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Brief Introduction to Sulu Province
2008-10-29

Sulu is an island province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The Province is subdivided into 19 municipalities, Its capital is Jolo and occupies the middle group of islands of the Sulu Archipelago, between Basilan and Tawi-Tawi. It is home to the Royal Sultanate of Sulu.Sulu's area is 1,600.4 kilometers square, and is 15th largest island of the Philippine Archipelago, in terms of the area.

Although consisting of a mixed community of Muslims and Christians, the Tausugs dominate the Sulu Archipelago. The Tausugs were among the first Filipinos to embrace Islam as a religion and a way of life.

Their traditional religio-political structure is the sultanate. The sultan is the head of all ranks within the sultanate. Succession is by election by his staff although patrilineal succession is the ideal.

The Tausugs are referred to as ‘people of the current’, reflective of their close ties to the sea. The handicrafts of Sulu mirror Islamic and Indonesian influences. Skilled artisans make boats, bladed weapons, bronze and brassware, pis cloth, embroidered textiles, shellcraft, traditional house carvings, and carved wooden grave markers.

The province of Sulu is predominantly agricultural with farming and fishing as its main livelihood activities. Its fertile soil and ideal climate can grow a variety of crops such as abaca, coconuts, oranges, and lanzones as well as exotic fruits seldom found elsewhere in the country such as durian and mangosteen.

Fishing is the most important industry since the Sulu Sea is one of the richest fishing grounds in the country. The province also have a extensive pearl industry. Pearls are extensively gathered and a pearl farm is established at Marungas Island. The backs of sea turtles are made into beautiful trays and combs. During breaks from fishing, the people build boats and weave mats. Other industries include coffee processing and fruit preservation.

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