STORIES FROM THE BOONDOCKS: Tausugs in my household 

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 04 June) — Had Papa and Mama been alive today,  they would have been constantly amused by these two Tausugs running wildly in my household.

They would be shaking their heads in disbelief. After all, they were always wary of the presence of the Joloanos, as they call them in the early days, in  nearby Sirib. 

“Joloanos can wrap you inside a big mat, bring you to Lanao and  you will never find your way back home,” the adults who seemingly have no clear understanding of the Muslim tribal groups, warned. 

Along with the children of our  tenants and a sprinkle of  cousins, my two sisters, Manang Judith and Manang Ruby, walked some two kilometers every day  to attend school at Subasta. Houses along the way were scarce, passing abaca farms, cogon fields and tall, wild grasses. They were a happy bunch and the air was filled with youthful laughter and constant banter. And then, from afar, they heard the rumbling of a vehicle! They all scampered and dove for safety  into the wild grasses and among the trees, fearful that the jeep might be owned by the Joloanos from Sirib!

Nowadays, my half Tausug children are totally clueless of these preconceived ideas that ran in the minds of many a couple of  years ago.

They were born in Davao, went to a Jesuit school, played soccer, were sociable even at a tender age. They are used to a Christian way of life but loved every opportunity to visit friends and relatives in Sulu.

They have Tausug traits though, inspite of the Davao upbringing. They can be fiercely loyal. Sweet and charming but also with a temper. The boy only socializes with people he has known for long. Thus, to this day, his soccer mates in elementary are still within the close circle of friends. The girl could easily charm  her way to her grandma’s heart. She is a favorite among my friends and the elderlies in church .When she goes to Sulu or teaches Sunday school to children in depressed areas, she wades into an ocean of children and interacts with them, unmindful of the suffocating smell of children playing under the sweltering sun.

I raised my children  with an awareness of their mixed blood – Bagobo and Tausug. Be proud, I told them,  because that blood can help you navigate through life. The same words of wisdom from my parents who must be smiling up there in heaven.

“Sus, Day!” my Papa would be telling my Mama with a  twinkle in his eyes “naa gyud tay mga apo nga Moros!”

(Susan Palad used to be in the government service and later ventured into the travel business. She has retired from both and spends more time at her farm. She is still on denial stage though by refusing to call herself a senior citizen. She still wants to maintain a busy lifestyle)

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