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The island of Mindanao is formerly known as Gran Moluccas or Great Moluccas and named after the Maguindanons who are part of the wider Moro ethnic group living in Maguindanao. The name means “people of the flood plains” or derived from the two word maginged and danaw which means people of the marshy. This name has been labeled to Maguindanons because they live in the marshy area of the portion of the present site of Cotabato. Their ancestral land had flooded many times a year by overflowing rivers and the largest of those is the Rio Grande de Mindanao.

In the 15th century, Shariff  Mohammed Kabungsuwan introduced Islam in the area. He married a local princess and established the Sultanate of Maguindanao. Recently, Maguindanao is a province located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It is composed of 36 municipalities with the municipality of Shariff Aguak as its capital. Cotabato City is an independent component of Maguindanao. While it is considered a part of Maguindanao geographically, Cotabato City is politically belonging to Region XII.

The people in Maguindanao are mostly Muslim. They are Maguindanon, Iranun, T’duray, Lambangian, Manobo Dulangan and Christian Settlers. Each of them has own history, culture and traditions that tells their relations to each other.

 Maguindanon is the main tribe that can be seen in the province. It is 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.  Maguindanons are traditionally a peace-loving, inland-dwelling tribe, the essence of the ancient Islamic faith and culture remains a great part of their daily life.



       The word “Tiruray” comes from “tiru,” signifying “place of origin, birth, or residence,” and “ray” from “daya” meaning “upper part of a stream or river.” The Tiruray are a traditional hill people of southwestern Mindanao. They live in the upper portion of a river-drained area in the northwestern part of South Cotabato, where the mountainous terrain of the Cotabato Cordillera faces the Celebes Sea. The Tiruray call themselves etew teduray or Tiruray people, but also classify themselves according to their geographic location: etew rotor, mountain people; etew dogot, coastal people; etew teran, Tran people; and etew awang, Awang people, or etew ufi, Upi people (Schlegel 1970:5).

       Tiruray women, in general, wore a sarong called emut, made from abaca fiber. They wore shirts like the men, which was nearly of the same general cut, except that the women’s blouse was form fitting, while the men’s shirt hung more loosely. Since Tiruray women never developed the art of weaving cloth, their dress material came from outside sources. The women also wore rinti, a series of brass bracelets of different sizes, extending from the wrist and up the forearm; a brass cord and belt decorated with small jingling bells which they wore around the wrists; brass anklet rings, necklaces of glass beads and colored crystals; and the kemagi, a necklace made of gold. They also sported wire earrings from which hung small shell ornaments. The Tiruray women were never without a knife and a small basket which they carried wherever they went. Both men and women wore the sayaf, a shallow conical hat made from buri, worn as a protection against the heat of the sun (Schlegel 1970).