Every night is a happy and jolly night for most people visiting the “Ramadhan village” inside the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) compound here.
Every night during the fasting month, which started June 16 and ends this Friday, food and cultural presentation entertain visitors, mostly Muslims breaking the day-long fast at past 6 p.m.
The Ramadhan village, also known as “Ramadhan Fair” can be likened to a Christmas village during the yuletide season for Christians around the world.
After breaking the fast and prayer called “Tarawi,” visitors are entertained by various cultural presentations from different tribal village inside the ARMM compound.
“Here you can tour the region in an hour,” said Samaon Ismael, one of the visitors who break his fast and joined the congregational prayer Monday night.
Entertaining the guests are music rendered through “kulintang” by Iranon tribes people. A war dance also highlights the night in this “village.”
Few steps away are the famous “Pangalay” dance of Tausug from Sulu where visitors are treated with free native Sulu coffee in front of the replica of Darul Jambangan Royal House.
The Badjaos in the next “village” show prowess in performing the famous “Jangay” dance.
“Meranaw” or “Maranaw” from Lanao del Sur are not to be outsmarted and showed its famous “Torogan,” the Royal House of Maranaws where handicraft and the world famous “malong” are on display.
In between “tours,” guests can taste different Moro delicacies for a very reasonable price.
“The atmosphere is really great here, our identity is shown here, in just one setting, in less than an hour one can feel, learn and be educated about the Muslim culture, tradition and food,” Secretary Don Loong of the ARMM Department of Public Works and Highways.
The Ramadhan village is a miniature and a reflection of Muslim Mindanao, Bai Shalimar Candao, Maguindanao tourism chief, said.
“You can see here what you have not seen in the past because out history is reborn here,” Candao said in Filipino, citing the case of Maguindanao.
“This is Walay na Sultan (House of Sultan),” Candao said gesturing to the structure nearby. “The concept of Maguindanao village is to showcase the Maguindanao culture on how it has evolved from centuries back to the present,” she added.
Mayor Abolais Manalao of Buldon, Maguindanao and host of Maguindanao Iranun village, was very proud of his culture.
“Of course we are very happy. It is only now that our visitors learn about our Iranun culture and how we evolved in the autonomous region,” he said.
Days before the Eud’l Fitr celebration marking the end of fasting month, organizers prepare a grand event that involves never ending cultural presentation to entertain guests.
Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and devote more time in prayers and charity works as a religious obligation. (Ferdinandh Cabrera)