Traditional Exchange of Goods Still Alive in Tawi-Tawi’s Most Ancient Town
Kenneth Mheil Mangaya- Ay | June 26, 2020
Photos by Monde Mendez
Panglima Sugala is considered as the most ancient town of Tawi-Tawi. Every Saturday, a barter is held at the port in Panglima Sugala. The Badjao and Sama people bring seafood and the rest bring land produce such as fruits and vegetables. All kinds of seafood spread out in the lines. Fruits and vegetables are also sold in bunches, either in sacks or hand-woven baskets. An interesting aspect of the barter in Panglima Sugala is that the locals still practice the traditional exchange of goods. Cash is also accepted.
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“The place was overwhelming, the huge crowd was just busy doing their trade. I was really thrilled to see people doing business without the concept of money, but instead just do the ancient way of business by trading goods,” shared Engineer Richmond Mendez who got the chance to come during the Adlaw Pagtabuh-tabuh (Market Day). It is an authentic experience, as you’ll get to see how the locals live and interact with each other.
After exploring the barter market, tourists may visit a local breakfast stall that offers Bang-Bang Sug, a variety of traditional Tausug pastries and cakes. The idea of these shops is that they will serve you everything that they have, literally everything, but you only have to pay whatever it is that you have consumed. “This is a new experience for me, most of the pastries really taste lovely. Given the fact that store owners purely rely on their full trust in their customer’s honesty is absolute proof of the people's integrity,” shared Mond.
From Bongao, the capital of Tawi-Tawi, it takes 45 minutes by land to reach Panglima Sugala and about 2 hours by boat. You may coordinate with the Tourism Office of the Municipality of Bongao if you want to experience the beautiful culture of Tawi-Tawi.