Monthly Archives: December 2011

Home-made cocoa cookies sprinkled with powdered sugar

We wanted a different take on our oatmeal cookies, so we decided to add cocoa powder into our mixture. One afternoon my siblings and I enjoyed our home-made cocoa cookies sprinkled with powdered sugar.A niece about the age of 9 was around who we learne…

Home-made butter cookies

We have enough of oatmeal cookies and its variations. One afternoon, upon the prodding of my wife, we baked butter cookies. As the we were cooking it in the oven nutty smell came out. As we read the margarine ingredients, we found out the manufacturer …

Creamy ommelette

To add creaminess to our morning omelette, we add all purpose cream into a mixture of two eggs, tomato and onion cube slices.

Steamed bitter gourd and carrots

We found out that we fry more than anything else. One dinner, we decided to stay away from frying and instead steamed our veggies – bitter gourd and carrots. We run out of oyster sauce. For this dish we decided to sprinkle it with teriyaki sauce. …

Steamed tomato and broccoli in oyster sauce

This was long overdue in our promise to keep our diet healthy. One night I prepared steamed ripe tomatoes (cut into 4 pieces) and broccoli (which we have brought earlier from our village market).We steamed it with butter it until ‘al dente’ as the Ital…

Steamed red grouper in soy and oyster sauces

My wife and I learned from a master chef recently a technique on how to prepare steamed fish without breaking its consistency. One evening we decided to put it to test.She had a good time ‘fattening’ our fish (red grouper) with hot water. When this was…

Squid adobo

We were fortunate to spy on a bunch of fresh squids in our village market. It was decided we will prepare squid adobo. My version is to soften the squid meat in soy sauce with mashed garlic. while the meat is soften, I prepare a sauce that will give it…

Steamed tuna tikka masala

It runs in the blood. Being of Punjabi descent means all the spices associated with South Asia. When we visited Dhakka several months ago, on my ‘to buy list’ were packed spices and sauces from the Indian subcontinent. Today, we decided to prepare…

Veggie and dried squid curry stew

Curry dishes have become a favorite to cook and to be served at home. Today we had in-laws visiting. So we roll out one of our curry dishes – Veggies and dried squid curry stew.Veggies – Squash, string beans and aubergine Herbs – Spring onion…


Nuro CES Grandstand, Upi, MaguindanaoA minute ago, the horizon is clearA minute past and nothing in that direction is visibleAs the fog dawn before our usThere’s inexplicable feelingCold sweeping through our skinImmaculate white clouds enveloped u…


This is the old church in Parang, Maguindanao, taken on our way to Lanao Sur. Faith is a matter of personal convictionNot enforced nor politicizedNot even driven from the pulpitThe next time we see a religious symbolWe should instead look inside o…

Beyond myopia

Often we just look at ourselvesWe care not beyondIf only we care toWe can see the multitude Sometimes even better than us

Real you

Late Morning at Abreeza (Ayala) Mall, Davao CityYou need not be like the rest.Be who you really areThen you will shineNot for being the sameBut for being different.

Different and beautiful

Abreeza (Ayala) Mall, Davao CityWe don’t need to be the strongest to be on top.We maybe the weakest physically, but aesthetically outstandingTo be on top sometimes require us to be different from the rest.Being different is beautiful.


assalamualaikum.. :)malam ni.. penuh dengan fikiran. macam-macam. tentang cuci kaki masuk ke dewan yang bakal kusyurgai agar terpaut hati anak-anak itu kekal di dalamnya, tentang kata-kata yang kurang baik yang ternyata menjadi doa tidak termakbul.. me…

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A Healthy Body, leads to a Healthy Islamic Life!

Who says you have to be part of the Varsity team to have a healthy life style? UVPN-Lanao will try to prove that statement wrong!Taking a pose after the tiring gameAs part of developing physical fitness among UVPNians, applicants, aspirants and members…

UVPN Sends Delegates for Peace Caravan in Davao

Twelve (12) UVPNians attended the Peace Caravan entitled Mindanao Peace Youth Festival with a theme “Raising Voices for Peace: A Youth Culture and Arts Festival for Peace ” organized by Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC) in Davao City, Davao del Sur last De…


bila tak bertemu ketenangan di rumah yang seharusnya disyurgai.. aku sedang perhati.. mengasihani situasi yang dia jalani sehari-hari.. habisi masanya di luar.. rumah hanya untuk lena.. ya allah.. pengetahuanku setakat itu.. menyebabkan jatuh kasihan…..

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UNDERSTANDING BANGSAMORO INDEPENDENCE                                                                  AS A MODE OF SELF-DETERMINATION

[Paper delivered during the Forum on Mindanao Peace sponsored by the University of the Philippines in Mindanao Department of Social Sciences, the Philippine Development Assistance Programme and the Association of Mindanao State University Alumni on February 28, 2002 at its City Campus, Iñigo St., Davao City, Philippines.]

Abhoud Syed M. Lingga

I would like to thank the University of the Philippines in Mindanao, the Philippine Development Assistance Programme and the Association of Mindanao State University Alumni for the invitation to share with you some thoughts on the issue of Bangsamoro independence. As a mode of self-determination, independence occupies, and will always occupy, space in the discourse on the Mindanao Problem since it is the core issue in the struggle of the Bangsamoro people for self-determination.
I am happy that this issue is given separate treatment in forum like this outside the circle of the Bangsamoro people. Discussion on issues of independence, autonomy and federalism in the search for solution to the Mindanao Problem will certainly contribute positively in the quest for peace in Mindanao.
Right to Self-determination
The right to self-determination is the collective right of a people to determine their own future free of any outside interference or coercion. It includes the right to determine their political status and to freely pursue their economic, social, spiritual and cultural development.

In the exercise of that right, people at one end can demand and pursue within the nation state more political power, active participation in the decision making and administration of government affairs, equitable redistribution of economic benefits, and appropriate ways of preserving and protecting their culture and way of life. On the other end, they have also the right to organize their own sovereign and independent state with the right to international recognition.
The United Nations declaration on decolonization states, “All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”.
As a people, the Bangsamoro possess the right to self-determination. Both the Philippine government and the MILF recognize that right. Paragraph B (1) of the Agreement on Peace Between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, otherwise known as the Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001, signed on June 22, 2001 in Tripoli, Libya, provides:
“The observance of international humanitarian law and respect for internationally recognized human rights instruments and the protection of evacuees and displaced persons in the conduct of their relations reinforce the Bangsamoro people’s fundamental right to determine their own future and political status.”(Emphasis supplied)
The use of the word “reinforce” implies that “the Bangsamoro people’s fundamental right to determine their future and political status” exists even before the signing of the agreement. Negotiated and signed in the presence of foreign dignitaries in foreign country made that recognition with international character.
The recognition of the “aspirations of the Bangsamoro people for freedom” (Paragraph B (2) of the above cited document) substantiates the legitimacy of their right to self-determination.
Having also a long history of independence in the same territory they now occupy and possessing distinct identity and culture, in the assertion of their right of self-determination the Bangsamoro people choose to regain their independence. Both the liberation fronts and the civil society movement share the vision of reemergence of the Bangsamoro state and government in their homeland
History of Independence
The historical experience of the Bangsamoro people in statehood and governance started as early as the middle of the 15th century when Sultan Sharif ul-Hashim established the Sulu Sultanate. This was followed by the establishment of the Magindanaw Sultanate in the early part of the 16th century by Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuwan. The Sultanate of Buayan and the Pat a Pangampong ko Ranao (Confederation of the Four Lake-based Emirates) and other political subdivisions were organized later.

By the time the Spanish colonialists arrived in the Philippines the Muslims of Mindanao, Sulu – Tawi-Tawi archipelago and the islands of Basilan and Palawan had already established their own states and governments with diplomatic and trade relations with other countries including China. Administrative and political system based on the realities of the time existed in those states. In fact it was the existence of the well-organized administrative and political system that the Bangsamoro people managed to survive the military campaign against them by Western colonial powers for several centuries and preserve their identity as a political and social organization.
For centuries the Spanish colonial government attempted to conquer the Muslim states to subjugate their political existence and to add the territory to the Spanish colonies in the Philippine Islands but history tells us that it never succeeded. The Bangsamoro states with their organized maritime forces and armies succeeded in defending the Bangsamoro territories thus preserving the continuity of their independence.
That is why it is being argued, base on the logic that you cannot sell something you do not possess, that the Bangsamoro territories are not part of what where ceded by Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris of 1898 because Spain had never exercise sovereignty over these areas.
The Bangsamoro resistance against attempts to subjugate their independence continued even when US forces occupied some areas in Mindanao and Sulu. At this time the resistance of the Bangsamoro governments was not as fierce as during the Moro-Spanish wars but group-organized guerrilla attacks against American forces and installations reinforced what remained of the sultanates’ military power. Even individual Bangsamoro showed defiance against American occupation of their homeland by attacking American forces in operation called prang sabil (martyrdom seeking operation).
Opposition to Annexation
When the United States government promised to grant independence to the Philippine Islands, the Bangsamoro leaders registered their strong objection to be part of the Philippine republic. In a petition to the president of the United States dated June 9, 1921, the people of Sulu archipelago said that they would prefer being part of the United States rather than to be included in an independent Philippine nation.
In the Declaration of Rights and Purposes, the Bangsamoro leaders meeting in Zamboanga on February 1, 1924, proposed that the “Islands of Mindanao and Sulu, and the Island of Palawan be made an unorganized territory of the United States of America” in anticipation that in the event the US will decolonize its colonies and other non-self governing territories the Bangsamoro homeland would be granted separate independence. Had it happened, the Bangsamoro would have regained by now their independence under the UN declaration on decolonization. Their other proposal was that if independence had to be granted including the Bangsamoro territories, 50 years after Philippine independence a plebiscite be held in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan to decide by vote whether the territory would be incorporated in the government of the Islands of Luzon and Visayas, remain a territory of the United States, or become independent. The 50 years period ended in 1996 the same year the Final Agreement on the Implementation of the Tripoli Agreement was signed by the MNLF and the Philippine government. The leaders warned that if no provision of retention under the United States was made, they would declare an independent constitutional sultanate to be known as Moro Nation.

The opposition against annexation continued. On March 18, 1935, the datus of Lanao met in Dansalan (now Marawi City) and appealed to the United States government and the American people not to include Mindanao and Sulu in the grant of independence to the Filipinos.
Continuing Assertion
Even after their territories were made part of the Philippine nation state after it gained independence from the United States in 1946, the Bangsamoro people continue to assert their right to independence. They consider the annexation of their homeland as illegal and immoral since it was done without their plebiscitary consent.
The armed resistance of Kamlon was the manifestation of protest in response to the usurpation of their sovereign right as a people. And to show their strong desire to regain independence through all possible means, Congressman Ombra Amilbangsa filed House Bill No. 5682 during the fourth session of the Fourth Congress that sought the granting and recognition of the independence of Sulu, even knowing that it would not pass Congress since there were only few Muslim members. Then on May 1, 1968, Governor Datu Udtog Matalam of Cotabato issued the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM) manifesto calling for the independence of Mindanao and Sulu to be known and referred to as the Republic of Mindanao and Sulu..
When it became evident that it would not be possible to regain independence within the framework of the Philippine nation state system, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was organized to complement the political struggle with military force. When the MNLF accepted autonomy within the framework of Philippine sovereignty a faction of the MNLF separated and formed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to continue the struggle for independence.
Even the Bangsamoro civil society, through peaceful and democratic means, joins the campaign for independence. The 1,070,697 delegates to the First Bangsamoro People’s Consultative Assembly (BPCA) held on December 3-5, 1996 in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao were unanimous in calling for reestablishment of the Bangsamoro state and government.

The Second Bangsamoro People’s Consultative Assembly held on June 1-3, 2001 at the same place, this time attended by 2,627,345 delegates from all over the Bangsamoro homeland, including representatives of non-Muslim indigenous communities, unanimously declared that “the only just, meaningful, and permanent solution to the Mindanao Problem is the complete independence of the Bangsamoro people and the territories they now actually occupy from the Republic of the Philippines.”

Bangsamoro leaders, headed by Sultan Abdul Aziz Guiwan Mastura Kudarat IV of the Sultanate of Magindanaw, meeting in Cotabato City on January 28, 2001 expressed their strong desire to regain the Bangsamoro independence. The Declaration of Intent and Manifestation of Direct Political Act they issued states:
“As sovereign individuals, we believe that the Bangsamoro people’s political life, as matters stand, call for an OIC-sponsored or UN-supervised referendum in the interest of political justice to decide once and for all:
To remain as an autonomous region
To form a state of federated union
To become an independent state”
Bangsamoro, Not Filipino
The feeling of having distinct identity and culture reinforces the political consciousness of being separate from the Filipinos. Historical documents show that the Bangsamoro people have distinct identity. This was the reason why the US organized the Moro Province as a separate administrative unit to administer the Bangsamoro territories.

The MIM manifesto asserts that the Muslims’ culture and history are distinct from the Filipinos. That feeling of separateness is still strong until now as we can read in placards and streamers during rallies and demonstrations saying, “We are not Filipinos, we are Bangsamoro”.

Even the Philippine government acknowledges their distinct identity. The Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001 in several occasions refers to the Muslim inhabitants of Mindanao, Sulu – Tawi-Tawi archipelago and the islands of Basilan and Palawan as Bangsamoro people and they occupy a definite territory referred to in the document as Bangsamoro homeland. This was a total departure from the usual reference as “Muslim Filipinos” or “Muslims in the Philippines,” and “Southern Philippines” when referring to their place of domicile.

Democratic Approach
It now becomes clear to all of us that the fundamental issue in the Mindanao Problem that has to be addressed is the continuing assertion of the Bangsamoro people of their right to independence. No doubt that the problems of mass poverty, neglect and underdevelopment and other social inequities should ultimately be addressed but it should be after the issue on the political status of the Bangsamoro people is settled. It should be noted that all these economic and social problems had taken roots when the Bangsamoro homeland was illegally annexed to the Philippine nation-state.

In addressing this issue, there is within the democratic space a mechanism that can be used. The decision whether to be free and independent or not has to be made by the Bangsamoro people themselves. This can be done through referendum, a universally accepted means of settling political conflicts, like the case of East Timor. It is also resorted to in determining the will of the people on certain political issue, like when the Province of Quebec organized a referendum to decide on the issue of sovereignty, which would pave the way for the separation of the province from Canada.

The Philippine government and the MILF, as well as countries that witnessed the signing of the Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001, recognized the need for referendum as a method of peaceful resolution of the Mindanao conflict. The agreement provides:
“The negotiations and peaceful resolution of the conflict must involve consultations with the Bangsamoro people free of any imposition in order to provide chances of success and open new formulas that permanently respond to the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people for freedom.” (Emphasis supplied)
The document mentions of consultations, and referendum is the universally accepted method of doing it. It is the peaceful and democratic way to conduct consultations free from imposition.
To address all issues, it is preferable to widen the range of choice, rather than confine the choice to “yes” or “no” to independence, to include questions on whether the Bangsamoro people want to be free and independent, a federated relationship with the Philippines, a federated relationship with the United States as earlier proposed by the leaders during the American occupation, a federated relationship with any Muslim country in the region with whom they share common cultural, religious, political and social ties in the past, or maintain the status quo of autonomous relationship.

The referendum shall be held in areas where the Bangsamoro people presently occupy. This includes the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Cotabato, Marawi and Isabela. There are also towns in the provinces of Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Palawan that should be included, subject for discussion with the people in the areas. Territories that will vote for independence shall constitute the separate independent Bangsamoro state.
The referendum has to be supervised by the UN in order to be credible in the eyes of the Bangsamoro people, the Filipino people and the international community. Common sense dictates that a party to a conflict cannot be credible to conduct or supervise such political exercise. The UN is the best body to oversee that the result of the referendum is respected and implemented. If there will be a need, the UN can organize its force to disarm those who will refuse to respect and implement the sovereign will of the Bangsamoro people.
Options for Christians and Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao
Although the whole of Mindanao, Sulu – Tawi-Tawi archipelago, the islands of Basilan and Palawan are the traditional homeland of the Bangsamoro people, the demographic reality is that they now share the territories with the Christian settler communities and the Indigenous People. In the spirit of justice and human brotherhood, the Bangsamoro people recognize the right of the two communities to self-determination. If they will opt to exercise that right and decide to secede from the Philippines and establish their own governments, the delegates to the Second BPCA commit to recognize and support any peaceful and democratic efforts to achieve that.

Having three independent states in Mindanao – for the Bangsamoro, the Indigenous People and the Christian settler communities – may be better because each can address the specific and unique needs of their citizenry. But being independent from each other cannot prevent them to cooperate on areas of common concern and matters of mutual benefits, like development of shared resource, in the fields of international relations, trade and regional security.
If the other two communities prefer to remain part of the Philippines then that decision has to be respected.
Independent Bangsamoro State
An independent Bangsamoro state shall be founded on the principles of freedom, democracy, equality of all men and women, respect to religious and political beliefs, and adherence to universal human rights.
System of Government
The system of government to be adopted shall be determined by the Bangsamoro people themselves. A provisional government shall see to the drafting of a constitution and to its adoption.
The constitution shall include a bill of human rights and freedom, and recognition of every region’s right of self-governance.
Rights of Citizens and Residents
Residents of the territory at the time of independence shall be the citizens of the Bangsamoro state. They shall enjoy equal rights, privileges and obligations. They will have rights to suffrage, ownership of properties, practice of their religious beliefs and participation in public affairs.

Residents who will prefer to remain citizens of the Philippines after independence can choose whether to remain as permanent resident alien or move to Philippine territory with the right to bring with them all their properties. For their immovable properties they can sell them to private individuals or opt for government compensation.
International Conventions and Agreements
The Bangsamoro government shall assume the obligations and enjoy the rights arising out of international conventions to which the Philippines is a signatory, in accordance with the rules of international law. Multilateral and bilateral agreements signed by the Philippines that directly apply to the territories of the Bangsamoro state shall be honored.
Special Relationship with the Philippines
Through treaties, the independent Bangsamoro state can have special relationship with the Philippines, like for example on development of shared resource, exploitation of resources to benefit from economy of scale, flow of goods and services, movements of their citizens, regional security, and other concerns.
Continuity of Laws
Laws passed by the Congress of the Philippines that specifically apply in the territory of the Bangsamoro state at the time of independence shall remain in force until amended or repealed by the Bangsamoro legislative body.
Pensions payable to retirees shall continue to be paid by the Bangsamoro government according to the same terms and conditions. Permits, franchises and authorizations that have been issued shall remain in force until their expiry.
Apportionment of Properties and Debts
The Bangsamoro government may conclude agreements with the Philippines on matters relating to the apportionment of properties and debts of the Philippines.
Win-win Option
A political commitment on the part of the Philippine government to allow the holding of referendum under the supervision of the United Nations after an agreed period of time to finally decide on whether the Bangsamoro people want independence or not will be a win-win option. It will ultimately resolve the Mindanao Problem since it will put to rest the issue of the political status of the Bangsamoro people. It will certainly redound to the good of the Filipinos and the Bangsamoro people because it will put an end to a war that causes the death of tens of thousands, displacement of millions from their homes, division of people and the drain of the economic resources of the Philippines.

If the budget spent to wage the war in Mindanao is spent for infrastructures, education and other social services, there will be more farm to market roads, bridges, school buildings for our children, hospitals and health centers, and more teachers to teach in the rural areas, and doctors and nurses to attend to the sick.
We should be reminded that sovereignty and territorial boundaries are not sacred that they cannot be re-configured. Historical events and contemporary realities tell us that sovereignty and territories shift from time to time whether through bloody wars or peaceful means. The experiences of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and other countries are recent to remind us that territorial boundaries can change to respond to people’s political aspirations.

Countries that respond to this aspiration without resorting to war develop tremendously, like the case of the separation of Singapore from the federation of Malaysia, while those who continuously deny the people’s fundamental right of self-determination suffer economic stagnation and remain nation divided.
Statesmanship of leaders are not measured on how bloody and how long they can suppress people’s right to freedom and independence but how they see through that these people enjoy this fundamental human right. History is never been kind to leaders who do not hesitate to use the might of the state apparatus to repress people’s aspiration to be free.

If the only road to peace will lead us to political division, without hesitation we should bravely tread that road. It is better to live in peace under two nations rather than to live in one nation without peace.

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The Fake Sultans of Sulu: Satu Pendedahan Ngeri!!

Dipetik dari posting seorang yang bernama Mulid Sahaya bertarikh 15 Disember 2011, yang diberi tajuk “The Fake Sultans of Sulu”. Blog ini telah disebar secara meluas dalam komuniti Tausug di Facebook (FB). Data dala…

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I have been busy lately, lying in bed for hours on end, afflicted with some strange catatonia, contemplating on “What could have been…”

What started out as a very positive year is winding out into what I would swear as the worst year of my life. This is not overstating some facts. I died twice this year. My mother was my world to me. I died with her in September. Two month later, as cinema is life to me, I died again after making a catastrophic film that was, at the very start, a journey on a long road to perdition. All the signs pointed to these directions – my mother’s long stays in the hospital and my constant indecisions in making Cartas de la Soledad – but full of optimism and hope as I always have, well, with the help of mood stabilizers and antidepressants I tried to ignore them. Now they have taken their toll on me. So here I am, still in bed, at five in the afternoon. Thanks to a Bluetooth enabled keyboard I don’t need to walk to my iMac across the room. In the kitchen I could hear some utensils falling on the floor. My cats are having a field day. Captivated by the juicy redness of the fruits of the curacao (tambis) tree, some kids took turns the whole afternoon climbing the tree at the gate. On normal days I would have shouted at them, but now, who cares. Let them have it. The house is a mess. A pigsty would smell so much better. But who’s complaining.

As I’ve said everything was not this grey. The year rolled out to be promising. I traveled around Mindanao as a facilitator for a workshop to help kids in crisis (talk about irony). I went to two international film festivals. I revived this blog and wrote on a constant basis during the first quarter of the year. When I got the grant to make my disastrous sophomore film my entries became infrequent as I busied myself with preparations on the film. I would update my five readers about these preparations every now and then. I shot my film. But the initial shoot was problematic. I dropped some of my crewmembers, made enemies of friends (all my relationships are crumbling anyway, so again, who cares?) and changed location. My mother was in and out of the hospital during this time. She would constantly ask where I was. “Tell your brother to visit me,” my sister would recall, “and perhaps he can bring me a box of prunes.” When she died I was paralyzed. I was already in post-production then. I was editing my film but all creative energies evaporated into thin air. Finally I had to be rescued by “my knight in shining grey MacBook Pro.” Unlike my first film, Cartas de la Soledad was technically problematic. Sound was the greatest problem. I was supposed to have it sound designed by my past designer but when he told me about this film on a drug mule where he was asked to sound design the film for less than a week but he declined, I took it as a hint and went to other people. That proved to be a fatal mistake.  Lacking in discipline and creative solutions, the new sound designer always wanted short cuts. So problematic scenes were dubbed even if simple snipping would have done the trick. I instructed cast members not to deliver lines if they hear any distraction like a passing vehicle or airplane. So unnecessary noise could easily be taken away. Nah! He chose ambient sound that was flat and too generic. As one viewer commented during the gala, the images of the film were gorgeous. The sound, “never mind.” I was almost sued because of this film but I will not talk about it lest I invite a lawsuit again. If there’s anything that I was able to prove in this film, it is that I’m a writer first and foremost. Jury members were impressed with my screenplay. The delegate generale of the Cannes Film Festival who sat in the jury gave his vote for best screenplay to the film. But this would not change the fact that I’m not happy with this film. It’s one of those things that you would want to sweep under the rug, or hide in your closet along with XXX porn magazines and DVDs. What could have been a nice addition to my filmography is now shitty pants in an MRT during rush hour for everybody to smell and judge.

I have been busy lately alright, lying in bed for hours on end, afflicted with some strange catatonia, contemplating on “What a shitty year this has been.” I hope 2012 would be more generous and kind. 

Re-measuring Poverty: Poverty Incidence to Fall Due to Data Manipulation To show that fewer Filipinos are poor, the government devised a clever way of re-measuring poverty.With the new calculations, “the annual per capita poverty threshold in 2006 (went down) to P13,635 from P15,057 under the old methodology. The threshold for 2003 dropped to P11,197 from P12,309″, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) . In other […]


nampak je serabut.. eh memang serabut.. tapi masih ada sebab untuk teruskan senyum dari bibir yang ALLAH beri ni.. boleh lagi sebab.. innalillahiwainnailaihirojiun.. pesan Rasulullah SAW.. aku mohon supaya musibah hati ini diberi pahala oleh ALLAH…

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MNLF, MILF cari kesepakatan
Oleh Meor Hisham Zulkifli


KUALA LUMPUR: Usaha pada peringkat politik supaya penduduk Islam di Selatan Filipina bersatu dipercayai dapat menghapuskan keganasan dan penculikan warga asing di rantau berkenaan dan ia mampu dicapai dengan bantuan kerajaan menerusi program pembangunan di situ.

Ini dilihat menerusi penyertaan Barisan Pembebasan Kebangsaan Moro (MNLF) dan Barisan Pembebasan Islam Moro (MILF) yang giat berunding dengan Manila selain mengambil kira semula pengaruh salasilah Kesultanan Sulu ke arah membentuk kerajaan autonomi serantau yang benar-benar kukuh.

Waris Kesultanan Sulu, Sultan Jamalul D Kiram III, memaklumkan kata sepakat hampir dicapai antara tiga pihak itu yang diyakini memperkukuh perpaduan penduduk Islam di Selatan Filipina sekali gus menamatkan keganasan dan penculikan yang sering dikaitkan dengan rantau itu.
“Andai semua pihak dapat bekerjasama dan saling bertolak ansur, kita yakin masyarakat Islam dapat bersatu hati bagi menangkis anasir yang sering memporak perandakan kawasan selatan.

“Selama ini, penduduk berpecah belah dan berpuak-puak mengizinkan anasir luar mengambil kesempatan dengan melakukan keganasan serta penculikan sehingga menjejas dan memburukkan imej masyarakat Islam di rantau ini,” katanya kepada wartawan Berita Harian di Manila, baru-baru ini.

Pergolakan di selatan Filipina sejak 1970-an menyebabkan pembangunan di kawasan berkenaan tidak dapat dilaksanakan berikutan kegiatan pemisah dan pelampau yang melakukan keganasan serta aktiviti melanun.

Jamalul berkata, perpaduan menjadi kunci untuk merungkai perkara lebih besar seperti usaha membangunkan Selatan Filipina yang kaya dengan hasil semula jadi menerusi kerjasama dengan beberapa negara jiran termasuk Malaysia.
“Masih banyak perkara yang perlu diselesaikan termasuk aspek persempadanan dengan Malaysia dan andai ia dapat diatasi dengan cara baik, pasti menguntungkan semua pihak selain meredakan ketegangan di kawasan sempadan yang turut sama menjejaskan keselamatan di Sabah, seperti kemasukan pendatang tanpa izin,” katanya.

Selain itu, katanya, anggota keluarga salasilah kesultanan Sulu, turut sedia membantu Malaysia dalam menyelesaikan beberapa kes penculikan selepas beberapa kumpulan kecil menjadikan perairan Sulu sebagai tempat menyembunyikan tebusan.

Ketika ini, seorang warga Malaysia, Jepun dan India masih ditahan kumpulan penculik di Pulau Jolo, selatan Filipina. Rakyat Malaysia berkenaan, Mohd Nazarrudin Saidin, ditahan penculik sejak Mei lalu. Penculik menuntut wang tebusan lebih RM5 juta untuk membebaskannya.

Jamalul Kiram, yang kini diiktiraf sebagai pewaris sah kerajaan kesultanan Sulu oleh kerajaan Filipina dan Amerika Syarikat, berkata andai pembangunan dapat dilaksanakan di rantau selatan, penduduk yang mendapat faedah pekerjaan tentu tidak akan bergiat dalam pelanunan dan penculikan.


Penulis artikel di atas iaitu saudara Meor Hisyam Zulkifli rasanya pernah saya jumpa beberapa bulan yang lalu di Kuala Lumpur. Ketika itu beliau baru kembali dari ekspedisi “Kewartawanan” ke Sulu melalui Filipina. Tujuan ke sana ialah di samping membuat liputan tentang penculikan Mohd Nazaruddin Saidin (seorang rakyat Malaysia yang diculik oleh penculik Sulu) rasanya beliau dan rombongan mengkaji kekuatan gerakan SSDI (Kesultanan Sulu), dan seterusnya dapat digunakan untuk membantu membawa pulang mangsa culik itu.

Menurut laporan dari sahabat-sahabat SSDI di Manila, Zamboanga dan Jolo yang bekerja secara tidak rasmi kepada SSDI (Sultanate of Sulu Darul Islam @ UTC, Tausug Citizens), mereka mengakui memang menerima kunjungan “kewartawanan” dari Kuala Lumpur (Berita Harian). Malah salah seorang dari mereka sempat menemuramah PBMM Sultan Bantilan II (Sultan Tausug Citizens di Buansa, Jolo) dengan rakaman video sekali sebagai bukti.

Malangnya, tiada satu pun berita yang dihebahkan di akhbar perdana terutama Berita Harian sekembalinya mereka dari Sulu berkenaan SSDI (UTC). Hari ini kita lihat mereka sibuk pula mempromosikan Sultan Jamalul Kiram III bin Punjungan yang memang dikenali oleh orang kepulauan Sulu sebagai Sultan Palsu yang mengaku Sultan namun duduk dibawah ketiak Presiden Filipina. Sedih!!

Berkenaan isu MILF dan MNLF, orang Sulu secara majoriti (tidak termasuk penyokong UTC SSDI) sudah lama kecewa dengan perjuangan mahupun retorik PERJANJIAN DAMAI mereka. Bagi orang-orang Sulu sudah tamat perjuangan MILF dan MNLF memandangkan Presiden MILF sendiri, Nur Misuari telah memaklumkannya sendiri di Masjid Tulay, Jolo ketika selepas sembahyang sunat Aidil Adha baru-baru ini dengan mengatakan “Kita sudah ditipu oleh Manila, oleh sebab itu perjuangan MNLF sudah tidak efektif lagi. Maka terserah pada kalian (rakyat atau pengikut MNLF) untuk memikirkan mana yang lebih baik buat kalian”. Seolah-olah ucapan kecewa.

Maka tiada jalan lain melainkan mengadakan semula perang senjata dengan Manila. Persoalannya bagaimana? Siapa yang boleh bantu dan dukung MNLF di luar negara? Perang bermakna sekali lagi Selatan Filipina bermandi darah yakni mengorbankan rakyat bawahan lebih 400,000 jiwa sekali lagi? Bagaimana anda menang? Sedangkan ketika perang 1972-1986 ketika dulu siap dengan bantuan negara-negara Arab (Libya terutamanya) namun anda tetap kalah di meja rundingan. Apa yang menjadi tanggapan Tausug dan Maguindanao ialah “perang sekali lagi” kali ini pasti akan diambil kesempatan oleh Manila kearah PEMBUNUHAN etnik secara beramai-ramai.

Menurut pemerhati, mungkin Nur Misuari mengambil kesempatan dari gerakan “menumbangkan rejim-rejim Arab” hari ini iaitu gerakan rakyat menuntut keadilan, dengan demikian Filipina terpaksa memilih antara kehancuran atau memerdekakan Selatan kepada gerakan BANGSAMORO. Seperti “malang dapat dihidu”, hari ini sedang giat program mencanang perang sekali lagi secara diam-diam dikalangan rakyat di Selatan. Kita tunggu dan lihat kerana, mungkin ia sudah dirancang rapi oleh beberapa pihak yang kita tidak sangka-sangka. Sama-sama kita tunggu tahun 2012 sebagai tahun yang penuh misteri dan debaran sebagaimana tahun Y2K ketika dulu. Apakah tahun 2012 ini sama sahaja dengan tahun Y2K yang tiada apa-apa impak, yakni gimik dunya Yahudi semata-mata?

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By Ahmad Musahari

Following my post on “The hidden beauty of Sulu”, a number of friends have appreciated the great scenes Sulu has. (That was my goal, from the beginning!) And I am happy for that. I became happier when some ‘new’ friends had emailed me asking information on how to reach the island and some had thought of the intention of paying my little homeland a visit. They want to witness those fascinating scenes with their own eyes! And then comes their inevitable curiosity about the “safety” of going to Sulu. ‘IS IT STILL SAFE TO VISIT YOUR PLACE?’, ‘SHOULD I WEAR TANDUNG/TURUNGS?’, ‘DO TAUSUGS UNDERSTAND ENGLISH?’, and an endless list of questions. So I end up doing this list of helpful and friendly TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME TOURISTS to SULU ISLANDS. I hope this would help the people out there and let a ‘new light’ penetrate their minds. Indeed Sulu is more peaceful that what the NEWS say.
See you in SULU!
  • The Basics, of course! Your clothes, some belongings, some money and ATM cards, ID’s (don’t forget this one) and your electronics. Other people can’t live (and leave) without it, so you should, too.
  • A handy Camera. You don’t want to miss seeing some wonderful scenes without saving some photos as keep as souvenirs. From fascinating landscapes to people’s daily lives and culture, you just can’t help discovering new things here! (The camera would include its batteries, and extra batteries; films or SD Cards; and chargers, too).
  • A notebook or journal to write something about every time you experience new things. (It can also work as a ‘scribbling’ page for you while waiting for a long line at the bank). 🙂 Seriously.

  • Sulu Archipelago is a group of small islands and known for its white sand beaches. As first-time visitors, visiting the beaches and swimming (of course) is an inevitable temptation. So be ready with your swimming wears (please read the “WHAT to wear” section first). Swimming-for-dummies book/manuals and some sun-blocks would also be helpful.
  • Learn the local dialect of the people to understand more about their culture. You can buy a Tausug-English dictionary (if you are lucky to find one in town) or simply search the net for common “Tausug Words” and print a copy. Please do this step before going to Sulu, more preferred if you are still in Zamboanga City or other “Cities”.
  • You might want to decide whether to bring your laptop for the following reasons:
o There are no ‘strong’ internet connections in most areas in Sulu. (I could even say there is no internet connection, even broadbands!) So be ready to say bye-bye to your facebook friends and be sure to finish all your IMPORTANT ‘web-transactions’ before going to Sulu. Cellphone networks are good in the central town of Jolo, but not much in other districts. So ask the locals which ‘servers’ (either Smart or Globe/TM) are available in a certain place you want to go to, before deciding so.
o In more rural areas, electricity is still a scarcity. Some islands have ‘time-rations’ of opening their electricity and some do not have any. Jolo town and nearby areas and even islands (nowadays) are having good electricity recently, so it’s not much of a worry, actually.
o Snatching? I am proud to say, we do not have such thing. You just have to take care of your belongings of course, for safety measures. (I believe Laptops are good ways to elevate the ‘boredom’ at ties you got nothing to do.J)

  • You can bring a map. But I tell you, you will only find a green ‘peanut-shape’ map with some markings and names of municipalities. You are already lucky if you found one with the ‘streets’ of the central town of Jolo. I hardly find ‘road maps’ in Sulu, perhaps there were no roads to ‘map’ about in the first place (just kidding).
  • Yes, of course. At least bring SOMEONE who had been to Sulu, or someone who knows the place. Losing your way back home is the worst thing you can be in. Don’t even think about it. Someone knowledgeable about the local dialect, the historical scenes and the beautiful landmarks in Sulu is more preferable. Although you can find that ‘someone’ hard to find in the area (only a few cares about our historical landmarks and tourism). But it is still better to have a company with you than being alone to wander around this new place.

WHAT TO WEAR? (Especially for non-Muslims)
Sulu is a place populated by 98% Muslim (based on my own statistics), so it is quite a big question for non-muslims visiting Sulu whether or not to wear the traditional/Muslim attire to better blend with the locals. “Are there restrictions?” and the funniest-yet-quite-true question I got, “Won’t they (the Abus) kidnap me after knowing that I am a Christian?” Well, this is the end of your woes. I have some tips about ‘what to wear’ when you are in Sulu.
  • To wear Tandung/Turung or not? If you are having the idea of “being kidnapped if you are a Christian” at the back of your mind, keep it on ‘that’ place for it is not entirely TRUE.
  • Sulu is a place open for all religion. The people of Sulu (The Tausugs) respect other people’s beliefs. We even have a big cathedral right at the center of the town! So long as it is not ‘crossing’ the line, anyone having his/her own way of praying can do it in peace. That, I can give you my word. The ‘kidnapping’ things are only an exaggeration of the Media.
So you can still visit Sulu even without wearing the local costumes (I mean the ‘Turung’). It might even be a better way to let the locals know that some people are here to visit. But of course, it would be a great experience for our female visitors to experience wearing a ‘turung’ and learn the culture we have in Sulu!
  • No SHORTS, BIKINIS and other ‘Suggestive’ shirts (if I got the word right) even at BEACH. (in connection with the above pointers)
Muslims are quite sensitive in terms of ‘what you wear’, (particularly on what you let other people see) and the locals do not appreciate such way of clothing. Not that we are restricting one’s choice of clothing, we simply don’t want any misconceptions to occur during your stay in the area. Long pants and long-sleeve shirts won’t harm your adventurous visit in the island. And it won’t hurt the area’s culture, too. It’s a win-win gameJ.

FINALLY, WHERE TO GO? (Click here)


NOW WHERE TO GO? (The most exciting one)
Of course, the reason behind going on a tour to Sulu is to TOUR IT—what else? So here are some helpful tips you might want to put in your checklist and some of the breath-taking landmarks you can find only here in this small island of Sulu. So after finding a good place to stay and after deciding how many days you’ll spend in Sulu, the next step is ‘Where to go’. And here we go!
  • Ask the authorities first. If you don’t know where to start, try visiting the Provincial Capitol first. There are a lot of things they know that is not in this list. So that is my first tip. (By the way, a visit to the Provincial Park would be a good start for your adventure. It is already a pride of Sulu.
But if you already found the ‘someone’ I am referring earlier (the tourist guide, and someone you REALLY know), there no need troubling yourself. Start the journey ahead!
  • Be sure it is safe! Of course your safety is still your priority. You won’t enjoy the memories of visiting Sulu if you already lost your arms. (Again, I am just kidding. I’m just making this Sulu-is-a-morbid-place more of a joke). Be sure to have someone accompany you everywhere you go. If you are capable enough, you can hire some security guards, but that would remove the ‘enjoyment’ I think.
You can explore the central town of Jolo first (which is the safest and nearest), then the nearby areas (the safer ones) and lastly the farther islands (the safe ones). There is no less-dangerous or most-dangerous here.
  • If going to farther areas (such as islands and islets), be sure you know the following:
o Where to stay;
o What are the schedules of trips (usually it’s by ships or smaller boats, and it’s not always every day…);
o Is there electricity in the area;
o Are there cell-phone networks;
o Any establishments present? (Police quarters, hospitals, and such. Which is rare in smaller islands by the way)
o Know the area.
o The people of Sulu (and the islands) are hospitable, you can always ask them J

  • Finally, the areas to visit.
Note: This list is only based on the author’s knowledge of the place (as a local Tausug) and may not include all the good places therein. Some places herein are also uncommonly heard of by the locals, or even by the authorities because of lack of information regarding the landmarks. I will categorize the list by its nearness (and perhaps by ‘safeness’) to the central Town of Jolo, where to find them, and given the time I might also include the distance (how far from Jolo), time (how many hours) and the ways (by sea or land) to go there (I will update this later, so keep posted).
Without much ado, here are the places you MUST NOT DARE TO MISS.
  • In the vicinity of Jolo Town, Sulu:
1. Masjid Tulay (A magnificent mosque)
2. The remaining walls of Jolo Walled City (Since Spanish times, but unrecorded/undiscovered)
3. The Three remaining Spanish ‘Towers’ (see my other blogpost, still undiscovered)
4. Chinese Pier (not so Chinese now, but still holds its History)
5. PC Asturias Camp (I found the old cannon here, undiscovered. There’s also a pool)
6. The Jolo Central Cathedral (I don’t know its name, sorry)
7. The Rizal Central Park (where Sundays are “Juwalmura day”, an equivalent of ‘ukay-ukay’)
8. Sulu Pier (A good place to wait for the Sulu Sunset J)
9. Tulay Bridge (“Tulay” means ‘bridge’, a redundancy just like ‘Lake Lanao’. J)
10. Serantes Wet Market (Sulu is famous for its wide variety of fishes)
11. Tabuh Sanaw” Market (It’s an early morning market that only opens from 5AM to 7AM)
12. Jolo town (It’s a simple town to explore aroundJ)
a. There are also some good restaurants you can visit: the Lovelife and McMickey Restaurants are the locals’ favorites. Before sunsets, some stalls can be found scattered around town (at the pier, outside the pier, at the airport and at the central parks). A short snack in these places is a good way to cool-off a tiring day.
b. Afternoon break in the town’s favorite kind of snack houses: the Coffee shops or “Kahawahan”, is a must for new visitors. (You can find them anywhere in town!) The famous Tausug “Kahawa Itum” (Native Coffee) with the unique Tausug Pastries or “Bang-bang Sug” is a good way to explore the culture and food cuisines in the island.
  • A little farther from Jolo town (one jeepney rid; nos. 1 to 5 are on the same area)
1. The Sulu Provincial Capitol
2. Sulu Provincial Park (Try visiting at about 5PM until 8PM, wait for a surprise.)
3. National Museum (with some good info about the History of Sulu)
4. A new Park they call ‘Balikatan Park’ (I don’t like the name)
5. Mindanao State University-Sulu Campus (My alma matter)
6. Sulu State College (A nice place, too)
7. Notre Dame of Jolo College
8. Mauhbuh Beach (the one in my blog)
9. Gandasuli Water-Spring (Tubig Bustak, I’m not even sure if it’s a Spring)
10. Some beaches nearby (Again I forgot the names, haha)
11. Sultan Kiram Residence (where the Kiram Hastana still stands and a ‘tomb-mark’ for Princess Tarhata Kiram can be found)
12. Jun’Dilan Sea Port
13. Jolo Airport (there are also some snack areas here by late afternoons)
14. Sahaya Village (It’s a housing project, with some peaceful area)
1. The famous QUEZON BEACH or Igasan Beach in Patikul (white, smooth sands)
2. The heart-shaped Si-it Lake in Panamao (never been thereL)
3. The towering Bud Tumantangis (“Bud” means ‘mountain’; this is the highest peak in Sulu. A nice place for mountaineers. You can have an over-view of Jolo town and the vast Sulu Sea!)
4. Bud Datu (where once, the Datu’s where enthroned)
5. The Active Bud Dahu (Not a good place to visit if it’s at the active state, though. This is also where the well-known “Bud-Dahu Massacre in 1904 occurred).
In other Islands
1. Siasi and Pandami Islands (about 3-4 hours)
2. Pangutaran Island (4 hours)
3. Usman Beach in Sigang-gang Island
(It’s just that I do not know more about those ‘a-lot-more’ places in my Homeland.)
I would love to include another section in this long list of tips, (entitled, ‘what to expect’) but I found it already ‘tiring’. This list seem to have already served its point: to give light to those who are willing to visit our small island but do not know anything about it.
I hope this list helped somehow.
Kamaya kamu daran! (Ingat Kayo Lagi/ Take care always)
Magsukul tuud ha waktu niyu! (Salamat talaga sa oras niyo/thank you very much for the time)
Iban Salam Kasilasa daing ha Lupah Sug! (And Peace and Love from the Land of Current: Sulu.)
Salamdua! (Peace!)
This is your loving TOURIST GUIDE, Ahmad Musahari, a young Tausug proud to introduce to you the hidden pearl of the southern seas: SULU ARCHIPELAGO (Lupah Sug)!

ehem.. status dah bertukar.. :)

penat sgt.. but today has been lived joyfully.. alhamdulillah.. few photos to tell you a good story of your own about isb :)hardly open my eyes now.. rehatlah secukupnya.. moga esok punya tenaga utk terus berjuang.. 😉 assalamualaikum..!! zzzZZzzZzzzzz…

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serabut awalnya.. kini alhamdulillah.. :)

malam ni.. ntah.. serabut.. macam ni:banyak sangat note.. tapi peneman setia.. sentiasa mengingatkan.. biarla dia, asalkan ada fungsi.. di profile rye, kutemukan ini:ehhe agak tersindir jugakla.. 😉 bahagian yang atas dengan izinNYA pasti sampai.. dia …

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