JOLO ON ITS WAY TO THE FUTURE
Mayor Kerkhar Tan outlines what he sees is in store for the Municipality of Jolo, Sulu
BY JOHN LEE CANDELARIA
PHOTOS BY GABRIEL MALVAR
Ask any tourist, local or international, if they ever plan of going to the Philippines’s southernmost islands, and pretty sure they will respond in the negative. The Sulu Islands, off the tip of the
Zamboanga Peninsula, have gathered so much bad rep because of abductions, killings, kidnappings, terrorism, and more, to a point that it would be difficult to promote these as the next big island destination.
Kerkhar Tan, mayor of Jolo, Sulu, is aware of all these. But he still thinks Jolo could be something greater in the future.
JOLO "GOOD COMMUNITY"
The name Jolo actually means something positive, since it comes from “ho lâng,” which means “good people” in Chinese. The Chinese traders of old had good relations with the people from this place, oftentimes leaving their wares in Jolo’s shore and finding these untouched when they return. Later on, ho lâng became ho ló, which meant “good community”.
Jolo is part of the Sulu archipelago, a scenic group of islands that in the midst of Sulu and Celebes seas. Because of its history of conflicts, it s eems as if the islands and islets of the archipelago have been untouched by the evils of modernity. American documentary and travel photographer Jacob Maentz even pined for the Sulu sea, which he refers to as “one of the most beautiful seascapes on earth.”