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Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Lakandula (actually spelled as two separate words, Lakan Dula, as "Lakan" is a title itself) was the regnal name of the Lakan (king or paramount ruler) of the pre-colonial Philippine Kingdom of Tondo when the Spaniards first conquered the lands of the Pasig River delta in the 1570s.

The firsthand account of Spanish Royal Notary Hernando Riquel says that he introduced himself to the Spanish as "Bunao Lakandula", indicating that his given name was "Bunao". He later converted to Christianity and was baptised Carlos Lakandula. Another common variation of the name is Gat Dula (alternatively spelled as a single word,Gatdula). He is sometimes erroneously referred to as Rajah Lakandula, but the terms "Rajah" and "Lakan" have the same meaning, making the use of both "Rajah" and "Lakandula" at the same time redundant.

Along with Rajah Matanda and Rajah Sulayman, he was one of three Rajahs who played significant roles in the Spanish conquest of the kingdoms of the Pasig River delta during the earliest days of the Philippines' Spanish Colonial Period.

While it is unclear whether the entire name "Lakandula" represented a single titular name during his own lifetime, a few of his descendants in the first few generations after his death came to refer to themselves as the "Lakandula of Tondo", taking that name on as a noble title.

Over time, Lakandula's name has come to be written in several ways. However, according to the firsthand account written by Hernando Riquel,the royal notary who accompanied Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the Lord of Tondo specifically identified himself as "Sibunao Lakandula, lord of the town of Tondo" when he went onboard Legazpi’s ship with the Lords of Manila on May 18, 1571. The lords of Manila introduced themselves as "Rajah Ache the Old and Rajah Soliman the Young, lords and principals of the town of Manila"


Mentions of Lakandula's death are few, but Scott indicates that he died in 1575, "three years after" Legazpi and Rajah Matanda, who both died in 1572.
Lakandula's role as ruler of Tondo was then taken up by his grandnephew, and Rajah Soliman’s adopted son, Agustin de Legazpi.

Agustin de Legazpi, who was married to the cousin of Sultan Bolkiah, would lead Tondo as a territory under Spanish rule until he rose up against them in 1587-1588 Revolt of the Lakans, and was deposed and killed as a result.



Lakan Dula was the most prolific of Luzon's ancient rulers. His descendants are spread out all across the Kapampangan Region during the Spanish colonial era. He fathered at least six children:
  •     Don Dionisio Capulong, the eldest, the Datu of Candava, and referred to as "Batang Dula";
  •     Don Magat Salamat, who would later rule Tondo with his cousin Agustin de Legazpi after Lakandula died, and who was then executed by the Spanish in 1588 for his role in the Revolt of the Lakans;
  •     Don Phelipe Salonga, the Datu of Pulu;
  •     Doña Maria Poloin, his only historically recorded daughter, who married Don Alonso Talabos;
  •     Don Martin Lakandula who entered the Augustinian Order as a lay brother in 1590; and
  •     Don Luis Taclocmao (or Salugmoc), who was later killed in the 1603 Chinese rebellion fighting the Chinese rebels.

Later Descendants

Learning from this experience, his great grandson Don Juan Macapagal, Master-of-Camp and Datu of Arayat, aided the Spanish authorities in suppressing the 1660 Kapampangan Revolt of Don Francisco Maniago and the Pangasinan Revolt of Don Andres Malong, and the 1661 Ilocano Revolt. Because of his service to the Spanish crown, the Spanish authorities revived the special privileges offered by the Spanish crown to Lakan Dula and his descendants spread across the province of Pampanga. A Gremio de Lakandulas was created in 1758 to safeguard the rights and privileges of the Kapampangan descendants of Lakan Dula. During the British invasion of 1762–64, the descendants of Lakan Dula, now concentrated in the province of Pampanga, formed a company of volunteers to fight the British and were granted autonomy by Governor General Simon de Anda.

Prominent Lakan Dula descendants of the 20th century include the former Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal, father of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Philippine Senate President Jovito Salonga, pioneer Filipino industrialist Gonzalo Puyat, former Philippine Senate President Gil Puyat and international stage celebrity Lea Salonga.

The Order of Lakandula is one of the highest honors given by the Republic of the Philippines. It is an order of political and civic merit, awarded in memory of Lakan Dula’s dedication to the responsibilities of leadership, prudence, fortitude, courage and resolve in the service of one’s people.