Google Fridays

Fact: bored and unashamed, I Googled my last name. Try it, you just might be surprised. As for me, I actually knew about this one back in grade school Philippine History Quiz Bee reviews, but for lack of other reading materials much, much later, I had resigned myself to the idea that I either hallucinated or the story was fiction masquerading as a history book.

DATU UBAL (ca.1550 – 1596)

Datu Ubal, a Muslim chieftain, accomplished in Buayan near the present town of Duwalan in South Cotabato what Lapulapu did in Mactan: kill the Spanish commander who encroached on his domain. Lapulapu delayed the conquest of the Philippines, and Datu Ubal postponed the Spanish domination of Mindanao. Datu Ubal slew Captain Juan Rodriguez de Figeora, the commander of the first serious Spanish expedition to colonize Mindanao.

In 1591, Rodriguez entered into an agreement with the Spanish government in Manila. He would pacify and colonize Mindanao at his own expense,and the Manila government would designate him governor of the island for life. Five years later, in April 1596, he set sail for Mindanao with 214 Spanish soldiers and 1,500 native allies.

At Buayan, the set of government of the powerful Rajah Silonga, Rodriquez landed his men on April 25. Master-of – camp Juan de la Xara led them alone , They landed with ‘little order ‘ for they had never fought with the natives of Mindanao and so they thought of an easy victory against them.

Disgusted at this manifest lack of military discipline. Rodriguez landed from his flagship to instill some order.” He went clad in armor so strong that a change from an esmeril (small piece of ordinance) would not pass through it. Only his head was unarmed, but covered with a cap and plumes , while a negro carried his helmet he that he might be less impeded by his movements. He was accompanied by well –armed soldiers. He had not taken more than fifty steps, when an Indian named Ubal suddenly ran out of some dense tufted thickets and, attacking him with his campilan cleft open his head.” Rodriguez fell from his wound and died three days later.

The conqueror of Rodriguez was an unknown man for there is a dearth of written materials about him . Bartolome Leonardo de Argensola furnished the following information.

Datu Ubal was a brother of Rajah Silonga, then the most powerful chief in the Pulangi river valley. He was the owner of the only cow in Mindanao and had butchered it three days before for a feast where he invited all his friends. During the banquet, he promised to all present that he would kill with his campilan the most distinguished person of the Spanish expedition that would approach their territory. True to his word, when the Spaniards arrived, Datu Ubal strategically positioned himself and swiftly attacked the Spanish chief.

Datu Ubal was said to have acted so swiftly that he sound of his campilan on Rodriguez’s head and the rushing sound of his appearance were heard at the same moment. The soldiers accompanying Rodriguez fell upon Datu Ubal and cut him into pieces. He died in the act of protecting and defending his land. Master-of –camo Juan de la Xara ordered the withdrawal of all his men.

If Rodriguez had not been killed, he would have taken Mindanao and proclaimed himself as its governor. But all his dreams were shattered by Datu Ubal who showed to his fellowmen what heroism really was.


And then some (a.k.a. Known UBAL acronyms )

  • The Universal Brotherhood of All Ministries
  • Unlawful Blood-Alcohol Level

Geezus! I am an incorrigible blogger! Thank God it’s Friday. . .


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