“Allahu Akbar”, a very familiar sound to me, a call for prayer for our Muslim brothers and sisters, termed as Bang (local term), which signifies for Salah (obligatory five prayers a day). That was the first thing I heard when we landed at the soil of Sulu. From there, my apprehension gone, the solemnity of the Bang just made me more at peace and relax. Alhamdullilah!
From Jolo Airport, we’re welcomed by Ms. Fariza and Sir Jake and went straight to the office of Mayor Amin for a courtesy call and a dialog. However, Mayor Amin was in hurry for he will pray in the nearby mosque. So Ms. Fariza took over and facilitated our tour at the town proper of Jolo.
|With Honorable Mayor Amin and the First Lady. (by www.pinasmuna.com)|
|at the Sulu Provincial Capitol with Ms. Fariza|
The first stop is the Notre Dame of Jolo College. Our group received a warm welcome by the Ingat Kapandayan Artist Center which is comprised by talented students of the college. Ingat Kapandayan was established to promote the ethnic heritage of the Suluans by performing theatrical local folklore by using cultural dances and musical instrument. The group prepared a Pangalay dance performance which is headed by their artistic director, Sir Rapih. The artists really showed us their mastery in their craft, intricate movements were shown. Truly a world class performance.
|The IK artists with Ms. Thoney and Sir RJ|
The Notre Dame of Jolo College Cottage Industry is our next stop, we're accompanied by Ms. Thoney. It is located just inside the campus, its main purpose is to develop, utilize and preserve the art of the Tausug, Samal and Badjao arts and crafts. It made a source of income to the pandan workers, mat weavers, garments and handicraft sewer and pis cloth weavers. Here we bought Sulu souvenirs such as coin purse and cloth.
Ms. Fariza took us back to the Municipal Hall for a lunch. Well, Sulu has its own version of Mc Donald's, the Mc Mickey which offer a different taste of friend chicken.
After our lunch, we had our courtesy call to the head officer of Sulu Area Coordinating Center. It mandate to be the premiere coordination and action center of the provincial government of Sulu and to be operate as an Inter-Agency group that coordinates, oversee and monitor the implementation and evaluation of all plans, programs and project undertaken in the province of Sulu. It also serves as the nerve center or the “unity of command” of all peace and development efforts in the province.
|at the Sulu Area Coordinating Center Plenary Hall|
Later that afternoon, our whole group together with Mayor Amin's children went to Bud Datu (Royal Mountain) which is at the municipality of Indanan. Bud Datu is also where the camp of 9th Marine Battalion in Sulu is located; headed by Coronel Conta. A scenic overlooking of the Sulu archipelago surprised us here. A beautiful panoramic view, indeed.
|Overlooking at Bud Datu,|
And who could have thought that atop Bud Datu, Starbucks Coffee and 7-eleven invaded the Indanan, Sulu.
Nestled in the foot of Bud Datu is the Shrine of Raja Baginda, it is actually the tomb of the first Muslim ruler of Sulu.
|with Honorable Councilors of Jolo, Nurjam Alfad and Ryan Amin|
Our first day in the most misunderstood province in the Philippine went very well in coordination with the office of Mayor Amin. Magsukul Mayor Amin for the warm welcome and for accommodating us.
I just would like to share the most beautiful Bang / Azan (Islamic term) I have ever heard.
This is only the Part 1 of Part 3 of my 3-day Sulu experience. Watch out for the Part 2 and 3 that will be posted soon. Thanks for reading!