Sulu’s rich, colorful past in book presentation

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - First Page - ( Ahl franzie Salinas)

SULU – The colorful history of Sulu – the seat of the powerful Sultanate in the Philippines – again drew accolades and praises following a two- day book presentation on the province’s rich cultural heritage.

The Sulu provincial government in collaboration with distinguished Tausug writers, scholars and historians hosted the book presentation – Lindu Randam Sin Masa: Foregrounding Sulu History – held recently at the Sumadja Hall in the Provincial Capitol in Patikul town.

The program highlighted the syndicated and partial presentation a comprehensive book on Sulu’s rich history which aims to promote the authentic knowledge and awareness about the province.

Among the writers who spoke during the book presentation were Dr. Benjamin Bangahan, who discussed the pre- Islamic Sulu civilization; Professor Darwin Absari presented the topics on the spread of Islam and Rise of Sulu sultanate; lawyer Mehol Sadain who presented the history and the legal significance of the treaty- making power of the Sultanate of Sulu, and Dr. Abraham Sakili who presented Tausug arts and symbols.

Sulu Vice Governor Sakur Tan, the project proponent, also welcomed and inspired the visitors to the event. He said the event was also in collaboration with Professor Julkipli Wadi, Dean of the University of the Philippines ( UP)- Institute of Islamic Studies; Professor Sakili, of the UP College of Arts and Sciences; lawyer Sadain; Professor Absari, the of UP Islamic Studies, Dr. Bangahan, a medical practitioner and the only Tausug lexicographer and authority on the Sin? g language; and Dr. Kalbi Asain.

Others who attended the book presentation were Professor Mucha Quilling, faculty member if the Mindanao State University ( MSU) in Tawi- Tawi and Executive Director of Sulu Current Research Institute; Professor Benhal Tahil, Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Zamboanga Polytechnic College; Professor Anne Christine Ensomo, of Ateneo de Manila; Chancellor Adjarail Hapas, of MSU- Sulu; Dr. Hanbal Barra, former Dean MSU Graduate Studies; Professor Alih Aiyub, faculty member of the Western Mindanao State University ( WMSU) in Zamboanga City; Professor Eddie Ladja, Dean, WMSU College of Asian and Islamic Studies, Professor Arsanial Sappayani, faculty member of the Sulu State College and Dr. Anwar Anzar, Commissioner of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts.

In his speech, Tan said: “A few days back, I came across a rather intriguing statement that – there is nothing in tomorrow that was not there yesterday – or if I may say it in another way – there is nothing in the future that was not there in the past – and the twist in the idea might sit well with theoretical physics or quantum mechanics that have been astounding our knowledge of the universe with the curvature of light, the warping of time and space through the fabric of the universe.”

“On the ordinary dayto- day life we actually are going through with those ideas especially when we envision the future. All too frequently, when we think of the future there is always the past that goes with it. We look forward in consideration of the past. Both events of the timeline merge and blur our consciousness of what was there in the past to fill in the future. Perhaps nowhere is the thought more clearly laid out than the blockbuster scifi movie, Star Wars. The movie spins off into the future which is made real with the backdrops of the past civilization.”

“The scenes drift into dessert and foreboding landscape with characters in flowing robes and turbans. The storyline also revolve around the proverbial struggle between good and evil. The good possesses the ancient mystical power – the force in all of us. Evil is represented by the ultimate dark side created by high end technology and artificial intelligence robotics. Of course, the primal human instinct and spirit triumph in the end. The future is indeed defined not by its own willpower, on the advancement therein by virtue of technology; it is still the past that directs and controls the outcome,” he said.

Tan said needless to say, the stronger the foundation therein in the past, the greater is the force it bears upon the shaping of the future.

“This goes without saying then, that the occasion we are witnessing at the moment, is basically an imperative on our desire to look at history, the Sulu history, not as nostalgia or of romanticism on the glories of the past but for the simple reason that our future is in our history. I presume that the task on hand is beyond efforts of looking back at what has transpired with the mission of rectifying the errors on the accounts or to fill in the gaps on what has been missed; in short, rewriting history as one would wont to call it. What is important is the human will and the human spirit that were wielded in creating the conditions ideal to our existence as a people.”

“What force drives us? What was there that guaranteed that we have remained conscious of who we are? What makes us Tausug? Certainly, again as in the Star Wars episode, we awaken the force. Of course, this not to say the least, that we forego scholarship on our history. We need it to establish or to instil certitude that we deserve the sacrifices that our ancestors have made for us to be truly a proud and undaunted people. We need it to strengthen the foundation of our being, of our existence that we may take on our ambitions, our dreams, and our aspirations with determined will and unshaken confidence as it has always been. We are what we are because we had the will to shape what we have in the past, wielded us in a distinct way that we bear the truth of who we are,” he said.

Tan added: “Personally, this could only mean that we made the past and we make the future. Sulu’s history is not an accident of succession of events; the Tausug created the events, they made history as history. That otherwise, we will never be Tausug as we are now and be merely at the mercy of events that happens at random and in a flux. And we shall be at lost in calamities and disasters begging for donations and the like. We never do that, and will never will. It is so for the simple reason that we have faith in ourselves.”

“There is so more in store by way of Sulu’s history. The last four hundred years are strewn with accounts on the resiliency of the Tausug in times of living dangerously. Individual feats and adventures is a lifetime research and the cultures and traditions that followed equally put scholarship to the test. Nonetheless, we are led to ponder on the essential factor that set all these things into place. It may be considered herein on how the phenomenon of the “parangsabil” was wrought by the inability of the Sultan to defend the area from foreign aggression. Individuals took on the responsibility but still on behalf of the community. There is something there that we need to look into that we may understand what it means to be a Tausug or what Sulu history is. * I trust that this occasion, the meeting of the minds so to speak, will bear some substantial and significant ideas in the challenge before us – who we were, who we are and who we will be. Honestly, we are because we are, since we make history and not history taking us along in the flow of time. Let me say, the force has always been with us.”

The event ended on the third day with many of the guests touring the Ahmad Timhar Magbalu Shrine at Bud Datu and Poon Tao Kong.

The Sulu provincial government in collaboration with distinguished Tausug writers, scholars and historians hosted the book presentation – Lindu Randam Sin Masa: Foregrounding Sulu History – held recently at the Sumadja Hall in the Provincial Capitol in Patikul town. ( Ahl- franzie Salinas)

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