April 04, 2023
Being the institution tasked in preserving the history, culture, arts, tradition, and rich cultural heritage of the Bangsamoro people, the Commission would like to feature the Darangen, recognized by UNESCO as one of intangible cultural heritage. Darangen is an ancient epic song that encompasses a wealth of knowledge of the Maranao people who live in the Lake Lanao region of Mindanao.
Comprising 17 cycles and a total of 72,000 lines, the Darangen celebrates episodes from Maranao history and the tribulations of mythical heroes. In addition to having compelling narrative content, the epic explores the underlying themes of life and death, courtship, love, and politics through symbol, metaphor, irony, and satire. The Darangen also encodes customary law, standards of social and ethical behavior, notions of aesthetic beauty, and social values specific to the Maranao.
Meaning literally “to narrate in song”, the Darangen existed before the Islamization of the Philippines in the fourteenth century and is part of a wider epic culture connected to early Sanskrit traditions extending through most of Mindanao. Though the Darangen has been largely transmitted orally, parts of the epic have been recorded in manuscripts using an ancient writing system based on the Arabic script.
Specialized female and male performers sing the Darangen during wedding celebrations that typically last several nights. Performers must possess a prodigious memory, improvisational skills, poetic imagination, knowledge of customary law and genealogy, a flowless and elegant vocal technique, and the ability to engage an audience during long hours of performance. Music and dance sometimes accompany the chanting.
©Jojo Unalivia / UNESCO
BCPCH is the primary institution in preserving the history, culture, arts, tradition, and rich cultural heritage of the Bangsamoro people across the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.