Friday, November 23, 2007


The population of the country was placed in two labels: “Civilized” and “Wild” or “Christians” and “non-Christians”. Mr. Dean Worcester, member of the Philippine Commission, said that they could not be called Pagans because some of them were Mohammedans, while others seem to have no form of religious worship. They could not be called wild, for some of them are quite as gentle, and as highly civilized, as their Christian neighbors. Their refusal to accept Christian faith and their adherence to their ancient religion was the reason why Mr. Dean Worcester employ the term non-Christians.[1] The Philippine commission created the Bureau of non-Christian tribes under the Department of Interior headed by Worcester himself. Two years later it was changed to Ethnological Survey for Philippine Island.[2] A Philippine bill passed by U.S. Congress on July 1, 1902 recognized the distinction between Moro, Pagans, and Christians. Commission no. 787 called “An act providing for an organization and Government of the Moro Province.” It was passed on June 1, 1903 to take effect on July 15 of the same year.[3]On this duration from October 29,1903 to February 11, 1904 the legislative council approved acts organizing municipalities. Major John P. Finley, of 28th Infantry of U.S. Army was appointed as District Governor of Zamboanga.[4]

American occupation in Tukuran

When the Spanish military occupation of the Tukuran-Lintugop-Misamis trocha ceased, in 1898, by the withdrawal of the troops of Spain, in accordance with the term of Treaty of Paris, the Mosabai Moros (Moro from Lanao) fell again into control and resume their depredation against the Subanons in Zamboanga District and against the Filipino and Subanons in the Misamis District. These raids involved the distruction of life and property and the carrying of people into bondage. A Moro village was reopened at Tukuran on each side of the river; and the military buildings (Casa Real), together with a Moro Kota (fort) on the west side of the river were occupied by the moros until they were forced to abandon the situation by the appearance of American troops no October 15,1900.[5] Militar was then called “military reservation.[6]

A telegraphic communication was then established in the north coast of Misamis in time to connect with the Manila cable on January 1,1901.[7]After American occupation, Tukuran (Tucuran by the Americans) was garrisoned by U.S. troops. This telegraphic connection by cable was established with Zamboanga and Jolo to the south and west and with Misamis and Manila to the north. Troops occupied fort Alfonzo XII and the Military trocha was maintained in good condition until the latter part of 1902.[8] The captured Moros and Subanons were used for the maintenance of the fort.[9]

Moro Resistance and Piratical raids

There were a wide spread of resistance against the American presence during the first fifteen year of American rule in Mindanao.[10]There was a Moro resistance in the hills of Tagulo. A canon seized from the Spaniards in Militar, was positioned in the hills. The Moro guarded the hill closely. Americans attacked the place and it took them several days to fight. Attackers had a hard time to pacify the Moro, so the well of the foot of the hill was guarded to cut the water supply .For several days the Moro became weak and thirsty. The leaders surrendered to the Americans and were treated kindly.[11]The account of the Tukuran teachers runs as follows;

During American period a Moro Datu name Benito is known to have an anting anting (amulet) .The Datu lived near Tukuran beach, he led the lawless Moro to attack the Americans in Militar. Benito was one of the high-ranking Datu among the Moro. When requested by the Americans to capture his lawless Moro follower, Datu Benito refused. He instead fled to the mountains but was latter captured by the Americans and was executed…[12]

When regular troops were removed again the whole trocha was left to the control of the Mosabai Moro, under the leadership of Datu Maminton (Mamintong)[13]. The cota of the Moro that was one of the biggest was built right of the Tukuran River (near Militar).[14] The Moro took advantage of this absence of troops to resume their raids upon the Subanons and made it necessary to reestablish the garrison at Tukuran in January 1903, and to cause the trocha to be patrolled again from Tukuran to Misamis.[15] The Tukuran teachers in their account stated:

Dato Guilingan a kalibugan in the hinterlands of Labangan became a casualty of the Moro marauder activity[16]

The Moro were defeated by the Philippine troops and the Philippine Constabulary men took over. They were succeeded in 1908 by the Philippine scouts.[17] Tukuran Agricultural School was built along Tukuran River. [18] It was Mr.Zablan who was the first Teacher.[19]In 1900, Moro areas have 25 schools and more than 2,000 attending pupils on its first year. Three years later 52 schools were opened with a total population of 2,114 comprising 1,764 Christians 240 Moro, and 110 pagan Bagobos.[20] This showed how intensive was the Americans in their campaign for the Island of Mindanao. This was one tool of pacifying the Non-Christian tribe especially Moro.

Tukuran as a Political Unit:

On this duration October 29, 1903 to February 11, 1904,the legislative council approved acts organizing municipalities. Major John P. Finley of 28th Infantry of U.S. Army was appointed as district governor of Zamboanga.[21]

The Philippine Commission enacted a special law .For general application among non-Christians. For the Moro, it passed Act no.39 providing the division of non-Christian Tribes into tribal wards.[22]These special structures, usually politico military in characteristic, were generally designed to be a transition stage in the amalgamation of the non-Christian into their assimilation with the seven million Christian Filipinos.[23] Tribal ward was established in Tukuran. Below is evidence, an excerpt from annual report of the Philippine Commission:

List of Tribal Wards and Their Leaders in Moro Province, 1906

Town Tribe Leader/Name of Leader


Tukuran Illanos Datto Guimba

Tukuran Illanos Datto Guimba

Labangan Illanos DattoBagu

(Balanyug)Balanug Illanos Datto Luminculub

Tawagan Illanos Datto Salicula

Pagadian Illanos Datto Salacub

(Maasim) Masum Illanos Timua Sunimpun

(Maragang) Madagang Illanos Timuay Sunimpun

In 1912, the set of the government was established in Tukuran as a military district under a military president who was supervised by the American military official. Filez Ocampo was the first Military district president[24] for six consecutive years from 1912 to1918. [25] Tukuran later became a Municipal district; in the 1918 census the municipal district of Tukuran has a population of 3, 921. A municipal district was a political unit, which was less populated and developed than a regular municipality.[26]The size of the municipal district was from Tiaman now part of Misamis Occidental until Dimataling and was bigger than the province of La union.[27]

Due to the piratical raids of the Mosabai (Moro from Lanao), the people transferred the seat of government to Labangan 1921, although it was on July of 1927 executive order no.70 that made Labangan as Municipal district. There were no hostile Moro.[28] This made Tukuran (former military and Municipal distinct) a barrio of the Municipal district of Labangan. In 1939 Pagadian became a municipality out from Poblacion Pagadian, Municipal district of Labangan and Municipal district of Dinas as they were fused,[29] making Labangan and Tukuran among of the 19 barangay of Pagadian. [30]And making Pagadian as one of the Municipalities of once undivided Province of Zamboanga.[31]

When the American occupation left Tukuran, Mosabai Moro resumed their depredation to the people. Subanons then transferred gradually to Labangan because of the raids and presence of Visayans settlers[32]

Two Governing Bodies: 1901-1910

Christians form a governing body out of the existing powers of the Mohammedan. There existed two governing bodies in Tukuran. Feliz Ocampo for the Christians while Dato Mamaclay (Mamaclay Ontong) for the Mohammedan. They settle disputes among their tribe, and marriages were solemnized before them. There were mutual understandings between the two tribes. The two leaders made vow to unite against the Mosabai piratical raids.

After the death of the two leaders, their respective tribe succeeded them. It was tinente Salon (Pedro) for the Christians and Datu Gundo for Iranun. Several Datu and Bario tenenti contributed in the progress of Tukuran.

Resettlement Program of the Government

The resettlement program started during the American Colonial period. Severe drought in Sulu and Zamboanga and grasshopper infestation in Davao in 1911-1912 adversely affected rice supply in the Moro province and this give General John Pershing, who was then the governor of the Moro Province, the excuse to call for the importation of homesteaders from the overpopulated Philippine areas. The year 1913 saw the passage by the Philippine Commission of Act no. 2254 creating agricultural colonies aim to produce rice at Cotabato Valley. Unable to further finance the opening of Moro colonies, the Manila government passed an Act 2206 in 1919, which authorized Provincial Board to manage colonies themselves under their expense.

No significant government settlements were organized until 1935. Settlers nevertheless migrated either on their own or through the Interisland and Migration Division of the Bureau of Labor. There were settlement areas like Cotabato Valley, Lamitan in Basilan, Momungan in Lanao and Labangan in Zamboanga.[33] The barrio of Tukuran and other Sitios was a part of Labangan.

Arrivals of Settlers

Settlers began to arrive before and after settlement program of the government in some barrios and sitios of Labangan. The following barrios of Tabuan,Tukuran,Luy-a,Tinotungan and Tagulo and their respective sitios became a part of Tukuran as it became a Municipality in 1958. However, before the resettlement program of the government there were people who populated Tukuran.

The family of Jose Pepito, Christituto Rosales, Agapito Ngabil, Alipio Moratas, Durotio Buhisan (became Tiniente del Barrio) settled in 1929 along the coast near Lanao and called it Sugod. They suffered from the attacks of Moro bandits. Christituto Rosales was killed during the attack. Cash, jewelry, livestock, and personal belongings were robbed.[34]

The family of Felipe Calunsag settled along the coast of Militar. They were from Negros and were believed to have an amulet.[35]

In 1907, the people started to settle in the hinterlands of Tinotongan. Since time immemorial these pioneer settlers was forgotten but in 1922 the Ruque, followed by Gorre and the Bayson of Leyte settled.[36]

The families of Reyes, Farales, Gungora, Fiscador, Kilalang and Fabros, all from Zambales settled in 1932-33 in the place and name it Luy-a because of the abundant presence of ginger. They underwent hardships on the early years of settlement.[37]

On board the steamship Mactan, the Aragon’s and de Jesus’ all from Luzon settled the place in 1930 in a place called Camanga. The Visayan peddlers often stumble in the slippery mountain trail of the area named the place. “Camanga” means, “you crawl” in passing the place due to heavy rains and sticky mud.[38]

The Respicio from Pagadian of kilometro zero settled in 1935 followed by the Vicentes and Cababaros in 1936 in a place called Tabuan and the rest followed later. The people called it Tabuan for it was believed during the olden times that people used to meet during Tabu (meeting place for barter).[39]

In Tukuran, the Visayans had started to settle along the coast during the late 1920s and came in gradual. The family of Francisco Babanto of Bohol settled in 1927. The families of Francisco Rosales, Pablo Bulawen, Leopoldo Pabling, Segundino Ramonal, Pal-ing, Tabuada, Demetrio Donor, Ponciano Lahaylahay, Iking Banawa, Rubiato, Miguel Oracion, Rufino Mira, Arado, arrived in the late 20’s as accounted by Hilaria Lahaylahay. However;

Because of Malaria, some pioneers evacuated the place leaving their homes empty. The place was swampy, nipa trees grows, leech and crabs are found in creeks, Inyam trees are abundant.92

In the late 1930s Ilocanos from San Juan, Agno, Pangasinan, had started to settle. They came with their able-bodied members of the family.[40] Food, medicine, farm supply, and even the fair in boarding the steamship Mactan were free.[41] They were divided into two batches. The first were the Sagun, Cabrales and Cabrido family in 1937. Originally, they were assigned in Koronadal Valley by the government. But Mr. Tomas Sagun insisted that they should settle in Tukuran. The latter and Melchor Cabrales were teaching in Tukuran Primary school now Tukuran Central Elementary School. Using a lantsa (steamboat) which Tomas rented, they board for Tukuran. They arrived at Sipaway now San Carlos. Eulalia wife of Quintin Cabrales who later became the town councilor, cried because of the situation she had seen. Unlike Luzon, there were only few people with an alien dialect, no clear roads, and bugang grass was dominant and a swampy area filled with seashore creatures.[42] The second batch was on board steamship Mactan. They were the Gozalos, Santiagos, Tornitos, and Narvaez’. They duct at Tukuran beach at May 3, 1938.[43]

The families of Felipe Lumbas and Basilio Colinares form Man-ilan, Catmon, Cebu settled the place and name it from where they came from.[44]

The family of Anatacio Botanas and others from Manlayag, Catmon, and Cebu settled the placed and name it from where they came from.[45]

As a result of the heavy influx of settlers from Luzon and Visayans the existing balance of population among the indigenous Moro, Lumads, and Christian inhabitants underwent serious changes. In addition to the cases of Zamboanga and Bukidnon one will readily see how imbalance in the population led to imbalance in the distribution of Political power as well as of cultivable lands and other natural and economic resources.[46] As the result of settlement indigenous population naturally receded from their habitat in the plains upward into the forest areas.[47] In Luy-a and Camanga Subanons receded from their habitat and the Iranun Muslim transferred in gradual to Labangan.[48] The Subanons in Tinotongan and Manlayag, the newly settled area receded from their habitat.[49] In Sugod, settlers suffer from the attacks of the Moro Bandits.[50]

In Tukuran, most of the old names of the places were changed. Christians changed Kanlukan to Lambayong because of the abundance of Lambayong plant. Iliam/Ilian an Iranun ancient burial site was change to Kamangahan by Christians because of the century old mango tree serves as marker on each family grave.[51] This burial site did not survive since the arrival of Christians because the very site became a residential place among the settlers. Moreover, some of the mango trees were cut down during the widening of municipal road.[52]

Most of the settlers acquired lands because of some reasons: the Subanons used to barter their occupied lands with canned goods e.g. tinapa and sardinas and other modern products to the settlers and most of the Moro were reluctant in cultivating their occupied lands and prefer to go fishing or drinking coffee at painitan in early morning. They usually sell their occupied lands to the Christians.[53]

Socio-cultural and Socio-Economic Development During Settlement

During the early days of settlement, English was the Lingua Franca. They called it carabao English because of poor grammatical structure. Pangpang and Iranun could speak English and used to mingle with the Christian Ilocano and later they learned Cebuano language.[54]

Through the advent of the home seekers, barrio Tukuran had increased its sitios. These were the sitios of Tilibong, Tinago which later became Santo Niño. Sipaway and Lambayong which later became part of Panduma. Kamangahan, Kanawa, and Guay later become part of Curvada. Alinahaw later become a barangay. Kamunggayan and Pasil emerge during 80s as new sitios and peopled by rebel returnees.[55]

Fiesta was celebrated after the arrival of settlers and Sr. San Isidro was the patron saint (now patron saint of San Carlos). In 1937, Tukuran Primary School consisted of one room for grade one and two but in the following year, one room was added for grade three and four due to the increase of enrollees. Most of the students were sons and daughters of the settlers.[56] According to Napoleon Cabrales:

We used to go to Labangan for the books of the student. My uncle and my teacher Tomas Sagun used to rent a hand-powered boat for the transportation of books. Sometimes we were wet and so were the books due to heavy rains and strong wave at the sea. Lumod, a whale used to swim along the boat while going to Labangan.108

Fish was very much abundant in Tukuran. At the depth of 1 ½ meter Tulingan, a tuna was found. Fish were sold by taro (cans). Some were given to people, but often many were found rotten along the seashore.

In the forested barrio of Camanga, Luy-a and Tinotongan wildlife were found. Wild pigs (baboy-sulop), wild deer (binaw), monkeys and hornbill birds (kalaw) were found. Leonora Lagoy’s interview runs as follows:

“Baboy-sulop always caused destruction on our root crops and mais (corn). Our elders had ping pong balls, a homemade bomb, to catch baboy-sulop. The meat was marinated and made as Kusahos (dried meat). Kalaw served as timekeeper for it sounds at exactly at 12 noons

In the forest, Subanons practiced kaingin as the agricultural activity. While in the coast the Iranuns engaged in fishing of which they usually brought their catch to Malabang. After planting mais, the Visayans usually cast their nets to the sea and engaged in Panglab-as, a fish trading. The Ilocanos and Ilonggos settled in the valley for they were rice planters. It was this people who developed the valleys into rice paddies.

Together with these settlers were their customs and traditions. Calesa from Luzon was used as means of transportation but vanished during 1960s. Ilocano sleigh was used in rice paddies in transporting cabans of rice. These people were also fond of Basi, a rice rhum and Ilocano bagoong, a fermented fish. Some of them still practice intermarriage to protect them from marrying other tribes specially Moro.

Visayans on the other hand, used to make Tinabal, a salted fish and sold it to the neighboring barrios and towns. Visayan people from the hinterlands went down to sell their products in Tukuran at Daang Mercado, now Provincial Fish port.

[1] The Minorization of The Indigenous Communityes Of Mindanao And Sulu.,B.R. Rodil(Department of

History ,Mindanao State University -Iligan Institute of Technology,Iligan city,December 1993).p17.

[2] Rodil.,The Minoritization.,op.cit., p18.

[3] Peter Growing, Mandate in the Moroland, The Government of Muslim-Filipinos, 1899-1920.(Director,

Dansalan Research Center, Dansalan College, Marawi City. New Day Published Quezon City 1983.)


[4] Ibid. p113

[5] Finley,op.cit.,p.6.

[6] Labangan Teachers,op.cit., p68.


[8] Finley,op.cit.,.p6

[9] Labangan Teachers,op.cit., p68.

[10] Rodil.,The Minoritization.,op.cit., p46

[11] Labangan Teachers,op.cit., p68.

[12] Ibid, p65

[13] Finley,The Subano:Studies .op.cit.p.6.

[14] Labangan Teachers,op.cit., p68

[15] Finley,The Subano:Studies . op.cit.,p.6.

[16] Labangan Teachers,op.cit., p.69.

[17] Bautista,op.cit.,p.7.

[18] Labangan Teachers,op.cit., p.65.

[19] Ibid., p69

[20]Growing,op.cit., p48

[21] Growing,op.cit., p113

[22]. Growing,op.cit, p19

[23] Annual Report of the Philippine Commision.Part1pp370-72; quoted by Rudy Rodel (UP- Diliman,Quezon City.)p285.

[24]Labangan Teachers.op.cit.,p.1.

[25] Ibid, p69

[26]History of Zamboanga del Sur, 2000,p38

[27] Ibid, p.54.

[28]Labangan Teachers.op.cit ,p69.

[29] History of Zamboanga del Sur.op.cit., p37-38

[30] Ibid, p38

[31] Ibid, p36

[32]Labangan Teachers.op.cit, p68

[33]Rodil.,The Minoritization., .op.cit., p.33.

[34] Labangan Teachers.op.cit, pp. 76

[35] Ibid. p67

[36] Ibid. p82

[37] Ibid. p55

[38] Ibid. p58

[39] Ibid. p6

[40] A Tape Interview with Leonora Cababaro Lagoy, 77 yrs. Old at Dorado’s Residence in Purok

Masidlakon, Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur. On May 23,2001 at 3p.m. henceforth referred to as Lagoy


[41] A Tape Interview with Napoleon Cabrales, 76 yrs. Old at his residence at San Carlos Tukuran,

Zamboanga del Sur. On November 17, 2001 at 10:30 a.m. henceforth referred to as N. Cabrales


[42] Ibid. p2

[43] A Tape Interview with Guillerma Calpo Cabredo, 84 yrs. Old at his son’s residence in Kamangahan,

Curvada Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur. On May 22, 2001 at 11:30 a.m. henceforth referred to as G.

Cabrido Interview.

[44] Labangan Teachers.op.cit, p82

[45] A Tape Interview with Raymunda Mulat Suday, 94 yrs. Old at his residence in Purok 5, Mandayag,

Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur. On May 23, 2001 at 11 a.m. henceforth referred to as Suday Interview.

[46] Rodil.,The Minoritization., op.cit., p37

[47] Ibid. p37

[48] Labangan Teachers.op.cit, p47

[49] Suday Interview.

[50] . Labangan Teachers.op.cit p77

[51] A Tape Interview with Sultan Mamadra Panduma, at his 80s in his residence in Panduma, Tukuran,

Zamboanga del Sur. On August 11, 2001 at 9 a.m. henceforth referred to as Panduma Interview

[52] Ibid. p7

[53] Interview with Mrs. Conchita B. Respicio. 79 yrs. Old at her residence in Respicio Rice and Corn Mill,

Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur on May 23, 1989 at 8 p.m. hence referred to us C. Respicio interview.

[54] A tape interview with Mr. Napoleon Cabrales, 79 yrs.old at his residence at San Carlos, Tukuran,

Zamboanga del Sur on November 8, 2001 at 11 a.m. hence referred to us N. Cabrales interview.

[55] A tape interview with Mr. Romeo Respicio, 74 yrs. Old at his residence at San Carlos, Tukuran,

Zamboanga del Sur on June 5, 2000 at 5p.m. Hence referred to us R. Respicio interview.

[56] N. Cabrales Interview.

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