Meranaw enthronement in simple words

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By Sorhaila Latip-Yusoph

Only a Meranaw

Monday, April 21, 2014

IF ONE travels to Marawi City, no one would miss seeing the many tarpaulins and streamers on highways and houses.

To others, this is a symbol of arrogance yet to others, they see this as a means to inform. Either perspective will always make a person think that Meranaws value accomplishments so much that a family would proudly make one tarpaulin or so just to inform the public of their success.

To me, I see this as a means to show how Meranaws make their kin proud of what they have achieved. In most of the tarpaulins we see hanged on walls and posts in the streets of Marawi are information for the public to know that one has achieved success in different fields like being a passer of a licensure exam, a graduate of a prestigious degree from a prestigious school, etc. However, what are so eye-catching to all passersby are the tarpaulins that show royal enthronement of persons dressed in their royal gowns and attires.


Enthronement among Meranaws signifies leadership in the cultural tradition. In Marawi alone enthronements require not only the dissemination of who the reigning Sultan, Bae a Labi or Potre Maamor would be but more of an announcement of the said enthronement where relatives and friends are invited and expected to attend and be part of the accolade in honor of the to-be enthroned personality.

Meranaws’ enthronement ceremonies as described in Madale’s book are preceded by a “mile-long” caravan of relatives and friends who would accompany the incoming traditional leader from his or her home to the royal enthronement venue.

When everyone arrives in the venue, only the reigning leaders and representatives along with their special guests would be seated on stage while others will be the spectators to witness the enthronement.

Normally, in a traditional enthronement, the ceremony starts with a prayer where Allah’s blessings are beseeched then confirmatory speeches follow. After which, congratulatory speeches are delivered especially to the friends and relatives of the reigning leader.

To many Meranaws, the most awaited part of the relatives and friends is the Pagana a Meranaw or royal feast that will be held in the royal house during the day of enthronement. Here, Meranaw dishes and delicacies will be served to the invited guests, friends and relatives. Interestingly, in some royal houses festivities start days before the enthronement date and will end a few days after.

Today, traditional leaders are chosen in the different royal houses in Lanao based on so many qualifications. Aside from the blood-line of the leaders, his or her willingness to serve and ability to support the community are but a few qualifications.

When I interviewed Hadja Khadeeja “Mia”, the reigning Potre Maamor of Ditsaan Ramain, she affirms that she was chosen by her clan because of her willingness to serve her place with the best of her abilities.

Mia is an ordinary mother and loving wife but her nurturing abilities and business skills made her royal community to decide for her leadership. She is among the empowered business women in Lanao. She owns different fashion outlets and health and beauty product centers in Marawi City.

Despite her own successful businesses, she decided to become one of the traditional leaders because of her willingness to serve and become an instrument in making a peaceful and progressive community in Ramain.

As a woman, she is an epitome of kindness and compassion. If one knows her well, you would understand why her community chose her.

Meranaw enthronement in simple words, therefore, must require the ability of a person to serve and the personality to become a nurturing leader.


Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 21, 2014.


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