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Luyang Cave: Were Our Ancestors, Cowards?

When I was a small boy, I used to wander around town inspecting things I considered unusual. One of the object of my curiosity, then, was the massive stone wall structure of the town's church, almost 10 feet thick. One time, while me and a playmate were arguing about it, an old man reeking with liquor came and started talking about heritage, history and bravery of our ancestors. I was about to asked him, were our ancestors, cowards? Why did they opted to hide in a cave just to perish and not fight. Though, I did not bother to asked him, for fear of getting reprimanded, but, in my young mind that question remained.

A week ago, while searching for journals relating to southeast Asia, I found this study, entitled, "Moro Piracy During the Spanish Period and Its Impact" written by Domingo M. Non (Southeast Asian Studies, Volume 30, No. 4, March 1993). And this answers my question, why did our ancestors failed to fight and why are old churches were built with massive walls.

The Impact of Piracy

...Aside from these watchtowers are the remnants of stone forts in various parts of the archipelago [Picornell 1977:110-126] and of massive stone churches. A Jesuit writer pointed out that this kind of church was built to provide refuge for the native inhabitants during the piratical raids, and were strong enough to withstand battering and cannonading [Berhad 1968: 128]


Moro piracy during the Spanish period was a Moro reaction against the Spaniards, who had displaced them from the political and economic dominance they once enjoyed in the region.

"Furthermore, slavery was not the consequence of piratical raids. As noted, it was part of the pre-Hispanic activities in the region. However, its immense proportion during the piratical attacks could be attributed to lucrative demand for slave labor in the Dutch East Indies. Thus, it became the source of excessive wealth for the slave traders. Also during this period, the Christianized Filipinos were vulnerable to the raiders since they have been disarmed by the Spaniards and hence could not ably defend against the incursions. Thus, many were taken into slavery...."

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