The Tausug (Taw Sug, Tau Suug, Sulu, Suluk, Moro, Joloano, Taw Suluk) number about 701,367 (NM 1994) in the Philippines, spreading out to Malaysia where there are more than an estimated 110,000. The core areas in the Philippines are in Jolo (50,265), Indanan (40,791), Siasi (30,064), and Patikul (29,326). In the province of Sulu, there are over 413,700 (NSO 1990). The society appears to be very homogenous. The name is supposed to mean “people of the current” although some say this interpretations came from the terms “Tau,” person, and Suug which is the old name of the island of Jolo. The religion is Islam and the society is structured around a sultanate.
The Tausug appear to have moved in the eleventh century A.D. into the southwestern Philippines, where they have now rooted, from northeastern Mindanao in the area of Butuan City. The language of both the Butuanon and Tausug are closely related. The Kamayo of Bislig in coastal eastern Mindanao is likewise linguistically related to the Tausug. The Tausug are a dominant ethnic group in the Sulu archipelago not only due to their numbers but also because of their political and religious institutions.
Subsistence is based on agriculture, fishing, and the production of coconuts and hemp. Corn, cassava, yams, millet, and sorghum are planted apart from rice. Metalcraft and weaving are well-developed. Trade is one of the more popular occupations. Their language in fact is the language of trade in the southern archipelago. Bilateral ties are important, with the kindred extending to the second cousin, with a bias towards the patrilateral side. The traditional political structure is the sultanate. The sultan is the head of all ranks within the sultanate. Succession is by election by his staff although patrilineal succession is the ideal. The datus who in theory are descendants of the original sultan occupy ascribed status.
|Distribution of Ethnic Groups by Provinces
(Arrangement: Population count)
|Total National Population||612,253
|Agusan del N.||41|
|Agusan del S.||74|
|Basilan||50402 (NM 1992:51960)|
|Davao||2420 (NM 1991:5150)|
|Davao del S.||7,255|
|Davao Or.||1420 (NM 1991:1458)|
|Lanao del N.||192 (NM 1991:30)|
|Lanao del S.||361|
|Maguindanao||985 (NM 1993:3200)|
|Misamis Or.||72 (NM 1993:500)|
|N. Cotabato||384 (RC1991:38)|
|S. Cotabato||1853 (NM 1991:5820)|
|S. Kudarat||1291(NM 1993:4000)|
|Surigao del N.||230 (NM 1989:120)|
|Surigao del S.||19 (NM 1990:1200)|
|Zamboanga N.||7410 (NM 1994:23400)|
|Zamboanga S.||78366 (NM 1992:136664)|