Special envoy to China Ambassador Carlos Chan led a group of Filipinos to visit the Royal Tomb of the Sultan of Sulu in Dezhou City, Shandong, China on March 28.
Princess Jacel Kiram (daughter of Jamalul Kiram, direct descendant of the Sultan) and her mother Celia Kiram with a delegation from Palawan led by Gov. Jose Alvarez, Teresita Ang See, Jasmine Pinugu and others were amazed at the way the Chinese government had preserved the tomb and turned it into a heritage park.
This year marks the 600th anniversary of the royal visit of Sultan Paduka Batara to the court of Emperor Yong Le in Beijing in 1417. On his way back to Sulu, the sultan fell ill and died in Shandong. He was given an imperial burial by the emperor. His eldest son Dumahan returned to Sulu to reign as sultan while Batara’s wife, second and third sons remained behind to take care of his tomb and to observe mourning rites and sacrifices.
It is the only tomb of a foreign monarch where an entire village of his descendants stayed as keepers of the tomb.
The tomb was repaired and renovated by the Chinese government several times. In 2014 to 2016, Chan provided funds to repair, refurbish and re-landscape the tomb, the mosque and its surroundings.
Jacel Kiram said that commemorating the 600th anniversary of the Sultan’s visit is a way of letting the next generation know about the rich heritage of the early Filipinos as well as the long-lasting friendship between the Philippines and China.
June 9 activities to mark historic 600th year China visit
On June 9, on the occasion of the 37th anniversary of Philippines-China Diplomatic Relations and Philippines-China Friendship Day, a pictorial exhibit, a lecture-presentation and a cultural show will be organized by the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Associations in the Philippines (菲華各界聯合會) and Kaisa Heritage Foundation (菲律濱華裔文化傳統基金會).
These commemorative activities will mark the 600th year of the historic journey of the Sultan of Sulu to China in 1417.