Marawi: The Islamic City
The Islamic City of Marawi is the capital city of the Province of Lanao del Sur.The city was formerly called Dansalan, a thriving town along the banks of Agus River and Lake Lanao. By virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 592, President Manuel L. Quezon approved on August 19, 1940 the conversion of the town of Dansalan into a city. It was the last city chartered under the Commonwealth of the Philippines.
On May 22, 1959, President Carlos P. Garcia approved Republic Act No. 2228 dividing the Province of Lanao into two: Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. Under RA 2228, Marawi City was named as the capital of the Province of Lanao del Sur (Section 4).
At the bend of Datu Akader Street in the city proper, one can find the KM 0.000 Marker which used to be the original reference point of all roads in the island of Mindanao.
According to NAPOCOR or the National Power Corporation, the Marawi Lake Regulation Dam was built in 1973. It is located at the mouth of Agus River.
Probably the most famous institution in all of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur is the Mindanao State University. On June 18, 1955, President Magsaysay approved Republic Act No. 1387 which provided the charter of the University of Mindanao to be located in Dansalan City. The University Charter was further amended by Republic Act No. 1893 which was signed on June 22, 1957. MSU was a brainchild of Senator Domocao Alonto who served in the Third Congress and Fourth Congress from 1955 to 1961.
Inside the Main Campus of Mindanao State University is the Aga Khan Museum of Islamic Arts which was opened on June 13, 1962. The museum was first known as the University Folk Arts Center when it was founded by Dr. Mamitua D. Saber. The museum was later renamed in honor of Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan (Aga Khan IV) who made it possible for its construction.
Also inside the Main Campus of MSU is the nine-hole Kalilang Golf and Country Club. The golf course overlooks the ancient and mythical Lake Lanao.
Because Marawi City is predominantly Maranao which is one of the ten ethnic groups of the wider Moro people, Muslim mosques are naturally ubiquitous in the city. The biggest of them is the King Faisal Mosque which can be found just near the main gate of MSU.
A respectful outsider who is deeply interested in the traditions, arts, culture and history of the Maranao people can certainly enjoy a visit to the Islamic City of Marawi. And that visit can definitely debunk some myths and connotations that may have been wrongly attributed to Marawi and the Maranaos.
Personally, for the last eight years or so I have been planning to visit Marawi but for some reasons it was not happening. But in my October 1-10 Mindanao Backpacking Trip, I made it sure that I would go there even if it just a few hours. I was thankful for Che Gurrobat of Backpacking Pilipinas for connecting me with Prof. Richard Celeste of the Department of Marketing of the College of Business Administration and Accountancy of MSU Main. Incidentally, Prof. Celeste requested me to deliver a talk on travel blogging during their 1st E-Commerce Expo on the day of my visit. I was thankful for that opportunity though it was on short notice.
Note: This is part of LegendHarry’s Oct 1-10, 2013 Zamboanga Peninsula-Northern Mindanao-ARMM-Davao Regions Backpacking Trip.