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‘Durian of Sulu symbolizes hospitality, love, respect and honor’ By ArRayyan Mawallil Tulawie 

WHENEVER MILITARY launches air strikes on the hideouts of “terrorist groups” in my homeland in Sulu province, civilians are frightened, especially at night when they hear the sound of war planes and bombs being dropped on the targets which most Tausugs described it as “ripe durians falling from its tree” – as a metaphor.

Nonetheless, Alhamdu Lillaahi, thankfully, my homeland is truly blessed by Allaah with so many things. He allows durian to be grown in the Sulu Archipelago. In fact, durian is one of the prides of the province of Sulu.

The durian season is one of the most awaited by every Tausug in Sulu and elsewhere because they are delicious aside from being an exotic fruit despite its strong flavor and unique aromatic.

Durian

The durian is a fruit which has a perfectly unique character. There is no other fruit you can compare it with – although there are many seasonal exotic fruits in my homeland, including our sweet Lanzones or langsat, mangosteen, marang and bauwnu’, to name some of them.

Most people from rural areas of Sulu have durian plantation in their huge, vast tracks of lands in which they harvest every year and sell them to the market. This is one of the sources of Halal-living of many dwellers of countryside.

I remember when I was in Kandayok in the town of Panamao, I told my family that we will be visiting my cousin Hja Darwina Tulawie in Buntod in Talipao town and feast on the sweet durian and the smile on their faces was priceless as they were exhilarated to go.

Alhamdu Lillaahi, we had a quality time together as we enjoyed eating durian for the first time that year. Well, all of us love to eat this fruit and we can consume even two pieces of it individually. What about you?

Moreover, most Tausug confectioneries such as sweet creamy porridge or congee, soft macaroons, among others, are best prepared, cooked and served when they are mixed with durian flesh. That sweet durian aroma is appetizing and durian flesh contains diverse polyphenols, especially myricetin, and various carotenoids, including a rich content of beta-carotene.

Durian flesh

Durian jam or ‘Mantakiliya’

There is also durian jam or popularly called “mantakiliya” which is a favorite in Sulu, but it’s quietly difficult to prepare. I have tried it before with my late grandmother. The smoke from the wood fire made my eyes sting, and although she let me pushed the durian flesh around the wok with large wooden paddles, I couldn’t stay close to the fire for long because of the smoke from the burning wood, the sweat on my face and of course the coughing you get from firewood cooking. This is how durian jam is traditionally made, hand-stirred over a wood fire. Nevertheless, it was a noteworthy experienced.

Remarkably, this season is a symbol of HOSPITALITY, LOVE, RESPECT and HONOR between and among Tausug wherever they are. Every time they harvest durians, they always share it with their families and loved ones – be it their neighbors or friends or someone staying far away from them. They will always send fresh durians or jam as a symbol of friendship and love.

Durian symbolizes HOSPITALITY, LOVE, RESPECT and HONOR between and among Tausug wherever they are. This has been affirmed that even if we are miles away from our family and loved ones, they still never missed to send us mantakiliya, Alhamdu Lillaahi. (By ArRayyan Mawallil Tulawie)

 

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