Saturday, August 13, 2022

Iligan History – as published in the Symbols of the State(Republic of the Philippines)

Iligan’s Early History(3)
from the Symbols of the State(Republic of the Philippines)

Like the other coastal settlements, Iligan was also constantly attacked by the Muslims, a retaliatory action against the Spanish intruders. In 1639, on order of Gov. Gen. Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera, Captain Francisco de Atienza y Vañez, a tried warrior from Toledo, Spain, constructed six collapsible boats, each capable of carrying 50 to 100 men, to be assembled at Lake Lanao. As in charge of Iligan, and after receiving suggestions from Fr. Fray Agustin(known as Padre Capitan) on the military technique and strategy against the Muslim strongholds, he led as expedition to Malanao. After the fall of Marawi to the Spaniards, the Muslims continued to harass the enemy on the sea and on land. They even cut off the supply route from Iligan, causing Atienza to pull back and fortify Iligan from the increasing Muslim attacks.

Maranaos. This circa 1898 photo shows several sultanes y dattos embarking on a peace talk with Spanish authorities garrisoned in Fort Victoria in Iligan.

In later years, the poblacion of Iligan began to sink. Another fort was built by Gobernadorcillo Remigio Cabili and the town was transferred to its present site.

After Corcuera’s rule, the Maranao were left to themselves, almost to the end of the Spanish rule. With Iligan as springboard, the Spanish troops were again sent to Marawi in 1891. Governor-General Eulogio Despujol continued the campaign to subjugate the lake region. However, it was Governor Ramon Blanco who established the Spanish power in the region. In 1895, Blanco with 5000 men under the immediate command of General Parrado, landed in Iligan and succeeded in conquering the Muslim cottas and the stronghold of Marahui, known as the strongest in Lanao.

In 1896, when the Philippine revolution broke out, an insurrection also occurred in Iligan. Three years later, the gobernadorcillo abandoned the town, and Captain Hilarion Ramiro took over the reins of the government. He received the Americans forces under the command of Captain Smith who landed at Iligan in 1900.

Fort Victoria, a Spanish stonefort in Iligan. It was washed away by a destructive flood in 1916. It stood on the eastern bank of the Iligan river in the general area where PNB now stands.(Reproduce in ink from an old Spanish photo by Noriel Alfonso).