Official Website of Taraka, Lanao del Sur, Philippines

Brief History of Taraka.

History of Taraka

Municipality of Taraka, Lanao del Sur

TARAKA got its name in perpetuation and in memory of a noble industrious strong man who lead the crusade of digging a big canal to let water upstream flow – traversing the area for the purpose of irrigating the vast land. The man had cleared and cultivated the land. He also provided water for his people to drink with and for their daily use.

Local history revealed that long before the advent of Islam in Mindanao, these areas were covered by big trees and other wild plants. It was also known with rich stories of fairy tales and myths.

During the introduction of Islam, in the province of Lanao del Sur, BAB-UL-RAHMAN (Gate of Mercy) Mosque was constructed in this municipality and became the first mosque erected in the province and the second mosque built in the Philippines which gave and enlightened Islamic education and religion in the province.

Another peculiar quality of the Municipality of Taraka is that the Royal title known as Sultan sa Masiu can only be confirmed in this Municipality and if confirmed in other places other than in the Municipality of Taraka is deemed as baseless without royal recognition.

During the commonwealth period under the district administration of the Americans, the late Sultan sa Masiu Ambor Radianggaus was the first appointed Mayor of Taraka, succeeded by Ina Ama Diangca, Gagil Maruhom, Kunug Bano, Sultan sa Dilabayan Banocag Guilla and Sultan Sumpingan Macasalong.

The legal creation of the Municipality of Taraka as a separate, distinct and independent Local Government Unit is by virtue of Executive Order No. 21 dated June 25, 1963.

After its legal existence, the first elected Mayor of the Municipality of Taraka was Macapanton Ambor, Mariga Dirampatun, Lumna Mangata Mautante, Magdara Macapasir (Acting), Malado Mansungayan (OIC), Ambung Ambor, Sarip-Ali Mambuay Ambor, Ambung Ambor and in the year 2004, a young and energetic attorney in the name of Atty. Amenodin U. Sumagayan broke the chain of political control and won the election to become the first Mayor-Attorney of Taraka and he graduated as a third termer mayor elected in National and Local Elections. In the year 2013 local elections, his wife Prof. Nashiba Areefah Gandamra-Sumagayan was elected mayor of the said municipality.


Historical Sites

BAAB UR-RAHMAN MASJID. Baab Ur-Rahman is the oldest Masjid in Lanao. It was built at Maruhom Jalalodin in Gapa-o Balindong, Taraka. This implies that the first Muslim converts were the residents of Taraka. The masjid is an important indicator of conversion, without which being Muslim would only be nominal among maritime nomads like some of the Badjaos. It is only in Taraka where every agama has a masjid that signifies a Muslim community. The agama is the basic unit of community, inged is composed of several agamas, soko is composed of severalingeds, and pangampong is composed of severalsokos.

Originally, there were only two agamas in Taraka, each named after the founding ancestors, the sons of Nggur: Loksadato and Balindong. Loksadato, was older, whose real name was Radia Amaga, and Balindong was younger, whose real name was Radia Sarikran. The residents of the agama are descended fron its founder. For example, Moriatao Loksadato is the agama of the descendants of the Loksadato(old dato). There are now fifty-seven agamas in Taraka, the most in Lanao. The founder of the agama exercised authority in the community. Although the same social structure exists in all the pengampongs, it is in Taraka where its elaboration, according to Islamic precepts exists: every agama has a masjid. The correspondence between agama and masjid indicates that Islam is most deeply rooted in Taraka.


THE DIBAROSAN. Taraka still has the Dibarosan. The Dibarosan is a stone head for purposes of meeting the death penalty on condemned criminals. An individual was judged and punished for transgressions of Islamic precepts on murder, adultery, and other grave offense. The punishment was public to instill in the minds of Muslim Meranaos the moral of the act and its exigency. Capital punishment is told in common place stories and folktales, usually relating to infidelity. While it may be said that there could have been dibarosans in other settlements in Lanao, it is only in Taraka where a proof of death penalty and public punishment still exist. The Dibarosan, therefore, has become a symbol of discipline. The Dibarosan stands on a ground next to Taraka River, between Torogan and Maidana at Maruhom Jalalodin in Gapa-o Balindong, Taraka, Lanao del Sur.


ABDAN/GUSI.  Inside Samporna House in Salamatollah, Gapa-o Balindong, are three huge stonewares of Chinese manufactured called “gusi/abdans.” Since Taraka does not lie in the van of trade like Malabang, Ganassi, or Marawi, the accumulation of these jars attests to the affluence of Taraka as an important trade terminus in the basak area. It is said that there used to be four such gusis. One day, some young ladies played hide and seek, and one of them hid on one of the jars. As soon as she was inside, the gusi closed and rolled down to Taraka River, and this was the last that was heard about her.