In 2017, Marawi City was devastated by the siege during the occupation of the Maute Group for the establishment of their so-called Islamic caliphate. The battle-hardened area in the siege was called “MBA” or Main Battle Ground, which is situated at the center of the city. One of the most affected establishments at that time and the witness to the dawn of the siege is the Amai Pakpak Medical Center. But did you ever wonder who Amai Pakpak is?

Datu Akadir Akobar, also known as Amai Pakpak, is a Maranao leader who bravely defended the Kota Marahui (known today as Camp Amai Pakpak) from the Spanish invaders during the Battle of Marawi in 1891 and 1895.

Amai Pakpak means “father of Pakpak” in English; It is his daughter’s name. He was born in Buadi sa Kayo in Marawi. He is also known as a fierce Muslim warrior who defended the Kota Maraui during the Spanish colonization of the area of Lake Lanao, which is known as Battle of Marawi in 1891 and 1895. The Spaniards wanted to conquer the rich Lake Lanao and the area around due to its strategic location and of being one of the centers of power in Mindanao.

The campaign was led by Governor-General Valeriano Weyler when he attacked that kota (fort) of Amai Pakpak. The Muslim inside the fort fiercely defended at all cost. Among the three kota, two fell from the Spaniards but luckily, Datu Amai Pakpak escaped.

Casualties were high on both sides but the Spaniards withdrew, fearing that the Muslim reinforcement via vinta will arrive. Using his decisive thinking, Datu Amai Pakpak quickly gathered his men. They rebuild the devastated Kota Maraui in a nick of time to fortify the fort and be prepared ahead.

In 1895, the second Battle of Marawi began when General Gonzales Parrado launched a massive attack in the fort. Again, the Muslim warriors bravely defended the fort at all cost like they were defending the whole Lanao area. Because of the fierce resistance of the brave Muslims, it delayed the Spaniards’ conquest of the region. Many Muslims perished in the second battle including datus. The Spaniards won and the fort was retaken but unbeknownst to them, Datu Amai Pakpak and his son Anggay escaped and were hiding in the fort’s secret chamber. At midnight, they launch a suicidal attack and make a final stand against the Spaniards but Datu Amai Pakpak perished on his heroic stand against the invaders.

Because of the heroic deeds of Datu Amai Pakpak and the brave Muslim warriors who defended the fort, the Spaniards withdrew their troops from Lanao and never had a chance to conquer the region again. The Battle of Marawi in 1891 and 1895 served as a proof that we can resist the invaders and the Filipinos can overcome them, this was prior to the prelude of the Philippine Revolution which happened a year after.

Like our known heroes, Datu Amai Pakpak stood for his countrymen, fiercely defended freedom from the ones who wanted to take it. It is somehow connected to the heroes of Marawi Siege in 2017, particularly Muslim soldier, civilians, religious leader and others who laid down their lives to resist the terrorist and bring back the freedom which Datu Amai Pakpak and his fellow Muslim warriors defended at all cost. These heroic deeds of our Muslim brothers will not be forgotten and as it is well written in our history.