Legend of the Ten Bornean Datus

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The Ten Bornean Datus Epic refers to the ten chieftains who allegedly ventured to the Island of Panay boarding a boat called balangay (or barangay) to evade the tyrannical ruler of Borneo, Datu Makatunaw. The datus, believed to be the fathers of precolonial Philippines, were the following: Datu Puti (and wife, Piangpangan), Datu Sumakwel (and wife, Kapinangan), Datu Bangkaya (and wife, Katurong), Datu Paiborong (and wife, Pabilaan), Datu Paduhinogan (and wife, Tibongsapay), Datu Dumangsol, Datu Libay, Datu Dumangsil, Datu Domalogdog, and Datu Balensuela.

According to the legend, upon the arrival of the datus, the local inhabitants of the islands, the Aeta, grew terrified but the diplomatic Datu Puti said to Marikudo, the chief of the natives, that they had peaceful intentions. Later both parties entered into a trade alliance. Marikudo invited the datus to a feast, during which the ten chiefs negotiated the purchase of Panay Island for a golden salakot. Since the Aetas found the land overwhelmingly vast for them, they retreated to the forest, leaving the Datus with the land which they divided among themselves (namely Aklan, Irong Irong and Hamtik), leading to the birth of Philippine population and culture.

However, recent studies discovered the irregularities of the said legend, and thus, it must not be believed as a reliable source of facts on precolonial Philippines.

Arguments of Authenticity

But still, these studies are contested, though History per se is limited to "written" historical accounts, the legend is is considered "spoken" historical account and part and parcel of Filipino Culture. The legend is important part of the life, culture and identity of Ilonggo people and inhabitants of Panay Island. There is no argument that the roots of the word "Barangay" came from "Balangay" the boat used by the Ten Bornen Datu and their families. Until now, the head of the Barangay is a "Barangay Captain" the only head of a government unit in the world named after a captain of a boat.




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