Press Release
November 27, 2006


The Senate, upon the motion of Senator Edgardo J. Angara, today approved on third reading the bill seeking the declaration of the countrys oldest Mosque, Sheikh Karimul Makhdum, as a national shrine.

We are in need of reconciling with our Muslim brothers in the south and I cannot think of any greater symbolism than this one. It is a most opportune gesture of friendship to our Muslim brothers, said Angara who chairs the Senate Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation.

The Mosque is right in the heart of Tubig Indangan, Simunul in the island province of Tawi-Tawi . It was constructed in 1380 A.D. and considered as the oldest Muslim prayer house or mosque in the Philippines . The National Historical Institute (NHI) is tasked to supervise the preservation of the site.

Declaring it as national shrine is of far reaching significance because it celebrates the construction of the first Muslim mosque in our country, built two centuries ahead of the Spanish colonization, Angara said.

The Mosque was built by an Arabian missionary, Karimal Shikh Macdum in 1380 AD. He was buried in Tandubanak Shitancal in Tawi Tawi and a simple marker marked his grave. Today, the four big pillars of the mosque remain as they were originally.

This mosque, the first ever constructed in Philippine soil was laid long before the coming of western colonizers, which tells of its immense historic and cultural significance to our country Angara said.

The government of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) includes a revisit to the site of the mosque in their centenary celebration. The celebration of the centenary next year was declared a special non- working holiday.

Angara added that the declaration of a national shrine implies that the site would be part of the countrys national heritage.

Angara said the National Historical Institute (NHI) will lay a marker on the site and maintain the mosque grounds.

In the same manner that the Roman Coliseum is celebrated and revered up to this day, so should we honor and protect one of our countrys most important historical structures, Angara said.

News Latest News Feed