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Lanao del Sur

Lanao del Sur is a province in the Philippines situated in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) occupying the Sulu Archipelago and the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao in central Mindanao. Its capital is the City of Marawi.

The province has a land area of 13,494.37 square kilometers or 5,210.21 square miles. Its population as determined by the 2015 Census was 1,045,429. This represented 27.65% of the total population of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, 4.33% of the overall population of the Mindanao island group, or 1.04% of the entire population of the Philippines. Based on these figures, the population density is computed at 77 inhabitants per square kilometer or 201 inhabitants per square mile.



Lanao del Sur has a long, colourful history to share. The Darangen Epic, famous among the Maranaos, relates about ther events and people and defines the old towns during pre-colonial period. Lanao is the home of Maranao sultanate modernly known as the four princilpalities or Pat a Pagampong sa Ranao namely Masiu, Unayan, Balo-I and Bayabao. The Sultanate governs independently yet it is still identified with the national community. Its political power and domain is equally recognized like those in Sulu and Maguindanao.

In the heyday of colonialism, Lanao is proud to have resisted the succeeding foray of Spanish, American and Japanese intrusions. The saga of Maranao heroes who fought bravely in the so-called Moro Wars during the Spanish colonization along with their Tausug and Maguindanao brothers are living proofs. The legendary battles of Bayang, Sultan Gumander, Ganassi and Tugaya records Maranao fighters armed with kris, spear, bow and arrow faced the canons and rifles of the Americans, exhibiting Maranao assertion for freedom and distinct political identity. The Japanese likewise failed following the fate of its predecessors.

The creation of Lanao del Sur is dated during the height of the Commonwealth government campaign for settlement in Mindanao. The undivided Lanao was administratively part and a political unit of the Moro province by virtue of Philippine Commission Act No. 787. Thereafter, in May 27, 1959 by virtue of Republic Act No. 2228, the unified Lanao was divided into two distinct provinces, namely Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte. Lanao del Sur was officially chartered on July 4, 1959.

Lanao del Sur went through phases of political changes. As a result of the negotiated settlement with the MNLF (Tripoli Agreement) during the Martial Law years, President Marcos issued P.D. No. 742 which included Lanao del Sur in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The constituents of Lanao del Sur affirmed the province inclusion in ARMM during the plebiscite on February 19, 1989. Although Marawi City refused to join first, it reconsidered its position later in 2001.

Lanao del Sur is composed of 39 municipalities and Marawi City. The Province is currently composed of 1,159 barangays and is divided into two congressional districts.



The Meranao inhabit Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur in Mindanao. The name Meranao translates to mean “People of the Lake”, after their traditional territory in the area surrounding Lake Lanao in the Bukidnon-Lanao Plateau.

Meranao villages are composed of several families living in homes sans walls for partition. They are allowed to be members of different villages simultaneously, without fear of recrimination as outcasts due largely in part to the accepted bilateral relationships. As transients, they’re found in other parts of the Archipelago. Primary subsistence consists of dry rice cultivation in hilly areas; intensive wet rice in flood plains; and some corn, sweet potato, coffee, cassava and peanuts. To supplement their agricultural harvests, they also incorporate fishing.