Last week, the huge atrium of The Block at SM North Edsa in Quezon City was the venue of three major exhibitions. No doubt, the third booth was the largest— and it showcased the colorful culture of the Muslim tribes of the Philippines.
Hands down, it attracted the most visitors with an opulent display of artifacts from the various tribes that inhabit Mindanao, from the Yakans to the Maranaos. Visitors were taking selfies with the young male and female models garbed in traditional Muslim attire.
Not to be outdone was the musician who played traditional music using the indigenous instrument called the kulintang, which was brought in from Maguindanao.
Like the young models, the musician, Mona Ahmad, was dressed in a traditional malong, and was a popular selfie model.
The exhibit, dubbed “Muslims in The Philippines: History and Culture,” was organized by the Anak Mindanao Party-List spearheaded by Rep. Sitti Djalia A. Turabin-Hataman. This touring show was designed by curator Marian Pastor Roces of TAO, Inc. and sponsored by SM Malls.
From SM North Edsa, the exhibit will move to SM Aura at the Bonifacio Global City, and on to other SM malls in Metro Manila and Luzon, organizers said.
Rep. Hataman, wife of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman, who hails from Basilan, has long been the champion of Mindanao’s tribal culture. Through this show, she aimed to impart its colorful heritage to the rest of the Philippines. She is hoping the Filipinos of Luzon will learn more and understand the Mindanao culture, which has been thriving in the Philippines for over a thousand years now.
The exhibit includes a timeline that follows the history of Mindanao, particularly the member provinces of the ARMM, which covers Basilan, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.
Highlights of the show include century-old artifacts, such as weapons, musical instruments, and decorative items from the Maranaos, Maguindanaos, the Tausugs, and Yakans, among other tribes, some of which came from the antique collection of Rep. Hataman.
With this exhibit, Hataman hopes to impart the way Filipinos Muslims play a pivotal role in forming the overall heritage of the country.
As Anak Mindanao Party List volunteer Abdul Lomondot said: “We hope to portray Muslims as not just being part of a religion, which somehow has unfairly separated us from the rest of the country. We toned down the Islamic or religious aspect for this show, and played up the culture, which is very colorful and can be appreciated by every Filipino.”
Lomondot added they hope this exhibit will convey that Filipino Muslims “have a gentle and eclectic culture” that is far removed from the small group of rebels that have been causing political unrest in certain parts of Mindanao, which has put a negative light on the rest of the Filipino Muslim population.