The Rulers of Iloilo and the Lost Empire of Panay 1
History, Legends of the Lost Empires in South East Asia and the Birth of Iloilo City
In my next posts, I will be posting a little of history to warm up to my next posts about Iloilo City. I hope I can, through in a little legend and imagery, to light up the glorious history of the Ilonggos. I hope you enjoy it. – Archian
Legend has it that the Island of Panay was inhabited by the Negritos. In the 13th Century, a group of Datus or Tribal Leaders traveled from Borneo, headed by Datu Puti, by way of the sea. The brave leaders brought with them their families to escape the tyrannical rule of the Sultan Makatunao.
Another version has it that the datus were fleeing Pannai, a state in the island of Sumatra. Pannai was a nation who were allies of the Sri-Vijaya Empire that ruled the warring tribes in Malaca Region in Modern day Indonesia. These were the extension of the Hindu Kingdoms extending from Thailand to Bali in Indonesia. Modern day name of Visayas, the middle region of the Philippines, was derived from the Srivijaya (also written Sri Vijaya, Sanskrit: श्रीविजय) a Buddhist Empire that ruled South East Asia.
The Sri Vijayans were skilled warriors, they are able to defeat larger sea vessels which seek to dominate the waters of South East Asia. This was until the Malacca Strait was taken over by the Chola. Under the ruler Rajaraja Chola, the Chola destroyed the state of Pannai. Yet the people of Pannai refused to submit to Chola’s rule. The scholars, soldiers and nobles of Pannai took their belongings and fled to other islands to set up their own government.
Sailing northward from Borneo along the coast of Palawan, the ten Datus from the Sri Vijaya, crossed the sea, and reached the island of Panay. The datus landed in Siwaragan River and found the island inhabited by dark-skinned Negritos (Atis). The island was originally called Ananipay, and ruled by the tribe cheiftain Marikudo and his wife Maniwantiwan.
Datu Paiburong, one of the Malay datus negotiated the purchase of the island for one gold Saduk (wide-brimmed hat), Salakot and a Manangyad (a long gold necklace). The Atis agreed to settle on the mountains while the foreigners occupied the coast.
Of the ten datus, three remained in Panay but the rest of the datus sailed northward and settled in the northern parts of the Philippine archipelago. Datu Sumakwel, Datu Bangkaya and Datu Paiburong divided the island into three Sakups (districts): Hamtik (Antique) under Sumakwel; Aklan which included the province of Capiz under Bangkaya; and Irong-irong under Datu Paiburong, where the province of Iloilo got its name. From their settlement in Panay, the Confederation of States grew to be one of the most powerful in the region, rivaling the neighboring states – the Rajahnate of Cebu, the Kingdom of Tondo and the Sultanate of Sulu in terms of prestige and wealth.