original ruler of Sabah and still have rights over half of Sabah.
Unfortunately there is no more Sulu Sultanate. Those who claim to be
the Sultan are disputed. My great-grand parents had not emphasised
their once glorious ancestry because they live in poverty in Sabah.
Before anyone start questioning the chance of us being descendents of
the Sultan of Sulu, please note that the largest number of humans are
descendents of Genghis Khan. It was reported in Discovery Channel(or
was in NGC). The rationale is very simple. These great rulers need to
propage their genes the most so tend to have a large number of
offsprings. Kublai Khai had the habit of sending his daughters to
foreign lands in marriages.
The Sultan of Sulu is not as powerful as Genghis Khan so his
offsprings will not be as many as Genghis Khan but his descendants
should be among the most numerous in the Philippines and eastern part
of Sabah. In Sabah, there are not that many people who call themselves
as Tausug who speak the Suluk language. They are not even mentioned in
Sabah population census but they are very prominent as the leaders of
Sabahan natives. Tun Datu Mustapha and Datu Mat Salleh(mentioned in
Buckley's book) were Tausugs but they lead the more numerous Sabahan
Datu Mat Salleh was not recognised as a descendent of the Sultan of
Sulu but his wife was. On his death, his wife was sent back to the
The original Sultan of Sulu was an Arab missionary. The Sultan of
Brunei was also an Arab and he is related to the Sultan of Sulu. In
some books, they are thought to be brothers. So if you want to do a
DNA test, you can always verify against the DNA of the Sultan of
Brunei. Unlike the Sultan of Sulu, the Sultan of Brunei has maintained
their lineage to this day.
Another way of detecting it is to look for the Arabic features. One
prominent one is the large nose and other features as well. It is not
surprising that the Spaniards who fought against them were Moros
because they thought they were fighting against Arabs. This Moro label
is still applied to the Tausug current rebels. These Tausugs
differentiate themselves from the Bajau tribes. Academics and
Administrators call them Bajau but they don't call themselves with
this name. They use the names of their islands of origin.
For example, my people call ourselves Simunul as well. We are supposed
to come from Tubig Indangan. Actually there is a small Simunul Island
but they are the majority in the Tawi-tawi island. Tawi-tawi is
closest to Sabah and their women were said to be beautiful and they
are fair skinned. This is what many Filipinoes keep on telling me, but
strangely not from Sabahans. They are found in Kampung Bokara in
Sandakan and in Semporna.
I am beginning to notice that my nose is unusually large for Asian
people. I didn't took much notice earlier although I was surrounded by
my brothers and uncles who have large noses and once told about it
when I was inspecting spectacles. It is only when my children had
grown up that I am beginning to notice our uniqueness.
No wonder, conmen and other opportunists may try to exploit us by
claiming that we are the descendants of the Sultan of Sulu. My
father's cousin is supposed to be holding the royalty marks and
emblems but he never mentioned it to us directly. One family who is
not closely related to us also got these marks and had even gone to
Brunei but were said to be humiliated by having their hairs bald. A
few people claiming to representatives from the Philippines and Brunei
also went to see my late uncle but my family were never informed
formally and nothing concrete came out of it. I suspect my uncle and
cousins were conned by unscrupulous people.
One story that I heard was that out of 13 siblings only 5 survived. A
few people commented that it was due to our ancestors were cursed for
ignoring our royalty lineage. Our ancestors explained that these
titles were meaningless because they were just poor people in Sabah
where these titles are meaningless and do not feed the family. One
Filipino royal family however respected protocols when she visited
Kampung Bokara by honouring descendents of the Sultan of Sulu that
don't bother to trace their roots.Theser are stil heresay but unless
there is concrete proof that they are wrong, I presume that they have
some basis for them and tell my children to take note of this facts.
The story of Sabahans ignoring their titles is very common. My wife's
grandmother had abandoned her Siti title. Siti means that she is a
descendent of Prophet Muhammad. The men use the Sharif title but many
had ignore them. Filipinoes like to keep the Datu titles which are
usually given to chieftains.
Although these titles are meaningless nowadays, we should record our
ancestry because they are important for historical purposes and
medicine. Our diseases can be genetic as well. If we know the medical
history of our ancestors, we can diagnose our diseases. One such
disease is the Black Disease. I thought only the Tausugs have this
disease but the Bruneis also have them as well. I suffer a mild form
of it and so are my children. It is similar to Amok but is more easily
triggered and can cause us to faint, when our wishes are not
So we must keep tract of our lineage. Thankfully there is a ew site
dedicated for this purpose, at www.geni.com. We can share these with
our close family who can then edit them. That is why we should not
invite strangers into the family tree. I had entered about 90 items
but my in-law who introduced it to me had entere more than 200.
He had managed to trace his lineage to a person who was the original
owner of Gomantong Caves, the largest bird's nest cave in Sabah.
However he cannot get back his rights unless he brings it to court. We
may not get any physical reward but at least we should respect the
spiritual needs of our ancestors. In this way we can benefit in this
When more of us are beginning to update our family trees in geni, we
may then find out how close we all really are. However I find geni to
be too slow. It is still new so give it some time.