“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. “
“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