Was there a small river near the sea in Huluga?-A A +A
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
IT has been a year since I wrote the series “Could this be the lost settlement of Ancient Cagayan de Oro” in this paper. According to historians, the Himolugan promontory was the main town of ancient Cagayan. I understand that Himolugan was considered to be a lost settlement until such time when local historians gave a serious thought to the Huluga Site and that there was a professionally done study as to its historicity.
The upshot of that study was the strong hypothetical position by some academicians that Huluga is the lost settlement of Himolugan. In my articles, I conjectured otherwise. I consider the Molugan hill as the lost settlement of Himolugan, which used to be a peninsula and a promontory before it was modified by the ravages of time and man’s doings. This hill is diametrically traversed from east to west by the boundary of El Salvador and Opol towns in Misamis Oriental.
In the June 23, 2010 issue of this paper, I wrote an article “Is this the Diwatahan Altar of Datu Salangsang?” It is my desire that concerned authorities, interested historians and scholars of any kind of scientific discipline would take notice and would consider the historicity of the site where a square formed stone structure could still be found.
In this selection, for the benefit of my interested readers, allow me to present ‘The small river near the sea’ in the so called Himulogan settlement which was chronicled by the Recollects when they first set foot on the shores of Misamis Oriental sometime in 1622. I surmise that the area somewhere between Alubijid and Tagoloan was the so called ancient Cagayan and the main town was Himolugan. The ‘The small river near the sea’ alluded to by the Recollect fathers was a stream at the base of the northern side of the Molugan hill. The estuary of which was at the northeastern side of the hill. The said stream emptied itself towards Macajalar Bay. This could be a branch or a tributary of the bigger Amoros River the physical features of the place was modified.
From the footnote 14, 15 of page eight of Fr. Madigan’s selection taken from “The local Historical Sources of Northern Mindanao by Fr. Francisco R. Demetrio: “The account of the arrival at Himolugan is again taken from Luis de Jesus, Historia General, II, in BR, XXI, 231-233.”
“The location of Himolugan is no longer known. It was probably abandoned a few decades after the founding of Cagayan town. It would be undoubtedly rich in archeological material if it could be rediscovered. It was certainly on the east of Cagayan River and not more than 10 kilometers from the river’s mouth. The Recollects used to walk down to say mass ‘On a small river near the sea’ (Luis de Jesus,op.cit p233). Possibly, the peninsula on which it perched no longer existed or has been greatly modified by the river. For civic motives, Xavier University offers a standing reward of P100.00 for the discovery of the site.”
I suppose that the Cagayan River referred to in history is the present Amoros River which used to be a bigger river than what it is now. The “small river near the sea” is presently the Karib Creek. I learned from my aunts that the place got its name from a Maranao merchant who used to live in that place whose name was Karib. He then had a banca for his wares. The creek used to be a stream of freshwater at the base of the northern side of the Molugan Hill.
My late mother, Leonora Ebajay Baldomero, told me that in her time they used to wash their clothes in this stream. As a kid in the early fifties, I observed that what remains of that stream was just a trickle of water.
From the selection “The Early History of Cagayan de Oro” by Fr. Francis C. Madigan, the arrival of the Recollects was described:
“A small escort was waiting for them when they arrived at the mouth of the Cagayan River. Paddling upstream for several miles, they reached a towering rock peninsula which jutted into the river. Atop the hill stood the fortress Himologan. Bare of trees, the slopes on all sides were so precipitous that rattan ladders, let down from the summit, were the only means of ascent, when these were pulled up the rock was impregnable to attack.”
“The recollects found the ascent difficult, even hair-raising in some parts. Climbing up with as much dignity as their labored breathing, as the climb would allow, they soon found themselves at the top and in the presence of Salangsang who was seated upon a throne surrounded by a large group of warriors and other spectators.”
“They found themselves able to converse with the chief in Visayan, as the language of the people was similar to that of Butuan.”
“Salangsang readily gave the priests permission to say Mass but stipulated that this was to be done outside Himologan. In fact, the Fathers had no desire to offer the holy sacrifice so near the ugly idol in the diwatahan. So descending the rocky slope to the plain, they explored the neighborhood and found a suitable place on a bank of a small river.”
“Here they built a little nipa (palm-leaf) chapel, inside which they constructed a smaller altar where they said Mass. Nobody moved a finger to help them or molested them.”
“For some weeks their daily program began with a descent from the hill to the chapel for Mass. After thanksgiving, they hunted or fish a bit to gather the day’s food. Then carrying twigs for firewood and water from the stream, they climbed back to Salangsang’s quarters. Here they ate their meals, prayed and chanted choir. Otherwise they only left Salangsang’s home to discuss the fundamentals of Christianity with several leading men of Himologon who were interested in learning something about it.”
As mentioned in history, the Recollects constructed their chapel at the bank of a small river probably at the estuary of the stream which was near the sea. I am wondering where could be the small river near the sea in Huluga, if it is considered to be the site of the lost settlement of Himolugan. Was the estuary of the present Cagayan River somewhere near Balulang some 400 years ago? Did the Recollects travel daily to a chapel near the sea that far? Was there a small river near the sea in Huluga at that point in time? I am just asking.
I am pleased to share with the readers a sketch of the photograph of the “small river near the sea” in (Hi) Molugan, which was taken some 60 years ago. My uncle, the late Iniego B. Ebajay Sr., was a photography enthusiast. At that time, his newly acquired camera was sort of a novelty because it no longer needed a cloth covering while focusing. It was then considered a state of the art technology since it can record a panoramic view and pictures could be enlarged. In his euphoria, he went around our village taking pictures of sceneries worthy to be enlarged. Call it serendipity or what. The historically significant view of the “small river near the sea” was aimlessly captured for posterity. This is only one of his collections which were entrusted to me by his daughter Elvie.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 28, 2012.