Tausug wedding in Sitangkai, a colorful and beautiful affair

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Tausug wedding

I visited Sitangkai for a book assignment and for the five days I was there, my host toured me around. Two days in a row, I attended a Tausug wedding and a Sama circumcision ritual. These community events are quite colorful with most women, other than the bride and groom dressed in multihued outfits. In both instances, we started at the groom’s house where the whole family and kin were busy preparing the food. At the bride’s abode, will be the ceremony.

When all was ready, the groom’s party started out. A gong borne on the shoulders of two men led the line followed by the imam. Men with several shallow but wide trays of food walk behind. Each tray laden with chicken piangang (blackened chicken) sitting on a mound of steamed rice at the center and surrounded with fried noodles, hard boiled eggs on sticks and plate sized cassava cakes. These are traditional wedding food that will be used during the ceremony.

The groom, in shiny outfit is followed by members of the family and friends with the ladies in very colorful wear. It’s a sight to behold. As the sound of gongs resonates around the community. This colorful procession snakes through the narrow and often wobbly wooden pathways atop the shallow water, meandering through the series of footbridges that crisscross the houses on stilts.

The bride is all made up inside her rather small room with the walls covered in colorful cloth. There she waits for her groom with her entourage. Once he arrives, the imam will start the first part of the wedding. The second part of the ceremony will continue once they are brought into the living room together where the rest are waiting.

These two Tausug weddings and that Sama Mag Islam, an interesting peak at celebratory life in Sitangkai.

First Tausug Wedding

Tausug wedding in Sitangkai
One of the groom’s entourage preparing herself for the wedding
Tausug wedding in Sitangkai
At the groom’s house, these women pose before traditional wedding food
Tausug wedding in Sitangkai
Snacks for those making preparations for the wedding
Tausug wedding
The groom and his entourage walk to the bride’s house for the ceremony
Tausug wedding
The living room of the bride’s house where the wedding took place. The groom has just arrived while the bride is inside the room.

Second Tausug wedding

Tausug wedding in Sitangkai
The bride preparing for her big day
Tausug wedding in Sitangkai
Gifts for the newly weds
Tausug wedding in Sitangkai
Prewedding ritual for the groom
Tausug wedding in Sitangkai
The women follow the groom to the room to fetch the bride for the ceremony
Tausug wedding in Sitangkai
The traditional wedding food consisting of blackened chicken, rice, eggs and a glutinous rice cake
Tausug wedding in Sitangkai
Both groom and bride feeding each other with egg
Stan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London). His personal Photography work has been exhibited in Asia and Europe including Paris, Seoul and around the ASEAN regional capitals. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has been to all 81 Philippines provinces.

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