15 March 2015

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 March 15, 2015
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Students of Lower Baguinged ES- in yellow boatsIn a recent post we introduced you to the students of Kalbugan Elementary School in Pagalungan, Maguindanao. We called them the “children of the marsh.” What is this marsh?

A blog post describes an area drenched in water, and one of the photos shows the Liguasan Marsh, a World Heritage site.

The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, with the help of caring citizens, including educator Airanor Abubaker Datumanong, Jeff Mendez (Lead Implementor for Cotabato Funds for Little Kids), and Mr. Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan, decided to adopt eight schools in the Marsh. We provided a minimum of 10 yellow boats per school, and one motorized boat for the teachers (at Dalgan ES).

Students of Lower Baguinged ES- in yellow boatsPerhaps you’ve heard about the Island of Mindanao, where these children live. Airanor Abubaker Datumanong, a teacher  and humanitarian who lives in Pikit, says:

“The island of Mindanao is former known as Gran Moluccas or Great Moluccas and named after the Maguindanaons who are part of the wider Moro ethnic group. The name means people of the flood plains or derived from the two word maginged and danaw which means people of the marshy. In the early 15th century, Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuan, an Arab-Malay preacher from the royal house of Malacca, introduced the Islamic religion, customs and the Sultanate system of governance.

“He married into the local noble families of Mindanao and around 1515 founded the first sultanate of Mindanao, the sultanate of Maguindanao and Buayan. The indigenous population was quickly converted and the first mosque in the Philippines was built in the middle of the 14th century.

Educator Airanor Abubaker Datumanong“Bangsamoro or Moroland was originally home to the Muslim sultanates of Mindanao, these sultanates resisted Spanish colonial rule, and were therefore not fully integrated with the rest of the islands. The term Bangsamoro is derived from the Malay word bangsa, meaning nation or people, and the Spanish word Moro, from the older Spanish word for Moor, a term for Arabs or Muslims. Their on-going struggle for self-determination and cultural identity is a struggle of generations. The Maguindanao are one of many groups of “lowland” Filipinos who arrived on the island of Mindanao during sequent waves of migration from the Southeast Asian mainland several thousand years ago.

Students of Balungis National High School“The region of Maguindanao became home to most of the country’s Muslim or Moro populations, composed of many ethnic groups such as the Maranao and the Tausug, the Banguingui as well as collective groups of indigenous, non-Christian and non-Muslim tribes. Better known as the Lumad, a complex patchwork of indigenous groups. The Maguindanao, the largest group of Muslims on the Island of Mindanao, live in the most unappealing area, the marshy portion of the present site of Cotabato, their ancestral land is flooded many times a year by overflowing rivers.”

Included in the schools the foundation supports, are Balungis National High School, Balungis, Kalbugan, Pagalungan, Maguindanao, and Lower Baguinged Elementary School at Talitay, Montawal, Maguindanao. We will keep you updated on our support for these wonderful children.