Significant battles in Bohol: Battle of the Bo-ol Kingdom

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Significant battles in Bohol: Battle of the Bo-ol Kingdom

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Tagbilaran Bay | File Photo: Philippine Information Agency


Before the arrival of the Spaniards, there was a place known as the Bo-ol Kingdom or Dapitan Kingdom.  The center of the kingdom was located in what is now the Tagbilaran Strait between the Dauis and Mansâsâ, Tagbilaran City.

It was called the Bo-ol Kingdom if you refer to the place or the Dapitan Kingdom if you refer to the people who comprised the kingdom.



The Bo-ol Kingdom was already relatively powerful during its time.  There were already about 10,000 stilt houses built above the seawaters of the strait and many houses along the shorelines from Tagbilaran to Baclayon and from Tutolan, Dauis to Biking, Dauis.  One Spanish record called the kingdom as the “Venice of the East.”

The kingdom had control over Bohol; Siquijor, Tanhay, Negros Oriental; Northern Mindanao from Zamboanga to Surigao; Southern Leyte, and Eastern Mindanao up to Davao Oriental.

Different embassies were sent to the Bo-ol Kingdom and one embassy that was significant to our story was the Embassy from Ternate, Indonesia.

Before the fall of the Bo-ol Kingdom, it was already evangelized by Islam through a missionary known as Sarripara.  In fact Sarripara was among those captured during the battle.

The Immediate Cause

The rulers of the Bo-ol Kingdom were known in Augustian Recollect records as Pagbuaya and Dailisan.  In the earlier Jesuit records they were known as Manangkil Way Tupóng (Pagbuaya) and Way Lisang Makabungkag (Dailisan).


One day, the ambassador from Ternate made advances to one of the concubines of the ruling princes.  The ruling prince (Note: Not indicated whether Pagbuaya or Dailisan) got angry.  As a punishment, the ears and nose of the Ternate ambassador were cut and the Ternate embassy were sent home.


When the King of Ternate saw the condition of his ambassador, he also got angry and vowed vengeance against the Bo-ol Kingdom.  It should be noted that the Portuguese were already in Ternate, Indonesia.

The Strategy

Around the year 1563 the King of Ternate sent ships to Bohol with some Portuguese with rifles on board.


The ships did not arrive at the same time.  They came one after the other for a span of about 6 months.  The Ternateans pretended to be friendly and that they came in order to trade.  Eventually the Boholanos lowered their guard and suspicion.

When about six or eight Ternatean ships were gathered and the Boholanos were unaware, the signal to attack was given by the Ternateans.  With the help of the Portuguese with rifles, the Boholanos were defeated.


In 1565, Chief Sikatuna executed an affidavit before Hernando Riquel, the Notary of the fleet of Gen. Legazpi.  Chief Sikatuna narrated what happened during the battle and how many Boholanos were captured.

During the battle Prince Dailisan or Way LisangMakabungkag was killed.  In order to avoid further devastation, Prince Pagbuaya or Manangkil Way Tupong decided to evacuate his people.  About 10,000 followed Pagbuaya to the place now called Dapitan City in Zamboanga Del Norte.  Thousands of “Lutaw” or the present day Badjao also followed Pagbuaya.  (Note: The Badjao of Dauis, Bohol came back in the 1970s.)

Even though majority of the Dapitans (inhabitants of the Bo-ol Kingdom) followed Pagbuaya, there were still many minor chieftains that stayed like Sikatuna and Sigala.


We call the incident as a significant battle because if the Boholanos were not defeated by the Ternateans and the Portuguese, our history would have been different.  If the Muslim Missionary Sarripara was not captured, then Islam would be the religion of the place because the Spaniards found it difficult to defeat the Muslims.

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