Yuan Mengchen, Zheng Xin, Dario Agnote
MANILA, November 18 (Xinhua) – "I do not know how to speak Chinese, except xiexie (thank you), but I felt connected and safe with people, I felt that I belong in the village."
In a recent interview with Xinhua Jacel, Kiram reminded him of a year-long trip to China to visit his ancestor's grave.
In 1417, a goodwill mission led by three kings of Sulu, in the south of the Philippines, crossed the Pacific to China to pay homage to the emperor of the Ming dynasty.
Prior to the mission, during the famous Chinese sailors Zheng He (1371-1433), several envoys were sent to pay for visits to the countries of Southeast Asia, one of whom was greeted by authorities and people from the ancient kingdom of Sulu.
Chinese emperor Yong Le reciprocated with great hospitality and amusement worthy of royalty during the meeting with the kings of Sulu.
On the way home Paduan Pahal, eastern king of Sulu, died as a result of illness in Dezhou, a city in the East Chinese province of Shandong. The emperor of the Ming dynasty ordered the craftsmen to build a tomb for the king who is still standing in the Chinese city today.
Some of the descendants of Padua Pahala remained in China as serious guardians and were served by three Chinese Muslim families who had moved with them. During the Qing Dynasty they knew the names An and Wen, and now there are more than 3,700 descendants in various parts of China.
Kiram, Princess Sulu, who was in Dezhou on the 600th anniversary of the Sulu Kings' trip to China, said there was something in the descendants of King Sulu; "they are Chinese, but you feel that you are a family."
Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Roman recently said in the introduction to the new book on the Eastern King of Sulu that the Sulu Kings' journey to China is "a testimony to the long-lasting ties between the Filipino and Chinese peoples."
"Hundreds of years before the official establishment of diplomatic relations in 1975. The nations of our two countries engaged each other in trade and other exchanges," he added.
Nowadays, the history of the visit of the Sulu kings in China was known in both China and the Philippines.
Wang Shoudong, professor of history at the Chinese University of Dezhou, told Xinhua that both China and the Philippines feel pride in this story, which testifies to friendship between the two countries.
During her visit to China in 2017, Kiram said that she had brought some family memorabilia with her to be exhibited at the Dengzhou Museum. He is going to give more if he has a chance to visit the monument again.
She said it was important to learn about the historic journey of the Sulu Kings, noting that it would bring oneness and more understanding between the nations of China and the Philippines.
"Let's talk about the stories that unite us and bind us both," said Kiram.