The Maranao Settlement of Tugaya

Date of Submission: 16/05/2006
Criteria: (i)(iii)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
National Commission for Culture an the Arts
State, Province or Region:

Province of Lanao sel Sur, Miondanao

Ref.: 5017
Word File

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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


The municipality of Tugaya is unique in that this is an entire town that is virtually composed of craftsmen/artisans of various pursuits. Almost every household specializes in some form of art or craft that is part of traditional Maranao culture: backloom weaving, tapestry weaving and various kinds of textiles; brass-making/casting of various forms of vessels, woodcarving, silver/gold smiting, utilizing the Maranao art of decoration - the okir. From this community come the artisans that are called upon to decorate in the traditional manner the major forms of architecture, e.g. the Maranao torogan, the royal houses. The performance arts are also unique to the group where the penchant for the artistic spill out into even games and mundane articles of domestic use.

Textile weaving in Tugaya is still the Southeast Asian back-strap weaving, utilizing the okir decorative motifs which is indigenous to the area. The bronze/brass casting craft employs the cire perdue, waste- mold method of casting in the production of various types of vessels that follow traditional forms. Metal-forging uses again the Southeast Asian double-bellows forge, and employing traditional tools. Wood carving and mat weaving is also widespread, again with the distinctive okir decorative motifs. Almost the entire community is engaged in one or more of the forms or arts and craft.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The arts and crafts, including the employment of the okir into the various forms of expression. is ingrained in the people due to their culture. These are so distinctive that that is easily recognizable from among the other cultures of the Philippines. These come from an unbroken traditional line of development that cannot be separated from the history of the people themselves. This culture of the Maranao has been studied extensively by both foreign and local anthropologists. The arts and crafts are intimately enmeshed with the cultural structure and organization of the people such that it is highly distinguishable from all other forms, although these would still belong to a pan-Southeast Asian culture.

Comparison with other similar properties

The Islam practicing groups in the southwestern part of the Philippines share in a generalized Southeast Asian culture, including the aesthetics. The Maguindanao, Tausug, Yakan all have their own distinct cultural identifies reflected in their arts and craft. But Maranao art is unquestionably more distinct and outstanding. Although the art of the above-mentioned groups, including those from island Southeast Asia, has affinities with the Arabian kufic, the Maranao okir is highly conventionalized such that the various art motifs are designated with a complex nomenclature from the simplest to the more complex ones.