Monthly Archives: April 2009

Sultanates of MOROLAND

© (text only) Hadji Datu Jamal Ashley Yahya Abbas

The Sultanate of MAGUINDANAO

The Sultanate of Maguindanao, the lower valley (sa ilud) kingdom, was a harbor sultanate relying heavily on trade and naval power. At the height of its power in the 17th century under Sultan Qudarat and Sultan Barahman, Maguindanao was the acknowledged overlord of all Mindanao, Sulu and even Borneo. The last Maguindanao sultan, Sultan Mangigin, died in 1926 during the American Occupation.

Sultan Qudarat of Maguindanao

The Kingdom of BUAYAN
The Sultanate or Rajaship of Buayan, the upper valley (sa raya) kingdom, relied on its rich agricultural lands and had the support of a great number of non-Muslim Malay tribes. The ruler of Buayan chose to stick to the old title of Rajah (a Hindu word for King) to emphasize the fact that the House of Buayan dates back to the Sri Vijaya and Majapahit empires that encompassed most of Southeast Asia. Buayan’s power was eclipsed by Maguindanao during the time of Datu Buisan, Qudarat’s father.

Around 1875, Datu Utto, son of the late Rajah Marajan ud-Din of Buayan showed great organizational skills by uniting the Buayan principalities. His wife Rajah Putri was the daugther of the 18th Maguindanao Sultan, Qudratullah Untung. His uncle, Datu Bayao, who succeeded his brother Rajah Marajan ud-Din, abdicated the rajahship in Datu Utto’s favor.

Datu Utto then proceeded to take control of the Pulangi, including the Maguindanao sultanate (because of him, there was no Maguindanao sultan from 1888 to 1896). Buayan almost regained its old glory when its datus and warriors practically wiped out the remaining Spanish forces in the late 1890s. When the Americans came, Buayan led the fight in Mindanao.

The old rajah, Datu Utto of Buayan

With old age creeping up on him, the old Datu Utto (a.k.a. Rajah/Sultan Anwar ud-Din) turned over the rule of Buayan to his young cousin Datu Ali, the rajah muda of Tinunkup. Unfortunately, Datu Ali, who was about to finally unite Maguindanao and Buayan, was killed by the Americans through treachery of some Moros.

Datu Utto’s widow, Rajah Putri, became the wife of Sultan Mangigin, the last Sultan of Maguindanao.

During the American Occupation, the powerful non-royal Moro Chinese datus took over the leadership of the Pulangi and collaborated with the Americans. Thus ended the rule of the royals in Maguindanao and Buayan.

The Confederation of RANAO sultanates

Near the center of the island is the Lake (Ranao), the highest lake in the Philippines. Around this lake live the M’ranaos. Contrary to what some people believe, the Ranao sultanates were never subservient to the Maguindanao royalty. Datu Dimasangkay, the uncle of Qudarat, married into M’ranao/Iranun royalty. From then on, the M’ranaos/Iranuns became firm and loyal allies of Maguindanao royalty. Perhaps it was because of the M’ranao/Iranun connection that Buayan’s power was eclipsed by Maguindanao in the Pulangi area. It must be noted that when Qudarat was defeated by the Spaniards, he retreated to his relatives among the M’ranaos/Iranuns.

Thus in 1639/40, the Spaniards under Captain Francisco Atienza, in his pursuit of Sultan Qudarat, invaded Ranao. The Spanish colonization attempts ended in failure and they never returned to the land of the M’ranaos until 250 YEARS later.

In 1891, led by no less than the Spanish Governor-General Valeriano Weyler, around 1,250 Spaniards with their indio (Christianized natives) subjects attacked Ranao. They met stiff resistance, especially in Marawi with the strong cotta (fort) of Datu Amai Pakpak. In 1895, the Spaniards tried again, this time with around 3,000 Spanish troops and countless indio subjects. The M’ranao datus fought valiantly but many perished including Datu Amai Pakpak himself. But the M’ranaos laid siege to the Spanish garrison in Marawi.

A year later, the Philippine Revolution in Manila erupted.

Datu Amai Pakpak, hero of the
Battles of Marawi 1891 & 1895

The Sultanate of SULU

The Sultanate of Sulu was founded ca. 1400 by Syed Abu Bakr, an Arab who claimed descent from the Prophet Muhammad, p.b.u.h. Syed Abu Bakr took on the regnal name Sharif Hashem, perhaps to emphasize his claim to the Hashemite bloodline. The Sultan of Sulu held sway over the Sulu Archipelago, Palawan, and later North Borneo (now the Malaysian state of Sabah). The Zamboanga peninsula’s ruler changed depending upon the vicissitudes of fortune. Maguindanao, Sulu and the Spanish took turns in ruling Zamboanga, known locally as Samboangan.

Central Star represents Sulu, others represent
Kalimatan, Basilan, Sabah and Palawan

Palawan Island used to be a territory of the Sultanate of Brunei. In the 1660s, after the successful intervention of the Sulu Sultan in the dynastic quarrel in Brunei, Sultan Muaddin of Brunei gave Sabah and Palawan to the Sultanate of Sulu.

In December 1893, due to old age, Sultan Harun ar-Rashid abdicated in favor of his cousin Jamal ul-Kiram II. He transferred his residence to Palawan and used the title “Sultan Jubilado de Palawan“. The Spanish continued paying him his monthly honorarium as sultan as per their agreement. He died in April 1899. Thus, at the end of the Spanish era and the beginning of the American era, a Sulu Sultan reigned over Palawan.

Sultan Haroun al Rashid

SABAH (North Borneo)

During the dynastic war in Brunei in the 1650’s between Sultan Mu’adin and Sultan Abdul Mubin, the former asked the help of the Sultan of Sulu (Salah ud Din Bakhtiar). The Sulus came to the aid of Mu’adin and defeated Abdul Mubin. In exchange, the victorious Brunei Sultan gave Sabah and Palawan to the Sulu Sultan.
European powers recognized Sulu’s sovereignty over Sabah. Eighteenth and nineteenth-century European maps usually indicated North Borneo as “territories of the Sultan of Sulu.”
On Jan. 22, 1878, the Sulu Sultan Jamal ul Azam leased Sabah to Baron Overbeck. The Sulu Sultan also gave Overbeck the title of Datu Bendahara and Rajah of Sandakan, thus making him his subject.

The Sulu royalty has NEVER given up its claim over Sabah or North Borneo. The State of Sabah still pays its annual rent to the Sulu royals.

See Who Owns Sabah?

Previously posted in The Setting Sun on April 16, 2007.
Also previously posted in my past (now defunct) and present websites like the BANGSAMORO website.

The revolution that wasn’t

DVRs were supposed to undermine television. They have done the opposite

TEN years ago this week a black box was demonstrated at a broadcasters’ convention in Las Vegas. TiVo’s digital video recorder (DVR) was expensive: the cheapest model cost $499. But it was hailed as revolutionary. It was much more flexible and easier to programme than a videocassette recorder. It allowed people to record and play back at the same time, so they could start watching a programme 20 minutes after it had started and fast-forward through all the advertisements. Experts forecast a severe, perhaps fatal, blow to advertising-supported television.

“For quite a few years people thought it was going to mean the demise of the television business,” says Alan Wurtzel, president of research at NBC, an American broadcast network. Yet DVRs turn out to have done little damage. Indeed, DVRs (also known as personal video recorders, or PVRs) may even have protected television and made it more conservative.

On one point the Cassandras were correct. As prices fell and cable and satellite firms began to bundle DVRs with other services, their popularity soared. According to Nielsen, a media-research outfit, 29% of American homes now have one. The boxes are in a higher proportion of the households advertisers most care about. Jack Wakshlag of Turner Broadcasting, a cable company, calculates that DVR-owning households earn about $20,000 more than average. Yet those households do not use them nearly as much as one might expect. Families with DVRs seem to spend 15-20% of their viewing time watching pre-recorded shows, and skip only about half of all advertisements. This means only about 5% of television is time-shifted and less than 3% of all advertisements are skipped. Mitigating that loss, people with DVRs watch more television.

Just because technology enables people to do something does not mean they will, particularly when it comes to a medium as indolence-inducing as television. And people have become lazier. Early adopters of DVRs used them a lot—not surprisingly, since they paid so much for them. Later adopters use them much less (about two-thirds less, according to a recent study). David Poltrack, head of research and planning at CBS, another broadcast network, reckons the networks have already felt most of the DVR’s effects.

Advertisers and television networks have pushed back even against this puny threat. They have developed relatively static advertisements that get a message across even at high speed. They put snippets of programming in the middle of ad breaks. One trick, described by Todd Juenger of TiVo as “closer to a silver bullet”, is to run advertisements that resemble programmes—in some cases featuring stars from the show people are trying to watch.

Far from being revolutionary, in some ways DVR has made television more stable. With the exception of live events it is broadly true that the most popular programmes are recorded the most. Mr Wakshlag describes it as “a hit-saving machine”. Broadcast television receives a bigger boost from DVR playback than cable television. The device has made it harder to introduce a new television programme, particularly at 10pm when people are likely to be playing back shows they recorded at 8pm or 9pm.

One reason television executives have calmed down about DVRs is that they have something else to worry about. Hulu and other video-streaming websites, which are becoming more popular, give a great deal of control to consumers and are thought to pose a threat to advertising-supported television. Does that sound familiar?

Youth Views

Youth Views~ Taking dialogue to the next levelJoshua M. Z. Stanton Jerusalem – In recent years, peacebuilders have recognised the need for interfaith discussion. It is no longer difficult to find a medium for dialogue. Churches, mosques, temples and sy…

MOROLAND — Land of the Bangsa Moro

This was posted in The Setting Sun on April 16, 2007. This was posted in my previous (now defunct) and present websites much earlier.

Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan comprised the Land of the Moros since the 13th century. The lands north of it like the Kingdom of Manila were invaded and colonized by Spain. The Moro sultanates — Sulu, Maguindanao, Buayan and the Maranao confederacy — however fought and maintained their independence until the coming of the Americans in the beginning of the 20th century.

The 16th century European map below proves that Mindanao was already known to the world even before the so-called “discovery” of the Philippines by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

When Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu in 1521, an island north of Mindanao, he met with the Cebu King, Rajah Humabon. The Spaniard immediately introduced his religion, Roman Catholicism to the natives, and planted a wooden cross to commemorate the arrival of Christianity in Asia. This angered the Muslim religious leader Cali Pulacu (known to the Filipinos as Lapu-Lapu), who protested the presence of the foreigners. Magellan, in typical European arrogance, led his men to the neighboring island, Mactan, where the Cali (meaning judge) lived. Magellan met his death at the hands of the Muslim Cali, thus depriving him the honor of being the first man to circumnavigate the globe. However, his flagship, the Trinidad, was the first ship to circumnavigate the globe (at least according to Western documents).

In 1571, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived in Manila, in Luzon Island, north of Cebu. Manila at the time was ruled by Muslim Malays from Borneo. Rajah Matanda ruled Manila together with his teenage nephew, Rajah Suleiman, the Rajah Muda. Suleiman’s elders, including his other uncle, Lakan-Dula of Tondo welcomed the foreigners. But the young prince realized that Legazpi had devious intentions. He declared war against the Spanish. Without the help of his elders, Rajah Suleiman fell in battle. Rajah Muda literally means Young King but Malay sultanates use this title to denote Crown Prince. But the Filipinos celebrate Rajah Suleiman as the last king of Manila.

The Spanish conquistadors could not believe their eyes. It was not too long ago when they revolted and drove away the Moros (Moors) from Spain. And now, halfway around the globe, they met them again.

The Spanish differentiated the two natives of the archipelago into Moros (Muslim Malays) and Indios (pagan Malays). They then formulated their simple policy regarding the natives — convert the Indios to Christianity and kill the Moros.

And so, for about three hundred and fifty years, the Spaniards tried their best to Christianize the Indios and annihilate the Moros. They succeeded in the former but failed in the latter.

In 1898, the Spanish left and the Americans came. Again the Moros fought. In 1946, the Indios became masters of the Philippine Islands. In 1972, the Moros resumed their fight.


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