Kingdom of Tondo

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Kingdom of Tondo
ᜃᜑᜍᜒᜀᜈ᜔ ᜅ᜔ ᜆᜓᜈᜇᜓ
Kaharian ng Tondo
Kahadean ini Tundo
Kaarian ning Tundo
Panarian na Tundo
Pagarian ti Tondo
Personal Union with Namayan (1175–1571)
c. 900–1589
The extent of the Kingdom of Tondo during the 10th and 16th century[1][2]
Capital Tondo (Now a modern district of Manila)
Languages Old Tagalog, Bikol, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Ilocano
(local languages)
Middle Chinese, Old Malay
(trade languages)
Sanskrit and Pali
(liturgical languages)[3][4]
Religion Primary
Buddhism (Vajrayana,[5] Theravada, Mahayana[6])
Hinduism, Folk religion
and Islam (Bruneian conquest in 1500)
Government Lakanate
 •  Iron Age – (pre 900 AD) Amaron
 •  c. 900 Jayadewa (first according to LCI)
 •  1200–1245? Rajah Alon
 •  1390?–1420? Rajah Gambang
 •  1430–1450 Rajah Lontok
 •  1515–1558 Rajah Salalila
 •  1558–1571 Banaw Lakan Dula
 •  1575–1589 Magat Salamat (last)
Historical era Iron Age
Classical Antiquity
High Middle Ages
 •  Kingdom established c. 900
 •  Rajah Alon expanded the territories 1200
 •  Majapahit–Luzon war 1365
 •  Diplomacy with Ming Dynasty 1373
 •  Annexed by Bruneian Empire 1500
 •  Last resistance against the Spanish 1571
 •  Dissolution of the kingdom 1589
Currency Piloncitos,[7] Gold rings, and Barter[8]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Prehistory of the Philippines
Ancient barangay
Kingdom of Maynila
Viceroyalty of New Spain
Spanish East Indies
Manila (province)
Today part of  Philippines
Part of a series on the
History of Brunei
Emblem of Brunei.svg
Bruneian Empire
to 1888
House of Bolkiah
(15th century – present)
Sultanate of Sulu
to 1578
Kingdom of Maynila
to 1571
Kingdom of Tondo
to 1571
Castille War 1578
Civil War 1660–1673
15th century
to 1841
15th century
to 1846
Sabah (North Borneo)
15th century
to 1865
British protectorate 1888–1984
Japanese occupation 1942–1945
Borneo campaign 1945
Revolt 1962

The Kingdom of Tondo (Filipino: Kaharian ng Tondo [kɐhɐrɪˈən nɐŋ tonˈdo]; Baybayin: Pre-Kudlit:ᜎᜓᜐᜓ (Lusu), Post-Kudlit: ᜃᜑᜍᜒᜀᜈ᜔ ᜅ᜔ ᜆᜓᜈᜇᜓ; Bikol: Kahadean ini Tundo; Kapampangan: Kaarian ning Tundo; Pangasinan: Panarian na Tundo; Ilocano: Pagarian ti Tondo; Chinese: ; pinyin: dōngdū; Sanskrit: तोन्दुन् (Tondu); Malay: Kerajaan Tundun), also referred to as the Tondo Dynasty,[10] Tundo, Tundun, Tundok, Tung-lio, Lusung, or Ancient Tondo, was a mandala which was located in the Manila Bay area, specifically north of the Pasig River, on Luzon island.[11](p71)[12] It is one of the settlements mentioned by the Philippines' earliest historical record, the Laguna Copperplate Inscription (900 CE). Its territories stretched from the mouth of the Pasig river to the Kapampangan chiefdoms up to the Southern Luzon southwards to Bicolandia, making it the largest kingdom that covered the most of Luzon.[1]

An Indianized kingdom in the 10th century, Tondo built upon its central position along ancient regional trading routes throughout the archipelago to include, among others, initiating diplomatic and commercial ties with China during the Ming Dynasty. Thus, it became an established force in trade throughout Southeast Asia and East Asia (see Luções). Tondo's regional prominence further culminated during the period of its associated trade and alliance with Brunei's Sultan Bolkiah. And by around 1500, the kingdom reached its peak as a thalassocratic force in the northern part of the archipelago.[10]

Following contact with the Spanish Empire beginning in 1570 and the defeat of local rulers in the Manila Bay area in 1591, Tondo was ruled from Manila (a Spanish fort built on the remains of Kota Seludong). The kingdom's absorption into the Spanish Empire effectively ended its status as an independent kingdom, with its capital now existing as a district of the modern City of Manila.


The world in 900 AD and the location of Tondo, also known as Lusung and its neighbors.

Numerous theories on the origin of the name "Tondo" have been put forward. Filipino National Artist Nick Joaquin suggested that it might be a reference to high ground ("tundok").[13] French linguist Jean-Paul Potet, however, has suggested that the River Mangrove, Aegiceras corniculatum, which at the time was called "tundok" ("tinduk-tindukan" today), is the most likely origin of the name.[14]

The bay area in which Tondo can be found was named Lusong or Lusung, a name thought to have been derived from the Tagalog word for a large wooden mortar used in dehusking rice.[15][16] This name was eventually used as the modern name of the entire island of Luzon.[17]


The expansion of Tondo Dynasty under Rajah Alon in 1200s.[1][18][10]

Rajah Alon (c.1200), King of Tondo and son of Lakan Timamanukum, expanded the Kingdom of Tondo by conquering neighboring territories such as Kapampangan chiefdoms, Kumintang (Batangas) and Bicol. He was succeeded by his grandson Rajah Gambang. The Tondo Dynasty lasted until the end of the 15th century, when the Sultanate of Brunei conquered it so as to strengthen Brunei's Chinese trade links.[19] [20]

Notable names of places changed through Tondo's history[edit]

Inside Modern day NCR

Outside Modern NCR

Uncertain places

  • Misil - somewhere outside NCR
  • Pagalangan - somewhere in the modern Pila, Laguna[28]
  • Katanghalan - somewhere in Manila (?)


The Laguna Copperplate Inscription[edit]

Laguna Copperplate Inscription (c. 900)

The first reference to Tondo occurs in the Philippines' oldest historical record — the Laguna Copperplate Inscription (LCI). This legal document was written in Kawi, and dates back to Saka 822 (c. 900).

The first part of the document says that:

On this occasion, Lady Angkatan, and her brother whose name is Bukah, the children of the Honourable Namwaran, were awarded a document of complete pardon from the King of Tundun, represented by the Lord Minister of Pailah, Jayadewa.

Apparently, the document was a sort of receipt that acknowledged that the man named Namwaran had been cleared of his debt to the King of Tundun, which in today's measure would be about 926.4 grams of gold.[29]

The article mentioned that other places in the Philippines and their Rulers: Pailah (Lord Minister Jayadewa), Puliran Kasumuran (Lord Minister), Binwangan (unnamed). It has been suggested that Pailah, Puliran Kasumuran, and Binwangan are the towns of Paila, Pulilan, and Binwangan in Bulacan, but it has also been suggested that Pailah refers to the town of Pila, Laguna. More recent linguistic research of the Old Malay grammar of the document suggests the term Puliran Kasumuran refers to the large lake now known as Laguna de Ba'y (Puliran), citing the root of kasumuran, *sumur as Old Malay for well, spring or freshwater source. Hence ka-sumur-an defines a water-source (in this case the freshwater lake of Puliran itself).[30] While the document does not describe the exact relationship of the King of Tundun with these other rulers, it at least suggests that he was of higher rank.[31]

Chinese written records[edit]

The next historical reference to Ancient Tondo can be found in the Ming Shilu Annals (明实录]),[32] which record the arrival of an envoy from Luzon to the Ming Dynasty (大明朝) in 1373.[32] Her rulers, based in their capital, Tondo (Chinese: ; pinyin: dōngdū) were acknowledged not as mere chieftains, but as kings ().[33] This reference places Tondo into the larger context of Chinese trade with the aboriginals of the Philippine archipelago.

Theories such as Wilhelm Solheim's Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network (NMTCN) suggest that cultural links between what are now China and the nations of Southeast Asia, including what is now the Philippines, date back to the peopling of these lands.[34] But the earliest archeological evidence of trade between the Philippine aborigines and China takes the form of pottery and porcelain pieces dated to the Tang and Song Dynasties.[35][36]

Culture and Society[edit]

A portrayal of the Ginu class. From the Boxer Codex, c. 1595

It is believed that the people of Tondo kingdom were related to Malay of Malay peninsula and Sumatra.[11](p71) Since at least the 3rd century, the people of Tondo had developed a culture which is predominantly Hindu and Buddhist society, they are ruled by a Lakan which is belong to a Caste of Maharlika were the feudal warrior class in ancient Tagalog society in Luzon the Philippines translated in Spanish as Hidalgos, and meaning freeman, libres or freedman.[37] They belonged to the lower nobility class similar to the Timawa of the Visayan people. In modern Filipino, however, the term itself has erroneously come to mean "royal nobility", which was actually restricted to the hereditary Maginoo class.[38]

Kingdom of Tondo
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 東都
Japanese name
Kyūjitai 呂宋.

Social Structure[edit]

The different type of culture prevalent in Luzon gave a less stable and more complex social structure to the pre-colonial Tagalog barangays of Manila, Pampanga and Laguna. Enjoying a more extensive commerce than those in Visayas, having the influence of Bornean political contacts, and engaging in farming wet rice for a living, the Tagalogs were described by the Spanish Augustinian friar Martin de Rada as more traders than warriors.[39]

The more complex social structure of the Tagalogs was less stable during the arrival of the Spaniards because it was still in a process of differentiating. A Jesuit priest Francisco Colin made an attempt to give an approximate comparison of it with the Visayan social structure in the middle of the 17th century. The term datu or lakan, or apo refers to the chief, but the noble class to which the datu belonged to was known as the maginoo class. Any male member of the maginoo class can become a datu by personal achievement.[40]

The term timawa referring to freemen came into use in the social structure of the Tagalogs within just twenty years after the coming of the Spaniards. The term, however, was being incorrectly applied to former alipin (commoner and slave class) who have escaped bondage by payment, favor, or flight. Moreover, the Tagalog timawa did not have the military prominence of the Visayan timawa. The equivalent warrior class in the Tagalog society was present only in Laguna, and they were known as the maharlika class.

At the bottom of the social hierarchy are the members of the alipin class. There are two main subclasses of the alipin class. The aliping namamahay who owned their own houses and served their masters by paying tribute or working on their fields were the commoners and serfs, while the aliping sa gigilid who lived in their masters' houses were the servants and slaves.

Economic activities[edit]

Main article: Piloncitos
The Piloncitos, a type of Gold nuggets with Baybayin Ma characters. Used as one of the early currency along with Gold rings.
The route of the Silk Road.

The people of Tondo were good agriculturists, they lived through farming, rice planting and aquaculture (specially in lowland areas). A report during the time of Miguel López de Legazpi noted of the great abundance of rice, fowls, wine as well as great numbers of carabaos, deer, wild boar and goat husbandry in Luzon. In addition, there were also great quantities of cotton and colored clothes, wax, wine, honey and date palms produced by the native peoples, rice, cotton, swine, fowls, wax and honey abound.

The use of rice paddies in Pila can be traced to prehistoric times, as evidenced in the names of towns such as Pila, Laguna, whose name can be traced to the straight mounds of dirt that form the boundaries of the rice paddy, or "Pilapil."[41]

Duck culture was also practiced by the natives, particularly those around Pateros and where Taguig City stands today. This resembled the Chinese methods of artificial incubation of eggs and the knowledge of every phase of a duck's life. This tradition is carried on until modern times of making balut.[42]

Gold as a currency[edit]

Trade among the early Filipinos and with traders from the neighboring islands was conducted through Barter. The inconvenience of barter later led to the use of some objects as medium of exchange. Gold, which was plentiful in many parts of the islands, invariably found its way into these objects that included the Piloncitos, small bead-like gold nuggets/bits considered by the local numismatists as the earliest coin of ancient Filipinos, and gold barter rings. [43]

The Piloncitos a type of gold ingots are small, some are of the size of a corn kernel—and weigh from 0.09 to 2.65 grams of fine gold. Large Piloncitos weighing 2.65 grams approximate the weight of one mass. Piloncitos have been excavated from Mandaluyong, Bataan, the banks of the Pasig River, and Batangas.[44] That gold was mined and worked here is evidenced by many Spanish accounts, like one in 1586 that said:

“The people of this island (Luzon) are very skillful in their handling of gold. They weigh it with the greatest skill and delicacy that have ever been seen. The first thing they teach their children is the knowledge of gold and the weights with which they weigh it, for there is no other money among them.”[45]

Other than Piloncitos, the people of Tundun also used the Barter rings, which is gold ring-like ingots. These barter rings are bigger than doughnuts in size and are made of nearly pure gold.[46] Also, they are very similar to the first coins invented in the Kingdom of Lydia in present day Turkey. Barter rings were circulated in the Philippines up to 16th century.[47]


Tondo had a rich tradition of pottery Japanese texts mentioned trading expeditions to the island of Rusun (Luzon) for the highly prized Rusun and Namban jars occurred. Japanese texts were very specific about these jars being made in Luzon 呂宋. The Tokiko, for example, calls the Rusun and Namban jars, Ru-sun tsukuru or Lu-sung ch'i (in Chinese), which means simply "made in Luzon."[42] These Rusun jars, which had rokuru (wheel mark), were said to be more precious than gold because of its ability to act as tea canisters and enhance the fermentation process.

Clay jars used for storing green tea and rice wine with Japan flourished in the 12th century, and local Tagalog, Kapampangan and Pangasinense potters had marked each jar with Baybayin letters denoting the particular urn used and the kiln the jars were manufactured in. Certain kilns were renowned over others and prices depended on the reputation of the kiln.[48] Of this flourishing trade, the Burnay jars of Ilocos are the only large clay jar manufactured in Luzon today with origins from this time.

Trade to Silk Road[edit]

Many of the barangay municipalities were, to a varying extent, under the de jure jurisprudence of one of several neighboring empires, among them the Malay Srivijaya, Javanese Majapahit, Po-ni, Malacca, Indian Chola, Champa, Burma and Khmer empires.[49]

Trading links with Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Malay Peninsula, Indochina, China, Japan, India and Arabia. A thalassocracy had thus emerged based on international trade.[49]


The main religion was widely Hinduism, followed by Buddhism in popularity along with Folk religion , Initially the kingdom revered Buddhist-Hindu influence as the predominant religion.[50]

Buddhist expansion throughout Asia.

Buddhism is widely practice through out Tondo, the Vajrayana,[5]Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism,[6] made inroads into Philippines when the Srivijaya empire in present day - Indonesia and Malaysia gained prominence. This was the period between 7th century to 13th century. Later, on the arrival of the Chinese and Indian merchants between the 10th century brought in the Buddhist knowledge as well as Buddhist iconography. Buddhist statues and artefacts from this era is a proof to the influence that Buddhism had amongst the people in Philippines.[5]

Waisaka or Vesak is the Buddhist name of the month - though now is shortened to a single day - which celebrates Buddha’s birthday and enlightenment. Vesak or Vesakha (in Pali) is the holiest month in the Buddhist calendar and is usually the time when debts are forgiven and festivals held.[51] Swasti is also a very traditional Sanskrit-Buddhist greeting (similar to the modern Thai, sawasdee). The Laguna copper plate inscription therefore indicates that the areas mentioned - Pampanga, Tondo and Bulacan- had already adopted Buddhism.[5] With the advent of Spanish colonialism in the 16th century, the Philippines became a closed colony and cultural contacts with other Southeast Asian countries were restricted.[52][5]

Folk religion was practiced a collection of beliefs and cultural mores anchored more or less in the idea that the world is inhabited by spirits and supernatural entities, both good and bad, and that respect must be accorded to them through worship. These nature spirits are known as "diwatas", related to Hindu Devatas.

Hinduism the is practice brought by of Hindu Tamil, Gujarati and Indonesian traders through the ports of Malay-Indonesian islands. arrived in Philippines archipelago in the 1st millennium, through the Indonesian kingdom of Srivijaya followed by Majapahit.

An Artifacts found In 1989 the Laguna Copperplate Inscription by scholars. It is the earliest known written document found in the Philippines, dated to be from the 9th century AD, and was deciphered in 1992 by Dutch anthropologist Antoon Postma.The copperplate inscription suggests economic and cultural links between the Tagalog people of Philippines with the Javanese Medang Kingdom, the Srivijaya empire, and the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms of India. Hinduism in the country declined when Islam was introduced by traders from Arabia which was then followed by Christianity from Spain. This is an active area of research as little is known about the scale and depth of Philippine history from the 1st millennium and before.[53] The document states that it releases its bearers, the children of Namwaran, from a debt in gold amounting to 1 kati and 8 suwarnas (865 grams).[54][55]

Majapahit suzerainty[edit]

In mid 14th century, the Majapahit empire mentioned in its manuscript Nagarakretagama, written by Prapanca in 1365—that the area of Selurong (Majapahit term for Luzon or Maynila) and Solot (Sulu) were parts of the empire.[56][57] The true nature of this Majapahit influence is still a subject of study. As the geographical, logistical and political constraint of the era suggests, that instead of conventional colonization, Majapahit may only exercised minimal ceremonial suzerainty and only claimed trade monopoly of its tributaries. It is likely that Majapahit fleet seldom sailed to its peripheral realm as far north as Luzon. Most often Majapahit left polities of its farthest realm intact, without any further administrative integration.

The fact whether Tondo was a tributary state of Majapahit or not, is still a subject of debate. Those who doubted the validity of Nagarakretagama, pointed out that the manuscript was composed as a eulogy for their emperor Hayam Wuruk, thus not accountable as historical source.[58] Whether an actual battle between Tondo and Majapahit forces ever took place—or just a speculation, is still a subject of debate, due to scarcity of historical records and evidences. Nevertheless, the report of clash between naval forces of Sulu and Majapahit was recorded, when the pirates hailed from Sulu attacked Barune (Brunei) which was a Majapahit vassal, and subsequently repelled by Majapahit forces. Chinese source mentioned that in 1369, the pirates of Sulus attacked Po-ni (Brunei), looting it of treasure and gold. A fleet from Majapahit succeeded in driving away the Sulus, but Po-ni was left weaker after the attack.[59]

Lusung Warriors[edit]

Portuguese accounts

The flag of Lakandula.

Pires noted that they (The Lucoes or people from Luzon) were "mostly heathen" and were not much esteemed in Malacca at the time he was there, although he also noted that they were strong, industrious, given to useful pursuits. Pires' exploration led him to discover that in their own country, the Luções had "foodstuffs, wax, honey, inferior grade gold," had no king, and were governed instead by a group of elders. They traded with tribes from Borneo and Indonesia and Philippine historians note that the language of the Luções was one of the 80 different languages spoken in Malacca[60] When Magellan's ship arrived in the Philippines and East Timor, Pigafetta noted that there were Luções there collecting sandalwood.[49]

The Luções' activities weren't limited to trade however. They also had a reputation for being fierce warriors.

Pinto noted that there were a number of them in the Islamic fleets that went to battle with the Portuguese in the Philippines during the 16th century. The Sultan of Aceh gave one of them (Sapetu Diraja) the task of holding Aru (northeast Sumatra) in 1540. Pinto also says one was named leader of the Malays remaining in the Moluccas Islands after the Portuguese conquest in 1511.[61] Pigafetta notes that one of them was in command of the Brunei fleet in 1521.[49]

Resistance against Muslims[edit]

However, the Luções did not only fight on the side of the Muslims. Pinto says they were also apparently among the natives of the Philippines who fought the Muslims in 1538.[61]

Mission in Malacca[edit]

When the Portuguese arrived in Southeast Asia in 1500 AD, they witnessed the Lucoes or the Lusung's active involvement in the political and economic affairs of those who sought to take control of the economically strategic highway of the Strait of Malacca. For instance, the former sultan of Malacca decided to retake his city from the Portuguese with a fleet of ships from Lusung in 1525 AD.[62]

Burmese–Siamese wars involvement[edit]

On Mainland Southeast Asia, Lusung/Luções warriors aided the Burmese king in his invasion of Siam in 1547. At the same time, Lusung warriors fought alongside the Siamese king and faced the same elephant army of the Burmese king in the defence of the Siamese capital at Ayutthaya.[10][63]

Native-Warrior.jpg Caption when mouse-over image
A Warrior equipped with Sibat and Kalasag (Shield) A Warrior equipped with Arquebuse.

Lucoes Assistance in the Portuguese Discovery of Japan[edit]

The Luções were also instrumental in guiding Portuguese ships to discover Japan. The Western world first heard of Japan through the Portuguese. But it was through the Luções (as the Portuguese called the people of Lusung) that the Portuguese had their first encounter with the Japanese. The Portuguese king commissioned his subjects to get good pilots that could guide them beyond the seas of China and Malacca. In 1540 AD, the Portuguese king's factor in Brunei, Brás Baião, recommended to his king the employment of Lusung pilots because of their reputation as "discoverers."[64] Thus it was through Lusung navigators that Portuguese ships found their way to Japan in 1543 AD. In 1547 AD, Jesuit missionary and Catholic saint Francis Xavier encountered his first Japanese convert from Satsuma disembarking from a Lusung ship in Malacca.

Diplomatic relations to Foreign powers[edit]

Relations with the Medang Kingdom (900)[edit]

Pre-hispanic History of the Philippines
Boxer codex.jpg
Barangay government
Ten datus of Borneo
States in Luzon
Caboloan (Pangasinan)
Kingdom of Maynila
Kingdom of Tondo
States in the Visayas
Kedatuan of Madja-as
Kedatuan of Dapitan
Rajahnate of Cebu
States in Mindanao
Rajahnate of Butuan
Sultanate of Sulu
Sultanate of Maguindanao
Sultanate of Lanao
Key figures
Sulaiman II · Lakan Dula · Sulaiman III · Katuna
Tarik Sulayman · Tupas · Kabungsuwan · Kudarat
Humabon · Lapu-Lapu · Alimuddin I · Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram
History of the Philippines
Portal: Philippines

The Dutch anthropologist and Hanunó'o script expert Antoon Postma has concluded that the Laguna Copperplate Inscription also mentions the places of Tondo (Tundun); Paila (Pailah), now an enclave of Barangay San Lorenzo, Norzagaray; Binuangan (Binwangan), now part of Obando; and Pulilan (Puliran); and Mdaŋ (the Javanese Kingdom of Medang), in present-day Indonesia.[65] Apparently, the Philippine Kingdom of Tondo and the Medang Kingdom of Indonesia were known allies and trading partners.

Relations with Siamese kingdoms (Thailand)[edit]

The Lucoes and Siam began its relation way-back in the 13th century in the context of Southeast Asian maritime trade. Archaeological records point not only to commercial and cultural ties but also a recognition of their political stature. Siam with its kingdoms and the Philippines with its rajahs. There were also ceramic wares from Sukhothai and Sawankhalok found in Luzon and Visayas region as evidence of early relations. Southeast Asian wares found in the Philippines from the 13th century to 16th century period were mostly from Siam.[66][67]

The Lusung warriors fought alongside the Siamese king and faced the same elephant army of the Burmese king in the defence of the Siamese capital at Ayutthaya.[10]

Relations with the Taungoo Dynasty (Burma)[edit]

Asides from trade, Tondo supported King Tabinshwehti on Burma's expansion campaign by sending Lusung warriors on an Elephant Army in the invasion of Siam during the year 1547.[10]

Diplomacy with the Ming dynasty (1373)[edit]

The next historical reference to Ancient Tondo can be found in the Ming Shilu Annals (明实录]),[32] which record the arrival of an envoy from Luzon to the Ming Dynasty (大明朝) in 1373.[32] Her rulers, based in their capital, Tondo (Chinese: ; pinyin: dōngdū) were acknowledged not as mere chieftains, but as kings ().[33] This reference places Tondo into the larger context of Chinese trade with the aboriginals of the Philippine archipelago.

Theories such as Wilhelm Solheim's Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network (NMTCN) suggest that cultural links between what are now China and the nations of Southeast Asia, including what is now the Philippines, date back to the peopling of these lands.[34] But the earliest archeological evidence of trade between the Philippine aborigines and China takes the form of pottery and porcelain pieces dated to the Tang and Song Dynasties.[35]

The rise of the Ming dynasty saw the arrival of the first Chinese settlers in the archipelago. They were well received and lived together in harmony with the existing local population — eventually intermarrying with them so that today, numerous Filipinos have Chinese blood in their veins.[35]

This connection was important enough that when the Ming Dynasty emperors enforced the Hai jin laws which closed China to maritime trade from 1371 to about 1567, trade with the Kingdom of Tondo was officially allowed to continue, masqueraded as a tribute system, through the seaport at Fuzhou.[68] Aside from this, a more extensive clandestine trade from Guangzhou and Quanzhou also brought in Chinese goods to Luzon.[69]

Luzon and Tondo thus became a center from which Chinese goods were traded all across Southeast Asia. Chinese trade was so strict that Luzon traders carrying these goods were considered "Chinese" by the people they encountered.[69]

This powerful presence in the trade of Chinese goods in 16th-century East Asia was also felt strongly by Japan. The Ming Empire treated Luzon traders more favorably than Japan by allowing them to trade with China once every two years.

Diplomacy with Japan[edit]

A Japanese Red seal ship. Tokyo Naval Science Museum.
Statue of Luzon Sukezaemon at Sakai Citizens' Hall.

Japan was only allowed to trade once every 10 years. Japanese merchants often had to resort to piracy in order to obtain much sought after Chinese products such as silk and porcelain. Famous 16th-century Japanese merchants and tea connoisseurs like Shimai Soushitsu (島井宗室) and Kamiya Soutan (神屋宗湛) established branch offices on the island of Luzon. One famous Japanese merchant, Luzon Sukezaemon (呂宋助左衛門), went as far as to change his surname from Naya (納屋) to Luzon (呂宋).[70]

Relations between Japan and the kingdoms in the Philippines, date back to at least the Muromachi period of Japanese history, as Japanese merchants and traders had settled in Luzon at this time. Especially in the area of Dilao, a suburb of Manila, was a Nihonmachi of 3,000 Japanese around the year 1600. The term probably originated from the Tagalog term 'dilaw', meaning 'yellow', which describes their general physiognomy. The Japanese had established quite early an enclave at Dilao where they numbered between 300 and 400 in 1593. In 1603, during the Sangley rebellion, they numbered 1,500, and 3,000 in 1606. In the 16th and 17th centuries, thousands of Japanese people traders also migrated to the Philippines and assimilated into the local population.[71] pp. 52–3

Attack by the Bruneian Empire (1500)[edit]

By the 15th century, the Bruneian Empire controlled western shores of the Philippines

Around the year 1500, the Bruneian Empire under Sultan Bolkiah attacked the Kingdom of Tondo and established a city with the Malay name of Selurong (later to become the city of Manila)[72][73] on the opposite bank of Pasig River. The traditional Rajahs of Tondo, like Lakandula, retained their titles and property but the real political power came to reside in the House of Soliman, the Rajahs of Maynila.[74]

Islamization by forced conversion of the citizens of Tondo and Manila divided the area into Muslim domains. The Bruneians installed the Muslim rajahs, Rajah Salalila and Rajah Matanda in the south (now Intramuros district) and the Buddhist-Hindu settlement under Lakandula in northern Tundun (now Tondo).[75] With the rise of Islam, other religions in the archipelago gradually disappeared.

Incorporation into the Bruneian Empire (1500)

Tondo became so prosperous that around the year 1500, the Bruneian Empire, under Sultan Bolkiah, merged it by a royal marriage of Gat Lontok, who later became Rajah of Namayan, and Dayang Kalangitan to establish a city with the Malay name of Selurong (later to become the city of Manila)[76][77] on the opposite bank of Pasig River.

The traditional rulers of Tondo, like Lakandula, retained their titles and property upon embracing Islam but the real political power transferred to the master trader House of Sulayman, the Rajahs of Maynila.[78]

Spanish contact and decline (1570–1591)[edit]

Spanish colonizers from Mexico first came to the Manila Bay area and its settlements in June 1570, while Miguel López de Legazpi was searching for a suitable place to establish a capital for the new territory. Having heard from the natives of a prosperous Moro settlement on the island of Luzon, López de Legazpi had sent Martín de Goiti to investigate. When Maynila's ruler, Rajah Matanda, refused to submit to Spanish sovereignty, de Goiti attacked. He eventually defeated Rajah Matanda, claimed Maynila in the name of the King of Spain, then returned to report his success to López de Legazpi, who was then based on the island of Panay.

López de Legazpi himself returned to take the settlement on 19 June 1571. When the Spanish forces approached, the natives burned Maynila down and fled to Tondo and other neighboring towns.

López de Legazpi began constructing a fort on the ashes of Maynila and made overtures of friendship to Lakandula of Tondo, who accepted. The defeated Matanda refused to submit to the Spaniards, but failed to get the support of Lakandula or of the Kapampangan and Pangasinan settlements to the north. When Rajah Sulayman and a force of Muslim warriors attacked the Spaniards in the Battle of Bankusay Channel, he was finally defeated and killed.

This defeat marked the end of rebellion against the Spanish among the Pasig river settlements, and Lakandula's Tondo surrendered its sovereignty, submitting to the authority of the new Spanish capital, Manila.[79]

Battle of Bankusay Channel[edit]

June 3, 1571 marked the last resistance by locals to the occupation and colonization by the Spanish Empire of Manila in the Battle of Bankusay Channel. Tarik Sulayman, the chief of Macabebes, refused to ally with the Spanish and decided to mount an attack at the Bankusay Channel on Spanish forces, led by Miguel López de Legazpi. Sulayman's forces were defeated, and he was killed. The Spanish victory in Bankusay and Legaspi's alliance with Lakandula of the Kingdom of Tondo, enabled the Spaniards to establish themselves throughout the city and its neighboring towns.[80] [80]

Tondo Conspiracy[edit]

The Conspiracy of the Maharlikas, also referred to as the Revolt of the Lakans from 1587–1588 was a plot against Spanish colonial rule by the Tagalog and Kapampangan noblemen, or Datus, of Manila and some towns of Bulacan and Pampanga, in the Philippines. They were the indigenous rulers of their area or an area yet upon submission to the might of the Spanish was relegated as mere collector of tributes or at best Encomenderos that need to report to a Spanish Governor. It was led by Agustín de Legazpi, the son of a Maginoo of Tondo (one of the chieftains of Tondo), born of a Spanish mother given a Hispanized name to appease the colonizers, grandson of conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi, nephew of Lakan Dula, and his first cousin, Martin Pangan. The datus swore to rise up in arms. The uprising failed when they were betrayed to the Spanish authorities by Antonio Surabao (Susabau) of Calamianes.[81]

Historical theories associated with Ancient Tondo[edit]

Lakan as a title[edit]

While most historians think of Lakan Dula as a specific person, with Lakan meaning Lord, King or Paramount Ruler and Dula being a proper name, one theory suggests that Lakandula is a hereditary title for the Monarchs of the Kingdom of Tondo.[82]

The heirs of Lakan Banao Dula[edit]

In 1587, Magat Salamat, one of the children of Lakan Dula, and with his Spanish enforced name Augustin de Legazpi, Lakan Dula's nephew, and the lords of the neighboring areas of Tondo, Pandakan, Marikina, Kandaba, Nabotas and Bulakan were martryed for secretly conspiring to overthrow the Spanish colonizers. Stories were told that Magat Salamat's descendants settled in Hagonoy, Bulacan and many of his descendants spread from this area.[83]

David Dula y Goiti, a grandson of Lakan Dula with a Spanish mother escaped the persecution of the descendants of Lakan Dula by settling in Isla de Batag, Northern Samar and settled in the place now called Candawid (Kan David). Due to hatred for the Spaniards, he dropped the Goiti in his surname and adopted a new name David Dulay. He was eventually caught by the Guardia Civil based in Palapag and was executed together with seven followers. They were charged with planning to attack the Spanish detachment.[83]

Notable monarchs of Tondo[edit]

Legendary Rulers[edit]

  • Legendary rulers can be found in the oral tradition in Philippine Mythology, which having a uncertain historical /archeological evidence of their reign.
Image Name Title held/Notes From Until
or Amaron
Amaron is like most of the male Filipino mythological heroes, he is described as an attractive well-built man who exemplifies great strength. Ama-ron is unique among other Filipino legends due to the lack of having a story on how he was born which was common with Filipino epic heroes. Uncertain possibly Iron Age.[84]
Gat Pangil Gat Pangil was a chieftain in the area now known as Laguna Province, He is mentioned in the origin legends of Bay, Laguna,Pangil, Laguna, Pakil, Laguna and Mauban, Quezon, all of which are thought to have once been under his domain. Uncertain possibly Iron Age.[2]

Historical Rulers of Tondo[edit]

Image Name Title held/Notes From Until
Senapati (Admiral)
(Known only in the LCI as the King who gave the pardon to Lord Namwaran and his wife Dayang Agkatan and their daughter named Bukah for their excessive debts in 900 AD.) [29]
900? ?
Lakan Timamanukum Father of Rajah Alon, he ruled when Tondo become a fortified Mandala at the mouth of Pasig River. 1150? ?
Alon Lakan Alon
(Son of Lakan Timamanukum, he expanded the Tondo territory from Ilocandia to Bicolandia.)
1200? ?
Gambang Lakan Gambang
another ruler who used the title Senapati or Admiral.
1390? 1417?
Suko Lakan Suko
(or also known as Sukwu (朔霧) means "northern mist" , According to the Dongxi Yanggao (東西洋考) Abdicated .)
1417? 1430?
Lontok Lakan Lontok
(later converted his faith to Islam in later life )
1430? 1450?
(Co-regent with her consort of Rajah Lontok)
Dayang Kaylangitan, consort of Rajah Lontok, Queen of Namayan and Tondo.
(the only recorded queen regnant of the pre-Hispanic Philippine Kingdom of Tondo. The eldest daughter of Rajah Gambang and co-regent with her husband, Rajah Lontok, she is considered one of the most powerful rulers in the kingdom's history.)
1450? 1515?
non-native monarch who take over the throne (ruled after deposing Rajah Sukwu take over of Seludong)
Sultan Bolkiah
(Also known as Nakhoda Ragam or "The Singing Captain"). The sultan of Bruneian Empire, He ruled Tondo after he Subjugated the Buddhist-Hindu Kingdom He established an outpost in the center of fortified area of Manila after the Rajah of Tondo loose in the Battle of Manila.
1500? 1515 ?
Salalila Rajah Salalila or Rajah Sulayman I the rajah of Maynila and Pampanga
(A puppet Rajah installed by Sultan Bolkiah .)
1515? 1558?
Matanda Rajah Matanda or Rajah Sulayman II or Rajah Ache, King of Namayan 1558? 1571
Lakan Dula Banaw Lakandula, King of Tondo and Sabag 1558? 1571
Sulayman Rajah Sulayman, King of Tondo 1571 1575
Magat Salamat The last ruler of Tondo dynasty after the monarchy was dissolved by the Spanish authorities due to the fact that he led the Tondo conspiracy. 1575 1589

Notable Ministers of Tondo[edit]

Image Name Title held/Notes From Until
Known in Laguna Copperplate Inscription, a lord minister or an ancient name of Bay, Laguna c.900AD. ?
Gat Bisruta Known in Laguna Copperplate Inscription, the Lord Minister of Binwagan, or Binagonan, Rizal which is represented the pardon of Namwaran by the chief of mdang. c.900 AD. ?
Ganasakti Known in Laguna Copperplate Inscription, the Lord Minister of Pila, Laguna who cleared the family of Namwaran from the salary-related debts of 1 Katî and 8 Suwarna. C.900 AD. ?
Lord Balingit the Lord of Pandakan - 1588
Prince - Minister of Tondo, Manila - 1588

See also[edit]

Additional reading[edit]

Bolkiah Era[edit]

Spanish Era[edit]


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Coordinates: 14°37′38″N 120°58′17″E / 14.62722°N 120.97139°E / 14.62722; 120.97139