AS the annual Ramadhan closed — a month when Muslims observe daily fasting and overall self-restraint to nurture spirituality — a big celebration known as the Eid’l Fit’r was held with prayers for unity and diverse food at the center of the festivities.
“As we celebrate this day, let us remember the true message of Ramadhan. Let us reaffirm our commitment to the tenets of mercy, patience, and charity that have been nurtured in us all during this holy month,” Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said during Saturday’s Eid celebration at the Bangsamoro government center in Cotabato City.
Mr. Ebrahim also reiterated his call for continued unity as the Muslim-majority region in southern Philippines pursues peace and development alongside the Christian and indigenous people of the Bangsamoro.
“Let us all work together to build a community based on justice, equality, and respect for all, regardless of ethnicity or background; after all, we are part of the same Bangsamoro family,” he said.
Elsewhere in the region, Eid’l Fit’r festivities were also peacefully held with messages of cooperation and interfaith solidarity.
“Respect for each other is so important. We can use social media to foster peace among us, not discord, cordiality, not animosity,” military preacher Alinair C. Guro said in his sermon at the mosque inside the Philippine Army’s Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat town.
Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Local Government Minister Naguib G. Sinarimbo told the media they are thankful to the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, the regional police office, the military’s Western Mindanao Command, and local officials for securing areas where Eid’l Fit’r prayers were held.
BARMM covers the provinces of Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Lamitan, Marawi and Cotabato, where around 80% of residents are Muslims.
Among Muslims in the Bangsamoro, the food served for the Eid feast are also diverse, reflecting the heritage of its indigenous cultures and traditions, the regional government said.
In Maguindanao, two of the most popular dishes during Eid’l Fitr are the linigil, a dish cooked with chicken and fresh coconut milk seasoned with the Maranao condiment known as palapa; and pastil, a meal of rice topped with sautéed shredded chicken or fish wrapped in a banana leaf.
Maguindanaoans are also known for sweet delicacies such as the dudol, tinadtag, p’lil, and kumukunsi.
In Lanao del Sur, where the cuisine uses more spices, including chili, the most popular Eid food is randang, similar to the rendang that has its roots in the Minang tribe of Indonesia and has become one of the most well-known southeast Asian dishes.
In the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, the Eid table is flavored with the cultures of the indigenous Tausug, Sama, and Yakan people.
Luz Halud, a Tausug from Sulu, said the main plate of feasts in their province as well as in Tawi-Tawi is the tiyula itum, a beef or goat dish in black soup, with the color and distinct flavor coming from burnt coconut meat.
The Yakans in Basilan are known for the crunchy lokot-lokot made from fried rice noodles; and panyalam, a sweet fried pancake made from glutinous rice flour, muscovado or brown sugar, and coconut milk.
Mr. Ebrahim said the completion of the month-long period of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer is “an opportune time of jubilation and festivity and a time to gather with family and friends to share in the blessings of this feast of breaking the fast”. — John M. Unson