Friday, December 9, 2011

History of Mindanao, Part XXI: "Memories About Mindanao", Julian Gonzalez Parrado in 1885

The following is my own translation of "Memoria Acerca de Mindanao," by Don Julian Gonzalez Parrado (Manila: Ruiz and Company), published in 1893. An original copy of the book was provided to the Harvard Library as part of an endowment and it is that volume which I am utilising.

Parrado was a Brigadier General in the Spanish Military who was made Governor of the island in 1895. He arrived on Mindanao the previous year as a Brigadier General. In 1895 he was given command of Ground Forces in the Spanish "Campana Marahui," or, Marahui Campaign. Governor General of the Philippines, Ramon Blanco, launched a massive expedition to Lake Lanao to once again pacify the Maranaw (Maranao Tribe) which had been attacking Iligan, one of the three main military installations on Mindanao, and of course a burgeoning town full of civilians as well. Since it was connected to Lake Lanao by waterways, the Maranaw of the Lake Region couldn't resist pillaging the community every now and again. The Spanish campaign by the way, was the one in which they had porters carry parts of recently acquired steam boats built in Hong Kong. Arriving on the lake shore they assembled the vessels and suprised the Maranaw, as Parrado pressed in from the land side of the Kotas, or, forts. In any event, Parrado stayed until 1897, at which point he made his way home, replaced by General Buille who only had a few months to command the island before he fled ahead of the American "invasion."

Most people examining Mindanowan History, prior to the American Era, rely on the multi-volume English Language compendium by Blair and Robertson. The problem with this is three fold. First, the editors didn't include entire volumes. They merely excerpted them and in doing so may have omitted very important details. Likewise, they only rely on Spanish source materiel. Ignoring French, Dutch, Portugese AND British sources- to say nothing of indigenous sources- they present an extremely biased, and more importantly, impossible to corroborate version of events. The biggest problem perhaps, is that Blair and Robertson themselves relied on Spanish compendiums. Therefore, the reader is left with a third hand version of historical events that have become watered down to a great extent, before being filtered through the blinders of Spanish cum American cultural bias.

I have included a geographical and socio-cultural glossary to explain Parrado's antiquated place and tribal names, at the bottom of the entry.


Difficulties in Our Rule

The conquering of Mindanao demands both time and constant patience. We cannot conquer Mindanao in just a single (military) campaign. Nor can we hope to change its social nor political climate in so many months, hoping to obtain a uniform environment in a place that hosts so many different types of civilisations and distinct religions. It is impossible on such a large island befit with so many rugged chains of mountains, vivisected by large and deep rivers with so little human existence (there are nine persons for every square kilometer). It isn't easy at all to pacifiy such a place and the following data will support my contention;

Geographical Data

At 94,000 square kilometers, with 470 kilometers from north to south, and 490 kilometers from east to west, it has five principal bays: Macajalar, Iligan and Sindangan in the north, Illana in the south, Sarangani; four peninsulas: Butuan and Panguil on the northern coast, and Sibuguey and Davao on the southern end of the isle.

Four large mountain ranges, with smaller, connected mountain ranges: The Oriental Range, running parallel to the northern coast, which in turn leads to the mountains of Surigao in the north- running south by southeast and ending at Cape San Agustin. The Central Range, running parallel to the Oriental Range, beginning in the mountains of Balatacan and Guingoog in the north, taking in the Apo Volcano which stands at 3,343 meters in altitude, and ending at Panguian Point at Sarangani Bay; These two major mountain ranges meet each other and constitute a formidable barrier at a sharp angle; the third major mountain range, emanating off of Apo in the east-northeasterly direction, runs parallel to Illana Bay and culminates in the Mountain of the Three Kings. It then continues running near the coast of Sibuguey before ending at the foot of the city of Zamboanga. The fourth major mountain range begins at Matutum, next to Sarangani Bay, follows the southern coast until reaching the mouth of the Pulangui River in and around Cotta-batto's immediate area.

The island's most important rivers are: The Pulangui, or Rio Grande de Mindanao, which runs a total of 483 kilometers, of which 160 are fully navigable; beginning in Mount Kimankil in Misamis District, and coursing into two distinct brances- although only in the lower Cotabato Basin. The river then empties into Illana Bay. The Agusan River, which runs 406 kilometers, begins atop Mount Magbsuay Taggapo [sic] in the south, and then empties at its northern end at Butuan. The Agus River, which begins in Lake Lanao, empties into Iligan Bay.There are many other long, deep rivers, indeed, too many to count. The same of course can be said for esturaries, feeder streams and brooks which all contribute to the flooding endemic to the island's lowlands.

The largest lakes are: Lake Lanao, at 450 square kilometers, Lake Mainit with 150 square kilometers, Lake Butuan and Lake Liguasan- which only become lakes per se during the Northwest Monsoon, with the latter, Lake Liguasan, becoming indistinguishable from the Pulangui River during that time of year.


The following is date taken from the Philippine Jesuits, compiled in 1883. The Jesuits have devoted much time and attention towards the compilation of both geographical and demographical data relating to Mindanao, and have surmised the following: There are 194,314 Christian Filipinos, including newly converted Hilltribesmen, Bisaya, and Chavacanos.

Of the non-Christian Hilltribesmen, there are 300,000, divided between various tribes, with the following being the major tribes and their region of the island:

1) The Negritos: An aboriginal group referred to as the "Mamanwa," inhabiting the Surigao Peninsula

2) The Manobos: A tribe living in the highlands of Agusan.

3) The Monteses: This group lives in Misarais District, the highlands of Tagoloan, and the Upper Cotabato Plateau.

4) The Suba'ios: This tribe lives in the Sibuguey Peninsula and in the mountainous areas of Dapitan and Dumanquilas.

5) The Mandaya: This trible lives in the mountainous terrain around Tago and Matti, all the way from Gandi until the environs of the Agusan River. The Mandaya can also be found below the headwaters of the Salug River.

6) The Tirarays: This tribe lives in the uplands of Tamontaca and Taviran, where they intesect the Pulangui River.

7) The Bagobo Tribe:

8) The Ata Tribe:

9) The Galanga Tribe:

10) The Tagacaolo Tribe:

These last four tribes live on the coastal plains of Davao and in the hills below Mt.Apo.

11) The Manguanga Tribe: This tribe lives in the highlands near the sources of the Lianagum, Salug, and Agusan Rivers.

12) The Dulangan Tribe:

13) The Calangane Tribe:

14) The Bilane Tribe: [NOTE: Parrado listed these 3 tribes just so, with no info].

Of all the preceding tribes, there are some that are easier to assimilate than others. For example, the Monteses, the Subanos, the Manobos, the Mandayas, and the Tirurays. The Jesuit missions had managed to convert many members of those tribes and to construct mission settlements. These have played a huge part in the battle to permanently stop these tribes' idolatrous practices and to liberate them from vassalage to adjacent groups of Moros. Sometimes, this hasn't been an easy struggle. Tribes like the Bagobo, Ata, Guianga, and Tagacaolos are fierce and warlike, and some engage in human sacrifice.

350,000 Moros, a number we believe to be somewhat exaggerated, are known by the following names:

15) Ulanos: This tribe lives alon the bay of that same name, as well as along the shores of Lake Lanao.

16) Sanguil: This tribe lives along Mindanao's southern shore, near Sarangani Bay.

17) Lutanga: This tribe lives on Olutanga Island and along the shores of Sibuguey.

18) Calibugan: This tribe lives along the shores of Sibuguey.

19) Yacan Tribe: This tribe lives on Basilan and nearby islands, as does number 20, the Samal Tribe.

Reasons for our Wars with the Moros

Spain first went to war against the Malayan Moros in 1577. It was necessary to act against the pirate raids being conducted against Christian Filipinos, whose towns were of course, under Spanish dominion. This took place after many years of Moros attacking Christians and in direct response to their pillaging and enslavement. Undertaken over the course of several years, Spain eventually aimed to conquer both Mindanao and the Joloano Archipelago, although for a long time Spain ended each campaign with mutual promises of peace, friendship, and treaties of mutual defence.

Only in 1593 did we occupy the Port of Caldera, in Southern Mindanao, constructing a fort there, and before too long, we did the same in Cagayan and Caraga (Surigao), in the north.

Still, there was no end to the Moro's piracy, and so we were forced to extend our occupation. This was our first priority, our reason for encamping on Mindanao, only later did we consider undertaking the conquest of Mindanao and Jolo.

In 1630 we built a fort in the vicinity of Dapitan, and on June 1st, 1636, Spain laid the first stone in Zamboanga.

In 1637, Generals Don Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera, the Governor General of the Philippines, and Don Pedro Almonte, together undertook the most well defined campaign for Mindanao yet. This endeavour ended in the conquest of Mindanao and Jolo, as well as the first occupation of any island within Lake Lanao, the Pulangui River, and various points along the coast. Three forts were constructed: Buhayen, Sabanilla, and Iligan.

The war with Holland, the near invasion of Manila by the Chinese pirate Ko-seng, and all the other disgraceful happenstance of all kinds that took place at the same time, forced Spain to abandon its four fortresses on Mindanao, with the withdrawal and abandment complete by 1663.

Still, the well entrenched piracy and other similar dynamics necessitated our return to re-occupy Zamboanga in 1718, and later, Surigao, Cagayan, Iligan, Dapitan, and Misamis. In order to open our ports and to otherwise service our armed forces, it was necessary to interact with the Moros. Spain then began building towns, organising districts, and over time, further put our stamp on the island.

In 1849 Davao was founded. In 1851 we occupied Pollok and in that same year, we first encamped in Cotta-batto in the Pulangui flood basin. We also entrenched ourselves in a temporary fort at Libungan, on the Pulangui River's northern fork, as well as at Tumbao, in the river's delta, running parallel to its main course, as well as two on the river's souther fork, Taviran and Tamontaca.

In 1871, we moved the fort at Cotta-batto due to attacks by the Moros to occupy the town proper. We re-established the fort on the left side of the northern fork, and there we established the capital of the island. In 1872 we transferred back to Zamboanga (where it had originally been).

All of these events took place because of diverse consequences, and after repeated expeditions against specific Moro villages and tribes, owing to the Moro hostility againat our settlements.



1) Macajalar = Bay and estuary on the Northern Coast, close to Cagayan del Oro City.

2) Sindangan = Inlet in Zamboanga del Norte Province, with a town of the same name.

3) Illana = Bay on Zamboanga del Sur Province.

4) Panguil = An inlet off of Iligan Bay in Lanao del Norte Province, on the Northern Coast.

5) Sibuguey = Sibugay, the coast of what is today Zamboanga Sibugay Province.

6) Oriental Mountain Range = Diwata and related ranges, generally in Caraga Region.

7) Cape San Agustin = Eastern Coast, between the municipalities of Mati and Governor Generoso in Davao Oriental Province.

8) Central Mountain Range = Central Cordillera of Mindanao.

9) Balatacan = There are two Balatacans today, one in Zamboanga, the other in Lanao del Norte and they are not very far apart, so for now I will have to say that Parrado's reference isn't all that clear.

10) Guingoog = Gingoog City, in Misamis Oriental Province, on the Northern Coast.

11) Panguian Point = Southern most point on Mainland Mindanao.

12) Mountain of the Three Kings = A three peaked mountain in the municipality of Lake Sebu's Barangay Lamlahak, in South Cotabato Province. The T'boli Tribesmen living below the mountain, in Sitio Kangko, view the peaks as three separate mountains, known locally as Turok Bloto, Turok Tacofil, and Turok Kabaling.

13) Matutum = Mt.Matutum, a volcano in South Cotabato Province, 30 kilometers north by northeest of General Santos City (GenSan).

14) Pulangui River = Rio Grande de Mindanao, but many call it the Cotabato River, or simply Pulangi.

15) Mount Kimankil = A spur off of Mt.Kitanglad in Bukidnon Province.

16) Mount Magbsuay Taggapo = Actually two separate but adjacent mountains, Magbusay and Tagappo, in which lie the headwaters of the island's second longest river, the Agusan.

17) Lake Butuan = Agusan Marsh

18) Lake Liguasan = Liguasan Marsh

19) Monteses = The Bukidnon and Higaon-an Lumad Tribes

20) Misarais District = There was a "Misarais," but never a district. Misarais lay within Misamis District, on the Northern Coast so that it appears to have been in error.

21) Tagoloan = in Misamis Oriental Province.

22) Suba'ios = Parrado evidently confused what appears to be an alternate label of the Subanon Tribe.

23) Dumanquilas = Bay in Zamboanga Sibugay Province.

24) Matti = Modern municipality in Davao Oriental Province.

23) Gandia = A tributary of the Pulangui River, in North Cotabato Province.

24) Tago = River in Surigao del Sur Province, running through the town of the same name as well as San Miguel.

25) Salug River = Matigsalug River in Davao del Sur Province.

26) Tiraray Tribe = Teduray aka Tiruray Tribe, centered around the municipality of Upi and North Upi in the hills of Maguindanao Province

27) Tamontaca = Tamontaka, in North Cotabato Province

28) Taviran = In North Cotabato Province

29) Galanga Tribe = This is one that I'm not familiar with and may simply be an alternative name for a small group.

30) Tagacaolo Tribe = Tagakaolo, in several municipalities in Davao del Sur Province, as well as Malungon, in Sarangani Province.

31) Manguanga Tribe = Mangguanga, in the town of the same name, in Compostela Valley Province (ComVal).

32) Dulangane Tribe = Davao del Sur Province.

33) Calangane Tribe = Kalagan Tribe, a small tribe centered around the municipalities of Banaybanay and Lupon in Davao Oriental Province with a branch on the Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley (ComVal) Provincial borders. The tribe converted en masse to Islam during the second decade of the 20th Century

34) The Bilane Tribe = B'laan, a large highland tribe centered on the South Cotabato and Sarangani Provincial borders.

35) Ulano Tribe = Iranun aka Illanun Tribe that lives where it did when this book was written, along Illana Bay, and a tiny bit near Lake Lanao.

36) Sanguile Tribe = Sangil Tribe, though a very small number do live along the shore of Sarangani Province, they are scattered on offshore islets and islands.

37) Lutanga Tribe = This isn't a tribe. The author confused this group with its larger tribe, which follows as #38.

38) Calibugan Tribe = Kalibugan Tribe, these are Islamicised Subanon, aka Subanen.

39) Malayan Moros = Most Filipinos are unaware but all Muslims north of Mindanao, when Spain arrived to comquer Luzon and Mindoro, were Bruneian. The famed Rajah Soliman of Manila was a Crown Prince (Rajah Muda) of Brunei. Ergo, when discussing Muslimd the Spanish would differentiate between those from Brunei and those indigenous converts to the faith, today's "Moros."

40) Joloano Archipelago = Sulu and most of Tawi Tawi Provinces.

41) Port of Caldera = Zamboanga City

42) Fort Bulayan =

43) Fort Sabanilla = I am still researching co-ordinates for both this and the preceding.

44) Fort Illigan = Iligan City

45) Ko-seng = The Chinese pirate who nearly invaded Manila

46) Pollok = The ARMM Freeport of Polloc, in Maguindanao Province

47) Cotta-batto = Cotabato, in this case, Cotabato City.

48) Libungan = Although there is now a town of the same name in North Cotabato Province, Parrado was referring to the Alameda-Libungan River, which runs right next to that town.

49) Tumbao = A tributary of the Pulangui River.

1 comment:

  1. i believed its very rare to culminate the isues