The Aga Khan Museum of Islamic Arts is one of the significant landmarks in Marawi City. When it was opened on June 13, 1962, the museum was first known as the University Folk Arts Center was opened. Founded by Dr. Mamitua D. Saber, it was one of the pioneer units of Mindanao State University.
The museum was later renamed in honor of Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan (Aga Khan IV). It was Aga Khan IV who made it possible for the construction of the museum where important memorabilia and priceless artifacts of the Maranao people are displayed.
The Aga Khan Museum was officially opened to the public on March 23, 1969. It had the mandate to: collect and preserve folk art specimens and artifacts of the Muslim groups and other indigenous minorities; organize a systematic collection that could be useful to scholars, researchers of Philippine Muslim culture; encourage research in and to lend assistance to the revival and salvaging of folk arts; spread knowledge about the people of these regions in effort towards cultural integration.
Several replicas of the classic Muslim architecture are displayed inside the Aga Khan Museum. At left is a masgit, a traditional Maranao mosque showing Indian and Malaysian influences. At the center is a torogan, a traditional royal house. At the right is a lamin, a traditional Maranao princess dormitory.
Kobing is a Maranao bamboo jaw’s harp. A type of mouth-resonated instrument consisting of a flexible tongue fixed at one end to a surrounding frame.
Saronay is a Maranao metal xylophone mounted on the langkongan. It is played in the same manner as the kolintang. A beginner plays the saronay before she can play the kolintang in a formal kalilang exhibition.
Tagotok is a Maranao bamboo percussion instrument used for entertainment and for driving away birds. A rice field watcher plays the tagotok to entertain himself in hut in the middle of the field.
Kotiyapi is an ornately-carved two-stringed guitar. It is the largest musical instrument of a Maranao orchestra, used for serenading.
Behind me is painting that depicted the Battle of Marawi, the Spanish colonial authorities’ attempt to conquer and Christianize the thriving civilization at the mouth of Agus River. The Battle of Marawi consist of three stages. The first happened in 1639 when the Spanish joint military and religious expedition was launched against the Maranaos, under the command of Captain Francisco de Atienza and Fray de San Pedro. They were not successful and were driven back to Iligan.
The second stage took place in 1891 when General Valeriano Weyler led the operations with 1242 heavily armed Spanish and Filipino soldiers against the Maranaos. General Weyler captured the Fort Marahui which was defended by Datu Amai Pakpak and his followers in surprise attack at dawn on a Muslim holiday (Ashora).
The third was on March 10, 1895 when General Ramon Blanco and his 5000-strong army marched toward Marawi. After heavy bombardment of Fort Marahui and hand-to-hand fight between the Spanish-Filipino forces and the Maranao fighters armed only with brass cannons (laila/lantaka), kampilans, spears and krises, General Blanco finally took possession of Fort Marahui.
Displayed at the second floor is a replica of a traditional royal bed. In front is the Maranao dining set composed of tabak (brass food tray), todong (food cover), kararao (drinking water container), tangla or panalagadan (water pot stand), sakdo (drinking water dipper), doda’i (used for spitting or for washing of hands before and after eating).
Possibly the single most important artifact at the Aga Khan Museum is the antique copy of the Qur’an. It was sent all over the world including the Philippines, distributed at the end of the holy month of Ramadhan, Hijrah 1309 (in 1893) by authority of Sultan Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire.
Note: This is part of LegendHarry‘s Oct 1-10, 2013 Zamboanga Peninsula-Northern Mindanao-ARMM-Davao Regions Backpacking Trip.