|Background / Context|
The Tausug of Sulu, Southern Philippines though known as fearsome warriors, are also better known as sturdy seafarers and hardy farmers. Extensive orchards are planted to coconut and pomelos and fields to staples like rice and root crops.
At harvest time, pomelo fruits are gathered in big baskets before they are sent away. The Tausug depend strongly on the income the pomelo bring them and this relationship is romanticized by comparing the sua’s gentle leaves, slender branches, attractive fruits and fragrant flowers to the virtues of a lady. Put to music, it is this song that is sang by couples while flapping two white fans each resembling leaves rustling in the wind in the Sua-ko-Sua dance. Sua-sua performers, some men but especially women come to the festivities with faces thickly covered with finely ground rice powder and their eyebrows and sideburns enhanced with soot – all for beauty’s sake.