Lanao del Sur, officially the Province of Lanao del Sur, is a province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The capital is the Islamic City of Marawi and it borders Lanao del Norte to the north, Bukidnon to the east, and Maguindanao and Cotabato to the south. To the southwest lies Illana Bay, an arm of the Moro Gulf. Found in the interior of Lanao del Sur is Lanao Lake, the largest lake in Mindanao.
Sultanate of Lanao
Lanao comes from the word ranao, meaning "lake." Lanao centers on the basin of Lake Lanao; thus, it is the land of the Maranaos, the "people of the lake."
When the Spaniards first explored Lanao in 1689, they found a well-settled community named Dansalan at the lake's northern end. Dansalan became a municipality in 1907 and a city in 1940.
World War II
In 1942, it was occupied by the Japanese Imperial forces who landed in Southern Lanao. On May 2, 1942, the former chief justice of the supreme court of the Philippines Jose Abad Santos was killed by the Japanese Imperial forces in a Firing Squad at Malabang, Lanao del Sur. In 1945, the first of the liberation forces landed in Southern Lanao and liberated the area with United States, Philippine Commonwealth troops together with the Maranao guerrilla units. They used infantry weapons, the Maranao Kris, Barong and Kampilan swords against the Japanese forces in the Battle of Lanao. In 1956, Republic Act NO. 1352 changed the name Dansalan to Marawi, taken from the word rawi, referring to the reclining lilies abundant in the Agus River.
When Lanao was divided into two provinces under Republic Act No. 2228 in 1959, Marawi was made the capital of Lanao del Sur. In 1980, the city was renamed the Islamic City of Marawi. It is now the only chartered city in the country with a predominantly Muslim population.
Proposed Maranaw Province
In 1971, Republic Act No. 6406, which sought to create a new province out of eastern Lanao del Sur (now corresponding to the province's first congressional district), was approved on October 4, 1971. The province was to consist of the municipalities of Bubong, Ditsaan-Ramain (including what is now Buadiposo-Buntong), Kapai, Lumba-Bayabao (including what is now Maguing), Marantao, Masiu, Mulondo, Saguiaran, Piagapo, Poona Bayabao, Tamparan, Taraka and Wao (including what is now Bumbaran), with the chartered city of Marawi serving as the new province's capital. The division never took place due to the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines on September 21, 1972, which disrupted the elections for 1973.
Joining the ARMM
In a 1989 plebiscite, Lanao del Sur voted to join the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), but Marawi City elected to remain outside ARMM. It later joined ARMM in 2001 following the plebiscite that sought to expand the autonomous region.