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This article is about the ancient kingdom. For the modern barangay, see Namayan, Mandaluyong.
Ancient barangay
Personal Union with Tondo Dynasty
Charcoal: approximate territorial extent of Namayan over a map of modern Metro Manila
Capital Sapa
(now Santa Ana, Manila)
Languages Old Tagalog (official)
Old Malay, Middle Chinese (business languages)
Sanskrit and Pali (religious activities)
Government Ancient barangay[1] led by a Lakan[according to whom?]
Historical era Iron Age
Middle Ages
 •  Established 1175
 •  Conquest by Spain 1571
Currency Piloncitos and Gold rings[2]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Ancient barangay
Viceroyalty of New Spain
Spanish East Indies
Today part of  Philippines

Namayan (Baybayin: Pre-kudlit: ᜈᜋᜌ Post-Kudlit: ᜈᜋᜌᜈ᜔), also called Sapa, Maysapan or Nasapan,[3] and sometimes Lamayan,[4] was one of three independent polities[5][6] that dominated the banks of the Pasig River and the coast of Laguna de Bay in the Philippines during the 16th century, just prior to the Spanish colonization of the Philippines.

Namayan is said to be one of the oldest of the three polities, predating the historical polities of Tondo and Maynila.[4] Formed by a confederation of barangays, it is said to have achieved its peak in 1175.[7]


Historians studying Namayan have the advantage of being able to draw both from written sources and from artifacts uncovered in controlled archeological digs.[8][9]

The most prominent primary written sources regarding precolonial Namayan is "Estado Geográfico, Topográfico, Estadístico, Histórico-Religioso de la Santa y Apostólica Província de San Gregorio Magno", published in 1865 by Franciscan scholar Fr. Felix de Huerta. His description of Namayan included important details such as the extent of Namayan's territories, and the lineage of its rulers.[10]

Controlled archaeological excavations conducted by the National Museum of the Philippines in the 1960s, meantime, produced artifacts from a pre-Hispanic grave site within the Santa Ana Church complex,[11][9] providing important information about maritime trade around Southeast Asia and China from 12th to 15th century AD, as well as the elaborate mortuary practices of Namayan's inhabitants.[9]

Capital Sites[edit]

Three present-day locations are identified as the political centres of Namayan. Two of these are within today's Santa Ana, Manila, and the other is now a barangay of the Mandaluyong City across the river from the other sites.


The site most associated with the kingdom is the town proper of Santa Ana, which grew around the Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish. This site did not become the centre of the settlement until 1578, when Franciscan missionaries chose to build the parish church of Santa Ana de Sapa some distance away from the original town. Local referred to the site as "Maysapan", or more simply, "Sapa."

Sapa is the Tagalog and Kapampangan word for a small creek. Nearby bodies of water matching the description include what would eventually be called Estero de Tripa de Gallina, and a smaller creek in the vicinity of what are now Del Pan, Havana, and Tejeron streets. However, old Santa Ana was known for being "criss-crossed by brooks and creeks", and any number of these creeks could have been obscured by eventual urbanization.

Christianised into Santa Ana de Sapa, the name eventually encompassed the district of the City of Manila now known as Santa Ana.[7] Fr. de Huerta notes that "this town takes its name from the titular saint and the addition of Sapa for its having been established in a site immediately upon an estuary or rivulet proceeding from the Pasig River, which the natives call Sapa and the name of the town itself."[10]


Instead of the Nasapan site, local traditions say that an area called Lamayan (Tagalog and Kapampangan for "the place where a wake was held"), on the banks of the Pasig itself. It was the site of the ancient capital from which Lakan Tagkan and Buwan once ruled. It is still recognisable today because the modern street still bears its name.[4]

Namayan, Mandaluyong[edit]

A third location, Barangay Namayan in the City of Mandaluyong bears the name of the kingdom, and was clearly part of its ancient territory, located as it is on the banks of the Pasig just opposite of Lamayan.


Namayan's territory has been described bordering Manila Bay, the Pasig river, and Laguna de Bay.[4][7] A more precise description of Namayan's administrative area is given by Fr. de Huerta, who, noting that Namayan was a confederation of several barangays, identified these component communities as they were named during the mid 19th century.[10] Namayan citizen's called by the Army of Datu Makitan [Bai-Sai] shortened in bisaya dialect means [Bai ang ilahang sala atong ihatag sa ilaha] "Inilad" equivalent to deceived.

Most are now districts or barangays within the modern City of Manila:

Four settlements are now separate cities in and around Metro Manila:

Administrative and political records of Spanish Manila indicate that these settlements mentioned as territories of the Kingdom of Sapa were recorded in 1578 as parts and visitas (satellite settlements) of Sta. Ana de Sapa.[4]

A number of these settlements' names are no longer used today, but Philippine National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, in his book "Manila My Manila: A History for the Young", says that the kingdom's territories included what are now Santa Ana, Quiapo, San Miguel, Sampaloc, Santa Mesa, Paco, Pandacan in Manila; Mandaluyong, San Juan, Makati, Pasay, Pateros, Taguig, and Parañaque.[1]

Economic activities[edit]

Gold as currency[edit]

A collection of Piloncitos.

Namayan, like Tondo, are using the Piloncitos, a small gold ingots that some 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.[2]

Other than Piloncitos, the people of Namayan are also using the Gold rings, which is gold ring-like ingots, 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.[13]


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

Fr. Huerta also recorded the history of Namayan's rulers. It had been ruled from Sapa by Lakan Tagkan (also spelt Lacatagcan, Takhan), and Lady Buan. Their known issue was five individuals of whom the principal was named Palaba. Palaba sired a son named Laboy who, in turn, had a son named Calamayin whose own son was christened Martín when he converted to Catholicism.[10]

Of greater interest in this topic, is Tagkan's child by his Bornean slave-wife. The child, named Pasay, inherited the territory known today the barangays of Pio del Pilar and Bangkál (formerly known as Barrio Culi-culi), Baclaran, and the modern city which still bears the name of this individual.[4] There is, however, some disagreement as to whether Pasay was a son or daughter, with some legends bestowing the title "Dayang-dayang ("princess") on Pasay.[7][10] Dayang-dayang is a term only given to daughters of Sultan, Datu, Raha, and Lakan.

Notable Monarchs of Namayan[edit]

Image Name Title held/Notes From Until
Datu Makitan
Lakan Takhan
(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.)
or Tarik Sulayman
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 and Namayan 1571 1575

Rank system of Datu Makitan[edit]

  • Raha/Siptin/Tribu-ulonhon
  • Kandula
  • LakanDula
  • Bangsa-rasula

Spiritual Leaders[edit]

  • Olonhon-Arahan
  • Solundon-Darahan

After colonisation[edit]

When the parish of Sta. Ana de Sapa was founded in 1578, Franciscan missionaries chose to build their church, and eventually another settlement, some distance away from the ancient town. The result is that the present-day Santa Ana is no longer located at the original site of the capital of Namayan.[10] This has raised some questions about pre-colonial graves that have recently been excavated near the Santa Ana church.[4]

During the Spanish colonial era, Santa Ana was reduced to a fishing village that had other industries including carpentry, masonry, piña (pineapple cloth) embroidery, as well as the production of tinapá, cigars, bricks, sugar, and bread.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Joaquin, Nick. Manila My Manila: A History for the Young. City Government of Manila. Manila: 1990.
  2. ^ a b Ocampo, Ambeth R. "'Piloncitos' and the 'Philippine golden age'". Retrieved 2017-04-28. 
  3. ^ "History of the Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned". Official Website of the Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned. Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "The Kingdom of Namayan and Maytime Fiesta in Sta. Ana of Old Manila". Traveler on Foot: A Travel Journal. May 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  5. ^ "Pre-colonial Manila". Malacañang Presidential Museum and Library. Malacañang Presidential Museum and Library Araw ng Maynila Briefers. Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office. 23 June 2015. Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  6. ^ Abinales, Patricio N. and Donna J. Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005.
  7. ^ a b c d "About Pasay – History: Kingdom of Namayan". pasay city government website. City Government of Pasay. Archived from the original on 2008-01-20. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  8. ^ Cite error: The named reference PCDSPO2015 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  9. ^ a b c Fox, Robert B. and Avelino M. Legaspi. 1977. Excavations at Santa Ana. Manila: National Museum of the Philippines
  10. ^ a b c d e f Huerta, Felix, de (1865). Estado Geografico, Topografico, Estadistico, Historico-Religioso de la Santa y Apostolica Provincia de San Gregorio Magno. Binondo: Imprenta de M. Sanchez y Compañia. 
  11. ^ Locsin, Leandro V. and Cecilia Y. Locsin. 1967. Oriental Ceramics Discovered in the Philippines. Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Company. ISBN 0804804478
  12. ^
  13. ^

Additional reading[edit]