A walk through Manila’s Muslim community |
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A walk through Manila’s Muslim community

by Jillian CariolaPublished: April 17, 2017Updated: April 17, 2017

Take the time to explore the Muslim community in Manila

Muslim community Masjid Al-Dahab Golden Mosque

The origin of the Muslim community in dates back to 1485, when the Sultanate of Brunei invaded Tondo and established the Islamic Kingdom of Maynila. Although the city was eventually conquered by the Spaniards in 1570 and the Christian walled city of Intramuros was built on the ruins of Islamic Manila, the city’s Islamic culture and practices never fully waned, and continues to thrive even today.

Whether you are a Muslim visiting Manila for the first time, or a non-Muslim who would like to learn more about the community established in the city by our Islam brothers and sisters, here are a few significant places that are worth knowing.


Places of Worship

The largest mosque in Metro Manila is Masjid Al-Dahab, which is more popularly known as the  Golden Mosque because of its gold-painted dome, which is located along Globo de Oro Street in Quiapo. Construction began in 1976 under the supervision of former First Lady Imelda Marcos in preparation for the visit of then Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi. Although al-Gaddafi’s visit was cancelled, the Golden Mosque continues to serve as a place of worship today, accommodating up to 3,000 worshippers at a time.

Muslim community Masjid Al-Dahab Golden Mosque
The Golden Mosque. Photo by KisekiLacroix via Wikimedia Commons

The mosque’s aesthetics are based on Middle Eastern structures, while also incorporating Maranao, Maguindanao and Tausug art. Aside from its notable dome, the Golden Mosque also used to have a minaret but it was torn down due to structural problems. Plans are underway to rebuild the minaret, which will be funded by donations from all over the world.


Government Services

The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos was created in 2010 to promote the participation of Muslim Filipinos in nation-building with due regard for their beliefs, customs, traditions, institutions, and aspirations. Its regional office in Manila, also known as the Office of Muslim Affairs (OMA), is located inside the Manila Golden Mosque and Cultural Center Compound along Globo de Oro Street in Quiapo.

Muslim community Islam Al-Huda Mosque and Ma-Had
Al-Huda Mosque and Ma-had, Inc. Photo by Juliennary via Wikimedia Commons

The Al-Huda Mosque and Ma-had, Inc., located along Alabastro Street in San Andres Bukid, is an Islamic center that offers legal services to the growing Muslim community in the area. Some of the services offered include the solemnization and registration of marriage in the Philippines through Islamic tradition, registration of conversion to Islam, marriage counseling, securing a Decree of Divorce in the Shariah Courts, and other legal services in the Shariah Courts of the Philippines.


Educational Institutions

To make education more accessible to the Muslim community, the Department of Education (DepED) began implementing the Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education (ALIVE) program in 2005, wherein lessons that are appropriate and relevant according to the cultures, customs, traditions and interests of Muslim Filipino learners are offered in public and private schools. One such institution is the Geronimo Santiago Elementary School along Nepomuceno Street in San Miguel, Manila, which is a public school where students can attend weekend classes on Arabic and Islamic values.

Muslim community Islam school children
Muslim school children. Photo via Shutterstock

Located along C. Palanca Street in San Miguel, Manila, the Manila Islamic Institute, Inc. or Mahad Manila Al-Islamie, is said to be the first madrasa (an Arabic term referring to an educational institution) in Manila. The school was established by Usman Imam Sheikh Al-Aman, a former missionary of Islamic Call Society of Libya, and was also a Shariah Consultant in the Office of Muslim Affairs. The Manila Islamic Institute Inc. offers nursery, kinder, elementary, and secondary education.



Muslims are only allowed to consume food that is halal, a form of food preparation that follows the religious practices dictated by Islam. Because of the large population of Muslims in Manila, many halal restaurants and carinderias have sprouted in Quiapo and other parts of the city.

Moud’s Halal Roasted Chicken along Globo de Oro Street in Quiapo is one of such restaurants. This turo-turo offers a very affordable menu, which includes its famous roasted chicken, as well as typical Maranao dishes, shawarmas, burgers and even pasta.

Muslim community kebab halal food Islam
Kebab platter. Photo via Shutterstock

Another halal restaurant is Iza’s Chicken Corner, located along Campa Street in Sampaloc. As the name implies, chicken is the star of the menu, and specialties include grilled and fried chicken, and chicken siopao.

About 30 minutes away from Sampaloc is Gayyah’s Pagkaunan Halal Restaurant along M.H. Del Pilar Street in Ermita. Here, one can order Malaysian, Indian, Indonesian, Pakistani and Tausug dishes as early as 6:00 AM. Also in Ermita is Dulang Restaurant, where Malaysian and Tausug specialties are served.

For those who are looking for ingredients to make their own traditional Muslim dishes at home, drop by Assad Mini Mart along United Nations Avenue in Paco. This Middle Eastern and Indian store sellsvarious types of frozen halal meat, including chicken, goat, mutton, beef and lamb. Other products like rice, spices, coffee and tea are also available, as well as some non-food items.


Sources: The Manila Islamic Institute Facebook page,,,,

Main photo by KisekiLacroix via Wikimedia Commons

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