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Madya-as

In the 1200s, Malaysians, including Datu Puti, invaded the Visayas and formed the Kingdom of Madya-as. Aboriginals like the Aetas, and even the Mangyans, had to flee to the mountains after they were forced out of the coastal areas.

It is not known just how large an area of the central Philippines was peopled from Bruni in pre-Mahommedan days. Such records as exist relate only to Panay, Palawan, Mindoro and southern Luzon. All of the islands between Luzon and Mindanao, except Mindoro and Palawan, are called the Visayas. An examination of the earliest Spanish records, however, shows that the name was first applied by them only to the people of Panay; but later was extended to the people and region of the other islands, apparently because of the similarity in language.

There has been preserved in the island of Panay an ancient manuscript giving a circumstantial account of the settlement of that island by natives of Borneo at least several centuries before Magellan's discovery. The major facts of this account are as follows: Under the leadership of one Datu Puti, a little fleet of ten vessels, each commanded by a datu, sailed from Bruni to the island of Palawan and from there to Panay. The pilot of the fleet is said to have visited that island before and to have been acquainted with the routean evidence of previous Bornean knowledge of the Philippines. The native inhabitants of Panay at that time were a people called Atis, of very dark complexion. They were not altogether primitive, since they possessed houses and domestic animals and practiced a crude dry agriculture. Their pangvlo, or petty king, was known as the Datu Marikudo.

The Borneans landed at Marikudo's village, the site of which was not very far from the present city of Iloilo, and opened negotiations for a place to make their settlement. The proceedings are related in detail, but the result was that Marikudo accepted a certain quantity of gold ornaments and in return agreed that Datu Puti and his followers might settle in any place that suited them, either on the sea-shore or on the mountain. The Borneans chose the sea-shore, and Marikudo and his people accordingly moved inland and built another village. For sanitary reasons the old Ati village was burned, and a new town was erected on the spot under Datu Puti's direction.

After the new settlement had been completed, seven datus with their families and slaves were settled there, while Datu Puti and two others continued their voyage. They appear to have sailed northward as far as Lake Taal in southern Luzon, spending a month on the journey. Two of the datus settled here, also with their families and slaves, while Datu Puti returned to Borneo by way of Mindoro and Palawan.

The manuscript makes no further mention of Datu Puti. Regarding the Taal settlers, it states only that some of their descendants later removed to the land of Bikol and five other places the names of which can no longer be recognized. The remainder of the manuscript, which is long and full of interesting items, consists of a detailed history of the Panayan colony. Space can be given here to only a few of the more significant statements: The personal and religious names mentioned are all Malayan or Indian and show no trace of Mahommedan influence. Certain forms of phallic worship were practiced. The people possessed a form of syllabic writing, a well developed code of laws, weights and measures, and other appurtenances of civilization, including metal-working and numerous industrial arts. Several of the datus founded settlements at other points on the coast and gradually extended their influence until at last they dominated the whole island. Settlements were also made in western Negros and probably in some of the smaller islands to the north and northwest of Panay.

Several other shorter manuscripts exist, which bear out the data given above. One of these states that Datu Puti was the chief counselor of Makatunas, the ruler of Bruni, and that some of the datus who came to Panay had been badly treated by the Bornean King, who had seized and confiscated much of their property. On the whole, the evidence seems to indicate that the Panayan colonists left Bruni at an early date, while that state was still under the dominion of Sri-Vishaya.



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Page last modified: 31-03-2012 18:56:57 ZULU