Maranaw Flags of Pageantry By Abdel aziz Dimapunong According to Wikipedia, “a flag is a piece of cloth, often flown from a pole or mast, generally used symbolically for signaling or identification”. By this definition, the Maranaw Sambolayang is a flag. It is always made of cloth and it is flown from a pole. It is among the colorful traditional flags of Maranaw pageantry. The other flags include thePasandalana Murog, Pandiya Ranao, Binaning o Taraka Tarapaso Tamparan Paramata Bantugun, Pandio masiu Dagalangit , Usunan, Tokodalangit Datusalangit and many others. For centuries, the Sambolayang and other Maranaw traditional cultural flags had been in use in the two provinces of Ranao in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Philippines. Although flag-like symbols of Maranaw pageantry were in used even before the coming of the Spaniards in 1521, the origin of Sambolayang flags in the modern sense is a matter of dispute. According to Grande Dianaton of the Maranaw Cultural Heritage, some Maranaws believe that the Sambolayangs originated in China. Renayong Dimapunong has a different view. He claims that the Maranaw flags were inspired by the Srivijaya Empire during the 8th century much earlier than Chinese influence When the Sambolayang is flown, it signals that there is an ongoing Maranaw pageantry. It identifies the location to be having a magnificent ceremonial display of a highly colorful event, splendid, a stately ceremony. All Maranaw ceremonies are marked with a historical or traditional flavor. The master of ceremony usually speaks of the historical background or a traditional flavor of the occasion. The event could be a royal wedding. In this case, the genealogy of both the groom and the bride serves as the historical backgrounder. The occasion could be the crowning of a Sultan, whose genealogy is presented as the historical background. The occasion could also be just a splendid display of Kalilang, a festival event that marks a holiday. Various Various flags on display at the provincial capitol of Lanao del Sur re of a newly appointed or elected government official. Nowadays, the Sambolayangs are used in many ways including rallies and demonstrations. The use of the Sambolayangs now extends to corporate or political advertising. In its simplest usage, it could be used just for decorative purposes in an informal way. The Maranaw so love the use of flags. There are even house flags of various designs or form used to identify a certain family, especially those who claim to belong to a certain royal family. The Maranaw cultural flags are potent patriotic symbols with varied wide-ranging interpretations, often including cultural and political associations due to their original andongoing cultural uses. The existence of so many kinds of Maranaw flags coupled with various designs of royal seals as the seal of Paramata Bantugan could only mean that there were vexillographers among the Maranaws. The scholarly study of flags is knownas vexillology.