MANILA - Islam's holy month of Ramadan will start Thursday, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos said.
During the month of sacrifice, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and having sex from dawn to dusk. They only break the fast with an early meal known as suhur and an evening meal called iftar.
The start of Ramadan depends on the sighting of the crescent moon.
"Kagabi po ay sinimulan natin iyung moon sighting. Hindi po natin nakita ang buwan kagabi, so ibig pong sabihin, itong susunod na araw, magsisimula na po ang Ramadan," NCMF Bureau of Pilgrimage and Endowment chief Mito-on Ibra told DZMM.
(We started the moon sighting on Tuesday night. We did not see the moon, this means that the Ramadan will tomorrow.)
Ramadan is sacred to Muslims because tradition says the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed during that month.
The annual fasting is followed by the Eid al-Fitr festival.
Ibra also mentioned that some 5,000 Filipinos have signed up to join the hajj pilgrimage in August, down from the 6,000 pilgrims that went to Saudi Arabia last year.
"Siguro ito ay dulot sa nangyayari sa Marawi... Iyun ang pinakamalaking source ng ating pilgrimage," he said.
(Perhaps this is because of the situation in Marawi. It is our biggest source of pilgrims.)
Marawi is undergoing rehabilitation after a 5-month siege by Islamic State sympathizers last year left much of the city in ruins.
With a report from Reuters