For the past few decades after modernization in the country started, old traditions absorbed more normative and modern ones. Such a phenomenon has been long feared and preservation has been compromised. For example, matrimony and marriage has undergone dramatic traditional changes that even their rituals show modern traces. Efforts on preserving and even restoring traditions have been taken into consideration.
Despite modernization and its effects to the moro communities, it is interesting to note how the Tausug, a tribe of the Bangsamoro, was able to preserve an entirely unique tradition. Such an event is still notable in some Tausug communities in the South.
The event is categorized under annual rituals which celebrates how the tribe came into the waters.
Tausug communities are packed and are built on the sea. Their houses are quite simple and are raised from the surface by stilts. They usually come in pentagonal figures, all with nine posts. These stilts or posts are very important for they, with the house itself, constitute the body and being of the Tausug people and their origins. Each post stand for nine important body parts.
The Tausug home resembles the human body as shown in the diagram. The significant parts of the body namely: the head, the heart, the stomach, the navel, the reproductive organ, the arms, and the legs, are represented by the nine stilts of the Tausug home.
As a Tausug home is built, a rope which resembles the umbilical chord, is tied to a nearby tree. After nine months, the rope is cut. Such a tradition is holy because it is a ritual held to celebrate the tribe’s origins. The cutting of the rope resembles birth, of course. And the first nine months of the gestation period of humans is well represented by the first few months of the built home until the rope is cut. The womb is the tree which is part of the earth. This shows that the Tausug still consider the earth as their mother though they spend most of their lives at sea.
Tausugs are considered as the people of the current which reflects their close ties to the sea. Their name came from tau (people) and mai sug (brave), which literally means brave people. Hence, they live by their name. Tausugs are known by their bravery, independence, and their love for adventure. They are fighters and good sailors.
Tausugs were the first one to embrace the Islam religion. By the time Islam was introduced, they served as models by practicing Islam culture in their lifestyle and their political structure. As this led to the Islamization of the whole island, Tausug sultans were sent to other islands to spread the Islam religion, which paved way to the scattering of their group to Palawan, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Zamboanga, and even up to Sabah.
Tausug communities observe the structure of a sultanate, wherein they are led by a sultan. The sultan is then aided by a group of datus. The next sultan is chosen based on genealogy or being a direct relative of the Muhammad.
Tausugs inhabit the town of Jolo, the largest town in the island of Sulu. There are about 50,000 Tausugs at present. Statistics showed that about half of their total population is literate.
Tausugs use the Tausug language as their main mode of communication. This language is similar to that of the Butuanon and the Kamayo of the northeastern part of Mindanao. Tausug language is divided into certain dialects such Parianun and the Gimbahanun.