“We will never give up Buayan!” shouted the young Datu Utto, after a combined forces of Northern Maguindanao and Buayan warriors defeated the Spanish soldiers led by Lt. Col. La Hoz, when the Spaniards with 500 soldiers, pieces of artillery and a great number of Southern and Cotabato Maguindanaos attacked the settlement of Datu of Talayan in 1864.
It all started 3 years earlier, in April 30, 1861, when a flotilla led by the Spanish Commanding General of Polloc naval base advanced toward the mouth of the Pulangi.river. A Spanish flag was raised at the house of the father of the Maguindanao Sultan the Amirul of Maguindanao in Paiguan. At Cotabato, the Sultan raised the Spanish flag with the deafening sound of twenty one gun salute. The Spanish commanding general in front of the Sultan and important Maguindanao Datus promised to respect their religion and respect their customs and traditions.
But, the joy of the Spaniards was shortlived. In less than a week, a Maguindanao Resistance flag was raised in Pagalungan, near the appex of the delta the middle zone of Buayan and Maguindanao, where the resistance leader Datu Malinug had its base hundred years earlier. This time, the resistance was led by the eldest of Sultan of Tumbao Datu Manguda. He was supported by Northern Maguindanao settlements and the all Buayan independent settlements.
Infuriated by the resistance, the Maguindanao Sultan supported the assault on Pagalungan by the Spaniards Commanded by Spanish Frigate Captain Mendez Nunez. Datu Manguda fought valiantly but was defeated. There were not less than 200 warriors killed in the attack, the number of deaths shocked the muslims. The encounter came to be deeply imbedded in their memories and the story was transformed into “bayuks” or epic poems and was recited during war councils. The group of survivors marched to Talayan and others retreated to Buayan, the home of Sultan Bangon, the father of the young Datu Utto. Talayan became the center of resistance after Pagalungan.
Three years after, in 1864, the governor of Cotabato Lt. Col. La Hoz, thought it imperative to punish the Datu of Talayan. He organized a force of 500 Spanish soldiers.backed by artilleries and a number of Maguindanao warriors. The Spaniards were met with a fierce resistance led by the young Datu Utto of Buayan. The Spanish forces were defeated and were chased up to the Spanish fort of Taviran. Taviran was the settlement of brothers Datu Ayunan and Datu Balabaran, who were friendly with the Jesuits. Just outside the walls of the Spanish fort of Taviran, they could hear the voice of the rising leader, noble man and warrior Datu Utto, the prince of independent Buayan Nation – “WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP BUAYAN!”.
The defeat of the Spaniards united all the resistance leaders of Maguindanao and Buayan, most significant Datus who were once allied with the Maguindanao Sultan defected to Datu Utto, except the brothers Datu Ayunan and Datu Balabaran who decided to be friends with the Spaniards but not under the sway of the Spanish ally the Sultan of Maguindanao. Ten years after, Datu Ayunan declared war against Datu Utto.
I am a descendant of the Spanish Ally the Sultan of Maguindanao. My great grandfather was the Amirul sa Maguindanao. I am also, a descendant of Datu Balabaran, the father of my great grandfather Datu Sinsuat. All Spanish allies and friends. But, Datu Malinug the leader of resistance in mid 18th century was the nephew of my great ancestor Sultan Manamir, who was an ally of Spain. Datu Utto was the first cousin of my great grandfather the Amerul sa Maguindanao.
Our history is glorious. History that is still talked about in poems and ballads. History that is also our weapon, when we say weapon, it should not trap us on a fleeting cause and human enterprise and should not cloud our judgement. It is our history and it does not end there, like the bloods of the martyrs and nobles that still flows freely in our veins. With that in mind, allow me to do a bit of word substitution of the word Flipino on “Panatang Makabayan” : “Ako ay Maguindanao ( or Buayan) sa isip sa salita at sa gawa.”
“The leader neither behaves in a vacuum, nor is he entirely a free individual. He acts in a milieu which has been shaped with the past, and the success or failure of his career, must to some extent, depend upon his individual response to historical and cultural forces which he encounters.”
– Preface, The Career of Datu Utto of Buayan by Reynaldo Ileto
Photo: TOUGHER THAN THE REST – Datu Utto and his wife Rajah Putri, with theirs servants and guards and kins, in 1902 at Cotabato.