By SIR MAESTRO
The province of Lanao del Sur is said to be the frontier of Islamic civilization in the Philippines. What has made this saying, perhaps, is that the province is the home of mosques (masajid) Islamic and Arabic schools (madaris) and over a 90 percent of them embrace Islam as their religion.
And that despite having adopted Western ways as a result of Westernization through the country’s education, political and cultural system, still the Islamic cultures of its people still lead the ways of life of the Maranaos.
In fact, the culture per se of the Maranao people could not be surpassed in other localities of the Philippines as it manifests strong Islamic deep-roots. Before the 2017 Marawi Siege, big mosques and Islamic schools were found in every Maranao community. After the siege, however, big mosques in the capital city of Marawi such as the Islamic Center, the Dansalan Mosque and others were devastated.
Bacolod Kalawi Grand Mosque
Among the beautiful sceneries in Lanao del Sur worth visiting by tourists is the Bacolod Grande Mosque located at the municipality of Bacolod Kalawi, a town in the province’ second district in the western side of Lake Lanao.
Town mayor Nora Lucman Dipatuan has been very keen of making Bacolod Kalawi a peaceful and beautiful municipality. Her administration is now preserving cultural heritage in her town including the famous grand mosque.
Barely less than a year in office, Dipatuan has already introduced development ahead of others. When President Duterte asked local governments to clear road obstructions, the lady mayor was the first to comply in the province and thanks to a very cooperative citizenry, road obstruction clearing was a successful local government program.
She has also made the education welfare of the town children, pupils and students and the youth among her priorities. She has activated and enhanced the local school board within mind to activate the school governing council in a couple of days to come when it holds orientation workshop with the Synergia Foundation. This she did as an important factor in the preserving her town tourist spots and cultural heritage.
The Grand mosque is erected several decades ago by the lakeside with its waters so clean that worshippers and residents use them for ritual ablution and at times for drinking.
What’s also unique about this mosque is the sculpture of a teacup at its front. It is said that back in the days, this was where the elders and leaders of the community would meet over a cup of coffee.
It was also considered as the Mecca of Lanao del Sur during the mid-1900’s. It is painted in various shades of green, symbolizing Islam and the color worn by the inhabitants of paradise, according to the Quran. (RSP)