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A monthly look at different Ethnic Groups

THE MOROS OF MINDANAO

PHILIPPINES MINDANAO is one of the three major geographical divisions of the Philippines. It is situated in the south. In Mindanao, groups of people resided here belonging to different ethno-linguistic groups. However, two major groups here considered Mindanao as their ancestral domain or homeland. They are the LUMADS and the MOROS. The MOROS are also known as the Muslim Filipinos. The name MORO is a collective term for the thirteen (13) ethno-linguistic groups of Mindanao in southern Philippines. The term was coined by the Spanish conquerors in the 16th century during their campaign to subjugate the islanders in the early Philippines. During the conquest, they encountered groups of muslim islanders who are under the Sulu sultanate of that time. These groups were brave and fierce and never retreated, even their weapons were incomparable with that of the Spanish conquistadores. Thus, they were called Moros by the Spaniards because they were similar to the Moors of North Africa whom the Spanish had encountered during the crusades centuries earlier.

Today, the Moros is about 5% of the total Philippine population. The 13 groups are Badjaw (Sama-dilaut), Jama Mapun, Kalibugan, Iranun, Maguindanao, Maranao, Molbuganun, Palawano, Sama Bangingi’, Sama-diliya (Sama south), Sanggil Tausug, and Yakan.

Although they belong to one group, they have diverse cultural traditions and practices as well as language. Each has distinct characteristics and identity. Their new geographic and political division is BANGSAMORO.

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