(File photo)

DAVAO CITY – Muslims in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other parts of the country will start fasting on Saturday after a local cleric claimed to have seen the first crescent moon on Friday.

Alem Said Ahmad Basher, an NCR-based cleric, said in a Facebook live that he saw the crescent moon using a telescope during the moonsighting at Manila Bay.

The Manila Bay moonsighting was said to have been organized in cooperation with the Imam Council of the Philippines and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos - NCR.

However, in Cotabato City, Mufti Abuhuraira Udasan of the Regional Darul Ifta of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao announced at 8:05 p.m. on April 1 that the fasting for the region's over 4 million inhabitants will start on Sunday. This, after Udasan failed to see the first hilal or the first visible crescent moon after the new moon.

Udasan and his team went to the PC Hill, a popular vantage point in the city, to watch for the moon but he said he and the others failed to see it.

National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Guiling Mamondiong had echoed Udasan's declaration.

As in the previous years, Filipino Muslims would also start fasting on different dates this year as they depend on local clerics to make the declaration.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is among the five pillars of Islam and is prescribed for able-bodied Muslims.

Muslims would fast every day for about 30 days by eating before dawn. During the daytime, they would skip food, liquid and other bodily desires. They are also expected to perform the mandatory five times a day prayer and the supplementary prayers when they are able, along with reciting verses from the Koran. The fast is only broken after sunset. (Allan Nawal/PNA)