How and when Mindanao became an Islamic island

It is assumed that even before 1300’s, Jolo already had continuous trading relationship with Muslims from other countries. Islam was introduced when missionaries from Arabia came to Southeast Asia to extend their Islamic faith. Raja Baguida who was then the head of state strengthened the “Feat of Makdum” (Arabic name for master or father) in 1380. His daughter married the Arab missionary Abu Bakr who arrived in Sulu in 1450. Abu Bakr declared himself as sultan and based his regulations according to Koran, Islam’s holy book. Shortly, Sulu became an independent Islamic state.


Muro-ami or kayakas is a Japanese-inspired fishing technique that once devastated the fragile marine life of the country. The procedure comprises groups of swimmers particularly children that are harnessed to a waiting net loaded down with scarelines like cononut leaves or plastic streamers attached to it at 1 meter intervals to create the illusion of a wall and dragged accross the ocean floor as it slowly traps in on the fish. Through vigorous smashing of the reef, fish are forced to come out of their corals. Although banned by the Philippine Law nowadays, this brutal and desperate way of fishing are still practiced secretly in Mindanao and some areas of Palawan.

Flores Yoyo

Did you know that aside from using yoyo as a toy it was also used as a weapon? Yes, and these people who utilized it as a weapon were no other than our pre-Hispanic Filipinos who lived in cycles of war between each tribe. Yoyos back then were not made of glaring plastic or colorful wood; they were made of steel characterized with heavy weight and bigger size.

Back then; this deadly yoyo was not able to do tricks such as walk the dog, the loop and etc. It could only do up and down motions to aim and strike its target. In the recent years, a man named Pedro Flores was not satisfied with the way yoyos just keep rolling down and then rolls back up. He invented a more interesting version where instead of knotting the ring inside the yoyo, he made a loop with the axes in it, and then twisted the strings. This enabled the yoyo to remain in place while spinning, and thus, “walking the dog” became a walk in the park. It was patented the “Flores YoYo”, but was bought and introduced by a foreign company.

The Philippine Flag

Several Philippine flags emerged earlier than what it is now. The first flag was designed by Andres Bonifacio, which then called Bonifacio flag and followed by some versions of the revolutionary flags called Katipunan flags. Llanera’s flag came out and eventually followed by Pio del Pilar’s flag. Gregorio del Pilar’s flag came out and then the Magdiwang flag.

The present design of the flag was implemented by Emilio Aguinaldo, who, during his exile in Hongkong, requested Marcela Agoncillo to sew it. She was assisted by her daughter Lorenza and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad in the task. When finished, the flag was raised during the proclamation of Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898. Its last public display was during the death of Emilio Aguinaldo in 1964.

Manuel L. Quezon standardized the Philippine flag’s size and color through an executive order in March 25, 1936. The flag has two sides, blue for peace and red for courage that merge into a white triangle with a sun and three stars. The eight rays of the sun represent the provinces that led the revolution of 1896, while the stars stand for the main islands of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Cry of Balintawak

On 23 of August 1896, Bonifacio and his fellow katipuneros tore their cedulas (residence certificate) during their revolution: “Long live the Philippines”. This was marked as the historic “Cry of Balintawak”, which actually occurred in Pugadlawin. Thus it is also called “Sigaw ng Pugadlawin”.

Balangiga Massacre

On September 28, 1901, the residents of Balanggiga south of Samar killed American soldiers using only their swords (tabak). In retaliation for the destruction or confiscation of their food stocks, and their mission to free their fellowmen who had been held for forced labor and detained for days starving in congested conditions, the locals surprised the American troops at their breakfast table with an outraging attack using only their bolos.

The Americans retaliated by burning the whole town and by killing all civilians from 10 years old and above. The one year campaign to take back Samar turned the whole island into an area of inhospitable surroundings.

How and when Filipinos were called Filipinos

Under the Spanish regime, the natives were called Indios and the term Filipinos were only applied to Spaniards born in the Philippines. Peninsulares is the term used for Spaniards born in Spain, while Insulares has usage similar to the term Filipinos. Those who have mixed blood, either Spanish-Filipino or Chinese-Filipino were called Mestizos. It was only in 1898 that Indios or natives began to be called Filipinos.

World’s Largest Pearl

The world’s largest pearl was found under the Palawan Sea by a Filipino diver in 1934. The giant treasure known as “Pearl of Lao-Tzu” and presumed to be 600 years old, weighed 14 pounds and 9 1/2 inches long and 5 1/2 inches in diameter and is now valued at US$42million.

Caraballo Central Mountains

Caraballo Mountains are mountains in central Luzon inhabited by a community called Ilongot. These are thickly forested mountains close to the upper end of Cagayan Valley; separating it from the Central Plains of Luzon. Caraballo reaches an elevation of about 5,500 ft or 1,680 m. and joining the Central Cordillera to the north and the Sierra Madre to the east. Drained by the headwaters of the northward flowing Cagayan River, the mountains are heavily forested. Trails and roads did develop through these mountains but they were difficult to cross and many times would be destroyed by rain and mud slides during rainy season. Because these mountains offered no known economic benefits, people were also left isolated from the lowlands. They also serve to discourage travel between central Luzon and Nueva Vizcaya.

Bataan Death March

Bataan Death March- forced march of 70,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war captured by the Japanese in the Philippines during world war II. Starting out from Mariveles, at the southern end of Bataan Peninsula, on April 9, 1942, these soldiers were forced-marched 88 km to San Fernando Pampanga, then taken by trail to Capas, from there they walked for the remaining 13 km to Camp O’Donnell. They were tortured, starved and often kicked or beaten on their way. Those who fell were bayoneted. Around 7,000- 10,000 perished on the way while some were able to scape to the jungle. Only 54,000 reached the camp.

After the war, the Japanese commander who led the invasion of the Philippines, Gen. Homma Masaharu was charged by the U.S. military commission in Manila on February 1946 as the one responsible for the death march. Convicted, he was executed on April 3.