Sulu Sultan “Returns Home” After 600-Year Journey to the Middle Kingdom
June 7, 2005

ITS stuff for Harry Potter tales: 600 years after he made his intrepid journey to the faraway Middle Kingdom, Sultan Kamaluddin will be back to his homeland of Sulu this week – through his descendants.

According to records of China’s Ming Dynasty and Sulu’s local historians, in the year 1417 “the Eastern King of Sulu (Buansa and Jolo) Paduka Pahala (or Paduka Batara), the Western King of Mahalachii (Pangaturan) Maharajah and King of Mountain Kalabating (Dungon, Tawi-Tawi) called Paduka Prabu, brought their families and their chiefs, altogether more than 350 persons, to China carrying their tributes to the Emperor,” sultanate wazir Datu Albi Julkarnain wrote recently. They were received and entertained by the emperor, there was an exchange of gifts and goods were traded, he added.

As the Tausug potentates and their retinues were about to return however, Paduka Batara fell ill, died and was burried in Techuo, Shantung Province. His two royal companions proceeded home, but Batara’s first wife and his son Paduka Tumahan and his second wife with her two sons, Padula Wenhala and Paduka Andulu with 18 followers all stayed behind to take care of his grave. Three years later, the first wife and son returned to Jolo, followed later by the second wife, too.

The emperor granted lands to Paduka Wenhala and Paduka Andulu, who stayed for good, married local girls and were subsequently naturalized as Chinese. This week, their 17th and 18th generation descendants will for this first time visit their fabled, but today also benighted, homeland of their fine ancestors. The event is as laden with meaning and implication as hosts and visitors may want it to be.

The three visitors will be An Jin Tian, An Yan Chun and Wen Hai Jun, who are now living as ordinary Chinese citizens in China. They, of course, have many other relatives there.

They will be accompanied by Ang Chak Chi, President of the Kaisa para sa Kaunlaran, Michael Guzman, vice-president for external affairs of Kaisa, and Teresita Ang See, executive trustee of Kaisa Heritage Center. Kaisa made the arrangements for the visit to coincide with the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the People’s Republic of China and the Philippines.

The delegation will arrive in the city on Friday, June 10, and depart for Jolo, their ultimate destination, the following day. They will be official guests of the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) while in Zamboanga. They will make courtesy calls on Mayor Celso Lobregat and WMSU President Dr. Eldigario Gonzales, university Public Affairs Director Ali T. Yacub said. Local entrepreneur Le Peng Wee will host them a dinner while City Councilor Abdurahman Nuno will sponsor a luncheon.

They will be guests of Sulu Paramount Sultan Dr. Ibrahim Bahjin Shakirullah II in their trip to Jolo, where they will stay just for a day.

Kaisa said the three Chinese guests will also participate in other commemorative activities in Manila. (Rey-Luis Banagudos – PAO, WMSU)