Thursday, January 22, 2009


About the Sultanate

More than five centuries have transformed the Sultanate of Maguindanao from a quasi-theocratic authority to a potent sovereign state in the 17th century to a marginal social entity the existence of which has no formal basis in the Philippine law today.

The absence of legal basis, notwithstanding, the Sultanate continues to enjoy socio-cultural relevance as well as latency as an alternative or, at the very least, a legitimate complement to a democracy characterized by the perennial electoral farce that highlights the apparent lack of respect of, and the incapacity to enforce, the will of the people.

In a democracy, especially its Philippine version, the ‘people’—registered voters whose capacity for intelligent choice is dubious—choose their leaders. More often than not, the leaders that emerge from the expensive exercise only reflect the voters’ inability to choose astutely, or democracy’s inherent lapses.

Considering this, the search for a ‘God-centered governance’ expressed in the Filipino term Pamathalaan, has been initiated by the country’s best minds, and the Sultanate is being explored as a cogent form of that ideal, particularly in Maguindanao and Sulu where it had centuries of unfinished history. It is in this light that the present Sultan of Maguindanao, Datu Hajji Amir A. Baraguir, whose regnal title upon his assumption to office is Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Sultan Sayyid Hajji Datu Amir bin Muhammad Baraguir, endeavors to reach out to the people of Maguindanao to renew the dormant awareness of, and sound out, the popular sentiment regarding this issue.

Sultan Baraguir is the 25th in the long line of Sultans from Sayyid Muhammad ibn Zaynal ‘Abidin al-Ja‘fari, better known in extant history books as Sharif Kabungsuwan.

The Maguindanao Rulers and Sultans: A Historical Outline

SHARIF MUHAMMAD KABUNGSUWAN. According to the Maguindanao tarsilas, his father was the Sharif ‘Ali Zein ul-‘Abidin from Arabia, and his mother belonged to the royal family of Johore. It may be speculated that he arrived on the shores of Mindanao around 1515.

SHARIF MAKA-ALANG. He was a son of Muhammad Kabungsuwan and surnamed “Saripada”. His mother Angintabu was a daughter of an Iranun chief from the area now known as Malabang.

In 1543, during the Villalobos expedition, some Spaniards were able to go to the mouth of a big river (Pulangi) where they were informed by the inhabitants that the chief was called “Sarriparra”. This being a variation of “salipada” or “saripada”, it can be surmised that the chief was the Sharif Maka-alang; especially if it is considered that not only does a tarsila explicitly state that the Sharif had such a title but that such a title was not found among his immediate successors.

DATU BANGKAYA. He was a son of Sharif Maka-alang. In 1574, Guido de Lavezaris wrote to the Spanish King that the chief of Mindanao River wanted to become a friend of the Spaniards. In another Spanish report dated 1579, this chief is referred to as “Asulutan” (Arabic, As-sulutan) with the information that he was a father of Diman Sankay and that he had already died. This refers probably to Datu Bangkaya who by 1574 must have been reigning for some time, since in 1579, his son Dimansankay, was considered by the Spaniards to have been “an old man”. Datu Bangkaya could also have been the ruler in the Pulangi who was reported to have died in 1578.

DATU DIMANSANKAY. He was a son of Bangkaya. Spanish reports say that he was ruling in 1579 and that he was an old man. The leading datus of the Iranuns and Maranaos all claim descent from him.

DATU SALIKULA. He was the half brother of Dimansankay and also known as Gugu Salikula. Up to early 1597, he appeared to be a leading chief of Maguindanao, Dimansankay being dead at that time. According to tarsilas, he married a Sulu princess, and therefore he might have been the Maguindanao chief seen in Jolo in 1597 where he was supposed to have been banished for being “restless and rebellious” and who was further described as a brother-in-law of the Sulu ruler and an uncle of the Maguindanao Rajah Muda (erroneously called “King”) by the Spaniards. He was chief around 1585 to 1597.

KAPITAN LAUT BUISAN. He was a younger half-brother of both Dimansankay and Salikula; he was sometimes called by the title “Katchil”. His rule began around 1597 when he displaced Salikula; he controlled his nephew, the Rajah Muda, a son of Dimansankay. He must have been chief at least up to 1619, since Dutch sources mention relations with the immediate predecessor of Qudarat at this date.

SULTAN QUDARAT. A son of Buisan, he was known to the Spaniards as Corralat and to some Dutch writers as Guserat.

In 1619-1621, there was war between Buayan and Maguindanao, probably dynastic or a contest for primacy in the Pulangi. Qudarat must have been involved in this war for not long after a temporary reversal he appears as excercising some political power over Buayan. Furthermore, he must have consolidated his power well enough after this to enable him to attack Sarangani in 1625. He died about the end of 1671 after having ruled about half a century. His rule, with varying fortunes and at different capitals can, therefore, be fairly estimated to have taken place from 1619 to 1671. By 1645, he was already using the title of “sultan”. As a young man he was entitled “Katchil”. His great grandchildren referred to him as Nasir ud-Din.

SULTAN DUNDANG TIDULAY. He was a son of Qudarat and there is a report that he died before his father. If he ruled at all, it must have been for a very short time. He was referred to as Saif ud-Din by his grandchildren.

SULTAN BARAHAMAN (Arabic, ‘Abd ur-Rahman). He was a son of Sultan Tidulay. He was also known as Minulu sa rahmatullah. His sons referred to him as Muhammad Shah. He was Almo Sobat (Arabic, Al Mu-Thabbat) to William Dampier or the Almo al Lasab Brahaman to the Spaniards. The name of his grandfather Qudarat was also used by him. He was heard of as sultan early as 1678. Information given to Dutch officials at Ternate was that he died on July 6, 1699.

SULTAN KAHAR UD-DIN KUDA. He was a younger brother of Barahaman and was sometimes known as Jamal ul-‘Azam. He also assumed the title of Amir ul-‘Umara as well as that of Maulana. His reign was contested by two of his nephews, the sons of Barahaman. To make more secure his authority, he asked the aid of the Sulu Sultan Shahab ud-Din who came over to Simuay where Kuda held court. A misunderstanding as well as bitterness due to a long standing feud brought about a pitched battle between the Sulus and Maguindanaos. In the struggle, the Sulu Sultan personally slew Kuda. This event took place on August 10, 1702.

SULTAN BAYAN UL-ANWAR. His other regal name was Jalal ud-Din. Entitled “Dipatuan” during his lifetime, he was known after his death as Mupat Batua. He was a son of Sultan Barahaman. In 1701, he was already intriguing against his uncle the Sultan. He succeeded to the throne in 1702 and held court in Slangan but was often in Sibugay. His younger brother Ja’far Sadiq, the Rajah Muda, revolted against him but managed to keep the throne. In 1736, Anwar “abdicated” in favor of his son Tahir ud-Din Malinug (no. 13). He died around 1745.

SULTAN MUHAMMAD JA’FAR SADIQ MANAMIR. He was a younger brother of Sultan Bayan ul-Anwar. He was sometimes referred to as Amir ud-Din. Referred to as Maulana while alive, he was known after his death as Shahid Mupat. He contested the reign of his older brother, but he was forced to flee to Tamontaka in 1710. Dutch officials referred to him as “the young king” to distinguish him from Sultan Bayan ul-Anwar. By 1725 he had assumed the title of Paduka Sri Sultan. In March 1733, his brother and nephew Malinug attacked his forces in Tamontaka. The latter caused his death in the ensuing struggle. While his brother had power along the coast, Manamir held sway over the interior. His power was recognized in Tamontaka from about 1710 to his death in March 1733.

SULTAN MUHAMMAD TAHIR UD-DIN. A son of Sultan Bayan ul-Anwar, he was commonly known to the Spaniards as Dipatuan Malinug. He was also known as Muhammad Shah Amir ud-Din. In a battle in 1733, he killed his uncle Ja’far Sadiq Manamir. In 1736, his father started sharing with him the responsibilities of government. His authority was however contested by two of his cousins, sons of Manamir, forcing him to retire to the interior where he died in Buayan around 1748.

SULTAN MUHAMMAD KHAIR UD-DIN. He was a son of Sultan Ja’far Sadiq and was better known to Europeans as Pakir Maulana Kamsa (Arabic, Faqir Maulana Hamzah) or Amir ud-Din Hamza. He also used the name ‘Azim ud-Din and assumed the title Amir ul-Mu’minin. In 1733, after his father was slain, he began to consider himself heir to the throne and thereupon called himself “rajah muda”. The next year, he was formally invested with the duties of a sultan in the presence of the Spanish officials from Zamboanga. With some Spanish aid, he was able to consolidate his position in Tamontaka and contest the rule of his uncle Bayan ul-Anwar and later that of his cousin Malinug. But upon the latter’s death around 1748, the struggle for the sultanate ceased. Pakir Maulana Kamsa emerged as paramount chief of Maguindanao. Around 1755, he started to relinquish some of his powers to his younger brother with the condition that his son, Kibad Sahriyal, would be the “Rajah Muda”.

SULTAN PAHAR UD-DIN. He was a younger brother of Pakir Maulan Kamsa and was known as Datu Pongloc or Panglu. He began to exercise the powers of sultan around 1755 and was in the sultan’s seat in that same year when Captain Thomas Forrest paid a visit to Maguindanao. After his death he was known as Mupat Hidayat.

SULTAN KIBAD SAHRIYAL. His more regal title was Muhammad ‘Azim ud-Din Amir ul-Umara. He was a son of Pakir Maulana Kamsa. Even before the death of his uncle the Sultan, he was already being addressed as “sultan”. He was friendly towards the Spaniards and at least twice entered into peaceful negotiations with them, namely, in 1780 and 1794. He probably governed from 1780 to 1805.

SULTAN KAWASA ANWAR UD-DIN. He was a son of Kibad Sahriyal and like his father was also entitled Amir ul-‘Umara. He entered into a peace treaty with the Spaniards in 1805. One of his seals carried the title of Iskandar Julkarnain. He possibly reigned from 1805 to 1830.

SULTAN ISKANDAR QUDRATULLAH MUHAMMAD ZAMAL UL-AZAM. He was more popularly known as Sultan Untong. He was a grandson of Kibad Sahriyal and a nephew of Sultan Kawasa. Some Spanish documents carry his name as Iskandar Qudarat Pahar-ud-Din. In 1837 and 1845, he entered into friendly treaties with the Spaniards. He died either in 1853 and 1854.

SULTAN MUHAMMAD MAKAKWA. He was a grandson of Sultan Kawasa Anwar ud-Din. His rule can be estimated to have lasted from about 1854 to 1884. He died in Nuling (in the site of the old settlement of Maguindanao).

SULTAN MOHAMMAD JALAL UD-DIN PABLU. Also known as Sultan Wata, he was a son of Sultan Makakwa. His capital was at Banubu, just opposite the town of Cotabato across the Pulangi. His death took place in 1888.

SULTAN MANGIGIN. He was a grandson of the famous Datu Dakula of Sibugay, who in turn, was a grandson of Kibad Sahriyal (No. 16). He began his rule in 1896. From 1888 to 1896, the sultanate was vacant. This was probably due to the fact that Datu Utto (Sultan Anwar ud-Din of Buayan) wanted his brother-in-law Datu Mamaku (a son of Sultan Qudratullah Untong) to become the Sultan. The Spaniards, however, wanted the sultanate to go to one of the Sibugay datus. Around the end of 1800, Sultan Mangigin transferred his residence from Cotabato to Sibugay. In 1906, he married Rajah Putri, the widow of Datu Utto and sister of Datu Mamaku.

SULTAN ISKANDAR HIJABAN MASTURA. He assumed the throne upon Mangigin’s death in 1926. By this time, the Sultanate assumed a very ceremonial traditional character. It continued to be the central institution for traditional and religious affairs of the Maguindanaon and Iranon peoples.

SULTAN ESMAEL KALUG. He assumed the Sultanate when the eldest grandson of Sultan Mastura, Datu Baraguir refused to become Sultan. The latter was supposed to be the most legitimate claimant as a matter of right: His father, Datu Mamadra – who could have succeeded – predeceased Sultan Mastura, the incumbent.

SULTAN MUHAMMAD (ATTY. GUTIEREZ) BARAGUIR. He assumed upon the nomination of Sultan Esmael Kalug, months prior to the latter’s death in 1991.

SULTAN AMIR BARAGUIR. He was designated successor by his father. He assumed the title upon his father’s death in June 8, 2000. He is yet to be installed formally. The Sultanate has a great potential in stabilizing the cultural and religious affairs of the Maguindanaons and Iranons and protect them from the onslaught of neo-extremism and fundamentalism.

-----References: Almanach de Bruxelles,; Cesar Adib Majul, Muslims in the Philippines (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1973) p. 339.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Assalamualaikum Warahmahtullahi Wabarakatuh.

    Glory be Allah!

    I was a descendant of Sultan Kudanding Camsa @ Datu Kudanding Camsa, through the second wife named 'Tima ' a lady are "Tidong".

    My father was the grandson of the "Princess Dayang Dayang Okkeh Puteh @ Putri Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Kudanding Camsa @ Datu Kuranding Camsa". Both my parents came from the islands of Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines, and has entered to the State of Sabah, in 1962, as the legal process and have become citizens of Malaysia. Me and a few other siblings, was born and received education in the State of Sabah, Malaysia.

    My purpose is to make comments, track the descendants of Sultan Kudanding Camsa, at Buayan, Maquindanao.

    Honesty brings blessings from Allah, Yours beloved, Ameen.

    Yours respectfully and thank you.

    Datu Banding Muin Atal
    Email Add. :
    Mobile No.: + 60138989998