DOHA, Qatar (MindaNews / 03 October) – Sulu is home to many beautiful beaches in the Philippines and perhaps among the best in the world.
Its beautiful white sand beaches are truly irresistible. The crystal clear water is captivating, even from a distance. What more when wade in the sea. Bathing in it is not only refreshing but calming for the body and soul especially during this pandemic.
Alhamdu Lillāhi, most of these most treasured beaches are already open to the public. No wonder the beach lovers of Sulu are now looking forward to enjoying the most relaxing atmosphere these beaches can offer. These are among the greatest gifts from the Almighty Allāh bestowed on the people of the current.
Some people even say that with these beautiful beaches we have here in Sulu, we don’t have to go elsewhere and spend a huge amount of money. What we seek is already within our reach. Indeed, Sulu is so blessed to have these marvelous beaches around its corners that every Tausug can truly be proud of.
It is worth mentioning that some of these beautiful beaches are open for overnight stay. Every family now has the opportunity to experience a night at the beach and spend quality time together under the cold and solemn night. Some of the beaches are located in remote areas of Sulu but beach lovers don’t mind the distance.
“Mag usaha na sadja in hinang sin mga tau biyāun. In pag payguan dagat biyāun timaud. In layu’ na sin Capual dāyuhun da sin mga tau tiyanggi’. Hāti niya tanda’ tuud sin mahanung na in Lupa’ Sūg,”said one of the residents of Jolo. (These days, our people are getting into business. The number of open beaches in Sulu had increased as well. The residents of Jolo would even visit the beaches of Capual, even if it is far from the town center. This is an indication that peace has engulfed Sulu now.)
From the beaches to the mountains
Aside from going to the beach, mountaineering has become the new exciting and enjoyable outdoor recreational activity in Sulu especially on weekends. Even if it’s hard to climb a mountain, people of all ages don’t mind because it is an exhilarating experience to go up and be awed by the stunning view of their beloved homeland at the summit of the Mt. Tukay in Parang, Sulu or on Mt. Talipao, a mountain believed to be the “House of Martyrs.” Mountaineering is no a trend in Sulu.
“Oneness with nature,” shares Dayang Naga, Supervising Tourism Operations of Parang, Sulu, who climbed Mt. Tukay.
Mountaineering is also one of the best physical activities to maintain a healthy immune system, particularly during this pandemic. It doesn’t only allow every mountaineer to appreciate the scenery but also encourages them to love and care for our nature and the ecosystem.
But a brotherly reminder for those with heart problems: please consult your doctor first before engaging in this type of activity.
It is physically, mentally and emotionally invigorating to indulge in this kind of outdoor activity especially so when it is done together with family. Some mountaineers spend the night at Mt. Tukay to watch the magnificent sunrise, while others wait there until sundown.
“We climbed up the mountain at nine o’clock in the evening. We brought food for dinner though there is a 24-hour canteen at the summit. They sell halo-halo and others. It was freezing on the mountaintop and we forgot to bring our jackets. We spent the calm and solemn night there hanging out and relaxing looking up at the open sky with a beautiful moon and full of shining stars. Some of us slept inside the tent, while others stayed in the hammock. We did not get to see the fine sunrise because of the fog. We descended from the mountain at 8 o’clock the following day. Alhamdu Lillāhi, we all had a great time there and enjoy everyone’s company,” shares Amarkhan J. Jidara, one of the outstanding Tausug photographers.
The great outdoors
Moreover, there are other outdoor recreational activities that the people of Sulu are engaging in now such as airsoft team game, cycling and motorcycling. It is worth mentioning that these activities are mostly done in the forests of Sulu.
Khamar B. Allama, chair of Jamaa Airsoft (J.Ai) and External Vice President of Federation of Tausug Airsofter said the air soft activity in Sulu is divided into two categories namely Close Quarter Battle (CBQ) and Military Simulation or Jungle (MILSIM). They have their respective ranges: J.Ai Range in Suba’ Datu’, Buwansa, Indanan; JAG in Liang, Patikul (CQB); Spartan Range / Cowboyz (CQB/MILSIM) in Tanjung, Indanan; Scalawag Range (CQB) in Gandasuli, Patikul; Top Down Airsoft Range / Cowboyz (MILSIM/CQB) in KM 3 Indanan, Sulu; and Bud Agad Airsoft Range (MILSIM) in Bud Agad, Anuling, Patikul.
Allama said the motorcycling activity is also divided into two: road trip on underbone motorcycles and this one has many participants; and the other is trailing on off-road areas on dirtbike motorcycles.
“Ever since I was in primary school, and even now, I love motorbikes and so I’m always enthusiastic about going to the off-road trail with my group, especially on weekends. I’m delighted that we’re able to do this now in Sulu. We are trailing in several mountains of Sulu such as Bud Anuling, Bud Pula, Bud Talipao, and in Bud Maimbung. In these places, I can feel the kindness of people and it makes us so happy. Likewise, these places are so peaceful and safe,” narrated Al-Nednyl Tulawie, the youngest Tausug dirt-bike rider.
“Maka kuwg tuud pangatayan bang kaw mag road trip pa ka gimbahan, uyum katawa in mag momotor katan,” (Seeing everyone all smiles and laughing during our group road trip to the countryside part of Sulu is satisfying to one’s heart), said
Noteworthy to mention that despite all of these recreations in Sulu, people still adhere to the minimum safety COVID-19 health protocols such as wearing of face mask when in public, maintaining social distancing, hand hygiene, and others. Likewise, during the rides, both cyclists and motorcyclists alike are in full gear like wearing helmets with face covering.
Interestingly, human rights defender Warina Sushil A Jukuy (a Tausug in diaspora now based in Davao City) romanticized what’s trending in her native Lupah Sug: “I describe the tourism fad of Tausug nowadays as a kind of homesickness for its own home Sulu; like old lovers seemingly is the relationship of the Tausug and its homeland, a Tausug revisits and explores intimately and lovingly every nook and cranny of its own subconsciously forgotten home such as mountains, hills, valleys ridges, isles, sandbar and beaches so to speak.”
They are now no longer strangers in their own land as they begin to get intimate once again with their own homeland territory. Indeed, home is where the heart is!
One of the favorite places for hanging out and relaxing with family and friends even at night is the beach of Litayun (Maubu’) in Patikul. Tausugs now feel the peaceful ambiance of Sulu; people are now confident to go on a promenade without any fear that anything bad might happen to them along the way.
This is indeed a welcome development concerning peace and order in the province of Sulu. All of my beloved fellow Tausugs both in Sulu and elsewhere are overjoyed with the positive happenings now in Sulu. The people of Sulu deserve to live in peace and prosperity that they have been longing for a long time. I hope and pray that this kind of peaceful atmosphere will continue to grow and strengthen in my beloved homeland, in shā Allāh.
(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)