It is a reality in the Philippines today that when you say “Mindanao”, war and strife will immediately come to mind. What is more sad is that when you say “Muslim”, some will think of a people blinded by faith, terrorizing others.
I am starting this blog because I want to make people see the Mindanao that I know, and let people know that I, a Muslim, am an advocate of peace. People who preach otherwise are not practicing Muslims.
Mataid means Beautiful
For me, Mindanao means beauty. Our stunning land is filled with pristine beaches, majestic waterfalls, and venerable mountains. It remains undiscovered by the rest of the world because of our reputation, which is something that needs to be corrected. Much of Mindanao is a traveler’s paradise, and as Muslims, welcoming strangers is our duty.
As with the rest of the Philippines, what makes us different from our ASEAN neighbors is our people. If you take a look at Luzon and the Visayas region, you would be hard-pressed to find real indigenous culture because they are highly westernized. You would need to look for the tribes in the hinterlands of Luzon to see how our ancient fathers lived. Not so with Mindanao and our Moro groups. You do not need to look far in order to experience our rich culture, and how proud we are of it. You can see it in the way we dress everyday in our Malongs, our headgears, and in the way we live our lives. You can even taste it in our cuisine.
Pagana means to serve with utmost hospitality. Each Moro group has its own distinct cuisine. Filipino food is richer and more diverse than the world knows it to be. As a Filipino, let’s venture beyond the world of Sinigang, Adobo, and Lechon. If we can welcome the Vietnamese Pho, the Thai Tom Yum Goong, and the western steak, we should look forward to the wonder that is Moro cooking.
Mindanao is worth exploring. Help me erase the stigma of chaos by learning more about its beauty, its people, and our rich culture.