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Deleted Scenes: Expedition To Jolo 1876

[Taken from Expedicion A Jolo, Año 1876, Bocetos del Cronista del Diario de Manila]

PRECURSOR TO 1876
CHAPTER IV
DECLINE OF SULU, 1851-1896
EXPEDITION AGAINST JOLO

Title Page,
Expedicion A Jolo, Año 1876,
Bocetos del Cronista del Diario de Manila

The fearlessness of the Moro’s in battle, their determination, persistence, and fortitude must have disheartened the Spaniards very often in their weary attempts to conquer and pacify Sulu. The Sulus have never had any standing army. Every able-bodied male was a soldier and a sailor. Thousands of Sulus and Samals stood ready at a moment’s notice to man a fleet and defend a fort. Every fort the Spaniards reduced the Sulus could rebuild in a short time; every fleet destroyed they could replace with little expense. They had enough pearls to purchase guns and ammunition, and a few months after a defeat they were ready to fight again, better prepared than before. War with Sulu, in the way it was conducted, meant a war of extermination and hostilities without end. Its worst evils befell the helpless natives of the coast settlements of the Bisayas and southern Luzon to whom Spain was unable to afford safe protection. The Moros would slip through in the night or take advantage of a favorable wind and attack the Spanish forces or the defenseless villages while they were unaware of danger or unprepared for a fight. For a long while it seemed beyond the power of the Philippine Government to reestablish peace or restrict hostilities to Sulu waters. The magnificent victory of Claveria was hailed as marking the beginning of a new era of safety and glory, but its effects did not last long, and the fear of the Moros beset the hearts of the Bisayans once more.

“The Sulu Group lies west of the Balangingi Group and north of the parallel of 5° 46′ north. Its western boundary may be sent at the meridian of 120° 46′ east. It consists of about twenty-nine islands with a total area of 380 square miles. The principal island of this group is Sulu. To the north of Sulu lie Pangasinan, Marongas, Kabukan, Bu- bwan. Minis, Hegad, and a few others ; to the east lie Tulayan, Kapwal, and Bitinan ; to the south, Pata and Patyan. “

In the light of such profound experience as the Philippine Government had had with Moro affairs Governor Urbiztondo might have contended himself with punishing the Moros of Tonkil and their abettors and allies, but another element of serious concern entered into the problem which threatened not only to render it more vexatious and unsolvable, but dangerous in the extreme. It was not so much the evils of disturbed relations with Sulu as the harm that would arise from English occupation of or alliance with Sulu that Urbiztondo feared, for in 1841, Sir James Brooke visited Jolo and made a treaty with the Sultan of Sulu, the seventh article of which declared a promise made by the Sultan of Suhi not to make any cessions of territory within his dominion nor recognize sovereignty rights nor promise fealty to any nation without the consent of Great Britain. The overt object of this treaty was to keep open for the benefit of the mercantile world that field for commercial enterprise, but the ultimate purpose of such an agreement was not difficult to foresee. The governor of Zamboanga went to Jolo and protested strongly, declaring such a treaty an act of disloyalty to Spain, for which the Sultan and his council would be held responsible. The subject was debated with considerable feeling on both sides. The governor remained at Jolo twenty-seven days and returned without advantage.

Zamboanga, Casa del Gobierno General,
Expedicion A Jolo, Año 1876, Bocetos del Cronista del Diario de Manila
The treaty was never ratified by Great Britain, but such endeavors on the part of a strong maritime European power made it necessary for Spain to act decisively and expeditiously. Urbiztondo then pressed to the attention of Sultan Pulalun and his council the necessity of punishing the Samals of Tonkil for their depredations on Samar and Kamigin and requested the return of the captives whom they carried away. Considerable controversy followed and the Sulus pretended that they were unable to punish Tonkil, but offered no objection to its castigation by the Philippine Government.
Aware of the seriousness of the situation, Urbiztondo made preparations for war and decided to attack not Tonkil only, but Jolo also, repeating there the example of Balangingi, and to bring Sulu under the control of Spain. Referring to this cause. Captain Keppel, in his “Visit to the Indian Archipelago,” makes the following remarks : His [the Sultan’s] fortified position gave him weight, which he had frequently thrown into the scale of humanity: and it must now be feared that many whom he was able to hold in check will again follow their evil propensities unrestrained, as they did under previous dynasties.
The resentment of Spain, as visited upon the Sultan of Sulu, seems equally impolitic and unjust. The pretext was piracy, of which some solitary instance may very possibly have been established against a Sulu prahu; but the Sultan was certainly sincere in his wish to cooperate against that system. There is ground to fear that national jealousy was desirous of striking its puny blow at an European rival, through the degradation of the Sultan of Sulu that he has incurred, in fact, the resentment of the Spanish colonial governors, by those commercial treaties with ourselves which were but lately concluded by Sir James Brooke.

On the 11th day of December, 1850, Urbiztondo left Manila in command of a force consisting of 100 troops of artillery, 500 of infantry, 2 mountain howitzers, and a number of irregular troops and workmen. Two steamboats, one corvette, and one brigantine carried the troops to Zamboanga, where they arrived on the 20th, Here 2 companies of infantry and 102 volunteers and tenders under the command of the governor of Zamboanga joined the expedition. At Belun they burned 50 houses and 20 vintas. A small force of Moros was encountered, of which they killed 3 and captured 17 prisoners, one of whom was a panglima. The chief of Bukutwan surrendered and promised to remain obedient to. Spain. At Tonkil bad weather was encountered and the whole expedition turned toward Jolo.

Jolo was well fortified. It had five forts on the sea front, the strongest two of which were that of the Sultan on the right and that of Datu Daniel on the hill. Three other forts were located on prominent points at the base of the hills. The town was further defended by a double line of trenches, other fortifications and much artillery. The population was estimated at 6,000 Moros and 500 Chinese.

Zamboanga-Barrio de Magay, habitado por Moros,
Expedicion A Jolo, Año 1876, Bocetos del Cronista del Diario de Manila

The fleet saluted the town and anchored in the roadstead. Two officers were sent ashore to notify the Sultan of the presence of the Governor-General and of his wish to have an interview with the Sultan and two of his datus, on board. The people were excited to such a high degree, that the mob grew violent and uncontrollable as the officers drew near the shore. Insults and weapons were hurled at them from every side, and the people shouted to them to return lest they be killed. They, however, pushed on in the direction of the Sultan’s fort, where some datus came out to meet and protect them. Even then spears were thrown at them, and one of the datus had to use his kampilan in order to enforce his orders. The Sultan at last came out personally, embraced the officers, and conducted them to the audience hall. There the message was delivered to the Sultan and his council, but they all refused to go on board. The officers met the same difficulty in leaving the Sultan’s house as in coming in, and as soon as they embarked five shots were discharged at them by the mob. The officers reported that the town had more than 10,000 fighting men and that it was well provisioned and well defended, and that all the women and children were removed to the mountains. Urbiztondo decided that his forces and provisions were inadequate for the occasion and did not risk a combat.

On January 1, 1851, as the fleet was preparing to sail away, the Sulus fired at it, killing seven, wounding four, and damaging the hulls of some of the vessels. The fleet returned the fire, but kept moving, and sailed away in the direction of Tonkil. Here the expedition met no organized resistance. Six hundred men were disembarked, fought some armed parties, caught 4 and killed 25 men, and rescued 29 captives. About 1,000 houses and 106 boats were burned, and the fleet then returned to Zamboanga.

Here Urbiztondo made further and extensive preparations to strengthen his expediition. The commanding marine officer was sent to Manila with special instructions to augment the fleet and bring sufficient ammunition and provisions. The Augustinian friar Pascual Ibanez raised a force of 750 Cebuans and 21 barangay, or large boats, and volunteered his help. Lumber was cut at Basilan, and lankan rafts, and ladders were constructed. Volunteers were further called for, and a large fleet of war vessels and transports was assembled at Zamboanga February 12, 1851.

Besides the staff, engineers, surgeons, and chaplains, the reenforced expedition contained 11 officers and 253 privates of artillery, 1 officer and 30 privates of sappers, 123 officers and 2,593 privates of infantry, 525 volunteers from Cebu, 100 from Iloilo, and 300 from Zamboanga; in all 142 officers, 2,876 privates, and 925 volunteers, besides rowers and other workmen. The vessels carrying the forces were 1 corvette, 1 brigantine, 3 steamboats, 2 gunboats, 9 tenders, 9 transports, and 21 harangay, with various vintas, Jankan, and rafts. On February 19 mass was celebrated and the expedition started for the haughty and arrogant city.

Jolo was reached on the 27th and the fleet anchored in two divisions opposite both sides of the town. The troops disembarked at dawn next morning and engaged the enemy as both divisions of the fleet began a simultaneous bombardment of the town and forts. The marksmanship of the Sulus and Spaniards was splendid, and the guns of the forts were very active. The spectacle was magnificent, the attack was most valorous, and the defense most valiant. In the heat of battle one friar was killed as he was scaling the wall and three officers fell by his side and lay surrounded by 70 corpses of Sulus. After several attempts one of the forts on the northeast side was taken by storm and the escaping Sulus made for Daniel’s fort. As they were admitted into the latter, it was rushed by the Spanish troops who entered in spite of the desperate resistance the Sulus made. As the inner inclosure was gained the Sulus hurled themselves from the parapets and fled. The fighting continued until next day, when every fort was reduced, and the Sulus evacuated the town. The casualties of the attacking forces were 36 dead and 92 wounded, while the Sulus lost 300 dead. The whole town was burned to ashes and 112 pieces of artillery were taken. After four days, the Governor-General and his council decided to evacuate the town and sailed away, leaving it ungarrisoned. They evidently thought that their purpose was accomplished and that they could not afford to leave a force sufficiently strong to defend the place.

On April 30 a treaty was made with Sultan Pulalun by the politico-military governor of Zamboanga, Col. Jose Maria de Carlos. The treaty was declared to be “an act of incorporation of the sultanate of Sulu to the Spanish Monarchy.” The Sulus understood it to be a firm agreement and friendly union with Spain. They, however, appear to have recognized the supremacy of Spain and accepted their protectorate. They agreed to use the Spanish flag and prohibit piracy. They further bound themselves not to make any treaties with any nation other than Spain nor to build forts nor to import firearms without her permission. Spain promised to respect and recognize the ranks of the Sultan and datus and to protect Sulu boats everywhere and to the same extent as Spanish boats. Duties on foreign boats were to be paid to the Sulus.

[Najeeb M Saleeby, THE HISTORY OF SULU, Manila, Bureau Printing, 1908, page 205-209]

Spanish expeditionary forces moving towards Jolo
Expedicion A Jolo, Año 1876, Bocetos del Cronista
del Diario de Manila
“The campaign of 1876 was a very significant event in the history of Sulu. It decided the fate of this state and definitely fixed its relation to the Philippine Archipelago. Spain’s determination to conquer Sulu never waned and seemed stronger then than ever before. The Governor-General was a man of great ability and aspired to the highest military honors. Moro raids recurred occasionally and the strained relations of the two states became so tense that rupture was inevitable.

In reviewing the history of Spanish campaigns in Sulu up to this time, one is strongly impressed with the futility of- conquest without occupation. To invade a Moro settlement, defeat its forces, burn its houses, kill some of its inhabitants, and carry some away as prisoners,is not very different in character and effect from a Moro raid. Such methods incited the Moros to revenge themselves by waging war on their invaders. This they did by raiding, which is their established method of warfare. Up to this time natural advantages remained on the side of the Sulus and Spanish forces could accomplish no permanent results, in spite of their superior methods of warfare and excellent military organization.”

– Najeeb M Saleeby, THE HISTORY OF SULU, Manila, Bureau Printing, 1908, page 221-222


Incendio de los Pantalanes De Jolo. Españo
Expedicion A Jolo, Año 1876, Bocetos del Cronista del Diario de Manila

“Since the days of the great Corcuera, no Spanish general appears to have recognized the importance of the occupation of Sulu as an essential factor in its pacification. Their apparent inability to comprehend the real solution of this question might have arisen from consciousness of their inability to provide an adequate force for the purpose. However that may have been, the honor of such an achievement remained for Governor-General Maleampo, who carried it out with credit to himself and to the government which he represented. With a clear understanding of the task to be accomplished, he resolved to conquer Sulu and occupy it, and then suppress piracy by striking the pirates at home. He left Manila on the 5th of February, 1876, with a large force composed of one battalion of the peninsular regiment of artillery, one company of mountain artillery, five regiments of infantry, ordnance, engineers, sanitary and prison detachments, and two companies of the Guardia Civil. At Zamboanga, the expedition was reinforced by 864 volunteer’s, 400 of whom were from Zamboanga and 464 from Kagayan de Misamis commanded by the Augustinian friar, Ramon Zueco.

The whole expedition, estimated at 9,000 troops, left Zamboanga on the 20th of February. They were conveyed in 10 steamboats and 11 transports, and were escorted by a fleet of 12 gunboats under the admiral in command of the Philippine naval forces. The Island of Sulu was reached on the 21st, and next morning a force disembarked at Patikul, 4 miles east of Jolo. The Moros at this place offered some resistance and caused some casualties, but later in the day abandoned the place and fled. Here a considerable column was detached to reconnoitre the interior and advance on Jolo from the land side. This plan proved impracticable and the column suffered severely from heat and thirst and returned next day to the beach at Tandu, 2 miles east of Jolo. On the 29th, a general advance was made on Jolo by land and sea. The fleet opened fire on the town, while the land forces rushed the forts and trenches on the sides. The main force was directed against the fort of Daniel, which was captured after a sharp fight. The Moros in the other forts made a fiercer resistance, but were soon overcome by the fire of the Spanish artillery and the whole town was taken by assault. On the 30th, the fort of Panglima Adak, situate at the base of the hills, was taken. Not content with this brilliant victory and intent upon striking a decisive and deadly blow, Maleampo directed various expeditions against the other strongholds of Sulu. A force of marines and volunteers destroyed 80 boats and burned 90 houses on Tapul. On March 16 an expedition to Lapak destroyed its forts and reduced the settlement to ashes. On March 22 the forts of Parang were reduced, the settlement was burned, and many Sulus killed. On the 24 Maymbung was similarly destroyed.

A large garrison was established at Jolo, consisting of two regiments of infantry, one company of artillery, one company of engineers, and two companies of disciplinanos. Capt. Pascual Cervera, a captain of frigate of the navy was given command of the garrison, under the title of politico-military governor of Sulu. General Maleampo was given the title of “Count of Jolo,” while many decorations were awarded to gallant officers, and a medal was struck for each participant in the campaign.

The step thus taken by the Philippine Government appears to have been well planned and firmly resolved. No sooner was a footing gained than measures were undertaken to quarter the troops and fortify the place. Barracks were constructed on favorable spots on the edge of the swamps, and the forts Alfonso XII and the Princess of Asturias were erected on the site of Daniel’s and Panglima Adak’s kuta, respectively. Plans were further laid out at this early time for the building of a town and the founding of a colony. Governor Cervera, to whom this task was first entrusted, was a vigorous, prudent, and circumspect chief. He prosecuted the work with energy and kept a vigilant watch on the movements of the enemy. He began the construction of a military hospital and established the office of captain of the port. Small expeditions were made to Bwan, Mapaid, Balimbing, and South Ubian for the chastisement of pirates who took refuge there. The kuta of the first three of these settlements were destroyed and their armaments were taken. This year saw considerable sickness in the garrison of Jolo; a large number of patients were removed to Zamboanga and 318 to Cebu.

“However that may have been, the honor of such an achievement remained for Governor-General Maleampo, who carried it out with credit to himself and to the government which he represented. With a clear understanding of the task to be accomplished, he resolved to conquer Sulu and occupy it, and then suppress piracy by striking the pirates at home. He leftManila on the 5th of February, 1876, with a large force composed of one battalion of the peninsular regiment of artillery, one company of mountain artillery, five regiments of infantry, ordnance, engineers, sanitary and prison detachments, and two companies of the Guardia Civil. At Zamboanga, the expedition was reinforced by 864 volunteer’s, 400 of whom were from Zamboanga and 464 from Kagayan de Misamis commanded by the Augustinian friar, Ramon Zueco.”

On October 1, Governor Cervera was temporarily relieved as governor of Sulu by Col. Eduardo Fernandez Bremon, and on December 31, 1876, Brig. Gen. Jose Paulin assumed permanent command of the garrison as the second governor of Sulu. The latter continued the peace negotiations which were commenced by Governor Cervera and expended a good deal of energy in trying to conciliate some datus and their followers. His measures were, however, resented by the Sulus and hostilities increased. He left Jolo April 30, 1877, and the command was temporarily held by Lieutenant Lopez Nuiio and Jose Marina, for three months and one month and a half, respectively.”

– Najeeb M Saleeby, THE HISTORY OF SULU, Manila, Bureau Printing, 1908, pages 222-223

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