Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pre Hispanic Tacloban

Pre-Spanish Tacloban

DATELINE: 1411: The empire of Sri Vijaya of Malacca (or Melaka) Malaysian archipelago was the largest kingdom in the pacific. Some say the Visayas region of the Philippines were once part of this empire hence the name Visaya derived from Vijaya?

DATELINE: 1509: Portuguese fleet (5 ships) led by Capitan Diego Lopez de Sequera landed in Melaka from India to acquire a southern route to China. The fleet was attacked by the stronger fleet of Majarajah Mahmud of the Sultanate of Melaka. Only a handful of Portuguese escaped, among them was the famous (or infamous?) Fernao de Magallanes (Ferdinand Magellan).

DATELINE: 1510: The Majarajah ordered his messengers to call all the subjects of his kingdom, the most powerful and bravest rajahs, sultans and datus. From Melaka to Siam, to Majapahit (Indonesia), Guam, the Philippines and the Amis of Taiwan who were relatives of the Ifugao tribe.

DATELINE: 1511: A Portuguese fleet of 19 ships came back to avenge and free the Portuguese prisoners from the last battle. After 5 days of bombing and the fiercest battle any European and Asian ever fought, the Portuguese were exhausted. Mercenaries from Jahore and China offered their services and the tallest Chinese junk ships to the Portuguese and attack the sultan's fortresses while the Portuguese defended them with bombardments. The sultan finally fled and the kingdom of Melaka was captured.

DATELINE: 1515: The Europeans established a trading route in Southeast Asia among the Siamese, Cambodians, Indonesians, Malaysians, Chinese and the islands of the Philippines. Some datus and sultans of the early Philippines were veterans of Melaka on 1511 and are aware of the existence and treachery of the Portuguese colonizers. The Rajah Humabon of Sugbo (Cebu) was the son of Shri Bantug Lamay who was the son of Shri Bataugong of the same kingdom of Sri Vijaya.

DATELINE: 1521: Capitane Fernao de Magallanes (Ferdinand Magellan) was seeking another way to gain access to the Orient from the sea. He sailed with 5 Spanish ships and a crew of 260; Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians and some Indios of the Malaccas (Malaysian peninsula). Magellan first landed in Guam And met Magalahi (chief) Kepuha cousin of Magalahi Hurao (Perhaps the same Datu Hurao of Tacloban) he was well received there, he then moved on and sighted land off Homonhon in Samar. On Sunday march 1521 he met Rajah Kolambu and his wife Ratu Triana in Limasawa with their daughter Dayam Maanyag and performed the first mass on Philippine soil. Rajah Guban of the kingdom of Takarunga (Tacloban) became concerned of this blood compact and friendship for he too fought the battle of Melaka in 1511 and vowed never to trust the Portuguese. Rajah Guban instructed young Rajah Petik to follow the fleet closely and report back to him.

Magellan's fleet landed in Sugbo (Cebu) and made friends with Rajah Humabon and his wife Ratu Humanay. SeƱore Pigafetta entered in his log all these events. The Rajah confided with Magellan that a Datu in Mactan island have been harassing their shores and ask Magellan to prove his alliance by attacking the island. While Magellan was in Cebu, Rajah Guban also sent young Datu Bancao to Datu Lapu-Lapu in Bagasumbol (now named Naval, Leyte) to prepare because the Portuguese were en-route to Sugbo to his enemy's abode. This infuriated Lapu-Lapu. He organized his men in Biliran and sailed for Mactan an island, part of his kaharian (abode) which was being disputed by Rajah Humabon as his own.

The battle of Mactan ensued, claiming the life of Magellan and vanquishing the Spaniards from the Philippines after Humabon himself turned against them for their failure. Of the 250 that left Spain, only 8 returned.

Som Cebuanons may dispute that Lapu-Lapu was Waray, but paintings of the Mactan battle reports Lapu-Lapu bearing the distinctively Waray traditional tattoing all over his body, and that his son was named Dagami, and became a Datu of Bohol under Sultan Sikatuna. Dagami died when his family were massacred by Legaspi in Naval, Leyte.

DATELINE: 1540: Majarajah Mahmud secured the aid of Majarajah Hayam Wuruk of the Majapahit Empire (Indonesia) who sent Lakandula (Admiral) Gajahmada with an armada of Dutch (The Dutch Established the East Indies Company in Indonesia) warships. The Portuguese were defeated. But in a short time the Portuguese sent their own armada and destroyed the Dutch and Majapahit fleet and proceeded to pursue the Majarajah Mahmud to Limasawa. The island kingdom of Rajah Kolambu was unprepared and was wiped out and burned to the ground.

DATELINE: 1542: The fourth Spanish expedition headed by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos landed in Leyte and named the place Las Islas de Filipinas. He then sailed to Limasawa re-tracing the Magellan route but found the island sparsely populated and just the burnt remnants of the Rajah's palace and evidence of Portuguese attack.

DATELINE: 1565: Spanish King Philip II appointed Miguel Lopez de Legaspi to govern the Philippine Islands and its shipping lines. Legaspi not forgetting what Lapu-Lapu did to Magellan, raided Bohol Island in search for Lapu-Lapu's son Datu Dagami to avenge the deaths of the Magellan crew.

This sent the Datu and his people fleeing to Leyte and settling in Biliran, Lapu-Lapu's abode. Legaspi made friends with Sultan Sikatuna of Bohol.

DATELINE: 1600: The last warring kingdoms of Datu Huraw (Kanhuraw) and Datu Kabatuk (Kankabatok) in Takarunga ended with the inter-mediation of the Spaniards.

DATELINE: 1600-1896: Tacloban was under full Spanish control with a few revolts by Sultan Bancao which was stopped only after the Alcalde-Mayor of Cebu sent 40 ships. This is also the period when the island, then called Ilya-Iti was changed into Leyte. Cultures and civilizations were transformed to suit the Spaniards.


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What to do in Tacloban City, Leyte and nearby

Enjoy the scenic San Juanico Straight . Rent a kayak for a day and paddle your way round the bay of Tacloban, under the beautiful San Juanico Bridge. Kayaks are for rent for around a thousand pesos a day.

Waterfalls in the City
A recent discovery , a majestic 30 ft waterfalls hidden in the mountains of Tigbao and Salvacion just4 Km. outside Tacloban . Maps towards the waterfall site is available. A day trip for picnic and swimming is most ideal.

Nearest to Tacloban is Sohoton National Park in Basey just off San Juanico Bridge. The Tourism Offisce in the Municipality of Basey provides excellent tour guides for a hassle free caving. Ideal for non professional, amateurs, and family trips.The one-man adventure outfit of Joni Bonifacio provides professional caving for the more advetourous. Explore the three caves of Jiabong in one day. The ultimate Langun – Gobingob Cave in Calbiga offers more for serious spelunkers. Langun-Gobingo expedition is usually a 3day – 2 night from one end of the cave to another, but an shorter trip can be tailored. Calbiga is one hour away from Tacloban. Jiabong is an hour- and a half trip from Tacloban

Wall Climbing
Bukid Outdoor Shop offers wall climbing. For 60 pesos you can climb till you drop. They also sell outdoor gears for hiking, camping, mountaineering, and surfing.

Three hours away in Calicoan Guaian E. Samar, is a surfing paradise. Blessed with the thundering waves from the Pacific, local and foreign surfers throng to ride the waves of this new surfing capital. Not to mention that Guaian boast of long stretches of white sand sans the crowd and vendors. A laid back town, with friendly people, and a rich history. Do not miss the historic 300 year-old church in the town plaza.

Skimboarding in Tanauan
The secret is out, Tanauan and Dulag towns in Leyte offer the best spots for skimboarding. Tanauan is a 30-minute jeepney ride from Tacloban while Dulag is an hour away. The town of Tanauan is touted as the skimboarding capital of the Philippines. The town hosts the Tanuan International Skimbording Competition which is held every Easter Sunday of each year. Skimboarding gear is available for rent.

The Leyte Mountain Trail is an outstanding trekking area which starts from the Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park of Burauen to Lake Danao Natural Park in Ormoc, a distance of approximately 40 km. This rainforest tour will cover the beautiful lakes of – Mahagnao, Malagsum, Casudsu-ran and Danao. The spectacular Guinaniban Falls is not to be missed. From the crest of the central Amandiwing Mountain Range is breathtaking view of mountains, forests, plains and the island of Samar and Leyte. The Leyte Mountain Trail houses a profusion of tropical flora and fauna including colourful insects, butterflies, dragonflies, bugs, giant millipedes, deers, wild boars, monkeys, birds, orchids, and giant ferns.

Tongonan Hotsprings National
Tongonan Hotsprings National ParkLocated in Ormoc City, 123 km. from Tacloban City (also accessible from Kananga). A valley of geothermal power source that can supply electricity to the whole region when fully developed; cool and relaxing climate; first geothermal power plant to operate in the Philippines.

Lake Danao
Lake DanaoLocated in Ormoc City, 125 km. from Tacloban City. A violin-shaped lake 2,100 feet above sea level and 3 km, long; hemmed by cloud-capped-mountain ranges of undetermined depth; wild animals roaming its surrounding forest; hunter’s paradise; lake said to be the habitat of giant eel.

Cuatro Islas
Located in the towns of Inopacan and Hindang, Leyte; plus pumpboat ride. Four lovely isles namely, Digyo, Apid, Mahaba, and Himokilan bordered by white sandy shore; surrounded by beautiful coral gardens, the best in Leyte island. A total of 287 species of reef building corals can be found in the islands waters; rich fishing ground. Himokilan is the largest island of the Cuatro Islas where the big delicious coconut-cracking crabs called “tatus” are found.

Mt. Pangasuhan Ecopark
Mt. Pangasuhan Ecopark is located in Brgy. Pangasuhan, Baybay, Leyte. One of the few remaining virgin rainforests in the Philippines. It is richly endowed with diverse flora and fauna, many of which are considered endangered species like flying lemurs and tarsiers; a unique and precious ecological asset.