|Description The Legendary Bird of the Maranao people|
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. manok means "chicken".
The Sarimanok 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.
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 adopted into Maharadia Lawana 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.
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.
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.
Philippine National Artist Abdulmari Asia Imao uses the Sarimanok as a motif for some of his artworks which helped popularize the creature.
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..