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Maranao Leaders and Icons: The Top 10 Notable Personalities

Maranao, also known as Maranaw, is an ethnic group in the Philippines who primarily reside in the province of Lanao del Sur in Mindanao. Despite their relatively small population, the Maranao people have produced numerous notable individuals who have made significant contributions in various fields, including politics, entertainment, sports, and art. Here are 10 of the most popular celebrities and notable people from the Maranao ethnicity:

  • Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah – The 29th Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei, Sultan Bolkiah is of Maranao descent through his maternal lineage. He is one of the world’s wealthiest individuals and has been the reigning monarch of Brunei since 1967.
  • Shariff Kabunsuan – A prominent political figure in the Philippines, Kabunsuan served as the Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) from 2005 to 2008. He was instrumental in the creation of the province named after him, which aimed to promote self-determination for the indigenous peoples in the region.
  • Bayang Barrios – Born Bayang Yñiguez, Bayang Barrios is a renowned Filipino singer and musician. She is known for her powerful vocals and unique style that blends traditional Maranao music with contemporary genres. She has received numerous accolades and is considered one of the country’s most influential artists.
  • Athony Pangilinan – Anthony Pangilinan is a well-known motivational speaker, corporate trainer, and author in the Philippines. He is married to actress and TV host Maricel Laxa, forming a widely recognized inspirational couple in the country.
  • Hayden Kho – Hayden Kho is a Filipino celebrity doctor, model, and entrepreneur. He gained public attention for his involvement in various controversies, but has since focused on his medical career and entrepreneurship ventures.
  • Ai-Ai delas Alas – Born Martina Eileen Hernandez delas Alas, Ai-Ai delas Alas is a popular comedian, actress, and TV host in the Philippines. She has received numerous awards for her contributions to Philippine entertainment and has become one of the country’s most beloved comedic talents.
  • Susan Roces – Born Jesusa Purificacion Sonora, Susan Roces is a veteran actress and producer who has made significant contributions to the Philippine film industry. She is known for her iconic roles in classic Filipino movies and is considered a pillar of Filipino showbiz.
  • Shariff Alawi Abbas – Shariff Alawi Abbas is a visual artist and cultural worker from Lanao del Sur. He is known for his intricate Maranao-inspired artworks that showcase the rich traditions and heritage of the Maranao people.
  • Sarinah Sembiring – Sarinah Sembiring is a Maranao fashion designer who has gained recognition for her innovative and culturally-inspired designs. She has showcased her collections in various fashion shows and exhibits, promoting Maranao culture through her works.
  • Fahad Salic – Fahad Salic is a Filipino boxer of Maranao descent. He has represented the Philippines in international competitions and has won several championships. Salic has brought pride to the Maranao people with his exceptional skills and achievements in the sport of boxing.
Singkil is a folk dance of the Philippines that has its origins in the Maranao people of Lake Lanao, a Mindanao Muslim ethnolinguistic group. The dance is widely recognized today as the royal dance of a prince and a princess weaving in and out of crisscrossed bamboo poles clapped in syncopated rhythm. While the man manipulates a sword and shield, the woman gracefully twirls a pair of fans. The dance takes its name from the belled accessory worn on the ankles of the Maranao princess. A kulintang and agung ensemble always accompanies the dance. Singkil has evolved over time, with significant reinterpretations and changes introduced by the Bayanihan folk dance group, such as the incorporation of the elements from the Darangen epic, particularly the episodes involving Prince Bantugan and Princess Gandingan.

Most Famous Maranao People

Maranao’s Three Pinnacle Historical Inheritances

The Maranao community is one of the indigenous tribes in the Philippines. They are primarily located in the province of Lanao del Sur in Mindanao. The Maranaos have a rich culture and heritage that dates back centuries. Their historical inheritances are diverse and encompass various aspects of their society. In this article, we will explore three of the most well-known historical inheritances associated with the Maranao heritage.

1. Refined Artistry and Craftsmanship

The Maranaos are renowned for their refined artistry and craftsmanship. They are known for creating intricate and colorful textiles, such as the malong and inaul, which are traditionally worn as clothing or used as home decor. The Maranao people also take pride in their skillful weaving of mats and baskets, often using indigenous materials like buri and pandan leaves. Additionally, they are famous for their brassware, including the famous brass gongs called kulintang, which are integral to their traditional music and dance.

  • The Maranaos are known for their intricate textiles like the malong and inaul.
  • They are skillful weavers, creating beautiful mats and baskets.
  • Maranao brassware, such as kulintang, is an important part of their culture.

2. Ornate Architecture and Design

Another notable historical inheritance of the Maranaos is their ornate architecture and design. They are famous for their grand and intricately designed traditional houses known as torogan. These houses are characterized by their elevated floors, intricate wood carvings, and colorful panolong (dragon-like figures) adorning the roofs. The Maranao craftsmanship is evident in every detail of the torogan, making it an iconic symbol of their culture and heritage. Aside from houses, Maranaos also exhibit exquisite artistry in their mosques, which are known for their intricate patterned lattices and vibrant decorative elements.

  • The Maranaos are known for their grand traditional houses called torogan.
  • Torogan houses have intricate wood carvings and colorful panolong on the roofs.
  • Maranao mosques exhibit intricate lattices and vibrant decorative elements.

3. Rich Oral Tradition and Literature

The Maranaos have a rich oral tradition and literature that has been passed down through generations. They have an epic called “Darangen” which serves as their key literary work. This epic narrates various stories that encompass love, heroism, and cultural beliefs. The Darangen reflects the Maranao’s cultural identity and provides valuable insights into the history and values of their community. Furthermore, the Maranaos are known for their traditional oral performances, such as the singkil dance, which is based on the character Princess Gandingan from the Darangen epic.

  • The Maranaos have an epic called “Darangen” that showcases their rich literature.
  • The Darangen narrates stories of love, heroism, and cultural beliefs.
  • Maranaos have traditional oral performances like the singkil dance based on the epic.

The Maranao community’s historical inheritances are a testament to their vibrant and culturally diverse heritage. Their refined artistry, ornate architecture, and rich oral tradition encompass the essence of their identity as a people. Preserving and celebrating these inheritances serve as a way for the Maranaos to pass on their traditions to future generations and promote the appreciation of their unique culture.

Ethnic Factsheet: The Maranao People

Demographics and Distribution of Maranao Ethnicity
Region Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
Population 1,136,383 (2015 Philippines Census)
Language Maranao
Religion Islam
Location Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao, and parts of Zamboanga del Sur, Cotabato, and Bukidnon
Major Cities Marawi City, Iligan City
The Maranao people (Maranao: ['mәranaw]; Filipino: Maranaw), also spelled Meranao, Maranaw, and Mëranaw, is a predominantly Muslim Filipino ethnic group native to the region around Lanao Lake in the island of Mindanao. They are known for their artwork, weaving, wood, plastic and metal crafts and epic literature, the Darangen. They are ethnically and culturally closely related to the Iranun, and Maguindanaon, all three groups being denoted as speaking Danao languages and giving name to the island of Mindanao. They are grouped with other Moro people due to their shared religion.

The Ancient Heritage of Maranao Ethnic Groups

Maranao Ethnicity: References and Resources

For those interested in delving deeper into the Maranao ethnic group, there are various references and resources available. These sources provide valuable insights into the culture, history, and traditions of the Maranaos, enabling a more comprehensive understanding of their way of life.

Here are some references and resources to explore:

By exploring these references and resources, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of the Maranao ethnic group, appreciate their rich cultural heritage, and further engage with their unique traditions.

Explore other famous people with Anglo-Irish, Friulians and Karuk roots, showcasing the diversity of ethnic backgrounds. Investigating influential individuals with diverse ethnic backgrounds tied to these Maranao origins unveils the interwoven tapestry of global cultures and their impactful contributions to the world.

We have reached the end of our exploration into the extraordinary lives of prominent Maranao. We hope this journey has been enlightening and inspiring.


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