ARMM to commemorate 636th Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Day
Cotabato City (November 05, 2016) – Different festivities are held annually in Tawi-Tawi, a province of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), on the 7th of November to commemorate the arrival of Sheikh Karimul Makhdum in the country. The day marks the beginning of Islam in the Philippines introduced by Sheikh Karimul Makhdum in 1380.
The Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque, the oldest in the Philippines can be found in Tubig (Bohe) Indangan in Simunul, Tawi-Tawi, the southernmost island in the country.
The mosque has been declared by the government as a national religious and historical landmark.
Sheikh Makhdum is an Islamic preacher from Malaysia who arrived in Tawi-Tawi in 1380. From then on, Islam became the faith of the Moro people and has been dominant in the Bangsamoro life and culture, setting the Moros’ identity apart from the rest of the country.
Through the ARMM’s regional legislative assembly, a management board was created to manage, preserve and promote the Makhdum mosque, as one of Bangsamoro’s historical landmarks.
Ayesha Mangudadatu-Dilangalen, the new secretary of the ARMM’s Tourism department, said numerous religious and cultural activities will be held in Simunul, Tawi-Tawi this month to commemorate Sheikh Makhdum’s arrival, and to kick off the celebration of ARMM’s anniversary this month.
Through the years, the ARMM’s Department of Tourism is the lead agency for anniversary activities such as parade, food festival, sports and cultural performances depicting the lives and culture of some of the region’s ethnic tribes.
This kick-off of the annual ARMM celebration will be on November 7 and will end with a fluvial procession on December 19 as part of the Shariff Kabunsuan Festival.
“This annual celebration really plays significant event in the Moro people,” Sec. Dilangalen said. “So with this, we the people of ARMM will be able to take pride in our rich history.”
Official data showed that 55,085 foreign and domestic tourists visited Tawi-Tawi in 2015 with P965 million in tourism gross receipts. The figures indicated a significant increase of 14.35% in tourist arrivals and 14.34% in gross receipts in the province compared with 2014’s figures.
“This is an opportunity for the tourists to get to know the local culture and experience the celebration,” she said.
To help boost tourism activities this year, the ARMM Department of Public Works and Highways earmarked P175 million worth of projects in the province, ranging from roads, water supply, bridges, and other infrastructure projects.
Two and a half kilometers of road are being concreted this year in Simunul, following a recently completed road concreting of Bohe Indangan, the location of the mosque, and the Manuk Mangkaw Circumferential Road, in August this year.
All of these, except a P10-million water system in Ungus-Ungus, are located in Simunul, around or leading to the mosque of Sheikh Makhdum. Of this budget, P80 million is allocated to the Improvement of Access Road and Tourism Development of the SheikhMakhdum Cultural Center.
As of October this year, the Sheikh Makhdum Cultural Center is half finished. Engr. Danilo Ong, DPWH Planning Division Chief, said all current projects in Tawi-Tawi will be finished within the first quarter of 2017.
Tawi-Tawi is the southernmost province in the country. It includes small islands in the Sulu Sea and to the northwest, the Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi Island, and Turtle Island. (Bureau of Public Information)