Infobox Ethnic group
group = Maranao
population = 1,142,000
regions = Bukidnon, Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Zamboanga del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Manila, Cebu in the Philippines
languages = Maranao language, Chabacano, Cebuano, Filipino, English
religions = Predominantly Islam
related = Lumad, Visayan, other Moros, other Filipino peoples, other Austronesian peoples

Maranao is the term used for the people of Lanao, a predominantly Muslim region in the Philippine island of Mindanao. They are famous for their artwork, sophisticated weaving, wood and metal craft, and their epic literature. The word "Maranao", also spelled "Maranaw", means "People of the Lake", referring to the indigenous people who inhabited the lands around Lake Lanao whose principal town is Marawi City. The Maranaos are part of the wider Moro ethnic group, who constitute the sixth largest Filipino ethnic group.


The Maranaos primarily live in the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte and many are settlers in Zamboanga del Sur, Bukidnon, Davao, Cotabato, Maguindanao, and in many southern Philippine islands from Basilan exending to Tawi-Tawi. Small communities of Maranaos, mostly traders, can be found in all major cities in the Philippines.


Maranaos number about 1,142,000. They are the descendants of Muslim Malays who came to the Philippines. Their royals have varied influsions of Arabic, Malayan, Indonesian, as well as Chinese ancestry. The Maranaos also are one of the ethnic groups in the Philippines who are fair-skinned, probably attributable to Arab and Chinese admixtures. The language of the Maranao people is also called "Maranao". It is a language spoken by approximately 800,000 people living in areas near Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte. The language can be traced from the Southern Philippine sub-branch of the Western Austronesian language family, and is closely related to the Illanun language spoken in Sabah and Malaysia. It is also close to Maguindanaon, the language spoken in Maguindanao, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Zamboanga del Sur provinces. They speak Cebuano, Tagalog, and [Arab language] English as second languages. The vast majority of Maranaos are Muslims. A few, especially those living in the hills around Lake Lanao practice Islam diluted with traces of pre-Islamic traditions.

Musical Heritage

The native Maranao have a fascinating culture that revolves around kulintang music, a specific type of gong music, found among both Muslim and non-Muslim groups of the Southern Philippines. In 2005, the Darangen Epic of the Maranao people of Lake Lanao was selected by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.


Previous to the occupation of the Philippines by Spanish, and later American and Japanese, the Maranaos had their own kingdom with a Sultan ruler due to the influence of Muslim missionaries.

External links

* [ Maranaw]

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