2 books on Davao history launched Dec. 10 and 11

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 December) – Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar is launching two books on Davao history on December 10 and 11 — a long essay in English and  a historical novel in Cebuano involving the characters of Davao’s politico-military governor, Lt. Edward Bolton who was killed by Tagakaolo leader Mangulayon in 1906.

“Davao in the Pre-conquest era and the Age of Colonization” and “Si Menda ug ang Bagani’ng gitahapan nga maong si Mangulayon,” a novel set in Malita, Davao del Sur, will be launched at 10 A.M. at the Cor Jesu College  in Digos City on December 10 and at 3:40 p.m. on December 11 at the 8th floor of the CCFC Building, Ateneo de Davao University.

05gaspar1An author of several books on the Mindanao church, history, anthropology, peace, Gaspar, Academic Dean of the Redemptorists’ St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute (SATMI) in Davao City and a professor of Anthropology at the Ateneo de Davao University, said there are “hard questions” that Dabawenyos need to ask: “questions which have only arisen at the periphery and voiced out by only a few who care about the indigenous, the local and the particularities of our time and space.”

The “hard questions”:

  • We see monuments of Rizal, Bonifacio and other national heroes across Metro Davao (including a deformed David) but there is none that honors a local hero.  Has Davao not produced a hero, considering the long tradition of baganis among the Moro and Lumad communities?” Gaspar asked.
  • We hear about Sultan Kudarat and Datu Bago (although only in limited circles). Just two through the centuries of struggles against foreign invaders? Have we heard of someone named Mangulayon?
  • Are there really only eleven Moro/Lumad indigenous communities that we should recognize as Davao’s aboriginal people during the Kadayawan festival?
  • We have scrapped Oyanguren and Magallanes Sts as official name of streets in the city; but why has Bolton St remain unchanged? Who is this Bolton anyway so that one street and one bridge continue to be named after him?
  • We interact with Davao Gulf in so many ways but do we have any inkling as to the significance of this gulf not just in terms of Mindanao history but that of South-East Asia? How will Davao Gulf reclaim its important place in Asian trade with the ASEAN market integration?

“These are some questions that beg to be answered if we are to care about our identity as Davaoenos, as Mindanawons,” Gaspar wrote.

He says answers to these questions “might surface with the launch of (the) two books” published by Althea Publications in Davao City.

“Davao in the Pre-Conquest Era And The Age Of Colonization,” according to Gaspar is a long essay dealing with the local  history of  a very particular location — the whole region of Davao — and time — from pre-conquest to colonial years.

The book presents “data on the original inhabitants of Davao, the indigenous peoples – Moro and Lumad –  whose descendants continue to reside in this region.”

It looks back to the early years of colonization with the coming of the Spaniards just half-a-century before the end of the Spanish occupation; followed by the entry of the Americans after the Philippines became a colony of the U.S.A.

“The historical overview of the two colonial eras – that led to the influx of migrant settlers, the setting up of governance systems and business enterprises (especially agricultural plantations), as well as the founding of parishes and educational institutions – help explain why Davao is what it is today,” he said.

“Si Menda ug ang Bagani’ng Gitahapon nga mao Si Mangulayon,” written by Melchor M. Morante, Gaspar’s pen name, tells of events unfolding in Davao in the island of Mindanao during the first years of the imperialist occupation of the Philippines by the United States of America.

Gaspar told MindaNews the book is set in Malita, Davao del Sur, is a “historical novel but considered fiction.”

The main characters in the book are Lt. Edward C. Bolton, the politico-military governor of the Davao district, and Mangulayon, a bagani (warrior) of the Tagakaolo who killed him in 1906.

“After this incident, the Americans spread the propaganda that they were able to capture and kill Mangulayon while exhibiting his ‘remains.’ In fact,  Mangulayon was able to escape,” he said.

Gaspar said the question raised in the novel is “whose corpse was used to convince the populace that Mangulayon was also killed?”

He said one mother among the Tagakaolos – Menda – “faced lamentations and grief as she dealt with the answer to this question.”

The Department of Education and Liberal Arts in Cor Jesu College is organizing the launch in Digos while the Davao City launch is being handled by the Ateneo Institute of Anthropology, the College of Literature and the Arts and the Center of Psychological Extension and Research Services. (MindaNews)