Maranao map
  • AKA: Maranaw, Ranao, Lanon, Hiloona
  • Subsistence: Dry rice cultivation in hilly areas; intensive wet rice in flood plains. Some corn, sweet potato, coffee, cassava and peanuts. Lake fishing.
  • Population: 863,659 (1994), 553,054 in Lanao del Sur province, the rest in Lanao del Norte.

The Maranao are famed for their sophisticated weaving and wood and metal craft. Maranao means "People of the Lake," after their traditional territory in the area surrounding Lake Lanao in the Bukidnon-Lanao Plateau, which is some 2,200 feet above sea level. They are one of the largest Islamic groups in the Philippines. Core areas as Marawi City, Lumba-a-bayabao, and Bayang. The Maranao are a splinter group of the Magindanao who took up Islam; all families trace their religious origin to Sharif Kabunsuan, who introduced the religion in the area. Communities are clustered around a mosque and a torogan, a royal house belonging to the leading economic household in the area. The Maranao are widely distributed and play an important role in market trade. Besides exotic textiles, metalwork, and woodcraft, the torogan building is perhaps the most spectacular example of Filipino secular architecture. The awang, or dugout boat used in Lake Lanao, is possibly the most unique and ornate of dugouts. Maranao textiles, which indicate the status of the wearer, are known for their very ornate designs and colors. The design motifs which form the basis for the okil are highly systematized. NOtable among them are the sari-manok and naga, abstract animate forms of the cock, and dragon or snake, respectively. They also utilize a unique tube skirt, the malong.