Ahmad Sampang ibnu Hajiri, MD

A Personal blog by a Tausug medical student (now a doctor!) from Sulu and the stories that inspired him.
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(just a short post. All names below are changed for now -_-)

We were still waiting for brother Farhan finish his ablution while the 5 of us sit in a circle, cross-legged in the center of the musallah (prayer room). The Jamaah prayer for Zhuhur (midday prayer) had just ended when we arrived so we have to start our own congregation. The two other sisters who came with us already finished praying, but we on the other have to wait for our brother and pray together. After all, praying in jamaah (congregation) is far more rewarding than doing it alone.

Earlier this morning when I met these seven new friends from Indonesia, the first question they had was: "Are you Malaysian? You look like Malaysian." and then "Are you Muslim?". And answered them with a smile and "No, I am from Sulu, farther south of Manila, and yes Alhamdulillah, I am Muslim, born and raised, by blood and soul." They were also medstudents like me and they are now on a seven-day visit to the Philippines, touring around, visiting hospitals and schools. I think this was an exchange student program of one of the known student organizations among medstudents in Asia. 

After some introductions and short talks and picture taking, we walked along the busy street of Pedro Gil under the blazing sun with a single destination: find a Musallah for them to pray Zhuhur. While on our way we talked and talked, asked questions about each other's schools. They asked me how many Muslims are there in our batch and when I told them that we were only 2 out of 158 and about only 10 throughout the hundreds of medstudents, they were all amazed. (of course it would really be different if you are coming from a Muslim country diba?)

I explained about the Muslims in the City are only a fraction of the great population of Muslims who are mostly in the south. I also told them the Muslims once had a separate country (or countries/states) and a clearly different history of origin. I happily told them that in fact, the Indonesians are among our "elder" ancestors and I kid them that they are my long lost grandparents (which they laughed at). Then they asked why there were no Musallahs or Masjid (mosque) in the college or even at the hospital.I can only give them a shrug and a "We are trying to have one built someday, In shaa Allah" and we dismissed the topic as we finally found a musallah.

After the prayers, and before we left the musallah, Hanif (one of those whom I became well acquainted with in such a very short time) approached me. We shook hands with the Islamic gesture of Salaam (peace) and he told me:

"You know what, Ahmad, I am happy and proud that you are here. You were considered a minority here but that did not stopped you from dreaming of becoming a doctor. You are now in a famous medschool in this country and you are a Muslim, Alhamdulillah. And that last one made us a family. As brothers."

I was touched with what he said. I was reminded with the verse in the Qur'an:

"The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive Mercy." -Qur'an Chapter 49 Surah Hujraat, Verse 10.

"Yes, indeed," I replied with a tear in my eyes "We are brothers in faith. What's stronger than that?"

This year's 8th Medical Student Summit or MSS was held last Nov 23-24 at University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila. Various sessions and plenaries about the "Victories of Philippine Medicine" were held and other events as Med Quiz Bowl, Social's night and of course the Research Contest which I participated (try try lang).

Although I was only able to attend the Saturday afternoon session (because I was still not in good shape those days), Alhamdulillah I was happy that I attended the summit. It was a great chance for me to get involved with such kind of summits and meet other med students from other schools and learn new things, too.

I already expected not to win in the research contest for a lot of reasons, leading on the list is my late appearance and my poster was not as appealing as other participant's posters (it was my first time! I don't even know if I was doing it right haha). But all in all it was a great experience :) In shaa Allah I will try to do better next time.

There were also presentation of group projects by each participating medical college and I really enjoyed learning how each group of medstudents worked on big projects together to better serve the community they chose. There was this massive medical-surgical mission that took them years to prepare and hundred were saved. Another group collected P15 for every donor (students, professors, passersby) and was able to sustain a nutritional diet plan for undernourished kids in a barangay. Another group presented their project of creating a series of comic book about a young super kid fighting different diseases and teaching kids from Grades 3-5 the importance of health. All of their projects were indeed worth praising and as I watch each group present, there's a voice deep inside of me saying

Look for this signage :) and you will find Dulang
Craving for Halal and healthy Tausug foods? Are you searching for the best Piyanggang Manuk and Tiyula’ itum in Manila? Are you missing the tasty Bang-Bang Súg like Putli’ Mandi, Juwalan, Pastil, Pitis, patulakan and Wadjit? Have you been longing for the unique taste of Kahawa Súg? Or you are just curious how Tausug Dishes taste like? Then Alhamdulillah, you are in for a great treat! A new halal restaurant here in Manila is finally here to take away all your worries! Haha!

I could consider Dulang: Halal Restaurant as one of those treasure chests that you can rarely find in this vast sea of un-halalness (-_-) here in Manila. For Muslims living here in Manila, looking for a Halal restaurant is indeed a big problem, leave alone the cost, distance from where you are from and of course the taste of the food they serve. And Alhamdulillah, since the Dulang Manila branch opened here last year, it was indeed a great blessing to all Muslims and even non-Muslims with curious tongues.  :D Dulang serves great and tasty foods, all in a comfortable homey place and at a reasonable price! (PS I am not paid for this free advertisement, I just love this restaurant! Hahaha)

[Dulang, by the way, is a Tausug word for a tray of foods and delicacies served during special occasions as wedding, pagtammat, etc.]

Pastil, Putli' mandi, Pitis, Patulakan and other Tausug pastries available at P10.00 only
Budget Meal + Kahawa Sug = Yumm! Yumm!

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just saying. -Dr. Ahmad