The Sultan is  a government doctor

It is believed that the sultan is the embodiment of power, wealth and prestige on earth in the olden times.

But times have changed for Dr. Gamal Grande Mamacotao, the third-generation Sultan of Macadar, who expresses the qualities of new leaders devoted to Islam — Maranao culture and traditions — and committed to serving the public through his medical services.

Macadar is a modest principality in the town of Lumbatan, Lanao del Sur. It came from the Maranao word mala a kadr — the Place of Great Destiny.

Historically, a runaway princess from Johor, Malaysia, who married a prince of Butig, Lanao del Sur, was feted by his cousins in Macadar.

The weeklong wedding festivities were attended in that place by royalties. It was also known for its highway treaded by US cavalry to their base, Camp Vicars.



The “succession” had been made possible by the sultanates who had endorsed Mamacotao for the sultanate. The following sultanates endorsed Mamacotao:

1. Sacrain D. Guro, Sultan sa Domalondong, member, 16 Royal House of Ranao (Panoroganan)

2.Ashraf T. Pandapatan, Sultan sa Basagad, chairman, 28 Mbabaya sa Taritib and 4 Demarcation of Ranao

3.Mangontawar B Amatonding, Sultan sa Ragayan, vice chairman, 28 Mbabaya sa Taritib and 4 Demarcations of Ranao

4. Abdul Hamidullah T. Atar, Sultan sa Marawi, executive secretary, 28 Mbabaya sa Taritib and 4 Demarcations of Ranao

5. Taha M. Mohamad, Sultan sa Malalis, treasurer, 28 Mbabaya sa Taritib and 4 Demarcations of Ranao

6. Pacalinog S. Ambor, Sultan sa Malungun, auditor, 28 Mbabaya sa Taritib and 4 Demarcations of Ranao

7.Alinader B. Pukunum, Sultan sa Tugaya, PIO, 28 Mbabaya sa Taritib and 4 Demarcations of Ranao

8.Macaaras Ampuan, Sultan sa Dalama, vice chairman, 4 Demarcations of Ranao

9.Pangandamun Sidic, Sultan sa Boribid, member, 4 Demarcations of Ranao

10. Sultan sa Madamba, member, 4 Demarcations of Ranao

11. Al-Haris A. Ibra, Datu a Cabugatan sa Madamba

12. Sultan sa Sawer, member, 4 Demarcations of Ranao

13. Sultan Cawasa of Pualas, member, 28 Mbabaya sa Taritib and 4 Demarcations of Ranao

14. Sultan sa Pantaon, chairman, 12 inged sa Subangan a Unayan a palaya dun tinindugan a Sulutan

The event was honored by Mayor Arimao Asum ofLumbayanague, Mayor Kurangking of Sultan Dumalondong, Mayor Bombi Lao and former Mayor Mamintal Grande Rasuman.

Providing needed protection in Malalis, the 1002 CDC, PA Reserve Command, 1006 CDC, PA Reserve Command, 51 Mech Inf, Div. Phil. Army and the PNP showed their all-out support in maintaining peace and order in the celebration.

The COP and Provincial mobile forces from the PNP arrived later, further bolstering the efforts to uphold peace and contribute to effective peacekeeping operations.



Macadar Sultanate has produced several influential Muslim leaders. From the pre-colonial to the American regime, the Sultan held immense power and wealth in his sultanate.

“He was the lawgiver, the law enforcer and distributor of wealth and a favor-fulfillment person,” he explains.

Under the Philippine Republic, the sultan lost his political power and was subjected to taxation. Moreover, his vast ancient properties, which had no titles, were divested by the real estate law, the Torrens Title, which required registration of land title by the court.

“Today, the sultan’s role is ceremonial in the community affairs. He rules by consensus among his families and subjects in his sultanate. The Sultan with the ulama (religious scholars) leads the religious activities in Ramadhan (the holy month of fasting and worship), Eid al Fitr (Feast of Fast Breaking) and Eid al Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). He spearheads the fundraising campaign for new mosques and madrasahs (school of Islamic instruction) and their upkeep. To maintain community and family harmony, he plays the arbiter, especially in settling family feuds,” explains Mamacotao.

“The Sultan is also the repository of the royal family history, Maranao traditions and culture. He guides the community through morals and by his example. The sultan does not receive any remuneration for his services and duties. Most often, he provides for any financial needs from his own pocket. All his efforts are in the service of the people, his family and Almighty Allah.”

The 60-year-old Sultan, an internist doctor, has been working in the government-owned Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City. Mamacotao studied medicine at Mindanao State University because he saw the dearth of specialists in Lanao del Sur.

After finishing his internal medicine studies at Cotabato Regional and Medical Center, he became a government doctor in district and municipal hospitals.



Due to the lack of doctors in the province, Mamacotao had to treat diseases beyond his specialization, such as tetanus in newborn babies, incomplete abortion, delivery of live and stillborn babies, surgery on amputated limbs and fingers, and common ailments such as diarrhea and pneumonia.

“The challenge is how to save a patient’s life despite the fact that they have no money and nowhere to turn to except me,” says Mamacotao.

Providing a better home and life for his family has been his biggest challenge.

“Service to the people will not make you rich. But with Allah’s immense bounty, He opened to me offshore medicine. Hence, I became a seaman’s offshore doctor in the oil and gas industry as I traveled to the Middle East, Europe and Africa in pursuit of halal income,” says Mamacotao.

A typical day involves doing hospital rounds and teaching young Maranao doctors about internal medicine.

Off duty, he goes to the Sultanate of Madacar, a 90-minute drive from the provincial capitol to bond with the community and his family.

Aside from him, his sister, Hadja Ayesha “Rasmia” Madayao Grande Mamacotao-Masacal, is the new Bae a Labi sa Macadar.

Meetings with sultanate elders focus on programs for the Sultanate of Madacar.

“I envision Macadar as a stronger Islamic community that is peaceful as it is progressive. I will strive to revive the cultural values, traditions and aspirations of our forefathers,” he says.



(Note: The author’s grandmother is affiliated with the Sultanate of Malabang, and her father holds the title of Sultan sa Trigungan in Lumbatan. On the other hand, the author’s grandfather is Sultan Mimbisa Grande, who is from the author’s mother’s side of the family.)