Pagdaloy, Flow of Life

picture of Maguindanao


The World of a Maguindanao Virtuoso

The Maguindanao (Magindanaw, Maguindanaw, Magindanao, Maguindanaon, Magindanaoan, Mindanao) form one of the large ethnic groups of the country. Most of the members are concentrated in the municipalities of Dinaig, Datu Piang, Shariff Aguak, and Buluan, in the province of Maguindanao.

Constant contact with the Spaniards led to naming the entire island after the Maguindanao. The people practice Islam; their culture and social structure are deeply tied to this eligion, forming a conformity without which the group would not have been able to resist the incursions of the Spanish conquistadores. One of the three Philippine sultanates is aguindanao. The Maguindanao sultanate at one period in history could claim ritual authority over southwestern Mindanao. Their socio-political system and the hierarchical structure of their society are complex and similar to that of the Sulu sultanate.

There are three royal houses: Maguindanaon in Sultan Kudarat, Buayan in Datu Piang, and Kabuntalan in Tumbao, all of which trace their lineage to Sharif Kabunsuan, one of the earliest Muslim missionaries, and Sultan Kudarat. Customary law (adat) is applied, embodied in oral traditions and in accordance with the Paluwaran code, which contains provisions for very aspect of life.

The culture is characteristically lowland with a special adaptation to marshland, and wet rice is the staple food. Arts and crafts are well developed, exhibiting sophistication in eaving. Through waste mold technology metalwork and with the double-bellows Malaysian forge, they produce a wide range of bronze artifacts including betel-nut boxes, gongs, knives, racelets, and even the Southeast Asian cannon, the lantaka. The lantaka is not used just in warfare, but also as a prestigious status symbol.

Their ornamental art employs very characteristic design motifs that show affinity with the rest of Southeast Asia while retaining a distinctive ethnic identity. Their musical nstruments include a unique crocodile-motif version of the ubiquitous two-stringed lute, the kutyapi; the kulintang, which comprises eight brass gongs of graduated sizes; and the very large and deep agong, as well as various drums and flutes. Their music is characterized by drone and permutation.

▶ Play Video 1. The World of a Maguindanao Virtuoso

This episode was first aired on Filipino television on August 18, 1994. This episode has been modified from its original format.