Culture and Traditions


Scenes from daily life in the main waterways



Far from the mainstream of development, Sitangkai strives to make both ends meet in a place where water is available from the beneficent sky. People are industrious and quite determined in shaping their future amidst the scarce resources that make up the confort and convenience of cities and other urban areas. It is a life that looks forward to building the bridge into the future.



The main street in the area is lined up shops for extra income.



Mat-weaving is a traditional home industry for women. Made of thin strips of pandan leaves, a trained hand gets to work for the intricate design.



Brightly colorful the finished product is displayed for sale.



The prospects on agar-agar have virtually made Sitangkai as the major destination for investment and for the unfortunate ones. The waterways are busy thoroughfares from early morning to dusk.




An open banca serves as a market place. Since the land area is limited in, selling of goods has taken to the so-called floating market. Much like in some parts of Bangkok, Thailand floating market is becoming popular in the main waterways of the town proper. The bancas are also used to transport passengers to the wharf as seen in a photo.



Life & Culture

Despite the harshness of island life people have time to relieve themselves with fun and joyful activities.

Life in the punduhan oftentimes bursts into festive mood during the full moon season and after the bountiful harvest. The whole night is spent in merriment with songs and dances. There seems to be a social transformation in the life in the punduhan wherein people



The Igal or pangalay
Traditional dance among the natives of Tawi-Tawi


         Usually the igal is performed extemporaneously. Audience will try to persuade a lady whom they know is a good dancer. The prodding goes until the lady finally takes the center stage. As the dance heats up, the beating of the drums also picks up the tempo and it’s almost an ecstatic sight to behold the performance.


At that point, a male dancer comes in and provides the extra excitement as the crowd cheers. There is a unstated competition as the dance becomes subtle and intricate in movements. As the two dancers complement each other, some people from the crowd will approached the two dancers and slip some money on their headdress.


Dance movements are focused on the artistry of hands and fingers that portray the motion of waves and the swaying of coconut leaves. There is no torso movements as it is considered immodest.


The Igal is usually performed during wedding ceremonies and as part of the welcome and hospitality of the people in the community. There are plans to institute the Igal and other dance forms of the province. This is to preserve the heritage and culture of the area. Igal is being presented as part of tourism program.



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