Datu

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Datu or datto is the title for ancient tribal chieftains and monarchs in the pre-Hispanic Philippines. Together with Sultan|sultan and Raja|raja, they are also titles of royalty and currently used in Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. These titles are the equivalent of European Duke|dukes and Marquess|marquesses. The word datu was derived from two Malay language|Malay words: dato' or datok, which are royal titles of the Malays (ethnic group)|Malays. The myth of the arrival of ten Borneo|Bornean datus is celebrated in the Binirayan festival in the island of Panay, which in ancient times was known as the island of "Aninipay".

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Datu in Filipino Muslim society

The 'Moros, a term inherited from the Spaniards, are the main Muslim ethnic group in the Philippines. In the traditional structure of Filipino Muslim societies, sultans were the highest authority followed by the datus, with their rule being sanctioned by the Qur'an. Datus were measured by the number of their followers. In return for tribute and labor, the datu provided aid in emergencies and advocacy in disputes with other communities, through the agamat. A datu is basic to the smooth function of the Filipino Muslim society. He was a powerful authority figure who may have as many as four wives but in modern times usually has only one. In the old days, they led raids on other villages. They may demand revenge (maratabat) for the death of a follower or upon injury to his honor. Datus continued to act as the community leaders in Muslim societies in Mindanao and administered the Sharia (Islamic law) through the agama. The support of the datu was essential for government programs in Muslim communities.


Datu in the Christianized Filipino Society during the Spanish Regime

Upon the Christianization of the Philippines, the datus of the pre-conquest kingdoms retained their right to rule under the Spanish Crown. King Philip II, in a law signed 11 June 1594,It is not right that the Indian chiefs of Filipinas be in a worse condition after conversion; rather they should have such treatment that would gain their affection and keep them loyal, so that with the spiritual blessings that God has communicated to them by calling them to His true knowledge, the temporal blessings may be added, and they may live contentedly and comfortably. Therefore, we order the governors of those islands to show them good treatment and entrust them, in our name, with the government of the Indians, of whom they were formerly lords. In all else the governors shall see that the chiefs are benefited justly, and the Indians shall pay them something as a recognition, as they did during the period of their paganism, provided it be without prejudice to the tributes that are to be paid us, or prejudicial to that which pertains to their encomenderos.” Felipe II, Ley de Junio 11, 1594 in Recapilación de leyes, lib. vi, tit. VII, ley xvi. Also cf. Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, The Philippine Islands (1493-1898), Cleveland: The A.H. Clark Company, 1903, Vol. XVI, pp. 155-156.</ref> commanded that these local nobles be given the same respect and prvileges that they had before their conversion. They later formed part of the exclusive and elite ruling body, called the Principalía, in municipalities of Spanish Philippines.

Datu in Filipino Martial Arts

The title of "Datu" has been used by some in the Filipino martial arts community. Most notably, it was bestowed upon 6 practitioners of Modern Arnis by Remy Presas, the founder of the system, as a "leadership" signifier. It has been the source of some controversy.

Recorded List of Datus in the Philippines.

  • Datus of Pre-hispanic Panay
    • Datu Dinagandan - First ruler of Aklan, circa 1200
    • Kalantiao - Ruler of Aklan in 1399.
    • Datu Paiburong - Ruler of Iloilo
    • Datu Padojinog - Ruled in the Visayas Region with his wife Ribongsapaw. More than seven hundred forty six years ago, around 1240, ten brave and noble rulers were believed to have landed in our shores. They came from the kingdom of Bornay (now Borneo), escaping the wrath of a wicked ruler Rajah Makatunao. They boarded on big ships, called balanghays, and set out to sea to find a place where they can live in peace and harmony. One moonless night on April 15, 1240, together with their families, warriors, slaves and counselors, they faced the unknown in quest of the Promised Land. Datu Padojinog was one of the said Datus.
    • Datus in the Maragtas epic
      • Irong-irong
      • Kalantiaw III /Rajah Bendahara Kalantiaw - Formulated the Code of Kalantiaw in 1433 (legendary, see related article).
      • Datu Puti - One of the 10 Bornean Datus to arrive in Iloilo before the Spanish colonial period. (legendary but may be based on facts, see related article)
  • Datus during Spanish colonization
    • Rajah Colambu - Chief in 1521 of Limasawa, brother of Rajah Siagu of Butuan . He met Ferdinand Magellan and guided him to Cebu on April 7, 1521.
    • Rajah Humabon - Ruler of Cebu who became an ally of Ferdinand Magellan. Enemy and relative of Lapu-Lapu. In 1521, he and his wife were baptized and renamed themselves Carlos and Juana after the Spain|Spanish royalty, King Carlos and Queen Juana.
    • Sultan Kudarat - Sultan of Maguindanao.
    • Rajah Lakandula - Ruler of Tondo, one of the last rulers of Maynilad.
    • Lapu-Lapu - Ruler of Mactan Island. He defeated Ferdinand Magellan in April 27, 1521. He is the Philippines' first national hero.
    • Datu Sikatuna - Ruler of Bohol in 1565. He made a blood compact with the conquistador Miguel López de Legaspi. His statue was found in Bohol where the blood compact is located when Legaspi is in the Philippines.
    • Rajah Suliman (also Rajah Sulayman) - One of the last rulers of Maynilad. He defeated Martin de Goiti, soldier fetched by Legaspi to Maynilad.
    • Rajah Tupas - Last Datu of Cebu, conqured by Legazpi.
  • Other Datus
    • Datus of Sulu
    • Datu Macabulos - Ruled with elders the town of Lubao, Pampanga around 1571.
    • Datu Pax S. Mangudadato - Modern datu and Governor of Sultan Kudarat (2001-2004)
    • Rajah Siagu - Chief of the Manobo tribe in 1521.
    • Urduja - Pre-hispanic female ruler in Pangasinan. (Legendary see related article)
    • Al Marhum Sultan Muhammad Gutierez Baraguir, (a lawyer by profession; Deputy Governor Cotabato Empire); 24th sultan of Maguindanao [1990 - 2000]
    • Sultan Hajji Datu Amir bin Muhammad Baraguir, 25th Sultan of Maguindanao

References

  • “It is not right that the Indian chiefs of Filipinas be in a worse condition after conversion; rather they should have such treatment that would gain their affection and keep them loyal, so that with the spiritual blessings that God has communicated to them by calling them to His true knowledge, the temporal blessings may be added, and they may live contentedly and comfortably. Therefore, we order the governors of those islands to show them good treatment and entrust them, in our name, with the government of the Indians, of whom they were formerly lords. In all else the governors shall see that the chiefs are benefited justly, and the Indians shall pay them something as a recognition, as they did during the period of their paganism, provided it be without prejudice to the tributes that are to be paid us, or prejudicial to that which pertains to their encomenderos.” Felipe II, Ley de Junio 11, 1594 in Recapilación de leyes, lib. vi, tit. VII, ley xvi. Also cf. Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, The Philippine Islands (1493-1898), Cleveland: The A.H. Clark Company, 1903, Vol. XVI, pp. 155-156.

See also

Original Source

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