Baluartes de Miagao

Baluartes de Miagao

“Kuta Baybay”
Brgy. Baybay Norte, Miagao, Iloilo
Photo from: LGU Miagao

Baybay Norte Kuta

The extensiveness of Moro raids along the shorelines of Visayas in the 17th and 18th centuries, is evidenced by the surviving “cotta” (watch towers) built along the coast of Panay. One such “cotta” is still found in Baybay Norte, estimated to have been built in the mid-18th century. Made of coral shells and limestones, the Baybay Norte Kuta has been documented as one of the significant and successful Moro watchtowers used during the rampant pirate raids in Miagao. The Miagaowanons experienced the first pirate raid in 1741, twenty-five years after Miagao became a town. The raiders landed in Sitio Buwang, an area near the mouth of the Miagao River and was able to burn the town’s first church located in Ubos. The biggest raid, however, took place on May 7, 1754. Riding on 21 boats, the pirates landed at Baybay Norte and swarmed into the town. The Miagaowanons, under the leadership of Spanish Officer Jose Echevarria, repulsed the raiders and drove them back to their boats. The Moro raids served as the inspiration of the Salakayan Festival which started in 1998.

“Kirayan Baluarte”
Brgy. Kirayan, Miagao, Iloilo
Photo from: Wilson Tosino

Kirayan Norte Kuta

The least well-known of the “Cottas” in Miagao is located in Barangay Kirayan Norte, 120 m. west of the National Highway and 3 kms. away from the town proper. It used to be a 30-foot watchtower made of bricks and corals located at the highest peak of the barangay, that offered a clear view of Muslim invaders coming in sailboats from the sea. Today the tower is barely seen, hidden among the roots of a century-old balete tree and other surrounding trees and thick bushes.

Attack on Cotta: Thoughts of an Iranun warrior at sunrise on the day of Salakayan

Attack on Cotta: Thoughts of an Iranun warrior at sunrise on the day of Salakayan

Located along the shores of Moro Gulf, the Kingdom of Uranen (referred later in the literature as Iranun or Illanon) is among the oldest civilizations in Southeast Asia. The first Islamic missionaries, Shariff Aulia and Shariff Kabunsuan, cemented Islam as the primary religion through intermarriages with the Iranuns. Sultan Kudarat was a direct descendant from this union. The languages of the Maranao and Maguindanao are deeply rooted in the Iranun language suggesting that the Iranuns predated these two tribes.

Photo from Sulu Garden

Piracy is a Western perception when it comes to our islands. Raiding other lands for reasons of war or for wealth and slaves was a common occupation throughout the archipelago. A native could be a pearl diver one day, a farmer the next and a pirate later. Raiding as a profession was practiced by the Visayans, particularly the tribe called the Pintados, who are noted to raid as far as Formosa and the South China coast. The Iranuns, Tausugs and Maranaos were also raiders of Cochin China, Siam and throughout the Malay and Indonesian archipelago. Slavery was an institution and source of wealth for perhaps thousands of years and not merely practiced by Islamic tribes of the Philippine Archipelago.

The Battle for Miagao, referred in Miagao as Salakayan, occurred on May 7, 1754 during a period of intense warfare between the Muslims of Mindanao who resisted conversion to Christianity and the Spanish and Christianized allies of Visayas and Luzon. Islam, prior to Spanish conquest, was a benign religion in the Visayas and Luzon, tolerant of natives practicing their own brand of religion, from animism to worship of ancestors. For this reason, Christianization of the tribes in both Visayas and Luzon was relatively easy. Muslims in Mindanao were more deeply religious and the call for jihad against Spain created a single enemy for the normally warring tribes.

The Story

 I am Haji Ranom of the Bantilan clan of the mighty Iranuns, leader of the flotilla of praus, caracoas, lanongs and vintas of Iranun and Tausug warriors. I am sailing towards the east coast of Aninipay and towards the city of Irong-Irong. Over 100 years ago the Iranuns, the Maranaos and the Tausugs swore an oath to Sultan Kudarat when he declared jihad against the Spanish infidels. Since
then, the various clan wars of the Iranuns ceased and the wars among the Muslim tribes ended, replaced by constant warfare against the Spanish and their Christianized allies. Just beyond the horizon, in the dark of night, my ships wait for the wind and sunrise to take us on the mad dash

to the shores of Aninipay. The port city of Irong-Irong, the Spanish dogs call the place Iloilo, has an impregnable fortress and numerous Spanish warships. It would be costly to attack the city directly. Instead, we will hit them where

Young Miagaowanons to the slave market. Pencil sketch by Leopoldo ‘Ajin’ Moragas II.

they are weakest. Other fleets are lying in wait south of Aninipay and others in the north of the town they call Oton, places far enough for the Spanish to mount a quick response. My task on this invasion? To attack the center of the east coast, a town called Miag-ao. When I was younger, I came twice to this seaside town. The first time, we burned their church, took many captives and war trophies. The second time, six years later, we burned the second church they built to replace the first one. They have not built any new one since. Maybe they are just too afraid we will come back again to burn the third one they might build. These others around me on this prau come for slaves, gold, silver, guns and any wealth the infidels might have. The young ones come for the glory of Allah. I am here for revenge. Last year my two sons, joined the


Raiders are coming! Pencil sketch by Leopoldo ‘Ajin’ Moragas II.

combined fleet of Iranuns and Tausugs to attack the Visayas, but was intercepted in the high seas by a massive fleet of Spanish ships and praus, manned by thousands of Cebuanos, Tagalogs and the

Pintados. Over a hundred and fifty ofour own ships were sunk, along with over two thousand of Allah’s warriors. My revelry was interrupted by Muhammad, the Tausug datu whose men are on board with my Iranun warriors.



An “Iranun” sea-warrior attired in the distinctive thick cotton quilted red vest, and armed with a long spear and kampilan, a long heavy “lanoon sword” ornamented with human hair as described in The Global Economy and the Sulu Zone:Connections, Commodities and Culture.

Over a hundred of us crammed on the top deck of this prau, one of the largest in the fleet. “Maunu-unu na kaw?” says Muhammad, asking how I am feeling. I replied, “Marayaw.” I am fine. He asked if I wish to join the men. They could not sleep in anticipation of

the big battle at sunrise. The Tausugs, who call themselves ‘men of the current,’ are great seafarers and fierce warriors. But, they are also lovers of a good story they call katakata. The stories are mostly about tales they call Manuk-manuk Bulawan, describing the lives and deeds of the great sultans. But, they have funnier tales called ‘posong’ about commoners tricking the sultans. The men are laughing hard. They must be telling posong tales.

Over a hundred of us are crammed on the top deck of this prau, one of the largest in the fleet including Muhammad, the Tausug datu whose men are on board with my Iranun warriors.

The Tausugs, who call themselves ‘men of the current,’ are great seafarers and fierce warriors.

I smiled to Muhammad but said nothing. I told him, “the sun is about to rise and the men should get ready soon. But, do let them finish their storytelling first.”

In the Iranun tradition, the training of sons for battle starts early at the age of 10. It was the Christian year 1744 when different kind of white men came, called the Dutchmen, whose ships bombarded Jolo and then built a base called Port Holland in Maluso in the island of Basilan,. They proclaimed that  the land belonged to the Dutch East India Company.

Artist’s illustration of the short-lived Dutch base of Port Holland in Maluso, Basilan.

Even today, I do not know what they meant or who they were. Were they the same as the Spanish? They certainly looked alike. The Prince of the Tausugs, Datu Bantilan, called for a holy war against the  Dutchmen of Port Holland. The Iranuns heeded the call and we sailed into Maluso with the Tausugs. We burned their ships and slaughtered the Dutchmen in the fortress. Some were brought as war trophies of slaves for the auction blocks of Sulawesi. My reminiscing was broken by the loud sound of the




imam’s voice admonishing all the warriors to pray in the direction of Makkah as the first rays of the morning sun slowly creeped out from the horizon. It is time.

After the morning prayer, the Iranuns and the Tausugs sat down, spears up in the air and their shields on their lap. The sails of all the boats were unfurled, taking wind. The fleet was moving slowly at first. Then the bows of the prau pounded the surf as the oars started its rhythmic paddling, matching the tempo of the drums. The wind is at our back, pushing us towards the shore, adding to the propulsion of the oars. Each prau moving faster and faster as if we are all racing to the finish line.

Miag-ao’s coastline comes closer and closer to view. The men are excited. They begin striking their shields with their swords. Every boat competing to be the loudest; each boat racing to be the first to reach the shore. I can see the flash of sunlight against mirrors from the high ground they call Barangit-itip. And another flash from the beach on the far right of the shoreline, from a place I knew as Calampitao. Perhaps, they know we are coming!

My last big raid in Miag-ao was different. We came silently up the river, paddled as far as the boat could take us until the river became shallow. Then we disembarked and a silent march until we reach the outskirts of town before the attack began. That way, hardly anyone escaped the raid. It always worked well, but the Sultan wanted us to go fast this time. Straight to the beach, kill everyone, no slaves to be taken. And, as soon as we are finished with Miag-ao, for us to rejoin the other flotilla attacking Oton where they expected more resistance. Our lantaka swivel canons were sunk along with our praus on that same disaster last year that took my sons. Most of the canons are at the bottom of the sea. On this raid, there are no canons to support our men. We are taking Miag-ao on a frontal assault. And, the signals show they expect us. Over a thousand warriors here are just too eager for battle.Getting closer to the beach. The leading praus are almost there, heading directly to the Christian’s Cotta, a miniscule defensive watchtower made of coral stones. Normally too low to be much of a defense, but the infidels have added

wooden palisades the height of two men on top of the watchtower. Our last foray into Miagao seven years before, this Cotta did not exist. These infidels did not fight. They simply ran as fast as they could into the hills and mountains.

This time I think they intend to fight. That’s good. For once we will have a real battle rather the slaughter of chickens.

I can see men rushing to put up poles on top and in the front of the Cotta. Red flags on bamboo poles. I think they are taunting us to attack.

Datu Masud’s prau is the first to reach the beach, another two not far behind. Our Iranun and Tausug warriors, the first 200, are jumping out and running towards the flags, their shields up, lances forward, swords unsheathed. On top of the Cotta is an infidel, shirtless, tattooed, raising a kampilan pointing towards us.

These infidels seem ready to stand their ground. I can see more movement up the hill. I do not think the townspeople are running either. They seem to be forming up for a fight. Merchants, farmers, clerks against my battle hardened army? The entire Spanish Army might be beyond the hill and I would not know until they come rushing down.

As my prau hits the sand, I jumped out along with the rest of my men. I shouted, “Allah Akbar!” And in unison, a thousand of us, on the beach and on the approaching praus, shouted, “Allah Akbar.” That single thunderous cry would have chilled the bones of these infidel dogs.

Towards Cotta I go. My friend Ranom’s kris swirling in the air. My lancers throwing spears towards Cotta. Any second now the battle will be joined.

This is a good day for a fight.

‘The fight at the beach’ Pencil sketch by Leopoldo ‘Ajin’ Moragas II.


excerpts from the writings of

Jonathan R. Matias
Sulu Garden, Miag-ao, Iloilo

Defending Cotta: Thoughts of a Comisario in the Morning of Salakayan

Defending Cotta: Thoughts of a Comisario in the Morning of Salakayan

Prelude to May 7, 1754

Moro Watch Tower (KOTA) Baybay Norte

Moro Watch Tower (KOTA) Baybay Norte Undated photo c.a. 1930, courtesy of Mr. Ernie Palmos

People call me Boni, short for Bonifacio. Spanish names seemed unnatural for us whom the Spaniards simply call derogatively as Indios. Harder to pronounce Spanish words. Or, just simply too long for our Kinaray-a tongue. I was just 10 years old when the raiders came from the sea. I was terrified. Everyone was. The mere utterance of the word Moro evoked a sense of foreboding, fear and despair. Raiders are aplenty in these islands. Not always Moros. Often, they are marauding bandits of all kinds. Christians and non-Christians, such as the Pintados, Chinese and Japanese pirates. As soon as the bell rang everyone in our village ran for our lives. We knew what each rhythm of the church bell meant. That particular one was the distinct warning that the raiders were coming. Not many of us made it to the safety of the mountains. The raiders came too fast, using the Tumagbok River as their gateway. The elders, the wounded and the very young were butchered like pigs, mercilessly cut to pieces with the kampilan or the kris, the long wavy swords of the Moro raiders. They were simply useless for the slave trade and the long voyage back to their homeland. My father and mother were among the unlucky ones. When others found me deep in the jungle I was told that the other young men and women were taken to be sold in the slave markets of Sandakan and even as far away as Batavia in the island of Java. Even now I do not know where Sandakan or Java is. I have not gone beyond the boundaries of Miagao.

My Uncle, Nicolas Pangkug, the first capitan of Miagao, finished the construction of our church in 1731 so that the Spanish priests from Oton would finally come to serve the religious needs of this town. In the year of our Lord 1741, the raiders came. They raped, killed, looted and burned our church!

Six years later, in the year of our Lord, 1747, the raiders came back again and burned the second church built by Fray Fernando Camporedondo. Forty days each year men sweated carrying stones and timber for that church. Everyone 16 years of age to 60 must serve this forced labor called polo y servicio, except the town principalia, the Spanish Insulares and Spanish Peninsulares. The rich Indios, not many of them in town, pay the falla of seven pesos to be exempted. It is May 7, 1754. I am 23 years of age. I am standing guard on top of Cotta, the watchtower in sitio Baybay. I am just a comisario, a minor clerk in the office of the capitan, but now carrying a spear and a bolo strapped to my waist. We were rushed to Cotta two nights ago. The governadorcillo expected raiders to come from Sulu Sea any time soon. There are 30 of us inside Cotta. The walls of coral stones are 5 meters high, with wooden planks as palisades to protect us from flying arrows and spears. I have never fought anyone, never hurt anyone. The same goes for most of the men inside Cotta, except the cabeza de barangay of Baybay, Nong Fermin. He is much older than us. He wears a long sleeved shirt even in hot summer days, perhaps trying to hide the tattoos all over his body. Nong Fermin was and still is a Pintado. And, he seemed to have some experience in this sort of thing.

He came from beyond the sea one day about 30 years ago, married a local woman, says very little and keeps to himself most of time unless he needs to bark an order. Today, he is carrying a mysterious wooden case, about a meter long. All of us are afraid of him as much as we are afraid of the Moros. People say Nong Fermin was also a warrior decade ago. He fought in an army composed of Cebuanos and Ilonggos called Armada de los Pintados, the Army of the Painted Ones. This army, they say, crossed Sulu Sea on war boats called caracoa to raid the coastal Muslim villages of Zamboanga, Jolo and Basilan. The raiders coming today are Muslims from the far end of Sulu Sea, perhaps from the same villages previously raided by the Armada. Now they are back to do the same. I was also told that my great grandfather was also of the Muslim faith until Augustinian friars and Spanish soldiers with armor and firearms, the Conquistadores, came to our island of Panay to make him a Christian and take his land. It was convert or die—only two options. Is it right to call the Moros pirates when our Spanish ‘masters’ did the same to us? If we are not Christians, would the raiders still come? Had the Spanish not raided their villages, might they be civil and leave us alone? Or is it simply that they prefer the life of piracy as a tradition?

photo from

Does the Moro I will face in battle today think about these things as well? I ask myself these questions as I look out to the horizon. Maybe one day I will have a chance to speak to a Moro and ask him, if he doesn’t kill me first. The raiders seem to come every 6 years during amihan, when the trade winds are favorable. My daydreaming was cut short by men shouting. The watchmen on the hilltop of Sitio Barangit-itip are signaling with mirrors. They have sighted twenty one sails over the horizon! Twenty one boatloads of angry Moros. Bells are ringing, sounds of drums made from hollowed-out tree trunks warning the people beyond the hills about the impending attack. I see throngs of women from the sitios of Baybay, Ubos and Kirayan, running with children in tow, carrying whatever they can of their meager, yet precious belongings, scurrying towards the sitio of Mat-y and the hills beyond. All the able bodied men are being herded, reluctantly up to Tacas by quadrilleros. The men in the watch towers of Kadamisolan and Kirayan are being withdrawn back to town to join the improvised ‘army’ of more comisarios, quadrilleros and a motley group of mostly simple farmers, laborers and traders armed with whatever they can find. The skirmish line is being formed in Tacas. The Spanish officer, Jose Echevaria, is busy ordering the company of men he brought along with him in a firing line with flintlock muskets while at the same time keeping the rest of the people’s army of reluctant Indios from running away in fear. There is capitan Agustin Gayo translating for the Spanish, trying to inspire the terrified folks to stand and fight.

We Indios, are  descendants of the warlike Pintados! We have the blood of raiders in our veins too. I ask my self often, “Did turning into Christians also turn us into scared lambs? What happened to our forefathers that allowed us to become Indios only fit for polo y servicio for the Spanish and meat for the slave market of the Moros?

Then, there is the Spanish priest, Reverend Father Pedro Alvares, wearing his cassock giving God’s blessings to those about to die. How about us here in Cotta? No officer, no muskets and no priest on this miserable pile of coral rock. Today, many will certainly meet God because for the first time we are not running away in fear of the Moros. Well at least not yet.

Tacas is more defensible. It is uphill from the beach–a plateau. And the defenders of Tacas have moved farther into the reverse slope of the plateau, away from my sight and from that of the raiders. The messenger from Echevaria, almost breathless from the fast run downhill, arrived with a message from Tacas. He said, The Moros will likely go up the hill on the main road from the beach of Baybay.

We are the only force blocking their way. The raiders will try to destroy Cotta first to clear the road uphill. The Moros will not bypass us to

Depiction of the Visayan Pintados from boxer codex

Depiction of the Visayan Pintados from boxer codex

go around. The messenger said, “You are ordered to defend Cotta for at least one hour to give Echeveria enough time to position the men for the counterattack.” That only means to me that Cotta is the bait for a trap. And, baits are always bitten or eaten by the beast we intend to trap. We at Cotta are the expendable bait! Bright red banners are strung up high on bamboo poles around Cotta. I asked, “What is that for?” The messenger said, “Remember the angry bull? Just making sure the Moros only see Cotta and head straight for you!” I see the vintas and the large raider boats they call caracoa. I can hear the faint beating of their drums and mesmerized by synchronized splash of oars on the sides of the long boats. The taunts from the boats are getting louder and louder each second. I can see the glint of the swords and the tip of their spears. Each caracoa can hold more than 80 warriors and there are at least ten of them heading directly to Baybay. The vintas are smaller and lighter, with the amihan winds pushing their sails faster, onwards towards shore. Each vinta can carry 5 men. We are facing about 1,000 warriors against 30 of us on top of Cotta. And, another group of 20 trembling men that came with the messenger, placed in hiding at the back palisades protecting our rear.

Fifty men. I hope Echevaria knows what the hell he is doing. I hope he has a cannon and the Spanish cavalry hidden up there in Tacas. The boats reached the beach almost simultaneously. The Moros have landed. Without even a pause, they scampered out of the boats, running like mad men towards the Cotta, some brandishing their swords above their heads, shouting insults. Most have wooden, intricately carved, colorful shields. I see no one carrying muskets. No lantaka swivel cannon on any of the caracoas. They have about 150 meters of beach to cover before they reach Cotta.

Now, I have the Moros in front of me. The shouts are deafening. Fear of the Moros can be so overpowering, so pervasive. I looked at my fellow comisarios to my left and to my right. The same fear in their eyes. Others are silently praying to Nuestra Senora de la Paz, the patroness of peace of Baybay. Nong Fermin shouted final instructions how we will fight as a group today. 30 meters. I can see their faces now–faces full of hate, rage and joy of finally being in personal combat soon. These are the faces of real, hardened, merciless warriors. Most are brandishing the sword called barung, not kampilan. The barung is the preferred sword of the Tausugs. They are thirsty for blood. Spears are thrown at us, most embedding themselves on the palisades with a loud thud. Over our heads, arrows are flying. Our bodies, pressed against the inside wall of Cotta, are hidden from view by the thick wooden palisades. I can hear my heart pounding! Screams of pain from the left and the right of me. An arrow embedding on one’s chest is a sound I have never imagined to be so bloodless but so palpable, so frightening.

Caracoa war boats on a raiding expedition. Rowers are on the outriggers. Estimated speed 16 knots, with rowers being exchanged periodically by those on the boat. Original watercolor from collection of Jonathan R. Matias (New York).

Prau of Illanoan pirates of Borneo and Sulu Archipelago. No outriggers, oars manned typically by slaves. lantaka canon on the bow of the boat and an upper deck for more warriors; capacity 80 warriors. Image from http://www.gutenb

The two typical war canoes – the outrigger type caracoa and the prau –
likety seen from the beaches of Miag-ao during Salakayan

The bamboo ladders are now against the Cotta’s wall and the first of the Moros are on their way up shouting ‘Allah Akbar.’ Others are prying loose the mortars of the coral stones and inserting spears in between to create a makeshift ladder. I have thrown the first spear down towards them. I did not bother to look if it connected with someone’s flesh and bone. I just turned around to grab the next spear from the panicking spear bearer behind me. Shouts, screams, smoke and utter bedlam. Swords, spears, bayonets and bodies pressed against each other in the bloody mess of close combat on top of Cotta. This is going to be the longest hour of my life. SALAKAYAN has begun!

excerpts from the writings of

Jonathan R. Matias
Sulu Garden, Miag-ao, Iloilo



photo from: Sulu Gaden

The Salakayan Festival of Miagao (Province of Iloilo) is celebrated every first week of February to commemorate the battle in which the people of Miagao successfully repulsed Muslim raiders (referred to as Moros by the Spanish). The Festival is a colorful depiction of this event that occurred in 1754. As festivals continue on over the years, the significance of the momentous event is often lost to fast movement choreography, heart pounding sounds and artistic passions of our modern times.

A real battle, like that of Salakayan (from the root word salakay meaning to attack), is neither joyous nor artistically choreographed. It is a bloody, painful and terrifying event for the men and women of the opposing sides. During this period of Philippine colonial history, the Muslim raiders depopulated Visayan towns by as much as 50% through enslavement and battles. It was a period when the very survival of many Christian towns hanged in the balance. But, it was a two sided invasion too. The following year, the Spanish and Christianized native allies would also stage an invasion of their own against the Muslim coastal towns along the far south of Sulu Sea. It was a tit-for-tat exchange that lasted for 333 years of our colonial past. There is a dearth of information on that actual battle in Miagao. There was no record available even now how the battle was won and how long it took; how many have died; or even how many were engaged. It is even a mystery where in Miagao the actual battle took place. Neither do we know which Moro tribes we fought that day (there are 13 major Muslim tribes in Mindanao). What is known for now came through the writings of Elias N. Failagao and other historical records of the Moro Wars. Today, it is hard to imagine that period of our history. Most consider historical events as nothing more than just another day.

The Battle for Miagao, referred in Miagao as Salakayan, occurred supposedly on May 7, 1754 during a period of intense warfare between the Muslims of Mindanao who resisted conversion to Christianity and the Spanish and Christianized allies of Visayas and Luzon. Islam, prior to Spanish conquest, was a benign religion in the Visayas and Luzon, tolerant of natives practicing their own brand of religion, from animism to worship of ancestors. For this reason, Christianization of the tribes in both Visayas and Luzon was relatively easy. Muslims in Mindanao were more deeply religious and the call for jihad against Spain created a single enemy for the normally warring tribes. The date of Salakayan was recorded in Elias Failagao’s 1979 book “History of Miagao.” This book was vetted as a historical reference by the Philippine National Historical Commission. Cotta, the watchtower, was built about the same period. The third and present day Church of Miagao was not built until 40 plus years later after Salakayan. How the battle was fought remains a mystery too. Hopefully more will be known as people begin to appreciate our own local history. “Defending Cotta: Thoughts of a Comisario in the Morning of Salakayan” is written from the point of view of a fictitious comisario, the person being attacked in the salakay, who is about to face insurmountable odds
in the very front of the battle lines. The timelines are real and so are the names of major Spanish and minor officials of the period. How the actual battles were fought is a calculated guess considering how battles were fought on the 18th century and considering Miagao’s
terrain. The episodes presented took into consideration how the salakay began, how the local chieftain directed the defense of the Cotta and the whole town, what was the role of the Spanish Conquistadores and the battle that ensued from the eye of a local warrior.

In “Attack on Cotta: Thoughts of an Iranun Warrior at Sunrise on the Day of Salakayan” we will attempt to present the salakay from the point of view of an Iranun warrior – the pirate attacker. Again, the timelines are real and so are the historical figures and places mentioned. That the Muslims lost 2,000 warriors in a single battle the year before the Salakayan is in the history books. Port Holland existed briefly in Basilan. The island of Naatura Besar, the State of Terengganu (Malaysia), the Indian cities of Thoothukudi and Thiruvananthapuram are all real. (Jonathan R. Matias has a Marine Research Center in Thoothukudi). It is hoped that by writing about Salakayan from both the point of view of the attacked and the attacker, we will be able to chronicle and bring history to life by humanizing
the historical characters on both sides of the opposing forces. We hope that by writing this way, our people will begin to see that our old history is rich and not one sided. The raiders during the Battle for Miagao had their own point of view and unique cultural diversity. Those combatants on both sides of this religious war suffered, bled, and died for their beliefs.

excerpts from the writings of

Jonathan R. Matias
Sulu Garden, Miag-ao, Iloilo