a PhD holder in International Relations who translates books (Persian into English and Filipino, English into Filipino) on such subjects as international politics, history, political philosophy, jurisprudence (fiqh), scholastic theology (‘ilm al-kalām), Qur’anic sciences, ḥadīth, ethics, and mysticism.
MAKATI CITY (1 April) – “Matalik den i pawakan a malini lemambuyug” Bapa Gharib, the ever-smiling sage of Tangguapo, texted me as I was sipping my favorite Myanmar teamix this morning. Literally, it roughly means “Any Asil (a fighting cock locally called ‘pawakan’) that habitually runs while fighting shall be caged [now].”
Bapa Gharib made this comment in relation to last Friday’s inaugural session of the newly instituted Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) whose distinctive hallmark, at least for him, was the swearing by the Qur’an of Bangsamoro Transitional Authority (BTA) members led by the Interim Chief Minister (ICM) Ahod B. Ebrahim (better known by his nom de guerre Al-Hadj Murad Ebrahim as Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)).
“Muslim Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago: A Current of Narratives” presents a panoramic tableau of the rich culture of the Southern Philippines as shaped by the customs and traditions of its people. It leads us through an exploration of the life-giving waterways that abound in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago; waterways that, for centuries, have connected the peoples of the region, borne witness to their struggles and hardships, and enriched their narratives and dreams.
MAKATI CITY (21 March) – “Baka pupunta si Chief Minister sa Gambar barangay assembly (Perhaps the Chief Minister will attend the barangay assembly in Gambar),” my Roommate excitedly told me last Tuesday night after receiving a text message.
What is Jawi? What is the status of Jawi documents in Mindanao through the years? What is their significance in shaping national Muslim narrative?
Watch this partial video footage of my 20-minute presentation of the paper “Jawi Documents in Mindanao: Their Significance in Shaping National Muslim Narrative” at the 2016 Philippine National Historical Society’s National Conference, Almont Resort Hotel, Butuan City, October 20, 2016.
A prominent example of Maguindanaon folk speech is the bayuk, or alternatively, bayok (lyric poetry). Bayuk also refers to a Maguindanaon chant which is syllabic and tetrachordal. As the Maguindanao language is metaphorical, whenever extra care is needed to express a feeling, it is done through bayuk.
Nowadays, there has been a diminishing number of Maguindanaon ‘pababayuk’ (bayuk-reciters) who could spontaneously compose bayuk or know them by heart. One of these remaining ‘pababayuk’ is Bai Baubang Mauyag of Barangay Bagumbayan, Municipality of Kabuntalan, Province of Maguindanao. According to her estimate when I interviewed her in May 2018, she is almost a hundred years old, and a descendant of Sultan Namil of the Rajah Buayan whose graveyard is also near her house.
MAKATI CITY (13 March) – In addition to (1) simplicity or simple living, there are three other enduring challenges, among others, facing Islamic Republic of Iran’s revolutionary-to-ruler transition: (2) openness to criticism, (3) loyalty vs. competence, and (4) blaming the enemy.
2. Openness to criticism. Undeniably, for a person to feel bad with criticism is a natural tendency as he tends to see himself, his attitude, and his intellect as perfect and flawless. In Sa‘di’s poetry, “Everyone thinks his own wisdom perfect and his child beautiful… If wisdom were to cease throughout the world, no one would suspect himself of ignorance.” (Golestan-e Sa‘di, chap. 7 (Rules for Conduct in Life), tale 30, p. 357)
YANGON, MYANMAR (11 February 2019) – It’s exactly 20 years back. 1998. February 11. 3:12 am.
“In a few moments, we will land in Mehrabad International Airport,” an IranAir flight attendant in navy blue hijab assured with a smile the drowsy passengers to a seven-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tehran. A score of fellow students from Mindanao and I were fetched by a minibus at the airport and transported to Qazvin, a city over 100 kilometers away. After taking a sumptuous breakfast in Karaj in the suburb of the capital, we arrived in Imam Khomeini International University where we had to learn within six months the language of Gulistan, Divan-e Hafiz, and Shahnameh.
(A modified transcript of fifteen-minute presentation under the panel “Peoples and Faiths: A Mindanao Overview” at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU)-School of Social Sciences (SOS) – Mindanao Scholars’ Consultation-cum-Conversations on Mindanao Studies” on September 12, 2018 at Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City, Philippines.)
Salamun ‘alaykum and good morning to all of you!
Thank you, Sir Joey [Sescon] for giving me carte blanche to focus on any topic; hence, I opt for “Mindanao Studies: A Proposed Framework”. In continuing this conversation started by Br. Karl [Gaspar], I shall give an introductory anecdote, then state the existing conceptual framework in the study of Mindanao. Thereafter, I shall propose an alternative framework. After laying down this proposed framework, I shall talk about the ‘target profile’ to be followed by the objectives. Then I will proceed with my recommendation and finally make my concluding remarks. Read more »