THE Tausug tribe are the defenders of the land. They are renowned for their resistance against the Spaniards and for 300 years they were not defeated.
Most of them dwell on the mountains, some are on flatland, but all of them now enjoy the peace they fought for and equally deserve.
The present-day Tausug is mainly the direct descendants of Islamized Buranon, Tagimha, Baklaya, and Badjaw. These Islamized people united as one and called themselves Tausug or “people of the Lupa Sug” (Land of the current, hence, they are also dubbed as the people of the current).
At present time, the population of the tribe is about 619,668 based on the National Statistics Office 2000 population census. The number of households reached 98,151 in 2000. The population density is 377.93 persons per square kilometer.
The tribe, which hails from the Sulu Archipelago, is known to be kind to guests and foreigners. Their religious passion helped them withstand the influence of Western colonization. Thus, throughout the Spanish period, the Tausug continued to develop their own culture from which they derive martabat (honor), the inner strength that inspired them to preserve and defend freedom of their hula, bangsa, and agama (country, nation, and ideology).
With regards to how they survived amid the changing times, the tribe is also best defined as great merchants, the same with the Chinese businessmen who propelled from hard work.
During the period of the sultanate, Sulu was the center of trade in the Philippines. Dr. Cesar Adib Majul said “trade had always been a life-line to Sulu which had to import most of its rice from Mindanao and nearby islands.”
Today, trade is still a major pillar of the Tausug economy, never having ceased since the period of the sultanate. Currently, Sulu directly imports rice, cement, blue seal cigarettes, tools, clothes, electronic products and other manufactured goods from Malaysia and Indonesia.
Presently, the major products of Sulu are seaweeds, fish, copra, cassava, abaca, and different types of fruits. About 80 percent of the Tausug engages in farming and 15 percent go into trading and services; only five percent work as government and private employees.
As the tribe puts high premium the love of one’s country, they are cohesive and concerned with the development as well as the defense of the country from both internal insurrection and foreign invasion. Their Hadith, Hubbul watan, is a reflection of the love of God; Muslim is joined to love all God’s creations as part of the expression of love for God.
In an interview with Davao City Tausug Deputy Mayor Masil Ahalul, he said that he wants young members of the tribe to go to school and have options on what career they want to pursue and be productive citizens of the country.
Even in modern times, the value they put on nationalism did not fade. They have fought for it and hence lived the goodness brought by it. Just like how they did in the past.