“Marawi is an overwhelmingly Muslim city in a predominantly Catholic country. It is on the southern island of Mindanao, where Muslims sought refuge centuries ago when the Philippines was under Spanish rule and its people were being forcibly converted to Catholicism.
“To this day, we have not given up our way of life, the way we dress and what we eat,” said Norhata Alonto, 67. In Marawi, minarets rather than spires stretch toward the sky, and pork — a staple in most of the country — is not openly sold.
The irony that the city has fallen to an Islamist extremist group is not lost on its people. “The Mautes … trampled on our pride and our history as a people that was never subjugated by a colonial power,” Alonto said.”