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Why “SULTAN OF LANAO,” not of “RANAO?”

On November 30, Bumbaran Mayor Mastura Manabilang will be crowned Sultan of Lanao - at least, as tarpaulin streamers reveal so.

Mastura is one politician I know that has made a difference for his town. A virtually new municipality in the province of Lanao del Sur, Bumbaran has almost, if not totally, a zero unemployment rate.

Bumbaran, created out of political necessity from the seemingly unwanted hinterlands of the municipalities of Lumba-Bayabao and Maguing, develops so fast leaving behind her mother towns and others in the province in terms of economic growth thanks to agriculture.

The town’s fast growth has been greatly attributed to the leadership and management of Mayor Manabilang with the support of his immediate family, friends and the constituents of Bumbaran, for which the incoming Lanao Sultan has gained the respect and tribute of his peers and of the countless many from near and far.

Manabilang is just a simple man though he belongs to one of the most well-respected noble families in the region. Indeed, he deserves all the many awards he received for transforming Bumbaran into an admirable agricultural corridor.

This corner hopes therefore that once the great Bumbaran icon is proclaimed as Sultan of Lanao, he can transformed also the traditional upheaval into a progressive cultural Maranao.

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But why ‘Lanao,’ and not ‘Ranao?’

In my whole life as a keen observer of the Maranao traditions being a Maranao journalist, I have never heared any Kalalagan (traditionalist) who says “Sulutan sa Lanao” or “Sultan of Lanao” in all discourses and public assertions.

The Sulutan and other royal titles are among those embodied in the Maranao long-cherished “Taritib and Igma” (or Customs and Traditions, or simply, Rules and Regulations in layman’s view) of the Pat a Pungampong ko Ranao (Four Great Divisions of Ranao) which would govern the ways of life and ideology of the Maranaos and their incoming generations..

Traditionalists maintain that while the Igma may be altered or modified (Omanan a Lebatan), it is not so in the Taritib (though I do not completely agree on this for I believe even the Taritib can be amended too but on a very exceptional case that may go along with the moving expanding world.)

And yet while it is true there are violations in the Taritib more on the ways new Sulutans are being proclaimed, never in the history of the Great Maranao People that the names of the existing royal places have ever been changed or modified.

This is very true to the name of the place “Ranao,” the great Maranao mystical homeland. For so long though that the term “Lanao” — a corruption of the Maranao word “Ranao” and which was imposingly called upon our Homeland by foreign conquerors — has been adopted officially in both the administrative and political naming of the Maranao region e.g. Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, the “Taritib and Igma” has never recognized it ever.

Is it because of the belief that anyone who would violate the Covenant of the Old would mete Heaven’s Wrath and suffer the consequence?

Personally, I cannot help but find it weird and waggish the traditional belief in the Murka (Wrath) that the solemn covenant of our forebears will inflict upon those who violate the Taritib and Igma that would govern then the Great and Brave Maranao People and thenceforth.

The covenant for the information of those who do not know it yet was solemnly done in the presence of the most Noble and Holy Qur’an of the time, witnessed with the breaking of fresh eggs, the cutting of naturally crafted perfectly rattan, the extinguishing of Lamp and other sombre rituals, and any one from generation to generation to come who violates shall receive the wrath of the Almighty. Our forebears asked the help of Allah to sanctify and make it thriving forever from generation to generation.

Some may find this as funny superstitious but no one can deny of the many bad omens afflicted unto violators of the Noble Covenant.

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And again does Sultan of Lanao better sounding than Sultan of Ranao?



How I wish the learned and famous traditionalists, professionals and Ulama could shed light on this. Or may be the soon to be Sultan could shed light on this.
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