Sulu artifacts from the Yuchengco Museum in Makati City and photos released by the Sulu provincial government show scenes during the recent inauguration of the renovated museum in Patikul town. Sulu Governor Sakur Tan and First Lady Nurunisah Tan speaheaded the rehabilitation of the old museum.
SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 16, 2010) – After long years of neglect, Sulu’s lone museum was finally renovated and now is attracting throng of people who wanted to learn more about the Tausug culture and its rich history.
And behind all these developments are the couple Dr. Sakur Tan, the provincial governor of Sulu, and his wife, Nurunisah Tan, who spearheaded the rehabilitation of the two-storey museum building located within the capitol ground in Patikul town.
“People are distinguished and identified by their respective culture, traditions and civilization. We don’t like to see the repository of our heritage - the museum - to be lost by neglect and effects of time. Like a vault, the museum must also be in a condition where our valued heritage is kept and stored,” the First Lady, a known philanthropist, said.
For his part, Dr. Tan said: “It is only thru our past that we can know our future. I always believed in our glorious past, and that Sulu is the cradle of civilization in the Philippines, Sulu has a very rich history.”
“We must give our children good memories and impart all the good things about our heritage and culture and for them to have better character, confidence and proud of the past,” he added.
The recent inauguration was attended by many important guests and among them were Director Eufemia Catolin, who represented Corazon Alvina, the Director of the National Museum of the Philippines.
The local curator of the National Museum in Sulu, Langca Tapsirul Dahum, was all praised to the efforts and support of the first couple to rehabilitate and maintain the museum.
Dr. Tan said there is a need to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of the people of Sulu.
Director Catolin also praised the initiative of Dr. Tan and the First Lady for their support and rehabilitation of the dilapidated museum building, which has been transformed into one of the most beautiful site in Sulu.
“This is a start of a fruitful collaboration” she said.
In September 2008, the Yuchengco Museum in RCBC Plaza in Makati City featured “Beyond the Currents: The Culture and Power of Sulu” where it put on public display rare Tausug suits of body armor and weapons of power and defense that highlighted the strength and might of the Sulu Sultanate during the 18th and19th centuries.
This was the period when the Sulu archipelago was a major trading zone, as it bridged two worlds and lay at a most strategic point for maritime trade. The exhibit told the story of power wielded over European expansion and commerce - the Spanish, Dutch, and British - in relation to the Chinese trading zone during an era when the China trade was strong and profitable.
In order to have goods to barter for Chinese tea, the British traded firearms to Sulu in exchange for its sea and forest products. The Chinese meanwhile bartered their goods for native products such as mats, yellow wax, lake wood, tortoise shell, and the famous Sulu pearls. To Sulu went textiles and other imported manufactures and, of crucial importance, guns and gunpowder which contributed to Sulu's physical power. The exhibit presents the independent Sulu Sultanate's culture and geographical reach through kinship and intermarriages, and as the heart of a trade zone, market center, and regional power.
Through the Sultanate's alliance with other nations and successful engagements in both war and diplomacy with the colonizers Sulu survived attempts at colonization by the Spaniards for more than three centuries.
"Beyond the Currents" was curated by a team led by Abraham Sakili and Ramon Villegas, who also presented the culture of the various indigenous inhabitants of Sulu. Also shown in the exhibit were archival photos, prints, trade ware ceramics, maps, jewelry, textiles, and ritual objects defense gathered from private collections and museum partners like the National Museum, Lopez Museum, and Ayala Museum. (Mindanao Examiner)