Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Iranun Nation in the Philippines

Iranun was one of the oldest existing nations in the world during the ancient times with definite integral territory wherein the sovereign power and authority was exercised over it by the ligimate ruler. Iranun as a nation inhabited mainly the Crab Gulf (Moro Gulf). Its villages were established and concentrated in the Iranun Bay (Illana Bay). The origin was attributed to the people of the Uranen Kingdom of the primitive past inhabited in the Tbok (Malabang). Iranun was the first people who entered into a marriage affinity with Shariff Aulia and Shariff Kabunsuan. Bai sa Pandan (Princess Pagunguwan, daughter of Rajah Urangguwan) and Bai Angintabu respectively. Their wedlocks where Sultan Kudarat has directly got his line of descent. Iranun was a breed nation between the Karibang-Karingke Line of descent and last wave of Malay migrants. From this marriage affinity sprang the Iranun nation whose first leader was Rajah Urangguwan. The name of their place (state) was Uranen. During the advent of the Shariffs, union took its place in the kingdom through uninterrupted inter-marriages among the royals.
The ancient Muslim civilization started from the coast of the Uranen. Genealogists say that later in the succeding decades it was spread and extended to the Ranaw areas as far as Upper Pulangi areas. The Biwang-Kawanan Tinday A Datal O Pagilidan (Two Huge Coastal Principalities) was established as a political group headed by Rajah Makaapen after the death of Rajah Urangguwan, simoultaneously with Slangan and Buayan principalities. Later on sultanate system of government was established patterned from the system of government introduced by the Shariffs.The political system of the Iranun during Rajah Urangguwan was patterned from Sri Vishaya and Majapahit Empires.

The society of the Iranun was a muslim. Its social class was classified into: Uripin (slave), Kadaklan (Dumato) and Pendatu (Ruling class). Iranun is a very hospitable and principled group of people. It is good and friendly contrary to the description of the western writers as they described Iranun as pirates. This description is not true. As a matter of fact, Iranun is the champion of hospitability and good will. The Sultan of Brunei was being reinforced by Sultan Kudarat. The fleet was composed of Iranun warriors. The Sultan of Brunei was able to defend his sovereign state against invaders through the assistance of the Iranuns led by Sultan Kudarat. Tradition says that it inhabited the coastal areas of the Iranun Bay. It was said that Tbok, a place near the present site of Malabang was the center and seat of government of the ancient Iranun. It was headed by Rajah Urangguwan, the ruler of the Uranen Kingdom. The modern authorities in history have cited the fact that the ancient territory of the Uranen was the areas where Sultan Kudarat exerciced his sovereign authority and influence. It stressed from Punta de Flechas of Sibugay down to Tagalook (Davaw Gulf). These areas were recognized by the Spaniards.

In the later decades, the Iranun as a group of people was covered. Most of the writers and historians did not mention Iranun in their writings. It is interesting to mention and include here that Iranun was the original tribe where other tribes sprang out, the mother of other native tribes in the Island. Let me discuss in the following paragraph.

Modern historians made mention of Shariff Aulia. It is right that there was a Shariff Aulia who sometimes arrived in the Island. Shariff Aulia landed at the coast of Tbok and welcomed by Rajah Urangguwan, the ruler of the ancient Uranen Kingdom, a Kingdom situated and located at the Iranun Bay, Layagan Gulf (Moro Gulf). Shariff Aulia married Princess Pagunguwan, a beloved and adored princess of her time, and a daughter of Rajah Urangguwan. They begot the four rajas: Rajah Makaapen, Rajah Dungklang, Rajah Maraguia, and Rajah Budtol. These four rajas explored and adventured the Island (Mindanaw). The first two (Makaapen and Dungklang) remained in the capital of the Kingdom. The other two ( Maraguia and Budtol) went south. Maraguia established his own community at the present Tantawan (PC Hill) in the present site of Cotabato City. Budtol went east through Pulangi River. He established his community in the present Buayan.

It is interesting to include here and mention that Tantawan was once an island like Bunged (Bungo) and Timako. The Iranun tarsila has described that Tantawan was a military base during the ancient Uranen Kingdom. The huge biruar ( tower) was established in Tantawan to oversee the enemy which may come from south, north east, and west portion of the Kingdom. It was a military naval base of the ancient Uranen Kingdom. Later as decades passed by and it becomes a century, it becomes as its present geographical view. According to the oral tradition, liitle by little a landmarsh was developed. Modern science explains the episode as a result of residual remains process.

In one of the lyrics of the darangan, it was mentioned that there were three islands which served as a guard islands of the Turugan (Palace) of the Ayunan Pangadapan O Inayunan O Kampong Sa Iliyan A Bembaran. Most of the Iranun experts and commentors in ancient/prehistorical facts are unanimous in findings that the three (3) islands mention in one of the darangan lyrics were the same and identical with Tantawan, Bunged (Bongo) and Timako. Therefore, these three islands are historic and considered as tourist spots of the Island.

The relation between Bembaran and Uranen Kingdom was quite interesting to mention and discuss here. Some of the Iranun genealogists say that Bembaran and Uranen Kingdom were identical. Some says that Bembaran and its people was a legendary and it was one of the most narrated legends during the Uranen Kingdom. Some says that Bembaran which was the setting of the Darangen constituted the heights of the Uranen Kingdom. Out of these views, it is safe to say that Bembaran is the place where the setting of the Darangan period occured during the Uranen Kingdom, and was one of the civilizations of the Kingdom.

Going back to the issue on decendancy, Makaapen and Dungklang were the forefathers of the Iranun of the coastal areas of the Iranun Bay. Maraguia was the forefather of the Iranun in the City of Cotabato and near adjacent places. Budtol was the forefather of the Iranun of the Upper Stream. This stage of civilization was reinforced again when Shariff Kabunsuan arrived. Shariff Kabunsuan married Princess Angintabu, a daughter of Makaapen, begot Makaalang. Makaalang married his first cousin, a daughter of Rajah Dungklang named Princess Pidsarawdan begot Rajah Bangkaya. Rajah Bangkaya married a lady from Lupah Suog name Pangyan Mampay begot Kapitan Laut Buisan, the father of the strongest among the sultans of Mindanaw named Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat. Intermarriages among the offspring of the four rajas in the later decades were observed. Their intermarriage established a royal line of descent. This was the stage of civilization of the Iranun when whitemen came ( Spaniards in 1521).

Iranun was a great warrior. Iranun were good navigator and sailor. Their skills and knowledge in navigation and of being a sailor is comparable to the skills of the whitemen ( Spaniards, Portugese and other westerners). During the counter offensive of Sultan Kudarat against the Spain Royal Armed Forces, mostly of the captains of the different vessels of Sultan Kudarat were Iranuns. Iranuns are champion of freedom. The Iranun defended the sovereign territory and authority of the present Moro Nation from aggression and invasion of the Spaniards. Iranun are jealous people as far as sovereign is concern.

It is a fact that Iranun was the people whom the the Spaniards met during their invasion. The Spaniards described them as moro (moores in western version) because they portrayed the same quality in terms of field combat and fighting of the Moores people whom they fought in Northern Africa. This was the origin and beginning of using the term moro which referred to and described the Iranun people whom the Spaniards met in this Island particulrly Mactan, the recorded first bloodiest battle between the Spaniards and the native inhabitants. Thus the Moro is a colonial term introduced by the Spaniards replacing Iranun ( the original inhabitants).

It was presented in the preceeding paragraphs that Iranun was the people whom the Spaniards met during invasion. The Spaniards introduced some strategies and techniques in order to reinforce and establish their colonial mission. It was their first priority to dismantle the original tribe for them to implement their mission effectively. The strategy was little by little leading to creation of other tribe within the Island. There are identified colonial terms which make Iranun tribe put into ash and ruined by colonialism.

With due respect to other scholars, Iranun had been subdivided into different tribes. These tribes are: Maguindanawon, Mranaw, and Mragat (Islamized); Tiduray, Subanen, Kalagan, Manobo, Blaan, Bagobo, and other highlanders (Unislamized). The first three (3) sub Iranun tribes accepted the Ideology introduced by Shariff Aulia and Shariff Kabunsuan. Tiduray, and others did not accept the Ideology introduced by the two Shariffs. This is the reason of Moro (Iranun) has two groups of people in relation to belief: Islamized and Unislamized.

Later on in the succeeding decades, Spaniards more and more intensify their colonial mission. On the other hand, the Dutch had the same mission with that of the Spaniards. The Dutch was expanding its sovereign in the Island. A rivalry between the two world super powers began in the Island. The rivalry between the Spaniards and the Dutch colonialists were contribute much in the ruinity of the Iranun as a people/nation. Factions were observed. Colonial concepts came in. With due respect to other scholars in history, the term Maguindanao although a native term connoting specific place is a colonialism sponsored term to destroy the original which is Slangan, which is the correct. Slangan was a confederated state of Tbok and Buayan after the death of Rajah Uranguwan. Slangan was led by Rajah Maraguia.

Iranun tribe expanded in land of the Island until villages were established in the Unayan area (Ranaw). Iranun oral tradtion say that the first Iranun datu who explored the Ranaw area was Penduma. He was a descendant of Rajah Dungklang. He explored going in- land part of the Uranen Kingdom until finally he discovered Butig. Butig is the seat of the Unayan. The established village in Butig (Unayan) flourished and developed into a center of trade, commerce and education of the time. Later on it expanded into other places around the Ranaw( Masio, Bayabaw, Baloi). Thus the creation and estblishment of the Pat a Pangampungan Ko Ranaw (Four Lake-Based Principalities).

Iranun nomenclature in relation to names of majors tribes were attributed to its geographical connotation. The people who remain in the coastal areas of the Uranen Kingdom is called Mragat, which means people of the seacoast (Ipagilidanen in Iranun version). The people who established villages around the ranaw (lake) is called Mranaw, which means people of the lake. The people who established villages in the inner part of the island in relation to its coastal areas is called Idalemen. The people who established villages beyond the dalem (inner part) limit is called Isbanganen. The people who established villages and reject the Ideology introduced by the Shariffs, in the inner part of the Island in relation to Slangan is generally called Tiduray. The people who established villages in the Upper Stream of the Pulangi River is called Irayaan (Taw sa Raya in some version). The people who established villages in the inner part of the Island in relation to the first seat of Uranen Kingdom at Tbok is generally called Subanen. Tiduray was the mother of all highlander tribes in the Cotabato areas. Subanen was the mother of all the highlanders tribes in Zamboanga areas. Kalagan was the mother of all highlander tribes of Davao areas.

There are Iranuns in some kampongs (communities) in Sabah, Malaysia. Their existence in the Malaysian Archepilago specifically Sabah was attributed to the request of the Sultan of Brunie from Sultan Kudarat of reinforcement to augment his forces to defend his sovereign against invaders. The reinforcement was composed of Iranun warriors. After the defeat of the invaders, the Sultan of Brunie offered them a portion of his sovereign sultanate for them to live as an expression of friendship and gift for them. The warriors got their their families and transfer their residence and citizenship to Brunie Darussalam. They lived there. Their descendants are the identified Iranuns in Sabah.

Uranen Kingdom whose seat of government was in Tbok had foreign contacts with the Sri Vishaya and Majapahet Empires. According to the oral tradition of the Iranun, their relationship was focused on education based on the system of their time. The type/system of education was more on mystical and rituals. Iranun during that civilization was experts in the languages of the two Malayan Empires. Some of the reading materials of those remote past are still preserved. Some of the Iranun genealogists stated that the mother of Princess Pagunguwan, the daughter of Rajah Urangguwan was one of the daughters of the last Emperor of the Sri Visahya Emperor.

The two Royal Sovereigns shared technical skills especially on warriorship. Out of this program the Uranen Royal Warriors (armed forces) had been strengthened. Their skill in field combats and marine skills had improved. It is possible that the skill which was saw and encountered by the Spaniards attributed to this program.

It is interesting to include in this script the inhabitants of Liusong (Luzon), Aninipay (Panay), Mactan and other ancient Kingdoms and sovereigns of the primitive past. What is the relation of Iranun with of the native inhabitants of Liusong, Aninipay, Mactan, and others ancient sovereigns? With due respect to other authorities in history, oral tradition of the Iranun says that all existing sovereigns during the ancient period in this country (now Philippines) were Iranuns. The inhabitants of the Sovereign Maynilad, Tondo, Mactan, Aninipay (Panay) and the Uranen were all Iranun. Thus Iranun was the original nationality of the people of the ancient these Islands. They were confederated to each other. Historians only stated that only the four Sovereigh districts of Aninipay were confederated. The truth was that all existing Sovereign places during the ancient past were confederated. Their national identity was Irarun.

The early contacts of the Iranuns with foreign nations (Kingdoms) became the bridge in improving the way of life of the Uranen Kingdom. Social relationships were established especially on marriage. The present time tells and shows the existence of the Iranun.

Iranun was the first identified native inhabitants of Mindanaw, which was historians and scholars failed to mentioned their written works. This perhaps the result of colonization. Their villages were established along the coastal areas of the present Moro Gulf especifically Iranun Bay. In some cases, they established their vilages along the river banks (Maynilad and Tondo as an example; and Katidtuan as in Kutawato area). The present ethnic tribes in Mindanaw were originated from the Iranun. Iranun as a nationality was destroyed and put into ruinity because of colonialism. Colonialism dismantled Iranun as a nationality and introduced words although they were native in implication but they were used as instrument for colonization.

Iranun like other ancient nations had early contacts with other foreign nation. It had established a contacts with Sri Vishaya and Madjapahit Empires. It was a sovereign nation. At present time still considered a major tribe among the ethnic tribes in the Island

Iranun is co-existence of the Aetas (Pygmies) or Negritos of Liusong (Luzon). According to the oral tradition of the Iranun the size of the typical Iranun was between four (4) feet and five (5) feet height, an average of 4.5 feet in height. They were originally brown, and moderately flat nose. Iranun had been intermarriage with the karibang, ( a small size bodied human bing usually found living near the falls) and karengke ( another small size bodied human being usually found living in the caves). Other Iranun genealogists say that Iranun was a cross breed between the migrants from the two big ancient kingdoms (Sri Vishaya and Majapahit)and the karibang line and karengke line. It was again breed with Arabs during the advent of the Shariffs.

Iranun had foreign contacts and relations with China (Ming Dynasty). The Uranen Kingdom sent four (4) of its rajahs, namely; Rajah Batarabuwasan, Rajah Pagarabuwasan, Maharabuwasan, and Rajah Yuwaharabuwasan. Dr. Sonia Zaide (1985) identified them as King Prabu, King Mahalchilim, and King Pahala. The four (4) rajahs had been welcomed by the Emperor Yung Lo of the Ming Dynasty. The civilization of the Chinese was introduced in the Kingdom through them. Most of the things which were seen by them in the China beneficial and advantageous to the Kingdom and its people were adopted and it became a part of the culture of the Iranun. Dresses, ladies style and ornaments (pandara), Brass wares, costume(loose trouser for women) and other social patterns were adopted from the chinese people. In warriorship, Iranun had learnt a lot from the chinese. The skill in using bow and arrow, using kampilan, kris and other ancient weapons were improved. In household likewise a lot of things had been learnt from the chinese (cooking, embroidery and others) were also learnt from the chinese.

Iranun had also foreign contacts and relations with India. Iranun learnt more languages in India including their mystical knowledge. Oral tradition says that many of the medical and magical knowledges of the Iranun were learnt from the Indian. The ancient formula of computing the one year days. The ancient Iranun astronomers had computed one year 354 year (leaf year) and 355 days ( common year). They arranged the 12 months by 30 days and 29 days; fifteen days (sbang) and fifteen days (delem). In short astronomical knowledge of the Iranun were learnt from Indian. This formula was confirmed by the modern science. Thus the astronomical knowledge of the Iranun during ancient time was accurate because it survived and rearched the modern era. Medical knowledge ( Katabibtabib) using oration and medicinal plants were learnt from the Indian people. The civilization of the Iranun had been improved through foreign contacts and relations (Chinese, Indians, Malays and Arabs)

Rajah Marikudo (Merkat Ado in some version), ruler of Aninipay(Panay) Island wherein the ten Borneans datus met was an Iranun. Western and Filipino writers (historians) failed to identify the true identity of the datu. Rajah Merkat Ado was one of the ancient sovereigns who ruled the island especially Aninipay. As it was described that Iranun was a hospitable people, Rajah Merkat Ado welcomed them (Borneans) in his sovereign kingdom. Actually a portion of Aninipay (Panay) probably coastal area was offered by the Rajah for the Bornean datus to live and establish their villages. Historians said that it was sold to the Bornean datus. It is contrary to the literature of the Iranun tarsila that the place was not sold but offered as a sign of friendship and hospitability. To recognize the hospitability of the Iranun in Aninipay led by Rajah Merkat Ado; Datu Puti, the leader of the Borneans offered marriage with the daughter of Rajah Merkat Ado. A marriage contract was entered into between the natives and the Borneans. A dowry was offered and given in terms of one(1) set of golden nicklace and gold sayap (salakot in some version). After the marriage ceremony, Rajah Merkat Ado asked an opinion from his Council of Elders the best action in order to reinforce the established relationship between his realm and the Borneans. The Council of Elders categorically said: Give the low portion (coastal area) of your territory to your daughter as her part in your ancestral domain. You transfer and establish your capital and Palace (Turugan) to the inner part of your territory. Oral tradition says that about one kilometer from sea coast going upper stream of the Aninipay river the location of the new capital and palace of the Rajah. Datu Puti and the Princess live harmony with other Borneans(11th century).

The intermarriage between the two Sovereigns (Bornean and Iranun) prospered and expanded going north direction. Batangas was the first village (community) established. Intermarraige in the later decades were observed between the native aetas and the breed people. Later on as decades passed through, the Kingdom of Maynilad and Tondo were established.

The socio-political interactions of the major Asian ancient sovereigns (Majapahit, Sri Vishaya Empires, Chinese Dysnasties, Indian Kingdom and the Ancient Uranen Kingdom) sprang out a well breed Iranun which constitutes the Last Uranen Kingdom under Rajah Urangguwan.

Generally, Iranun was the first identified people who live in the ancient past of the civilization in this part of the globe. They were the people of the Uranen Kingdom. They established their villages along the coastal areas of the Iranun Bay and river banks. They were the people whom the Shariffs met in this Island. The origin of the Iranun people was from four feet to five feet in height. Their civilization belonged to the primitive civilization. However they had established contacts and relationship with foreign sovereigns and kingdoms. The first stage of breed of the Iranun with Shariff Aulia was the breed of Iranun whom Shariff Kabunsuan was met and later on arranged with them a marriage affinity. This is the first line of generation among the Iranun where native blood was breed with arab blood. They called it kia saripan.

Iranun as a People

Iranun was the aborigine and original inhabitants of Mindanaw. They were belonged to the primitive and prehistory people. They were identified by the Iranun tradition as Karibang and Karinngki line of descent. These people were analogous with that of the Aetas (Negritoes) of Luzon and other places. They were breed with the foreign people ( Indonesian, Malays, Arabs, Indians, and Chinese). Iranun tarsila stated that they were the rapo people (foreigners) who migrated to the Island thousands of years ago who married the daughters of the different rajahs in the Island (11th-12th century). These marriage affinal ties sprung the modern (present) Iranun in the Island.

Government and Succession of Authority

The government of the ancient (prehistory) Iranun was simple but effective. They (rulers) had one hundred pre cent control over their sovereign. Each engged (community) had its ruler. They were exercising the Obsolute Monarchial System. Usually, patriarchal line or type adopted as a procedure of succession. After the father death or resignation, the son automatically replaces and sits the throne. In some cases, the daughter replaces the father in the throne. The system was family succession. The ruler was assisted by mantris (cabinets in the modern times). The legislation was vested in the Council of Elders ( in the mainland the luwaran or radawan in some version was the example, and Ruma Bitchara in the Lupa Soog). Thus the government was monarchy and the succession of authority was hereditary.

Relationship With other Villages

The ancient political relations among Iranun villages and principalities was confederation. Each Iranun village was independent to each other. However they were confederated. There was no central government. However, their socio-political relationship was very strong. They had established the so called allied warriors for defense purposes against any foreign attempts and invasion.

Original Establishment and Location of Iranun Villages

The ancient Iranun erstablished their vilages and communities along the seacoast of the Iranun Bay in the Moro Gulf (Crab Gulf). In some instances, the ancient Iranun lived along river banks. These villages expanded in the course of time. Until whitemen came for invasion and colonization. The villages of the ancient Iranun served at the same time as kuta. The turugan has a biruar (tower in the modern time) as watch house or guard house. Usually the biruar was built on the top of a tree or any tall object. The purpose was to oversee the coming enemy(s). In a hilly places, biruar was built on the top of the hill.

Source of Living and Livelihood

The ancient Iranun were good farmers and fishermen. They were living in the fertile vast land and sea. They supplement farming and fishing by hunting deers and other wild animals for their daily needs and consumption. Other source of livelihood was black and gold smith industry. Ancient Iranun were good blacksmither and gold smither. For women, Iranun were good waver of mats and malong. The ancient Iranun used barter trading (among themselves and intervillages). The fishermen exchanged fish to rice/corn/ube and other agriculture products/crops for their daily consumption. The farmer did the same. Therefore their medium of exchange in the absence of money was bartering in order to acquire a property or anything for them to survive.

Costumes and Dresses

Ancent Iranun man were using samping (vernacular for bahag) and sablay (Tsaliko in modern time), and tubaw. However, ancient Iranun were shoesless. They were not using shoes due to absence of knowledge on shoemaking. They were footbbeares peeople. For the women, ancient Iranun were using loose blouses in the primitive style. Later, it was improved when foreign contacts with the chinese.

Characteristics /Quality(s)/Habits

Ancient Iranun possessed a very hospitable, courteous, respectfull, obedience and other good qualities. They were brave and good combatant (warrior). They were champion of freedom and defense. They usually considered their lawfull leaders as second to prophets. All orders of their leaders were faithfully followed. They were peace-maker and loving people. They were good friend but magnificient enemy in time of war.

System of Education

The ancient Iranun system of education was very simple. There was no school building and other materials. They used their individual houses as school building and classrooms. The father was the teacher of the boy children. The father taught his male children on manhood responsibilities and obligations such as farming, hunting, carpentry, and other manhood works. Skill on warriorship was the most important training among boy children. For the girl children, ancient Iranun taught their girl children on motherhood responsibilities and obligations such as cooking, waving, sewing, embroidery, washing clothes and kitchen utensils, rearing of children and motherhood works. Kapaningit sa engged ( Love and jealous of country was inculcated in the minds and hearts of each Iranun minors) by their teacher (mother).

Each Iranun minor was trained to love the country. Love of country was the noblest act. They emphasized that country emanates all aspects of humanity. Iranun people were good nation makers. Both man and woman were required to study nationalism and patriotism. Thus the system of education of the ancient Iranun was simple. The emphasis was focus on love of country and humanity.


Ancient Iranun was identical with that of the Darangan Period. Some Iranun geneanologists say that Darangan Period was one of the periods of the ancient Iranun. The hero of the Darangan was Rajah Bantugen. The seat of the government was in Benbaran (situated in the north west of Bukidnon) near Wao. It was a name of a civilization of people during ancient time. The civilization was more on mystic and rituals activities. The Darangan was composed of decades with different episodes. It described most the characteritics of the Iranun as people. The true meaning of love and wisdom, leadership, livelihood (economics and industry) socio-political, humanity and other good quality and characteristics were described in the episodes of Darangen. Iranun oral tradition say that Darangan as a civilization was composed of six (6) federal states which Bembaran was the capital. These federal states were: Da Madiar a Linog, Sawlaya A Salg, Daguwatan sa Oray, Pindulunan sa Ragat, Sadurog ko Marandang, and Bembran. Their rulers were Batara Mangadka, Batara Mapalala Makaug, Batara Bakuludan sa Waki, Batara Lumuday sa Barat, Batara Tundugen, Batara Rinawraw Tubpaan, and Batara Bantugen respectively. The cabinets were: Daranda, Mabaning, and Lumbatan. The adore and beloved princess was Princess Lawanen.

Iranun has many bayoks. Usually the oldfolks/elders during those times were using bayok in their communication. Examples of these bayoks are: Biwang Kawanan Tinday o Pagilidan Pipandaraan, Iranun Pipparasan, Ranaw Gilanggumilang, Maguindanao rawaten, Slangan da marimbang which connotes nobility and maharlika. Others like: Pidzan pagzir so ganding na so kapanganonen bo na maliwanag den sa dar which means hospitability and courteousness. Benar e rinaw so ragat na sisirungen a barat so karante o alongan which means problems and sorrows.

The principal village ( principality) was Benbaran, the capital of the Darangan civilization, wherein the Turugan (royal house) was established. Turugan was the official residence and court of the Ayunan Pangadapen O Inayunan O Kampong sa Ilian a Benbaran ( Official Royal Court of the Most Respected and Honored Leader of Benbaran), His Majesty Ayunan Pangadapen Pasandalan A Murog, the great ruler. All important matters either personal or non personal business transactions were done in the Turugan. Other villages (principalities) were Bugabong A Kumara, the village of Her Majesty Paramata Gandingan. Bugabong A Kumara was civilized as Benbaran. Iranun experts in Darangan say that Benbaran and Bugabong A Kumara were equal and parallell. Sarbaka Kilaten, Gamaniyog were states of Bugabong a Kumara.

Music, Musical Instrument and Plays

Darangen as a song was the most popular name or title of a song during the Darangan Period. Darangen as a title of a song described the entire civilization. Man and woman knew very well to perform/sing darangen. Darangen as a song was usually sang at night. Bayok was another name of a song which usually performed by two or three performers. The Mranaw sometimes called Kambayoka. The performers were called Unur. Mamayog was another name of a song, performed by one gentleman and one lady. The mamayog described the loyalty and courteousness of a husband to his wife during the ancient Iranun (Darangen Period). Some Iranun folks identified another song entitled Darangen a Babay (Most Beloved and Adored Lady) was commonly sang/ performed in the Slangan Principality. Princess Tinabon was the star who was being described in the song.

The kulintang, agong, gandingan, pamindira, and dibakan were usually and commonly used as musical instrument. It was called in the Iranun as Lima A mamagenesupa (Lima Ka Daragia in Ranaw). This musical instruments were usually used during fiest day or durangna (wedding ceremony). During the ancient time, Lima Ka Mamagenesupa was used also during rituals. Kutyapi (Kudyapi in some version), palendag, suling, kubing were among the musical instruments during the ancient time in the Iranun civilization. Generally, all the person who reach the maturity stage of human development knew to use and play these instruments. Sagayan was a stage play which usually performed by young man describing the skill and bravery of the Iranun warriors. The sagayan was usually performed during rituals. Sagayan was usually performed by two young men. Minors can do it. In some Iranun wedding fiest/ceremony, sagayan was being performed in the kakuyog sa damak (damak is a cooked sweet foods deliver to the house of the bride from groom house) and in the procession ( kuyog) of the groom. It was usually put ahead of the parade. Sagayan during wedding ceremony is accompanied by an unta (it is look like a camel played and manipulated by a youngman to move). Kulintang (Lima A Mamagenesupa) was being play as a music of the procession. Sinulog was a kulintang tune usually used as a music in the procession.

Wedding Fiest/Ceremony

During the ancient Iranun, wedding fiest/ceremony was a long process. Parental system was the usual practice. Iranun usually practice maharlika system. The man who was belonged to the ruling family of the village marries the daughter of the ruling family of other village (Prince is for Princess Principle).

Iranun wedding process undergoes four stages. These stages were: panunuriman (observation), pangingidong (Whispering) from the kakamaman side (groom side), sarangguni (actual negotiation of the two parties facilitiated by other group, usually the Council of Elders of the bride family), and gurangna (wedding ceremony). In some cases, sarangguni and gurangna were fused into one. It depends on the negotiation.

During the ancient Iranun, dowry (sunggodan/btang/btad sa adat) was term of material not money, for example: land/lot, bulawan (gold), and other valuable materials (animals). In some cases uripin (slaves were accepted as dowry or even the entire sovereign of the groom father served as dowry in case of a single child). After signing of contract between the two parties, the groom was granted to court and talked/'invite the bride to ocassion with one chaperon. The groom was granted to sleep in the house of the bride. Wedding ceremony among maharlika (ruling family) was full of decors (pandara). There were activity (siapa sa manggis, kulintang contest, and other wedding activities were observed) to give honor and respect to the royal wedding.

The common class (kadakelan) used only sambulayang with no flag and pamanay. The uripin has no wedding ceremony. The ruling family used the complete set of pandara (pasandalan, sambulayang with flag at the top of the pole, ubor-ubor, and pamanay). Usually bright colors were used (red,green and yellow). Among the ancient Iranun red means bravery, green means sovereign, and yellow means ruling family. These colors were only used and attributed to the ruling family.

Properties and Inheritance

The whole sovereign (integral territory) of each village (kampong) belonged to the Datu. The property would be inherited by the legitimate heir(s) including rulership. The kadakilan(commoner) can possessed properties subject to bues (tax in the modern time). The uripin (slave) cannot possessed properties because themselves were the property of the datu. The property(s) of the kadakilan (commoner) would be inherited by their heirs.


The ancient Iranun used customary laws. Usually the council of elders were the drafter of the customary laws. The draft was presented in the followers during fiest days. In ancient Aninipay the Code of Kalantiaw was formulate and odopted. In the ancient Iranun radawan (Code of Models) was formulated. The Radawan defined and described socio-political, family relations, religious/spiritual, and others which would be observed and followed. There were process involved in the implementation of laws especially in court: baina, amad, karina, matakapala (clarity, justification, suspect and testified respectively).


The religion of the ancient Iranun was greatly influenced by the state religion of Sri Vishaya and Madjapahit Empires. The arrival of Shariff Aulia gave a significant effect to the religion. Sufism as a belief was introduced. Thus they became a Muslim-Sufie.

Supertitious Belief

The ancient Iranun had many supertitious beliefs. The examples were: eclipse, black butterfly, snakes enters the house and others. There were about hundreds of supertitious beliefs of the Iranun. Tunung was identified to be a powerful spirit.


The ancient language of the Iranun was originated from the Malayo-Polynesian Language of the Pacifics. In course of time most of the original language of the Iranun were modified due influence of other language. The original language used in the Darangan was an Iranun language. The original language had been modified due to: conquest, intermarriage with foreign nation, adoption, and duplication. Out these factors the present language evolved. The present Iranun language is generally accepted as medium of communication in Mindanaw except Lupah Suog. The present Muslim can understand Iranun. Thus Iranun is the mother language of the Muslims in Mindanao.


The ancient alphabets of the Iranun were patterned in India. The system of writing was one of the good achievements of the Iranun during its foreign contacts with the Indian people. Although it was primitive, the Iranun have their own system of writing. This system of writing was influenced and gradually changed to the present system patterned from the arabs. They called it kirim. The kirim was looked like sometimes a bird, a tree, a roof, and cloud-shape.


The ancient Iranun has its own arts. The most popular one until the present time is the ukir ( engraving naga). The ukir is used almost furnitures and fixtures of the Iranun including houses. The bawor (cabenit or apparador now a days) has an ukir differrent forms and patterned. Sarimanok is another type of ukir during the ancient Iranun which was passed generation to generation. Most of the museums and libraries now a days have these arts displayed.

Science and Math

The ancient Iranun were good scientists of their time. They were astronomers. They name heavenly bodies as: makabangis, sulo a mangangayaw, manok, madakel, laya. They arranged the twelve months (12) to 30 days and 29 days. Therefore there are three hundred fifty four (354) day in one year (common year) and three hundred fifty five (355) leaf year. They divided one month into two groups: Sbang and delem. They used heavenly bodies as compass. They can determine west, east, south, north by the used of the heavenly bodies at night. Their knowledge in astronomy and navigation was older than the knowledge of the western people (Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and others). There were eight (8) tahons, five (5) kutika, and eight (8) bintang. All these are instruments of the ancient Iranun in compution. Even they were in the mid of the forest, they can calculate low or high tide through this knowledge in science. In Mathematics/arithmetic, gibo (thousand), laksa (one hundred thousand), pandang (million of thousasands).

They had also a system of counting. They used riray system. Some of the mathematical terminology were: laksa, salaksa, laksalaksa, yuta, sayuta,sayutayuta. All these were few among their mathematical terminologies. Arabic numerals and system of counting including mathematical nomenclature were introduced and adopted during the Shariffs period. Thus a modification was observed.

Territorial Defense

The ancient Iranun were good defenders of their territory and freedom. They consider any individual or group who do not signifying its interest to enter the Iranun territory (both sea and land) as enemy. Coordination (Pagtaw) was very important to them. To them (Iranun) when you enter the territory of the other sovereign without coordination was considered sin and unlawful. The invasion and other marine activity of the Spaniards and its allied forces/group/tribe were considered unlawful. Out of this concept, Iranun warriors were forced to drive out through drastic action (by force) all groups or individuals who attempt to enter their territory without prior notice of friendship. Their defense tactics and mechanisms were misconceptualized and misunderstood by filipino and western authors. Filipino and foreign writers described Iranun as pirates. They were not pirates. They only defend their territories against invasion of foreigners.

Iranun in the Shariffs Period

Uranen Kingdom was the first kingdom ever had in the ancient period (prehistory). It was the mother of all kingdoms established after decades or centuries. Shariff Aulia was the first arab muslim with missionary works who stepped-foot and landed in the Uranen Kingdom (Tbok was the seat of government). He married the native princess named Bai Pagunguwan (Iranun tradition identified her as Bai sa Pandan). Out of their wedlock, they begot the four rajahs (Makaapen, Dungklang, Maraguia, and Budtol). The introduction of the belief brought into the Kingdom through Shariff Aulia was the first stage of the Iranun civilization recorded in history. The old belief was gradually changed to what is present belief of the Muslims in the world. The system of government, socio-economic, trade and industry and other walks of life were improved and strengthened. The primitive system of government was changed to more structurized system. The Caliphate was introduced described as Sultanate System.

Iranun tarsila say that Makaapen married Lingayen, a daughter of the property custodian of Rajah Urangguwan begot Princess Angintabu. The Princess was married by Shariff Kabunsuan (1475). Out of their wedlock, they begot Saripada Makaalang. Saripada Makaalang married his first cousin name Princess Pidsarawdan, a daughter of Rajah Dungklang, begot Saripada Bankaya. Saripada Bankaya married a lady of Lupah Suog named Princess Sri Pangyan Mampay Laila begot Saripada Raut (laut in some version) Buisan begot Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, the strongest and has a longest term of realm among the Iranun sultans. It is interesting to note that the term saripada was used as prefix three times before the given names: Makaalang, Bankaya, and Raut. The term has a Malayan origin probably a term existing and used during the two big empires (Sri Vishaya and Madjapahit). It connotes ruler or nobility. Thus it was a royalty title used during the ancient period of political structure which is equivalent to Sultan (Surutan in Iranun version).

The introduction of sultanate system gradually changed the rajahship (primitive system patterned from ancient (prehistory system of government) to more advanced political system. Iranun as a people with distinct nationality entered into a neolistic civilization called Shariff Period. The Iranun accepted the Ideology introduced by the Shariffs.

Iranun During Sultanate System

It was presented in the preceeding paragraphs that the two identified Shariffs (Aulia and Kabunsuan) intermarraige with the Iranun Rajah families ( Rajah Urangguwan and Rajah Makaapen respectively). Out of this social relationship, the new socio-political practices was merged and developed. The offspring of Shariff Aulia-Princess Pagunguwan was intermarriage in the later decades with the offspring of Shariff Kabunsuan-Princess Angintabu. Out of this mixed and interwaved bloodline of descent sprang a royalty lineage of decendant. Sultan Kudarat, the first native ruler used Sultan as a royal political title and authority eas of Iranun-Shariff line of descent with a blood sprang from the Karibang-Karingke line of descen. Out of these facts, it is safe to say that the first Sultan of the native breed from the Iranun-Shariff line belonged to the Uranen Kingdom which exercised its sovereign authority and power over the Crab Gulf (Moro Gulf) with concentration in the Iranun Bay. Thus Rajah Urangguwan of the ancient past (prehistory) and Sultan Kudarat of the Shariff period (Sultanate System)were the fathers of the royal line of descent among the native inhabitants. Out of these facts all claimants of royalty line of descent are all descended from Iranun-Shariff marriage affinal ties

Sultan Kudarat realm was a continuation of the ancient political system spearheaded by Rajah Urangguwan. The seat of the former government was in Ramitan (Lamitan in the Filipino authors). It is one of the barangays of the municipality of Sultan Gumander, Lanao del Sur in the present geographical political division. Ramitan was the first seat of government led by Sultan Kudarat. The seat of government of the latter was in Tbok. Tbok is one of the barangays of the municipality of Malabang, Lanao del Sur in the present geographical political division. It is interesting to note that the two capitals (seat of governments) are neigbors. Sultan Gumander and Malabang are only separated by Picong River and both situated and located along the sea coast of the Iranun Bay of the Crab Gulf ( LayaganGulf).

Iranun During Spaniah Invasion

The first recorded Spanish invasion in the Mindanao (Uranen) was on 1596. This was led by Capt. Figueroa. Figueroa was killed during the fight. The gesture and action of the Spaniards was considered by the native Iranuns as aggression and and invasion. The Council of Elders unanimously agreed to adopt a technique for effective defense against the Spaniards. The top executives namely Rajah Raut Buisan, Rajah, Sirungan, and Rajah Tagal suggested to the Council to launch a counter offensive. The proposal was approved. They attacked Visayas islands, Mindoro, Bicolandia, and Southern Tagalog. The counter offensive of the natives was misconceptualized by the Spanish and Filipino historians. They described it as piratic activity. This is not true and uncorrect. The natives had just adopt an effective technique for defense purposes. They only defended their sovereign state and nation against foreign invasion. he counter attacked were launched in 1599, 1600, and 1602.

Change of System From Kingdomship to Sultanate

Meanwhile, in the year 1617, Kingdomship was officially changed to Sultanate System. The first ruler of the new system was Kudarat, the son of Rajah Raut Buisan. His renal name was His Majesty Sultan Mohammad Dipatuan Kabunsuan Urangguwan. He established his seat of government at Ramitan (now a barangay of Sultan Gumander, Lanao del Sur).

Invasion Continued

On March 13, 1637 (Zaide), Governor Corcuera invaded Ramitan. The native inhabitants fearlessly defended their territory against the Superpower Spain. The Sultan retreated in the inner portion of Ramitan. He moved to Dapaw Lake for a week. The Council of Elders agreed to the proposal of the Sultan to transfer his Court (capital) at Magulaling, Balabagan, Lanao del Sur. In this seat of government, the Sultan was able to expand his sovereign powers and authority. The villages and communities within the Crab Gulf (Moro Gulf) and the inner parts of the Island, except Surigao and Agusan. He established socio-political alliances with the local (kampong) leaders and foreign nations like Brunie Darussalam, Java, Makassar, Sumatra, Lahore, Singapore, China, and India. He was able to mobilize all sectors of the Uranen Sultanate.

Iranun in the Height of the Divide-and-Rule Technique

After the death of Sultan Mohammad Dipatuan Kudarat Kabunsuan Urangguwan, the Divide-and-Rule Technique was applied by the colonizers (Spaniards and Dutch). Sultan Tahiruddin Malinog was supported by the Dutch. On the other side, Sultan Manamir was supported by the Spaniards for supremacy. Rivalry in the succession issue was the gate to divide the native Iranuns. The whole Sultanate was divided into two groups (Malinog group and Manamir group). This was the beginning of the subdivisioon of the native inhabitants. This also leads to some corrupt use words, and colonial terms although native but it implied destructions. Here are some examples of corrupt use of terms and words: Luzon (Liusong), Panay (Aninipay), Visayas (Vishaya), Tagalog (Taga- ilog), Illana (Iranun), Zambonga (Samboangan), Lanao (Ranaw), and many others.

Iranun During American Regime

It was described that more than three centuries, the native Iranun fought for defense. They were not not conquered until the time of signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898 which ended the Spanish-American War for Supremacy. The Royal Government of Spain ceded all the controlled territories and exercised its power and authority to United States of America.The present Mindanaw, Palawan, and Sulu were not included in the Treaty because they were not conquered.

The Americans amplified and use the same technique (Divide-and-Rule). They only improved and strengthened the technique used by the Spaniards. hey used words which connotes places in order to deceive the native. With due respect to some historians, Maguindanao as a name of a place which connotes a traditional name which is implying sovereignty is not correct. It is used and amplified by the Americans to destroy the original place which implies sovereignty the SLANGAN DA MARIMBANG which means Slangan the original and has no equal.

Cotabato, Lanao, Zamboanga, Davao are all colonial term used, applied and amplified by the colonizers (Americans) to destroy the tradition of the native. The original was Slangan, Ranaw, Samboangan, Tagalook respectively.

Effect of Colonization

The most destructive effect of the colonization to the Iranun and Uranen as a nation and state respectively was deception to the next generation. Spanish writers and historians (Pigafetta) wrote a wrong information and data. He described the native inhabitants whom Magellan met as Moores (a nation whom they encountered in war in Africa). This people has the same quality and ability in combat with the native inhabitants of the Island. Thus Pigaffeta baptized the Iranuns as Moores. Later the term Moores was corruptly used by other writers- the present form Moro. The usage of the term Moro to refer the native inhabitants in the Island was amplified by the American writers. Thus the original nation and state - Iranun and Uranen respectively were forgotten in the annal of history of the Island.

The colonization has contributed much to the introduction of western culture, belief, customs, practices, and others aspects of life which were harmful and destructive to the culture, tradition, belief, practices of the Iranun as a native inhabitants. The political system was introduced which caused to the gradual modification of the political system of the natives. The socio-political system of the Iranun was totally destroyed suring the American regime. The Americans organized the Moro province for the purpose of total elimination of the residues and remains of the past civilization enjoyed by the native inhabitants from the ancient Uranen Kingdom down to Uranen Sultanate led by His Majesty Sultan Mohammad Dipatuan Kudarat Kabunsuan Urangguwan. Thus introduction of Cotabato, Lanao, Davao, Zamboanga, and Sulu was a strategy of the colonizer to eliminate the truth. Cotabato, Lanao, Davao, Zamboanga, and Sulu were native in connotation but colonization by intention.

Many terms and words which were corruptly introduced and used for colonization purposes. The examples of these words are: Dagiangas, later it becomes Dagiangas later on it was changed to General Santos. Tacudong it was modified to Tacurong, Kutawato, later on it was modified to Cotabato. Lupah Suog, later on it was modofied to Sulu, Aninipay, later on it was modified to Panay. Irong-irong, later on it was modified to Iloilo. Antik, later on it was modofied to Antique. Tukudan, later on it was modified to Tucuran, Pangagian, later on it was modified to Pagadian. Marges a ig, laterlater on it was modified Margosatubig, Kumaladang, later on it was modified to Kumalarang. Padampadang, later on it was modified to Parang and many others. All of these are colonization srategy.

The foremost effect of the colonization to the Iranun natives was the so called colonial mentality. The mental or intellectual skill of the native becomes dependent and submissive to the western and americans. The Iranun natives become nothing and mentally slave of the foreign education. Therefore, conquest and colonization were the root caused of the problem in the Island (Palawan, Sulu, and Mindanao: Pandawan, Lupah Suog, Uranen of the ancient past respectively). Therefore the colonization wiped out everything.

What is Iranun?

Iranun as a word/term is composed two words which were joined together to formed a word with distinct interpretation and description. The word/term IRA means remains, residue, or silt. These word/term may refer to a place or area which was formed out of a long process evolved from remains or residual process that caused a formation of a place. NUN means people with distinct culture, laws, belief, tradition, of residual and remains process. It implies all places predominantly inhabited by the Iranun was a water millions of years ago which gradually becomes a land/soil through residual process. Thus, the territory of the Uranen Kingdom was a water which gradually becomes a soil for the people to estabilsh their comunity. Out of this concept, it is hereby described that Iranun is a group of people who were belonged to the ancient or prehistoric period of civilization which lived and occupied a certain territory (water in origin) which was formed through a residual or remains (silt) process thousands of years ago with organized socio-political structure with distinct culture, belief, custom and tradition. Thus Iranun is a nation not a tribe.


Iranun is not a tribe of any nation of the world. It is a nation with defined territory and sphere of influenced, political structure/system, socio-economic, educational system, culture, belief and tradition, and other aspects. It was one of the ancient civilized nations in the world. Its existence and civilization is contemporary with Sri Vishaya and Madjapahit Empires. It was a nation sprang from a Karingke-Karibang line of descent. Karibang and Kareingke were analogous with aetas of Luzon. During the Fall of Sri Vishaya Empire many of the people either family or political group migrated going north until such time that they reached and landed in the present Iranun Bay (Illana Bay), the center of the primitive people/ native inhabitants. This group of migrants was identified in the tarsila as Taw sa Guiwa ( English version people of Java). They entered into a social relationship with the Karingke-Karibang people. Intermerriages were established between the natives and the Javans. Out of this social process Iranun as a nation sprang. They established their political system KINGDOMSHIP patterned from Sri Vishaya Political System. The first ruler was Rajah Urannguwan. This system of government (Kingdomship) last until reign of Rajah Raut Buisan, the father of Sultan Kudarat.

This nation was destroyed and ruined by colonization. The colonizers like Spain and United States made a conquest and invasion to expand their territory and sovereignty and introduced their respective system and way of life. They used force and political strategies to destroy and dominate the natives. The colonization of the western nations fragmented and divide the Iranun nation into tribe. Unlike other foreign nations like China, India, and Arabs. They came not for conquest and invasion but for trade, commerce, education, and religion(spiritual) aspects. They helped the natives. The civilization of the natives was improved and strengthened due to the socio-political relationships with China,India and Arab.

The name of the state was Uranen Kingdom, its people was Iranun. The ancient Uranen state is the Mindanao of the present time. The terrotiry of the Kingdom stretched from Sibugay Peninsula to Tagalook Gulf with all in-lands areas, except Agusan and Surigao provinces. Its sphere of influenced reached as far as the present areas of Zamboanga and Misamis Provinces. The seat of government and center of civilization was in Tbok now a barangay of Malabang, Lanao sel Sur. Therefore the civilization in the Island started from the coastal area of the Iranun Bay (Illana Bay). Iranun tarsila named, called, and identified it as Biwang-Kawanan Tinday A Batal O Pagilidan (literarily translated as Left and Right Huge Coastal Principalities), in political interpretation say traditional name is translated as Kingdom of the Sea Coast, which refer to Uranen Kingdom, the official name.