Independence Day reminds us to remember our history and the people who became part of it. Most of the people who became part of the history are considered heroes who fiercely defended our country against foreign invaders. One of these heroes was Sultan Kudarat.

Mohammad Dipatuan Kudarat, also known as Sultan Kudarat was born in 1581. At the age of 39, he became sultan and ruled the Sultanate of Maguindanao from 1619 to 1671. During his reign, Maguindanao’s Sultanate reached its peak. He held power over nine provinces under his sultanate which consist of Lanao del Norte and del Sur, Maguindanao, Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Zamboanga del Sur.

According to some historians, Sultan Kudarat was a strategist and wise politician. He forged alliances with local and foreign rulers, stretching from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei, to control the rich trading ports where he also traded with the Dutch (Dutch East India Company) and Chinese. He saw this as an advantage so he gave importance to the development of agriculture, trade, and commerce where he helped to provide food for his people and attained food security in his domain.

As years went on, the Sultanate of Maguindanao was challenged by a series of Spanish invasions to Christianized Mindanao. Little known to the Spaniards, Sultan Kudarat already knew their plan when he realized after colonization of Luzon and Visayas, Mindanao will be the next target.  With this in his mind, Sultan Kudarat together with the Sultanate of Sulu launched a coordinated attack which led to the invasion of some provinces in the Visayas and in Northern Mindanao, which were conquered by Spain. In retaliation, Spain attacked Lamitan Fort, a citadel situated in Basilan. The purpose of the attack was to bring down the Sultanate and conquer it. After the battle, Sultan Kudarat was wounded and forced to retreat.

Following his defeat, he learned his fellow Muslims helped the Spaniards to invade Mindanao. Knowing this situation, he gave a powerful speech to rally his fellow Muslims on his side to defeat the Spaniards.

Years after the capture of Lamitan, Spaniards tried to defeat Sultan Kudarat in a battle. In the aftermath, Sultan Kudarat tried to resist further and defeated the Spaniard and Indio and captured their leaders with the help of his fellow Muslims. This is one of the records where he defeated the Spaniards multiple times.

After the glorious victory of Sultan Kudarat against Spaniards, the Sultanate of Maguindanao experienced peace from 1665 until his death in 1671. Sultan Kudarat died at the age of 90, fulfilling his mandate by serving and defending his people and his faith in Allah until his last breath.

Sultan Kudarat is considered as the most powerful Muslim ruler of the Philippines and was considered as hero by the recommendation of National Heroes Committee on 1993.

Truly, Sultan Kudarat’s heroism and patriotism runs through the blood of our fellow Muslims who are always willing to serve and to contribute to our nation.