Manila: On Saturday, a large number of Muslim Filipinos gathered in Manila for Eid Al-Fitr prayers and picnics to mark the end of Ramadan.
Muslims make up approximately 5% of the 110 million people who live in the largely Catholic Philippines. The majority of them reside on the southern Philippine islands of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, as well as in the province of Palawan in the country's center-western region.
About 200,000 Muslims reside in the Philippine capital, and those who visited the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park did so to continue the custom of holding Eid celebrations there.
As the Muslim community grew, the gatherings started many years ago, and Luneta Park was chosen in an effort to accommodate all of its members on the site.
"It all began because there was a need for an open space... It was requested that congregational prayers be held during Eid in Luneta, according to Shey Sakaluran Mohammad, director of the Manila Office of Muslim Affairs, who spoke to Arab News. Manila has 27 mosques, but due to the city's expanding population, they are no longer able to hold all of the faithful.
After Eid prayers on Saturday, attendees gathered for a picnic where food was provided by individuals and non-profit organisations, and eager kids were served snacks, toys, and vibrant balloons by street vendors. Paranaque City resident Zenaida Alao has been taking part in the Eid festivities at Luneta Park for many years.
She told Arab News as she purchased a balloon for her niece, "Since 2016, we have been coming here to pray during Eid, the whole family.
The Women's Interfaith Network's Dr. Potre D. Diampuan views Eid as a time for gathering with one another and sharing joy and blessings.
Everyone ought to be content, she said. It's time to get together and visit friends, family, and other acquaintances. To assemble in one massive gathering is strongly advised. It always highlights the umma's unity.