The Tausug People of the Philippines

On a group of islands in the Southern Philippines, live the Tausug, a people part of the wider Moro ethnic group whose lives are intricately intertwined with Islam and animism. Their lifestyle, from economics to culture, is determined by the fusion of religion and folk tradition. Although they are the dominant people group within the Sulu Archipelago, some Tausug, which means “people of the current,” reside in urban regions.

Tausug warriors in the 1900's

Most Tausug people engage in agricultural pursuits and fishing and live in small rural communities held together by attendance at the local mosque. Though Tausug are considered Sunni Muslims, indigenous beliefs persist and many believe in various nature spirits who cause human suffering.

Tausug woman in traditional dress

Because of the decades-long armed struggle with the nominally Christian-led Philippine government and conflict with nominal Christian settlers, the Tausug have been particularly resistant to missionary efforts.

Several ministry groups that Christian Aid is assisting are already involved in missionary work among the Tausug, including planting churches, training native Tausug missionaries, and Bible translation in the Tausug language.

Now, more indigenous missionaries are ready to accept this challenge. They have completed ministry preparation training, including language and culture instruction, and are reaching out to Tausug communities scattered among several tiny islands in the Sulu Sea, as well as on the mainland. Funds are needed for living allowances, equipment, and materials.