the waves of sulu

(All photos are courtesy of Harly Limlingan Marcuap of


the waves of sulu

a boy contemplates the nipa huts
beneath the coconut trees as a patch
firewoods for the sacrificial pyre
and the land heaves beside the waves.
he rows as a speck in the sea
his arms full now, his eyes deep
scan the point on the beach
where once a father had dearly bled.

the sand lays white as a breast
where waves race one another to caress
and when it gets smudged in red with haste
the waves would roll their backs to cleanse.
nearby jolo languishes in a mist,
a mountain frowns, the sea’s in rage
a conscience alien to her mosques
stalks as thumping shells, the giant feet.

below the waters in the depth
of weeds and reefs and the labyrinth,
the sea urchins prick with readiness,
disturbing like empty tipsy wells,
just one lesson learned and the lad
seeks the sea and the brooding beach
for the rest of the folds, the nerves
as well as the integral bind.

© said sadain, jr. 1978

Author’s Note: 

‘The Waves of Sulu’ is part of the poetry collection Mt. Tumantangis and Other Poems on Sulu. 

Take a peek at the breathtaking shorelines of Sulu by way of the photos being featured here with the permission of Harly Limlingan Marcuap, a fearless travel blogger who chronicles his adventures in his travel blog Please note that I write of these shorelines as ‘breathtaking’ in both the hyperbolic as well as the literal sense, considering that government travel advisories have time and again been issued to warn travelers against non-essential travel to the Sulu Archipelago and the Sulu Sea. Danger has always been the proud, but sad, blue that simmers beneath the surface of the Sulu Sea in its calmer days. This explains why I describe Harly here as a ‘fearless’ travel blogger.  

[Disclaimer: This post is not to be taken as an invitation and/or encouragement to travel to the Sulu Sea and its islands. It is the sole responsibility of the determined traveler to check the current applicability of  travel advisories such as the ones listed below before making plans to visit the area.] 

– SSJ, 3 November, 2017 

Some Travel Advisories:


About sandstarsblog

wild reader. writer in the wild. technologist at work. not necessarily in that order.
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16 Responses to the waves of sulu

  1. phoenixraay says:

    Great post and pics!

  2. Aixa says:

    You have wonderful photos and you chose the perfect poem for them 👍 I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

  3. Pingback: WPC: Just a Peek | Lillie-Put

  4. Well done here! I’m coming back to really read more of your posts. Do keep on blogging and succeeding.

  5. MindiMech says:

    Beautiful! The poem is lovely. The pictures just blow me away. The entire post is amazing.

    • Thank you, Mindi! The natural beauty of the islands of Sulu is indeed breathtaking.. figuratively, of course! If the peace & order situation is not such a problem there, these islands could easily beat the Maldives. 🙂

  6. Imelda says:

    Your poem evokes nostalgia.

    I know Mindanao is a lovely place, but sadly, the prolonged conflict has prevented the region from achieving its full potential. On the other hand though, I am in a quandary about people discovering all the beauties that Mindanao has to offer for fear of having exposure turning this paradise into another commercialized tourist attraction.

    • Nostalgia, for me, is an understatement when I think of the pure white sands of Sulu’s beaches where one can chase colorful fish in clear ankle-deep streams of water left by the gentle tides, with the smell of bayhops mixing with the sea breeze.

      Tourist attraction is fine with me :-), but yes, it is the ‘commercialized’ part that is worrisome. We can only hope that society and government would be mature enough by now to better regulate for conservation and sustainability.

      • Imelda says:

        I do not know about sustainability – that is a good policy. My cynical mind says that even if the government put that policy in a pedestal, as long as poverty dominates the lives of many of our people, all policy about sustainability and such will come to naught. When people go hungry and when they need space to live in – the last thing they think about is policy. But crochety me aside, I do hope our government and people learn to use our resources properly.

  7. Beautiful touching poem. I suddenly miss my home, Sulu. T.T 🙁 :'(

  8. Thank you, JM. I hope you get to visit Sulu in the near future.

  9. cindy knoke says:

    Beautiful words and imagery!

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