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This article is about the mythical bird. For the boat, see Sarimanok (vinta).
0045MuseumFilipinojf 08.JPG
Title Sarimanok
Description The Legendary Bird of the Maranao people
Gender Male/female
Region Mindanao
Equivalent Víðópnir

The Sarimanok is a legendary bird of the Maranao people who originate from Mindanao, a major island in the Philippines. It comes from the words "sari" and "manok." "Sari" means cloth or garment, which is generally of assorted colors.[1] Manòk means "chicken".


Sarimanok[2] is a plural names of Papanok. It is the legendary bird that has become a ubiquitous symbol of Maranao art. It is depicted as a fowl with colorful wings and feathered tail, holding a fish on its beak or talons. The head is profusely decorated with scroll, leaf, and spiral motifs. It is said to be a symbol of good fortune.[3][4][5]


The Sarimanok is derived from a totem bird of the Maranao people, called Itotoro. According to the Maranao people, the Itotoro is a medium to the spirit world via its unseen twin spirit bird called Inikadowa.

The Sarimanok is also believed to have originated from the Garuda of Hindu epic Ramayana[6] adopted into Maharadia Lawana [7] of Maranao people, which in turn was later adopted to an Islamic legend after Southern Philippines converted to Islam.

According to the later Islamic legend, Muhammad found a rooster in the first of the seven heavens. The bird was so large its crest touched the second heaven. Its crow roused every living creature except man. Judgement day would come once this celestial rooster ceased to crow.[8]

A Maranao legend also says of a Sultan's daughter being swept by a colorful rooster that became a handsome young man and they were never seen ever again. The Sultan then created replicas of the bird to remember his daughter by.[9]

Cultural Significance[edit]

According to the tradition, the sarimanok is never displayed by itself. It must be displayed with the set of flags, standards and vexilloids. At present, this is not totally true; sarimanok may be placed on the top of the umbrella of a Sultan or dignitary, and also, the Mindanao State University has adopted it for the graduation exercises following a non-traditional use.[10][11]

Philippine National Artist Abdulmari Asia Imao uses the Sarimanok as a motif for some of his artworks which helped popularize the creature.[12]

The Far Eastern University seal bears the FEU Coat of Arms and the sarimanok motif. The FEU Coat of arms consists of eight-pointed golden star that represents the first eight main disciplines of FEU. The sarimanok is a legendary bird in full color that project the nationalistic spirit upon which the university is founded. The university wanted to have a Filipino touch in everything because they were one of the first universities in the Philippines to be founded by a pure-blooded Filipino, Dr. Nicanor Reyes, Sr..[13]


  1. ^ "The Sarimanok". The Pinoy Warrior. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Txt message by;Sultan of Gandamatu: Sarimanok among the Sulayman bird namely Hoodhud.
  3. ^ Philippine Arts and Culture: Sarimanok. Accessed August 28, 2008.
  4. ^ Geocities: Sarimanok. Accessed August 28, 2008.
  5. ^ Kipas: Kulintang Ensemble. Accessed August 28, 2008.
  6. ^ http://theberntraveler.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/hudhud-and-darangen-voices-from-pre-colonial-philippines/
  7. ^ https://openlibrary.org/books/OL3279931M/Maharadia_Lawana
  8. ^ The Manila Times Internet Edition: Adorning the Sarimanok. Accessed July 29, 2007
  9. ^ Philippine Culture: Sarimanok
  10. ^ Royal Sultanates of Lake Lanao. Accessed August 28, 2008.
  11. ^ ABC: Under the Crescent Moon. Accessed August 28, 2008.
  12. ^ "Abdulmari Asia Imao". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  13. ^ Tambayan, The Official Magazine of the FEU Advocate, March 2012, Vol.8

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarimanok — Please support Wikipedia.
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