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 anegro 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. 

 

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