were two rooms on either side, each a replica of the other. The interior was surprisingly cozy as it was rustic – a warm welcome gesture the Maranao way.
Me and my companion could not hide our excitement over the unexpected surprise. Our field work was long and exhausting. As researchers, we only wanted a bed and roof over our heads for a restful night but what we had inside our room was more than what we desired. It was “so Mindanao-like” exclaimed my companion. This is what she had hoped for before the trip to experience and appreciate a distinct culture and she was happy. I was too.
On the floor in between the beds poised perpendicular to each other is a mat. We call it “banig”. I remember many years ago my grandmother buys “banig” from a Maranao merchant who frequents our town. We used the “banig” to sleep on. We didn’t have bed back then. This time inside our room, the banig is used in a classy and inventive way to keep our feet warm on behalf of a carpet.
On our bed covers are Maranao art trimmings that matches with that of the sequined art hanging on the ceiling. I can no longer remember what they are called. Lying on our beds we noticed an arrow pointing to the direction of the bathroom, saying “quibla”. We surmised it probably meant a “bathroom”. Common sense however would tell me it is otherwise. My memory is hazy. I had taken up Mindanao history in college which had a long section on the Islamization of Mindanao. Before we slept I corrected our old theory of the bathroom. Quibla may mean prayer and the arrow points the worshipper to the direction of the Mecca.
All in all our room invited peace for the night, moreso, it has not failed to remind us that we are in a different world – the world of the Maranaos – classy, distinct, colorful, culture.
You may also want to check what we did in the city by clicking on the link below: