Meranaw-Chinese Contact According to Meranaw Lore

Juvanni A. Caballero

Mindanao State University–Iligan Institute of Technology

Vol. 17 (2023): 75–107 | Download PDF


Along with archival and archaeological research, this paper is one of the components of a larger inquiry that investigates Meranaw-Chinese contact before the establishment of a modern government in Lanao at the turn of the twentieth century. Because colonial records could not have documented many events in the region (as it was outside Spanish control), investigating Meranaw folklore became this paper’s primary means to have a glimpse of what the Meranaw know about their ancestors’ contact with the Chinese. A total of 28 individuals, mostly in their late 60s and 70s, served as key informants, recalling tales that the learned from their old folks in their younger days. To corroborate the anecdotal

claims, written sources were also consulted.

This study reveals that based on Meranaw lore, the “People of the Lake” claim to have had direct contact and friendly relations with the Chinese prior to the subjugation and incorporation of their territory into the colonial domain of the Americans. According to oral sources, the contact and relations are discernible not only in the stories of Chinese presence in Lanao but also in their discussion of certain Meranaw practices that exhibit semblances of Chinese culture.


Meranaw, Chinese, contact, cultural diffusion, Meranaw lore