DOHA, Qatar (MindaNews / 20 September) — Nostalgia engulfs my heart whenever I remember all of the fondest memories I have spent with my family and loved ones in my beloved homeland, Sulu. As a Tausug born and raised up in Sulu, they will always be part of who I am today.
I can vividly recall when I was still a kid, every September 18 in Sulu, all of us in the house and our neighbors are excited to watch the parade outside Mohammad Tulawie Central School in Jolo. It would pass along the Scott Road, just a few meters from our house in Lower San Raymundo. The parade would open the week-long celebration of centuries of governance in Sulu, organized by the local government units to commemorate the foundation of the Governance and Public Administration in Sulu which was established by Sultan Shariful Hashim, the first Sultan of the Sulu Sultanate.
Provincial Ordinance No. 1 passed on August 9, 1993, declared every September 18 a holiday in Sulu. September 18 this year was a holiday to commemorate 630 years of Sulu governance.
The annual parades when we were young were really amazing. The parade would be participated in by all LGUs, academe and other sectors across the 18 municipalities of the province of Sulu. There were several impressive floats exhibiting the beauty and richness of cultures and traditions of Sulu. Participants wore colorful and elegant Tausug attires. When I was already in high school, as an ROTC cadet, we also joined the parade by marching from Jolo downtown to Capitol Park.
One of my unforgettable memories is peddling ice-drop at the Capitol Park with my brother, as one of our humble ways to earn our “baon” to school. We would repeatedly shout “bi na kamu ice drop.” Whenever our ice drop is sold out, we would go home happy. Not only were our products sold , we also got to watch the celebratory activities.
September 18 is also a remarkable date for us in the family because it is the birthday of my younger sister Radzna. My beloved Inah narrated to me that she was planning to watch the parade since it was just walking distance to our house, but she started to feel some pre-labor pain. My sister was born that day. We fondly tell her that her birthday is celebrated big-time across Sulu.
During the week-long festivities, the Capitol Park would be filled with so many people coming from all the municipalities of Sulu. Every municipality has its own booth to exhibit its products such as food, mats and many more. There were also numerous activities and competitions participated in by different schools and colleges.
Qadaar Allaah, I may not reach the glorious days of Sulu Sultanate that was once a sovereign nation, but its beautiful history is amongst the best and worthy to be remembered and cherished by every Tausug, a history we can be truly proud of.
(Mindanawon Abroad is MindaNews’ effort to link up with Mindanawons overseas who would like to share their experiences in their adopted countries. Gamson Jr Mawallil Quijano of Sulu is a registered Radiologic Technologist who works in Doha, Qatar. He was on his way to Sulu supposedly for vacation with his family when the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed in mid-March in Zamboanga City. He is back in Doha)