The Guadalupe and Tinago rivers of Cebu

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal - The Freeman

In the book "Glimpses in History of Early Cebu" written by Lina Quimat, a teacher-historian from Cebu Normal University, the "two mouths of rivers" repeatedly mentioned in history books are analyzed.

Quimat notes that "the two streams mentioned in this book, Chu-Fan-Chi (written on about 1225 by Chau-Ju-Kun, a Mandarin, who was Superintendent of Foreign Trade) are unmistakably the 'two mouths of rivers' which Pigafetta wrote about as 'where they found the harbor in Zebu (old spelling of Cebu). Both sources speak highly of the place located which until now has the best harbor in the country. The two mouths of rivers or streams are those of Guadalupe River which mouth is about a kilometer west of Santo Niño Church and the cross which Magellan planted in Cebu, and the Tinago River in the eastern side which mouth is also about the same distance from the church and the cross. The western side of the Guadalupe River is a wide shallow muddy water which needed to be dumped with soil and stones to be habitable by the people. The natives continued dumping the place with stones, gravel and garbage as the place had been quicksand. In the late 70's an elementary school building and a parish church were built in the area.'"

Quimat, quoting the words of Chu-Fan-Chi further notes "merchants from Ma-I (Cebu) brought valuable merchandise to Canton for sale, in the year 982 A.D. The captain of the ship was also named Abu Ali… A description of Ma-I is in the account of Chau-Ju-Kun written in 1225." Quimat wrote that the observations of Cebu were made several centuries earlier and it was only Chau-Ju-Kun's writings which are available until this time. The Canton trade was described, thus "When trading ships enter the anchorage, they stop in front of the place of mandarin. After a ship has been boarded, the natives mixed freely with the ship's folks. These ship's folks included the natives of 'Ma-I' and some other natives who were traders at the port where the Arab ships came from. The custom was for the traders to assemble in crowds and carry the goods away and even if one could not distinguish them from the other, they always came back nine months before they returned and for this reason the Arab ship trading from Ma-I were usually the last to return to China. Francisco Albo, the pilot of Magellan's fleet who wrote the logs of the fleet notes: 'good harbor found between two mounts of rivers in Zebu. It was this spreading out of the Arabs which reached the Asian countries, including the Bisayan Islands, that popularized Zebu among merchants and was noticed that the Moslems were scattered all over the peoples all around, near and far.'"

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