HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 58 no. 1 (2012)

The Literary History of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi

Calbi A. Asain

Discipline: History



Sulu and Tawi-Tawi used to be one and the same province. But former Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos divided them into two separate provinces by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 302, which he signed on 11 September 1973. Despite the split, however, these two far-flung Philippine provinces situated in the deep South have been sharing similar cultural, social, political, and literary experiences since time immemorial.  This paper focuses on the literary experience that the Tausug and Sama of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, respectively, have gone through. The ultimate goal is to write a single literary history for these two provinces well-known for their exotic fruits, glittering pearls, white beaches, and distinct ways of life, which could very well serve as inspiration for literary expression and creation. Specifically, it is an attempt to outline the prospective contents of the literary history of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi as one. It preliminarily describes and determines the topics and subtopics that the literary history of these two provinces must contain and their organization. As a prelude to the actual writing of the literary history of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, this paper opens its door to the insights and ideas from those concerned – especially the Tausug and Sama themselves – who desire to help enrich the literary history of their territories, even as it expects to spur or inspire local historians in Mindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi to start, if they have yet to start, contemplating to write the literary histories of their own localities.