Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dayang Dayang: Princess of the First Degree

Dayang Dayang Hadji Piandao Kiram

Hadji Dayang Dayang Piandao is the first lady of Sulu. The title Dayang Dayang, by which she is popularly known, means "princess of the first degree", a title given only to the daughters of the Sultan.

She was born in the year 1884. Her mother was Hadji Amina and her father was Sultan Baddaruddin, one of the sons of Sultan Jamalul Alam and Pangian (Sultana) Lana. She is the youngest of seven children, the rest having died at a tender age.

Her father died before she saw the world and Jamalul Kiram , brother to the deceased who succeeded the latter as Sultan, adopted Dayang Dayang as his daughter and heir to all his riches and property.

His Royal Highness Sultan Mohammad Hadji Jamalul Kiram II

She lost her mother in 1912, who has been one of the wives of Sultan Jamalul Kiram. She mastered the Koran at the age of eight after one year's study, which usually requires from three to five years constant application.

She made the pilgrimage to Mecca at the age of 12 in company with Sultan Jamalul Kiram, Hadji Butu, etc., spending about one year in the sacred city. Since childhood she accompanies the Sultan in his yearly visits to Sandakan and Singapore where he has some property and other interests.

During the life of her mother or until she was 28 years old, Dayang Dayang was not allowed to do any work. She was not even allowed to walk from her residence to the next house, else she was severely whipped or otherwise punished by her mother, on account of which one of her fingers was broken.

Before slavery was abolished, the Sultan disposed of some five hundred slaves, and plenty of them were ever ready to carry her from one place to another where she wanted to go, and serve her in any way she pleased or her whims dictated. Five women slaves were needed to give her a bath, one takes care of the soap, another of the towels, a third cleans her hands, a fourth her feet, etc. Five sleep by her side as special maids.

Before the abolishment of slavery the Sultan used to keep as many concubines as he cared for, usually twenty or thirty at a time who are calculated to have numbered at least 500 in all, and all of these were Dayang Dayang's slaves.

Dayang Dayang Hadji Piandao Kiram

The Sultan could not and cannot give money, presents, etc., to his slaves, concubines and even to his wives and near relatives, except through Dayang Dayang. This shows how much influence she exerts over him. It is, however, the right sort of influence, as it is generally understood she stands between him and ruin.

Although Dayang Dayang has no more slaves she keeps as many servants as her needs require, and she still is the mistress of the Sultan's wives and concubines. From the time her mother died she attempted to harden her constitution, and began to administer the extensive property of the Sultan. She then became the most important private adviser to the Sultan, Kiram, Hadji Butu, etc.,

Intelligent as she is, and she proved to be an excellent executive and administrator. By common consent, Dayang Dayang is the most progressive of the Mohammedan women. She believes in the friendship and ultimate assimilation of Muslims and Christians, and is exerting all her influence and efforts to bring about better relations between them.

She is quick to adopt what is good of others' customs. Her hospitality and liberality is widely known. She takes pleasure in entertaining friends at her house. Tourists find in her a kind hostess.

The Pangyan (Sultana) & Dayang Dayang Hadji Piandao

In 1921 Dayang Dayang Hadji Piandao was appointed agent of the government to encourage Filipino Muslims to send their children to school. Dayang Dayang takes pride in being called a friend of the Filipino Christians, and leads her people in any way better feelings could be brought about. Quiet and unassuming in public or in a crowd, she is in private and in intimacy a pleasant conversationalist.

Dayang Dayang married Datu Ombra Amilbangsa, Assemblyman for Sulu , who was proclaimed Sultan of Sulu by a number of his followers in 1937, with the title of Sultan Mohammed Amnirul Ombra Amilbengsa and she became his Pangyan or Sultana.



Dr. Sixto Y. Orosa M.D., "The First Lady of Sulu",
The Philippine Review (Volume II, No I) Manila, 1917

"The Sulu Archipelago and its People" by Dr. Sixto Y. Orosa M.D.
World Book Company, New York, 1931

The Philippine Magazine Volume XXXIV, Manila, 1937