the web
March 19, 2001
| About Us | Home | myphilstar | myCalendar | StarMail | eCards | StarChat | Archives | Feedback |
The Market Place ; Only 18c/m calls!
In Association with
house ads house ads


Most people believe that the Sulu Archipelago has always been a no-man’s-island for Christians. But this is not true at all. One of the best books we have ever read on the history of Sulu was Dr. Sixto Orosa’s The Sulu Archipelago and Its People published way back in 1923. As far as we are concerned, it is still one of the most authoritative books on the Tausugs. It was written not only with a strong brotherly feeling for our Islamic brothers but with utmost respect and reverence for their culture. We believe that Orosa’s book is more relevant today than when it was published 77 years ago.

Dr. Orosa was assigned as resident physician of the Sulu Public Hospital and resided in Sulu for 17 years. Here is what he wrote of his initial experience in Jolo:

"Since Muslims had their own doctols, we had no patients at first. We waited and hoped, hoped and waited. Still no patients came. We began to feel disheartened. A week after our arrival in Jolo I narrowly escaped death at the hands of a juramentado offended by my soldier’s uniform. Shortly thereafter, my wife had the chilling experience of hearing and cry of ‘Juramentado! Juramentado!’ when she was alone at home. So this, we told ourselves, was the kind of life we faced. The temptation to pack our bags and leave immediately was very strong."

After two weeks with absolutely no patients, a prominent Tausug leader, Hadji Butu, got sick with abdominal pains and progressive debility. The Muslim doctols could not even alleviate his illness. Dr. Orosa said that he would give him an injection. The Islamic doctors consented but said, "If he dies, we’ll kill you!" Hadji was relieved of his pain.

News of the dramatic recovery spread like wildfire and, in no time, Dr. Orosa’s problem became how to treat the great number of patients who came to the government hospital.

Incidentally, Leonor Orosa Goquingco, National Artist for Dance, is the daughter of Dr. Sixto Orosa and she not only was born in Sulu, she spent the first 17 years of her life there. She quotes her father saying that during American times, Jolo was very, very clean and very beautiful. Writing of herself and her elder brother, she recalled, "Nene and I were the only children there, and the only Christians, our classmates being all Muslim and adult. We got along with them, however, and they accepted us. Though we led such a sheltered life, we found we could deal with the world quite effectively even as children. We were not scared of other people. Nene and I, of course, preferred each other’s company. We had grown up together; we were only a year apart in age; we had become very close. In school we helped each other in lessons; we had our own games; just the two of us. How could we play with our Muslim classmates when they were all so big and grownup?"

Dr. Sixto Orosa’s The Sulu Archipelago and Its People should be republished. Then, the present generation will see Jolo then and now.


Turo-turo, Click Now!