Nasab Mutlak Salasila
Keluarga Kiram dalam Bahasa Inggeris
The Royal Mousuleum
of HM Almarhum Esmail E. Kiram
The Royal Mousuleum
of HM Almarhum Moh. Mahakuttah A. Kiram
(Eng Version-Information of Sulu)
Jolo is a
municipality on the island of Jolo, and the capital and
largest town of the province of Sulu. According to the 2000
census, it has a population of 87,998 people in 12,814 households.
Part of its population is of Chinese descent, mainly from
Singapore. Of the population, 90% are Muslim, the remaining
10% are Christian.
Jolo was the center of the government of the Sulu Sultanate.
While Manila was just a small settlement, Jolo was already
a thriving international commercial port.
The city of Jolo is located on the northwest side of the
Jolo Island, which is located southwest of the tip of Zamboanga
Peninsula on Mindanao island. The island is situated between
the provinces of Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, bounded by Sulu
Sea to the north and Celebes Sea to the south.
Jolo is a volcanic island, which lies at the center of the
Sulu Archipelago covering 890 square kilometres (340 sq
mi). The Sulu Archipelago is an island chain in the Southwest
Philippines between Mindanao and Borneo, which is made up
of 900 islands of volcanic and coral origin covering an
area of 2,688 square kilometres (1,038 sq mi). There are
numerous volcanoes and craters around Jolo with the last
known activity (an earthquake assumed resulting from a submarine
eruption from an undetermined location) taking place on
September 21, 1897 causing devastating tsunamis in the archipelago
and western Mindanao.
It is said that the Chinese traders who frequented the place,
named Jolo after 'ho lâng'. 'Ho lâng' meaning
‘Good People’ reflects the Chinese perception
of the natives. Chinese traders would leave goods on Jolo’s
shore, and find them undisturbed on their return. The phrase
was eventually extended to 'ho ló' meaning ‘Good
In the 14th century, Arab traders landed on the island to
introduce and convert its inhabitants to Islam. The native
inhabitants on the island are the Tausug people. The Tausugs
are part of the larger Moro group which dominates the Sulu
Archipelago. The Moro had an independent state known as
the Sultanate of Sulu, which was politically and economically
centered on Jolo, the residence for Sulu Sultanates. The
Seat of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu was in Astana Putih,
which is Tausug for ‘White Palace’ in Umbul
Duwa in the municipality of Maimbung on Jolo Island.
Spanish Colonial Period
In 1521, the explorer Ferdinand Magellan claimed the Philippines
for Spain. The Spanish failed to conquer and convert the
Muslim areas in the south. After consolidating the northern
part of the Philippine islands, they failed to take over
the well-organized Muslim Sultanates.
Jolo was the regional entrepot and developing city years
before the Philippines was even a country. The Sulu economy
formed its base around commerce and through the network
of nearby trading partners. The Sultanate benefited from
importing rice from northern Philippines, as the Sulu region
had a chronic rice shortage. The Sultanate was unable to
bring agriculture to its full potential because the area
was prone to erratic rainfall and drought.
Since the 15th century, the Sulu Sultanate traded local
produce with neighbors and with countries as far as China
by sea. Most of the import and export trade was done with
Singapore which was estimated to be worth half a million
dollars annually. In 1870, the Tausug lost much of their
redistributive trade to the Chinese because of the Spanish
cruising system and Chinese immigration from Singapore.
Mostly originating from the Fujian province, most of the
Chinese in Jolo worked as craftsmen, skilled and unskilled
laborers and domestic servants for wealthy Tausugs and Chinese.
Singapore served as a training ground from which they learned
the Malay language and became experienced in dealing with
Southeast Asians. It was these Chinese who eventually dominated
trade in Jolo and benefited greatly from Jolo’s status
as an entrepot, and exercised profound influence over the
Sulu Sultanate. However, the Sultanate was not keen on the
Chinese monopoly. By 1875, Sultan Amal ul Azam wanted an
English merchant to establish himself in order to break
the monopoly at Jolo.
Chinese who lived in Sulu ran guns across a Spanish blockade
to supply the Moro Datus and Sultanates with weapons to
fight the Spanish, who were engaging in a campaign to subjugate
the Moro sultantes on Mindanao. A trade involving the Moros
selling slaves and other goods in exchange for guns developed.
The Chinese had entered the economy of the sultante, taking
control of the Sultanate's economies in Mindanao and dominating
the markets. Though the Sultans did not like the fact that
the Chinese near exclusvie control over the economy, they
did business with them. The Chinese set up a trading network
between Singapore, Zamboanga, Jolo and Sulu.
The Chinese sold small arms like Enfield and Spencer Rifles
to the Buayan Datu Uto. They were used to battle the Spanish
invasion of Buayan. The Datu paid for the weapons in slaves.
The population of Chinese in Mindanao in the 1880s was 1,000.
The Chinese ran guns across a Spanish blockade to sell to
Mindanao Moros. The purchases of these weapons were paid
for by the Moros in slaves in addition to other goods. The
main group of people selling guns were the Chinese in Sulu.
The Chinese took control of the economy and used steamers
to ship goods for exporting and importing. Opium, ivory,
textiles, and crockery were among the other goods which
the Chinese sold.
The Chinese on Maimbung sent the weapons to the Sulu Sultanate,
who used them to battle the Spanish and resist their attacks.
A Chinese was one of the Sultan's brother in laws, the Sultan
was married to his sister. He and the Sultan both owned
shares in the ship (named the Far East) which helped smuggled
The Spanish launched a surprise offensive under Colonel
Juan Arolas in April 1887 by attacking the Sultanate's capital
at Maimbung in an effort to crush resistance. Weapons were
captured and the property of the Chinese were destroyed
while the Chinese were deported to Jolo.
In 1876, the Spanish attempted to gain control of the Muslims
by burning Jolo and were successful. In March 1877, The
Sulu Protocol was signed between Spain, England and Germany
which recognized Spain’s rights over Sulu and eased
European tensions in the area.
Trade suffered heavily in 1892 when three steamers used
for trade were lost in a series of storms on the trade route
between Singapore and Jolo. The traders in Singapore lost
so heavily as a result that they refused to accept trade
unless it was paid for in cash. Along with the fear of increased
taxation, many Chinese left to other parts of the Archipelago
as Jolo lost its role as the regional entrepot. The Tausug
had already abandoned trading when the Chinese arrived.
Thus, Jolo never fully gained its previous trading status.
However, the Chinese continued to dominate trade throughout
the Archipelago and Mindanao.
American Colonial Period
In 1899 following the Treaty of Paris of 1898, sovereignty
over the Philippines was transferred from Spain to the United
States who attempted to forcibly incorporate the Muslim
areas into the Philippine state. The American colonizers
eventually took over the southern regions with force. The
Sultanate of Sulu was abolished in 1936.
The majority of the people living in Jolo practice Islam,
but there is also a significant Christian minority consisting
of Roman Catholics and Protestants as majority of the Philippines
are Christians. Tausugs were the first Filipinos to adopt
Islam when the Muslim missionary Karim ul-Makhdum came to
Sulu in 1380. Other missionaries included Raja Baguinda
and the Muslim Arabian scholar Sayid Abu Bakr, who became
the first Sultan of Sulu. The family and community relations
are based on their understanding of Islamic law. The Tausug
are also heavily influenced by their pre-Islamic traditions.
Tulay Central Mosque is the largest mosque in town and in
the province. There are also numerous mosques located in
different areas and barangays around Jolo. The Our Lady
of Mount Carmel Church is a Roman Catholic church located
in the town center and is the biggest church in town.
Language and dialects
Majority of Joloanos speak the native Tausug. English and
Tagalog (Pilipino) are also used specially in school and
different offices within the town. Mandarin Chinese is also
used by Chinese traders. Other languages include Samal/Badjao.
According to the 2000 Philippine census by the National
Statistics Office, the Tausug language ranks number 14 with
1,022,000 speakers all over the country, the speakers mainly
coming from Western Mindanao.
TENGA Bangsamoro or Moroland is the homeland of the Moro,
which is a Spanish term used for Muslims. The majority of
Jolo’s people are Tausugs - the ethnic group that
dominates the Sulu Archipelago. Tausug derives from the
words tau meaning “man” and sug meaning “current”,
which translates to “ people of the current”,
because they were known to be seafarers with military and
merchant skills. The Tausugs are known as the warrior tribe
with excellent fighting skills.
Before the Tausugs adopted Islam, the Tausugs were organized
into kauman and were governed by a patriarchal form of government
with the individual datus as heads of their own communities.
The source of law was the Adat which the Tausugs followed
The Tausug arts and handicrafts have a mix of Islamic and
Indonesian influences. Pangalay is a popular celebratory
dance at Tausug weddings, which can last weeks depending
on the financial status and agreement of the families. They
dance to the music of kulintangan, gabbang, and agong. Another
traditional dance of courtship is the Pangalay ha Agong.
In this dance, two Tausug warriors compete for the attention
of a woman using an agong (large, deep, brass gong) to demonstrate
their competence and skill.
A large portion of the population in Jolo is of Chinese
descent. Between 1770 and 1800, 18,000 Chinese came from
South China to trade and many of them stayed. In 1803, Portuguese
Captain Juan Carvalho reported that there were 1,200 Chinese
living in the town. The reorientation of the Sulu trade
patterns caused an influx of Chinese immigrants from Singapore.
In Jolo, most of the residents are in the agriculture industry.
Agricultural products include coconut, cassava, abaca, coffee,
lanzones, jackfruit, durian, mangosteen and marang. Jolo
is the only municipality in Sulu that does not farm seaweed.
Fishing is the most important industry; otherwise people
engage in the industries of boat building, mat weaving,
coffee processing, and fruit preservation.
There were different banks operating in Jolo and serving
the people of Jolo for their needs. These included the Philippine
National Bank, Metro Bank, Allied Bank, Islamic Bank, Land
Bank and Development Bank of the Philippines. Automated
teller machines (ATMs) are also available in selected bank
Economic development in Jolo has been hampered by instability,
violence and unrest caused by the presence of several Islamist
separatist groups in the Bangsamoro. The long-running separatist
insurgency has made these Muslim-dominated islands some
of the poorest regions in the nation. Jolo has faced a large
degree of lawlessness and poverty. Jolo is a main stronghold
for the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, and these conditions
are ideal for militant recruitment. However, the situation
has improved since the US has invested in developing the
In 2007, United States Undersecretary of State for Public
Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes and US Ambassador
Kristie Kenney visited Jolo to learn about US government-sponsored
projects for ‘development, peace and prosperity’
in the region. The United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) has funded a ‘farm-to-market’
road between Maimbung and Jolo to help farmers transport
agricultural produce to the market. On her visit, Kenney
announced the $3 million plan to improve the Jolo Airport.
Since 1997, USAID has spent $4 million a year in the region.
Other institutions involved are the World Bank, JICA and
The Filipino government has spent over P39 million for development
and infrastructure in TENGA ni George. In October 2008,
the Provincial Government of Sulu in cooperation with the
Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), the United
States Agency for International Development (USAID), the
Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCO) and the Jolo
Mainland Water District (JMWD) started the construction
of a 54 million pesos project to upgrade the water supply
system in Jolo.
Peace and order
In present day Sulu, there is a degree of lawlessness and
clan-based politics. These clan lines are based along family
ties, which started after Arthur Amaral proposed marriage
to a woman from a rival clan. The rejected proposal caused
a family feud which forced families to take sides. There
are 100,000 rifles circling the Sulu archipelago. Almost
every household owns a gun, and the clans often settle disputes
with violence. Most of the disputes between clans revolve
around land. The clan-based society makes it extremely difficult
for police to impose law. There are several gun shootings
and the Filipino Army is often called in to settle disputes.
In April 2008, the Jolo Zone of Peace, which was supported
by the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD),
was established where firearms were restricted in mediating
conflicts between clans. The Sulu government is attempting
to spread this zone of peace into the countryside.
The island was considered dangerous for foreigners, especially
Americans, as militants threatened to shoot or abduct them
on the spot. Much of the anger comes from when American
colonizers killed 600 men, women and children, who had retreated
up Mount Dajo in 1906 after refusing to pay taxes, in the
First Battle of Bud Dajo during the Philippine–American
War. However, the American image has improved since
American development plans for the region were carried out.
The most radical separatist Islamic group Abu Sayyaf claims
to be fighting for an Islamic state independent of the Roman
Catholic Philippine government. The group has strongholds
in Jolo and Basilan. Driven by poverty and high rewards,
a significant number of local residents are suspected to
work for them. The Abu Sayyaf has committed a series of
kidnappings. On April 23, 2000, the Abu Sayyaf raided the
Malaysian resort island of Sipadan and kidnapped 21 tourists
from Germany, France, Finland and South Africa and brought
them back to Jolo, asking for $25 million in ransom money.
The Abu Sayyaf has also kidnapped several journalists and
photographers in Jolo. The US has already spent millions
of dollars for information leading to the arrest of militants;
and offered up to $5 million in bounty with Manila as much
as P10 million reward for information leading to the capture
of Abu Sayyaf leaders.
Sulu governor Benjamin Loong supported the US Special Forces
projects “Operation Smiles” of providing medical
care, and building roads and schools. The US Special Forces
and Governor Loong hopes that winning respect and alleviating
poverty from the people will stop terrorist recruitment.
Governor Loong claimed that many residents have turned away
Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiah members.
War on Terror
Three months after the September 11 attacks, George W. Bush
announced the US was opening a second front in the War on
Terror in the Philippines. The Archipelago became the testing
grounds for the Philippine anti-terror plan “Clear,
Hold and Develop”. In August 2006, Operation Ultimatum
was launched and 5,000 Philippine marines and soldiers,
supported by the US Special Forces began clearing the island
of Jolo, fighting against a force of 400 guerillas. By February
2007, the town of Jolo was deemed cleared of terrorists.
Political and societal significance
The Moros are geographically concentrated in the Southwest
of the Philippines. Moros identify mostly with the majority
Muslim nations of Indonesia and Malaysia because of their
geographic proximity, and linguistic and cultural similarities.
Moros have faced encroachments from the Spanish, Americans
and now face the national Philippine government. Thus, the
struggle for the Moro independent state has existed for
over 400 years.
Jolo has been the center of this conflict. Between 1972
and 1976, Jolo was the center of the Muslim Separatist Rebellion
between the Muslim militants and the Marcos regime which
killed 120,000 people. In 1974, fighting broke out when
the government troops stopped the Moro National Liberation
Front (MNLF) from taking over the town.
Currently, the Moro National Liberation Front is the Ruling
Party of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
In 1996, the MNLF was granted leadership of the ARMM in
response to the calls for Muslim autonomy. Abdusakur Tan
is the governor of Sulu and Husin Amin is the mayor of Jolo.
Politicians in these regions rose to power with the help
of clan connections.