Craft and Culture: The Budding Livelihood of the Maranaos

Amid the rehabilitating ruins of Marawi city, the Maranao people are slowly rebuilding their lives in career-driven way.

In the outskirts of Barangay Emie Puned, a lady collects the sakurab for a dish in a big bilao. A man wakes up early morning in Barangay Bangco, and picks up his carabao for the day’s fruitful harvest. With much precision, a woman crafts a vibrant dress to be sold tomorrow in Poona Marantao’s market.

Back in 2017, that fateful summer day in Marawi resulted in the loss of lives and livelihood. To this very day, some Maranao people are still in displacement, struggling to make something of what was left of them. With your generosity, UNHCR is able to deliver quick impact projects to these forcibly displaced families. We are helping them gain sustainable livelihood by providing the necessary materials and training.

They are building their own sustenance – prep by prep, plow by plow, stitch by stitch. Here’s how.

Palapa: More than just a side dish.

At first glance, Palapa may look like your typical exotic vegetable mix from the province. But for the Titas of Marawi, it means much more than that. Aside from being a carrier of their culture, it serves as their means of livelihood and opportunity for cooperation. UNHCR helped set up a small business called Palapalicious, a cooperative for the women who lost their homes during the seige. Truly, preparing this side dish slowly restores their hope.

Farm animals for a whole town






The farmers of Barangay Bangco are putting food on the table, as they plow the field everyday with the help of livestock. The fruitful land of this village has not been put to waste ever since UNHCR provided it with four carabaos to help with the farming. Farmers like Mahid Bangke share the carabaos on a rotational basis, and they harvest crops such as corn and squash. These animals build food security among the families of Barangay Bangco, and they help in providing livelihood by delivering harvest to the markets.

You can learn more about the heartwarming story of these farmers here.

Dresses and Dreams










Before the siege in 2017, the dressmakers of Poona Marantao each had their own customers. They all lost their jobs when conflict erupted because their equipment was completely destroyed. Recently, UNHCR has provided this community with sewing machines, and they now have a communal dress shop being developed into a cooperative.

Livelihood is an essential aspect in rebuilding the lives of the internally displaced people. It it through the committed support of partners and donors that we are able to provide livelihood projects for the internally displaced people. Together, we are able to guide forcibly displaced families to productivity and self-reliance.