Timways, Subanon king of Zamboanga City


Last of two(2) Part

Tabunaway and his wife received Salipabunsuan, the Arab missionary warmly, but his three other brothers, Dumalandalan, Gumabongabon and Mamalo did not like the strange things being told by them like washing constantly parts of their body and prohibited from eating pork which was their food ever since. The three brothers, Dumalandalan, Gumabonabon, and Mamalo decided to leave their house and not follow the Mohammedan customs of Salipabunsuan. Earlier, their eldest brother, Mirilirilid, already left their home when Salipabunsuan landed in their shores. The fate of their sister, Tunina, was not anymore mentioned as to what happened to her, but she stayed with Tabunaway and his family until all of them became Mohammedan converts and so with the rest of the entire tribe in the Pulangui River of Cotabato.

Tabunaway, the second eldest brother became a faithful follower of Salipabunsuan and helped the Arab missionary spread the Mohammedan faith in Cotabato City and was said to be the origin of the Maguindanaos of Cotabato. The eldest brother Mirilirilid, with his entire family, relatives, followers and belongings fled to the hinterlands of Davao province and started a community and was said to be the origin of Manobos and Bogobos. The whereabouts of the three brothers, Dumalandalan, Gumabongabon and Mamalo, was kept a secret to escape them from the  influence of the Arab missionary who was now so powerful with so many Mohammedan followers in Cotabato who  had used force to subjugate other tribes to embrace the Mohammedan faith with the able assistance of Tabunaway who was a warrior.

Salipabunsuan, after many years, wanted to meet personally Mirilirilid and with the help of his brother Tabunaway, Salipabunsuan with some followers went on a journey to the Davao Province to meet Mirilirilid. At first, Mirilirilid refused to meet the Arab missionary, but the persistence of Salipabunsuan to stay in the community of Mirilirilid until he will meet him softened his stand and by a stroke of fate, Mirilirilid became a Mohammedan convert and was given the task of spreading the Mohammedan faith in the Davao Province. Salipabunsuan satisfied with his efforts, decided to go back to the place of Tabunaway in Cotabato purposely to meet with the three other brothers, Dumalandalan, Gumabongabon and Mamalo, who all fled their homes because they don't want to embrace the religion of Salipabunsuan.

When he arrived in Cotabato, he exerted all efforts to get information as to where the three brothers live. Tabunaway, now a convert, divulged the place of the three brothers. Salipabunsuan found out that Dumalandalan, one of the brothers, stayed in the Lanao Province and was said to be the origin of the Iranons and Maranaos. He too was converted into Mohammedanism and even fought bravely with other tribes to convert them into the faith. Dumalandalan was so fanatic in the faith that he sometimes raided villages to capture people for slaves and convert them into Mohammedans.

Salipabunsuan also later knew that the two brothers Gumabongabon and Mamalo were just staying secretly in the hinterland jungles of Cotabato. Gumabongabon was said to be living peacefully with his family and followers in Liangan, Cotabato while Mamalo was living peacefully in Laya, Cotabato. Salipabunsuan found no time in preparing to meet the two brothers and with the help of Tabunaway and Dumalandalan, without bloodshed, they were able to meet the two  brothers. Salipabunsuan, the Arab missionary, was pleased to know that the five brothers were scattered in the entire Island of Mindanao. In Laya Cotabato, Salipabunsuan was able to meet Mamalo who was said to be the origin of the Mandaya and other tribes in the highlands of Cotabato. Mamalo was converted and Salipabunsuan was so happy.  But one more brother remained to be converted, Gumabongabon who was said to live in Liangan, Cotabato. With the help of Tabunaway and Mamalo, they were able to meet Gumabongabon in Liangan. They were received peacefully and Salipabunsuan preached the Mohammedan religion to Gumabongabon who listened peacefully and asked no question, but politely told the missionary that he cannot accept the Mohammedan  religion, because he cannot accept  not to eat pork. He entertained his brothers and the missionary for many days until one morning the two brothers and the missionary woke up to find that Gumabongabon escaped to unknown destination, bringing with him his entire family and belongings. Many years later, the aging Arab missionary Salipabunsuan learned that Gumabongabon escaped to the Misamis province in the moutainous jungles of Mount Malindang and started a community  who were later known  as Subanons. Gumabongabon fought his brothers and the Arab misionary who was now powerful because of his many faithfuls. Gumabongabon was never subjected to the Mohammedan faith and when the Spaniards arrived at the shores of Cotabato, who also ruled some of the tribes, a truce was made between Gumabongabon and his brothers and Salipabunsuan. The truce brokered by the Spaniards who also ate pork, said that Gumabongabon was not to be disturbed by Salipabunsuan and his three brothers, who now controlled the provinces of Cotabato, Davao and the Lanaos. Gumabongabon was left peacefully to live in the Misamis and the Zamboanga Peninsula. Gumabongabon was the bravest of the brothers who was said to eat the heart of his enemies when he kills them. He lives wild in the jungles of Malindang. He was said to possess unknown powers and made the jungles his shelter and home, his personality and character, his medical center, his marketlace and food production and his security.

Gumabongabon, the fourth brother, who escaped from Cotabato to Mt. Malindang in Misamis province to flee from the Mohammedan faith of Salipabunsuan, bore two sons named Dageneg and Daginding. Dageneg, the eldest, was brave like his father Gumabongabon but was said to have been swallowed by Mt. Malindang as he was  positioning for war with their enemies said to be the followers of Salipabunsuan. Mt. Malindang  shook and the ground opened up swallowing Dageneg and his followers and when they were inside the  ground, the ground closed burying Dageneg and his followers. He was never heard of later on.  His younger  brother Daginding took the Subanon leadership from his aging father Gumabongabon. Throughout  his lifetime Gumabongabon was never conquered nor subjugated either by the Mohammedan or Christian faith and remained  in the jungles and so with his family and those that continued his leadership. During the Spanish regime, the Subanens were a thriving tribe in the jungles without the disturbances of the Spanish conquerors  who were waging their wars with the Moros in the South. The sphere of influence of the Subanens started from Pingolis  and Dumangkilas areas. In the olden times, Pingolis consist of the areas of Misamis, Zamboanga Del Sur and Del Norte. Dumangkilas consist of Margosatubig up to Dinas and Dimataling areas.The Spaniards came upon these places almost at the close of the 18th century but never organized a settlement, only watchtowers in Margosatubig and Tukuran, Zamboanga Del Sur and in the shores of Misamis now Ozamiz City,  watchtowers  against marauding sea pirates but not against native Subanons who remained unseen in the vast jungles of the Peninsula and Mt. Malindang

Daginding, the surviving son of Gumabongabon, is said to be the origin of the Imbings in Lapuyan. Daginding bore a son named "Baless" who took the leadership from Daginding. Baless bore a son named, Baan, then Baan bore a son named "Paluli, who also bore a son named, "Habali" who bore a son named "Bongulan", who bore a son named "Pamaisen". The latter also bore a son named "Samaya"  who bore a son named "Lihaiwan", who bore a son named "Sanira". It was at the time of the leadership of Sanira that he transferred his place to Salug Valley now Molave town. There he met and married a wife from Dumangkilas, now Margosatubig, Zamboanga Del Sur. Sanira bore four children, triplets " two boys and one girl. The triplets were called "Palaganding" "Dainding" and Gumaed". The only girl was named "Balao". Among the triplets, Palaganding became the leader after his father Sanira. He was the most feared Subanon leader. He ate his enemies heart raw every battle.

During Palaganding's leadership, he met a girl from Pingoles and bore four sons, named Lumang, Mandaulay, Sandok and Talatap and one daughter namedSinumpay. Son Talatap and daughter Sinumpay were one day kidnapped by pirates when they were fishing in Dumangkilas bay.

Daughter Sinumpay was sold by the pirates to a Hadji Usah in Jolo, who married her and became a Mohammedan. The whereabouts of Talatap was unknown because he was separated from his sister when they reached Jolo. "Palaganding"s  eldest son Lumang took over the leadership of the Subanens when he passed away. Lumang bore three sons and two daughters. He named his sons (first son) Mandal, then Bahong and the youngest son as "Imbing" He named his daughters as Ames and Amog.

Palaganding's eldest son Lumang took over the leadership of the Subanons when he passed away. Lumang bore three sons and two daughters. He named his sons (first son) Mandal, then Bahong and the youngest son as" Imbing" He named his daughters as Ames and Amog.

Third son of Lumang named Imbing was my great, great grandfather on my mother side. He took over the leadership of the Subanens during the American regime. It was during this time when the battle of Mt. Guillian took place with the Iranons and he won. The mountain where they fought with the Iranons was named after him Mt. Imbing., the third son of Subanen Timuay Lumang. The naming of Mt. Imbing was by  American Governor General Leonard Wood, whohappened to stay with Timuay Beng Imbing on his way to Lakewood, where he saw a lake while flying during World War I. The lake was so beautiful surrounded by trees that General Wood named it as Lakewood. Today, Lakewood is already a municipality which was a former barangay of Lapuyan Zamboanga Del Sur.

Timuay Labi (highest) Beng Imbing bore six children ?  three boys and three girls. He named his boys  as Calay, Lumok and Purok,  all with a title of Datu. He named his girls as Calat, Calangian (my grandmother, mother of my mother) and the last Sindium. All with a bloodline of a glorious and honorable past from the times of warrios title of Timuay Dlibon. The last Subanen Datu among the Subanens was Datu Purok Imbing. After him, there was no more anointment. The American missionaries were already  in Lapuyan, Zamboanga Del Sur and the saga of the Datus and Timuays ended its cruel and happy days.

Breaking News: Table Talk will one day put into print (if God permits) on account of the writings of my father, a book : ?The Subanens, Warriors and  Slaves?. Watch for it. Agree or disagree, still keep in touch.


Cultural History


Cultural History Zamboanga City

The evolution of the name "Zamboanga" provides an interesting insight into its historical background. The early Malay settlers called the region "Jambangan",which means Land of the Flowers. These Malays who built their settlements by the river banks were the subanons, that is the "People of the River".

Their chief, Saragan, lived with his family atop the legendary Mount Pulumbato that today lords over Pasonanca and Climaco Freedom Park (formerly Abong-Abong Park) then later on, the Samals and the Badjaos who came on their frail vintas also settled here, building their frail huts along the shorelines and confused "Jambangan"  with "Samboangan" which comes from the word "Sabuan", the wooden pole used to help push their vintas in shallow waters or to tie them for anchorage purposes.


The original people of Zamboanga were the Subanen of Indonesian origin who came at about 2,000 to 6,000 years ago. They were coastal people who believe in the spirit of their ancestors and the forces of nature. When the Muslims arrived, they were pushed into the hinterlands and lived along the riverbanks. Thus, the name ?Suba,? meaning people of the river. The Subanens who communicate through their Subano language prefer and wear colorful clothes and accessories. Black, red, and white are their favorite colors. The women often wear red earrings that match with beaded necklaces. Like other tribes, Subanens have their own entertainment or way of enjoying life. They like music. The Ginarang or Migboat, Basimba, Gatagan and Sirdel or Sumumigaling are some of their songs. These are sung with the accompaniment of their instruments like Gong, Kutapi, Sigitan, Lantoy, Kulaying and Tambubok. court through songs and dances. Their marriage custom is done through taltal. But aside from their court dance, they also have war and ritual dances that they perform during social gatherings and special occasions such as weddings, etc. The tribe?s political structure consists of a Timuay equivalent to the barangay captain that we have today. The Timuay tries cases involving crimes and moral turpitude. In case the Timuay cannot decide on the case or if the case involves heinous crimes, he does not give the final verdict.

The commonwealth of the Philippines on 1936 declared Zambaonga as a Charter City. Progress and development in Zamboanga continued and in 1983, the Minister Interior Jose Roño proclaimed Zamboanga City as a highly urbanized city.

The Spanish colonizers found difficulty in pronouncing "Samboangan" and instead called the place "Zamboanga". The city has rich and colorful history. It was the center of barter trading among Chinese, Malays and the native Tausugs, Samals, Subanens, and the Badjaos as early as the 13th and 14th centuries. It was in 1569 when the Spaniards made their presence felt with a small Catholic Mission established briefly at La Caldera, now known as Recodo. Much later on June 23, 1635, the cornerstone of what is now known as Fort Pilar was laid by Father Melchor de Vera, a Jesuit Priest-Engineer and the Spanish authorities. This date marked the change of the name of the place from Samboangan to Zamboanga. It is the city's founding date.

In 1899, immediately after the Spanish-American War in the Philippines, the United States of America established full authority in Zamboanga. A special form of government was established in Mindanao and Sulu. Zamboanga was made the capital. The first form of which was the Moro province and during the 12 years of its existence, the American Military Government in the Philippines converted Zamboanga into a city in the Commission Form, the first province of Mindanao to become a city. However, the government of the Moro Province was abolished to give way to a new form of government, the Department of Mindanao and Sulu. This form of government entrusted to the Filipino residents of Zamboanga practically all positions in government. 

Cultural History Pagadian City

The Subanen, a peaceful tribe, living along the riverbanks amidst the hinterlands, may be considered as the first inhabitants of Pagadian City. Eventually, the Muslims inhabited the coastal areas of what are now the barangays of Muricay, Tawagan Sur, White Beach and the present location of the city proper then named "TALPOKAN" meaning a place of numerous springs. A Subano making 'Amakan' - a bamboo weaving use as walling for a subano duelling place. The livelihood of the early inhabitants was cultivating a small area of rice production. After planting season they engage in fishing. The early inhabitants were under the leadership of Datu Akob whose daughter caught the fancy of Datu Macaumbang of Tukuran. With the approval of Datu Akob, Datu Macaumbang married the former? beautiful daughter. Upon the death of Datu Akob, his son-in-law, Datu Macaumbang, assumed leadership then he established the territorial boundaries of the present city proper, from Balangasan River in the West of Tawagan Sur River in the East. Beyond the river of Tawagan Sur was the territory of Datu Balimbingan. At one time, Datu Macaumbang requested the assistance of the Philippine Constabulary due to the dreaded banditry and piracy. A detachment led by Col. Tiburcio Ballesteros stationed at Malangas landed at the place and stationed themselves at Dumagoc Island. The arrival of the soldiers restored peace and order thereby attracting the influx of settlers from far-flung regions of the Visayas and Luzon, and from the neighboring places of Mindanao. It had been told that early Christian settlers upon arrival here had to negotiate with the territorial Datu. A banca had to ferry them from Dumagoc Island where the soldiers were stationed with their families. A large number of those early Christians died of Malaria the most dreaded disease of that time, so that they started naming the place "PANGADYE-AN" which means a place to be prayed for.  Another version revealed that a group of people believed to have come from Luzon arrived at an unknown place of the Zamboanga. This group of people happened to reach the royal place of Datu Macaumbang where natives met them. The natives as to the name of the place did not understand the stranger using his own dialect. Incidentally, when he raised the question, he was looking up a flock of birds called by the natives "GAGADIAN".  A native thinking that the stranger was asking about the birds answered "GAGADIAN".

Cultural History Dipolog City

Dipolog's earliest recorded history started in 1834 when a civil government was organized by the Spanish Provincial Government of Misamis, under whose jurisdiction Dipolog belonged with the appointment of a "Captain" as town executive, a "Teniente" and an "Aguacil" to maintain law and order. Don Domingo Ruiz, a native, was the town executive that year when the townsite was transferred to Tulwanan to where it is now.

History says that in that year a Spanish Recollect Missionary arrived in Tulwanan believing that that the townsite was still there. Upon meeting a native, asked; "Donde esta el Capitan?". Our unknown hero understanding only the word "Capitan" pointed to the west and said in Subano Di-pag, " meaning across the river. Guided by his Muchacho a Tagalog boy named Antonio Subido, the Padre proceeded down river and upon reaching the townsite named the place "Dipag". Though the years, this was corrupted by mispronunciation and intermingling of Visayan and Subano words into what it is today DIPOLOG.

But many years before that, Christian and unchristian Boholanos had already settled and mingled with the Pagan Subanens. For safety's sake against marauding Moro pirates, they established a town in what is now Barrio Sianib, some twenty kilometers from the coast at Barrio Punta (Barangay Punta). When danger from piracy subsided, they transferred the settlement to Isab, Nipaan and constructed a church on a hilltop overlooking a wide plain and the mouth of the Isab creek. The Spanish colonization of Dipolog and northwestern Mindanao was done with the Cross of Catholicis and the Missionaries, with over zealous bordering on fanaticism, demanded that the pagan natives attend mass and church services morning and afternoon. The inconvenience of ramping up and down that hill to appease the priest, compelled the peopl to move down the river to Tulwanan were they built another Capilla. In 1834, as stated earlier, they transferred to the present site at the mouth of Dipolog river.

Cultural History Dapitan City

Dapitan traces its beginnings long before the Spanish conquistadores set foot on the island of Mindanao. Its earliest settlers were the Subanens, a nomadic tribe of indonesian stock known to have settled and lived along the banks of the river or "suba" out of which their present day tribal identify originated. Fear of pirates taking shelter during foul weather in the natural harbors of Dapitan?s irregular coastlines forced the timid Subanens to move further into the hinterlands.

There are two versions of how Dapitan got its name. One is from Fr. Urdaneta, who called the place "Daquepitan" which was later changed to ?Dacpitan? and still later to "Dapitan" because of the difficulty in pronouncing the former. The second version is derived from the word ?Dapit? which means ?to invite? in the local Cebuano dialect. This refers to the original group of Boholanos from Panglao, Bohol who were invited by Datu Pagbuaya, the acknowleged founder of the city, to go with him to the "Dakung Yuta", that is Mindanao, and the settlement they established was called Dapitan. This is the traditional version of how Dapitan got its name.

In various historical reports, there are authentic accounts of trading voyages in the early periods and it is hinted that commercial relations may have been established with Dapitan, already a thriving settlement. It is probable that interaction occurred with the traders and there may have been a mingling of culture.

Early cartographers of the Philippines showed Dapitan?s location in their maps of Mindanao in varying names in which they had known it such as:  "Dapito"  in Kaerius? map of 1598,  "Dapite" in Dudley's map of 1646,  "Dapyto" in Sanson's map of 1652, and "Dapitan" in Moll?s map of East Indies 1729 and in Murillo Velarde?s map of 1734. 

In addition, the divergent cultures brought by the European invaders, the Americans, the Japanese and the different Visayan groups of settlers in Dapitan which caused the emergence of a distinct culture the present crop of Dapitanons have. 

Cultural History Ozamiz  City

Misamis was an Old Spanish town, which existed as far back as the Spanish era and was conquered strangely not by force of  arms, but through faith by some Jesuit Missionaries. Though obscure, the origin of the name "Misamis" is believed to have been derived from the Subano word "Kuyamis" which is a variety of coconut. During the years the name persisted as an inference of geographical location and upon the advent of the Spanish settlers. The word "Kuyamis" easily gave way to the more conveniently pronounceable but corrupted word "Misamis"

By origin, Misamis was full of natives, particularly Subanen, the freedom loving people in Northern Mindanao. Shortly before

Cultural History Zamboanga Del Norte

Breezing through the pages of the Philippine History, one can't ignore the niche of this peaceful paradise in the south. Just like any other ancient civilizations in Asia, the natives known as the ?Subanens? has established its community along the river or suba banks. Migrants from the Visayas then came to seek refuge in this corner of the Land of Promise. Then, came the Hispanic colonization, which saw the conversion of the Subanons to Christianity, establishing a permanent Christian Mission in this part of the south. Being one of the strongest citadels of power during the Hispanic era, the province became temporary abode to the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal prior to its execution. From then on the peaceful paradise has found its place in the history.

The American occupation paved the way to the creation of the Provincia Mora, which was later known as Zamboanga Province where the seat of power was established in Dipolog. In 1952, the late Pres. Elpidio Quirino signed Republic Act 711 dividing the Zamboanga peninsula creating the Provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Sur.

Today, the province brings to its visitors the unique spirit - a blend of the sense of history and competitive economy juxtaposed by a peaceful natural environment.