Who Am I: A Tausug [Part 1]

By Sunday, April 03, 2011

I suppose that it has been long enough since I had posted here. To make up for the lost time, I will write about me - about my tribe and my place, that is. I will tell you a story of what I have known. I lived for sixteen years in Tawi-Tawi until I flew to Iligan to study Accountancy. Sulu has been my second home where I spent most of my vacations.

I came from the small province of Tawi-Tawi (you can google that up). My humble place is a part of the Sulu Sultanate. Thus, it has the share of natural beauty. The inhabitants of my place are the Sama, Badjao, Tausug, and some other tribes.  I am one of those people with mixed tribe - Tausug and Sama (not counting the Indonesian heritage). I speak purely Sinug and a little bit Sama. My family raised me knowing to speak in Sinug only but now I am learning bit by bit to speak the Sama language. Though there are similar words, the intonation differs.

Let me introduce to you some of the islands in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi:

Notice the heart-shape in the core of the island?

the infamous Bud Bongao for its natural beauty and white monkeys

In these islands, a certain Kai Darul was born and raised into what she has become today. The white and refined sand has been the symbol of my love to this place. It has seen me learn and grow. The blue green ocean has been there for me ever since I can remember.
Here's a friendly dude ready to welcome you in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. He won't bite if you bring him bananas. :)

The media has given Sulu and Tawi-Tawi a hideous name. A name that forever will be the source of fright of others to visit such a wonderful place. People have been admiring photos so much but they will not try to actually go to the place. Why? They think we are savage. They think there is nothing to see in Sulu nor in Tawi-Tawi.

However, people are wrong - so wrong. These so-called savages are more than God-fearing - but not human fearing. That makes the difference. For Tausugs, fear is only given to Allah. We fear nothing except Allah. We don't fear death because that is where we are all headed to (we just don't know when).

The funniest thing is, we do not have traffic lights both in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu. Guess what? With tons of the motorists, accidents seldom happen in my place. Well, this is due to the fact that war will not end if you bump someone in the road. *wink* People in my place are more than careful - they are vigilant.

The warm welcome of Jolo Sulu
I have always been told that my tribe is the bravest among all tribes in the Philippines - true! The famous Tausug line explains it all. Marayaw pa muti in bukug daing sin tikud-tikud. (It is better for the white bones to be seen than make your sole turn white from running). Translating this into English did nothing better. Haha. It lost its dignity already. Oh well. What it meant was that, fighting till the end until your bones will be seen is far much better than end up running. I know. Bravery sometimes ends up Tausugs being killed. At least, whenever people are trying to do something bad to me, they back off when they learn that I am a Tausug. Yes, I encountered such circumstances already. Being a Tausug really is a gift. Noone bothers you. :)

Infamous Sharief Makhdum Mosque in Tubig Indangan, Simunul

The original pillars of the mosque are still preserved.
ISLAM  - it has stepped into Tawi-Tawi first before it did to other places in Mindanao. The first mosque ever built in the entire Mindanao still stands tough in the island of Tubig Indangan, Simunul. Islam has been the premiere religion in my place. It has been my guiding light through the this complicated life on earth. In every corner of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi lies a mosque ready to embrace people in times of prayer.

- to be continued on the succeeding post. :)

Photos are from flickr.com and manilaoldtimer.net.
Story is by yours truly.

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  1. wow.. lovely entry! :] Makes me wanna visit tawi tawi :] im not afraid but i dont know anyone from there :[ its nice to learn other cultures.. and i really adore muslims bravery :] i love my muslim friends!

  2. Wow!This is beautiful. this is the first time is see this island like that.

  3. @missy, visit na sis. its so beautiful there. :)

    @diamond, yep.. too beautiful..

  4. How about the letter "C" form island, is that in Siasi, Sulu..?

  5. Hello,
    I would love to visit these beautiful parts of the Philippines. But as a European, even though the locals are friendly, there is a serious risk of being kidnapped! Just a few days ago, two European tourist (nature photographers) were kidnapped by five heavily armed men. In these circumstances, unfortunately, it is not reasonable to risk traveling in these parts of Mindanao.
    It makes me very sad! I would love to visit and meet the locals.
    Regards JP

  6. Awesome, I love everything in this entry. :)



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