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Vice President's Message


Vice President,
Filipino Cultural Heritage

Society of Washington

Greetings. The theme for Pagdiriwang 2024, “Isang Lahi, Isang Diwa,” reflects on the Filipino as the paradoxical result of a single heritage hewn out of a diversity of ethnic groups, sharing a singular Filipino spirit molded from linguistically diverse and geographically scattered throughtout the some 7,600 islands.

One of the influences that shaped the Philippines is a strong Muslim presence in the southern islands.  I have long appreciated such history with many decades of service at Mindanao State University in Marawi.

The Muslims have in fact been organized into effective local (sultanates) governments long before Spaniards arrived to re-discover what has long been a cosmopolitan archipelago.  Remnants of Spanish-era recognition of Muslim power lay in the series of “baluartes” or stone towers dotted along the coastlines of western Luzon and Visayas to serve as observation points for the colorful Muslim vintas to trade, or Chinese pirate ships coming to attack coastal targets.

As we celebrate the 126th anniversary of Philippine Independence, I invite everyone to analyze the contributions of our Muslim brethren throughout Philippine history as an integral part of our heritage and spirit as Filipinos.

Mabuhay and Assalamu Alaikum!

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