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Military notes on the Philippines. September 1898 online

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the shore in 2f to 8 fathoms.

Sibuko Bay, which lies between Point Batu-Tandok and
Point Buril, 4 miles to the southward, penetrates 2 miles to
the eastward and is very safe, with steep shores, bordered by
a long beach of sand, with a little river at each end of it,
where boats can enter and obtain water, even at low tide.
The depth in the bay is not less than 27 fathoms, except very
close to the beach, where 11 fathoms can be obtained. The
anchorage is good, but a sea sets in with westerly winds.
The town of Sibuko is 2 miles inland. The j)eople are i3eace-
ful, and the land cultivated. Provisions are procurable.

Coast. — To the southward of Sibuko Bay the coast is high,
clean, and steep, and bordered by sand beaches, interrujjted
by rocky cliffs, as far as Point Batulampan, the western point
of Mindanao. From Point Batulampan to Samboangan it is
low, covered with trees, and bordered by steej^ sand beaches,
with a depth of 14 fathoms at a cable's distance. Coasters
going from Samboangan, when the wind and tide are against
them, land their crews and thrack their vessels to Point
Caldera.

Point Batulampan is of even height and steep, with a flat
crown; Point Alimpaya, about a mile to tlie northward of it.



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MINDANAO — WEST COAST. 157

maize and tobacco, aud carry on trade with the Sulu Islands.
Wood and water can be obtained.

Cauit Bay (cb. 20 and 21, p. 157) is semicircnlar, of a diameter
of 9 cables, with sandy shores and small, steep reefs on both
sides of the entrance. Near the south shore there is an islet of
1 cable extent, clean and steep on the eastern side, with a
narrow reef on the western side. In the bay there is good
anchorage in 4^ to 9 fathoms, sand, under shelter of the islet.

Point Cauit is high and steep; the sea face is composed of
red earth; the summit is rounded and covered with wood.

Coast. — From Point Cauit to Point Batu-Tandok, which
lies 9 miles S. by W. ^ W., the coast is clear and steep, and
forms little bays between the intermediate points Piakan and
Fanga, which points are high, rugged, and steep. This part
of the coast, like all the west coast of Mindanao, presents an
agreeable aspect of hills, covered with verdure, and cultivated
land, with a great number of houses.

Point Batu-Tandok is high, clean, and steep, with a flat
summit; at 130 yards from it is a small, pointed rock, from
which the point appears to take its name — Horn Rock;
between this point and Point Nanga there is anchorage near
the shore in 2f to 8 fathoms.

Sibuko Bay, which lies between Point Batu-Tandok and
Point Buril, 4 miles to the southward, penetrates 2 miles to
the eastward and is very safe, with steep shores, bordered by
a long beach of sand, with a little river at each end of it,
where boats can enter and obtain water, even at low tide.
The depth in the bay is not less than 27 fathoms, except very
close to the beach, where 11 fathoms can be obtained. The
anchorage is good, but a sea sets in with westerly winds.
The town of Sibuko is 2 miles inland. The people are peace-
ful, and the land cultivated. Provisions are procurable.

Coast. — To the southward of Sibuko Bay the coast is high,
clean, and steep, and bordered by sand beaches, interrupted
by rocky cliffs, as far as Point Batulampan, the western point
of Mindanao. From Point Batulampan to Samboangan it is
low, covered with trees, and bordered by steep sand beaches,
with a depth of 14 fathoms at a cable's distance. Coasters
going from Samboangan, when the wind and tide are against
them, land their crews and thrack their vessels to Point
Caldera.

Point Batulampan is of even height and steep, with a flat
crown; Point Alimpaya, about a mile to the northward of it.



158 MINDANAO — SOUTH COAST.

is flat and sandy; points Dnnialon and Caldera are sand
beaches. All these points, as also the rounded coast they
define, are clean and steep-to.

The tidal streams, ^yhich at springs reach a velocity of 5
knots, strike Point Caldera with great force.

SOUTH COAST.
(Ch. 22, p. 158.)

SiBUGUEi Bay. — From the northeast entrance of the Sakol
Channel the coast of Mindanao trends NNE. for 53 miles,
and then, curving round to the southward for 30 miles, forms
the extensive bay of Sibuguei, terminated to the SE. by Olun-
tanga Island. The coasts of this bay are bordered by islands
and reefs, and have not yet been properly surveyed ; naviga-
tion in it should therefore be conducted with caution.

Panubigan Islands consist of 15 small islands and several
little islets situated near the coast of Mindanao. They are
wooded, and for the most part clean and steep-to. The
northernmost of the group, Palma Brava, is surrounded by a
reef which projects i of a mile to the NE, and almost joins
the coast. Between this island and the reef off Point Koroan
there is a small anchorage of 7 fathoms depth. There is also
anchorage in 5 fathoms in the two little bays south of Panu-
bigan Islands.

Coast. — From the Panubigan Islands the coast runs NNE.
for about 14 miles to Point Vitali, which is fronted by four
islets, clean and steei)-to, and several rocks which extend out
for 3 miles from the point ; they are named Tigbaon Islands.

Port Banga (ch. 22, p. 158), situated (! miles to the north-
ward of the Tigbaon Islands, is safe and well sheltered ; it is
2| miles long, NE. and SW., with a maximum width of 1
mile. An islet, with a reef extending 3 cables to the south,
divides the entrance into two deep passages 1^ cables wide.
In the eastern channel the depth is 13 fathoms, lessening
gradually to 1^ fathoms inside the port ; the sides are steep-to.
The best anchorage is in 9 fathoms, half-way between the
eastern point of entrance and an island to the north. The
reef off the east point of entrance extends 1^ miles to the
eastward, and 2|- cables to the SW.

The coast then trends NNE. ^ E. for 21 miles, forming
several bays edged l)y islets and reefs, with soundings of 14
and 3G fathoms at 2 miles from the shore, as far as 2 miles



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MINDANAO— SOUTH COAST. 159

north of Biiluan Island, wliidi is small and surronnded by
rocks. From this position there is a line of soundings of
from 12 to 23 fathoms across the head of the bay to Kabut
Island; northward of this line there are said to be shoal
banks.

The village of Marasingan, near which layers of coal have
been found, lies 4 miles inland to the SE. of Kabut Island.

The east coast of Sibuguei Bay, from Kabut Island to the
narrow channel separating Oluntanga from the mainland, is
bordered by a reef of small extent, with detached shoals
steep-to off it.

Pandalusan Island, 5 miles off the coast, is of moderate
height and surrounded by a narrow sand beach, steep-to. A
rocky shoal of 1 mile extent lies -i^ miles N. by E. of Panda-
lusan, and at 4 miles ENE. of this shoal there are two more
smaller shoals, near the coast. Between Pandalusan and the
first shoal, and between these and the other two shoals, there
are soundings of 11 fathoms.

Danger line. — The chart indicates by a line of points the
edge of a dangerous reef starting from the two shoals above
mentioned, and surrounding Olutanga. To avoid this reef,
the island Pandalusan should not be brought to bear to the
westward of N". -|- E. until 7 miles to the north of that island,
when an east course may be steered, passing to the north of
the shoals, which form the limit of the reef.

Circe Bank, discovered by the French sloop of war Circe
in 186-4, was reported to consist of sand and coral, of ^ cable's
length, with 4 fathoms water over it, 6^ fathoms around it,
and 27 fathoms at 1 cable's distance ; Pandalusan Island bear-
ing from it N. 17° E., and the south point of Olutanga Island
S. 86° E. In the Spanish Derrotero it is stated to be 1 mile
in length, NNW. and SSE., to have only If fathoms water
over it, and to be situated with Pandalusan Island bearing
IST. 1° E., the easternmost islet of the Tigbaon group N. 67°
W., and the south point M Olutanga Island S. 82° E., distant
9| miles.

Olutanga Island is very low, covered by mangroves, and
surrounded by reefs. The channel separating it from the
mainland is only practicable for boats.

Tantanang Bay.— The entrance to this bay is open to the
southeast, and is 2 miles wide between the reefs that project
from the coast of Olutanga and from the north point of



160 MINDANAO — SOUTH COAST.

entrance ; and there is (J to .S fatlioms depth between the islands
Letayen and Sibulan. In the middle of the mouth there are
two shoals of 3| and 2f fathoms. In the center of the bay-
there are some shoals of white sand awash at low water;
between them and the western shore the bay is well sheltered,
and has a depth of 13 fathoms, lessening gradually to the north-
ward; a river enters on the western side.

Tumalung Bay, on the north side of Olutanga, has a good
depth of water, and is well sheltered in all weathers. There
is anchorage in 9 fathoms west of Point Simangul, the
northern extremity of Olutanga; an islet, fringed on the
northward by a reef of 4 cables extent, lies near this point,
and a little to the NNE. of the point there is a bank of sand.

DuMANKiLAS Bay atfords good shelter and holding ground
among the islands and bays that it incloses; the general
depth is 8 to 16 fathoms, with 5 fathoms near the shore. The
coast of Lax)irauan is foul, but on the edge of the reef that
borders it there are 8 fathoms ; anchorage can only be had at
a long distance from this coast.

Acha Rock, a small circular patch of sand and coral, steep-
to, and covered by 2| fathoms, least water, lies in the entrance
of the bay, 6^ miles west of Point Dumankilas (ch. 23, p. 160).

The islands Muda, Dakula, and Paya are clean and steep-
to, with channels of 9 fathoms depth between them. To the
west of Paya there is a rock. Piratas Rock lies 1 mile east of
Dakula Island ; it is steep-to and uncovers at very low tides.

Clierif Islands are three small islets, clean and steep-to, di-
viding the channel into two passages.

Dayana Island is also clean; to the WNW. of it lie the
point and village of Silupa, with anchorage south of the point
in 4 fathoms, with room to swing, near the shore; to the
southward the coast is bordered by reefs and shoals, and a
great reef extends ENE. of the point.

Danger. — A shoal, covered by 1-j fathoms, lies l)etween
Dayana Island and Point Igat; from it the western Cherif
island is in line with the highest part of Dakula ; and Putili
Island on with the second hill of Point Dayana.

Fatimo Islands are clean and steep-to on the south side ;
but on the north side the bank which fills the head of the bay
nearly dries at low water. The entrance to Kumalarang
Creek, practicable for light craft at high water, lies N. by E.
of Fatimo Islands.









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MINDANAO— SOUTH COAST. 161

Igat Bay, to the north of Igat Ishiiid, is well sheltered and
safe. The shores of the bay are clean and steep-to, except to
the NE., where there is a shoal which projects 1^ miles to the
SW. The river Dumankilas enters here by several months ;
the locality is unhealthy. Pntili Islet, in the middle of the
entrance, is steep-to. Igat Island is separated from the main-
land by a narrow channel, near the eastern part of which
there is a good watering place. Off the western end of Igat
Island there is a narrow reef.

Danger. — In the middle of the bay south of Igat Island
there is a shoal of white sand which uncovers at low water
springs.

Coast. — From Point Karabuka to Point Dumankilas (ch. 23,
p. IGO) the coast is clean and steep-to except north of Triton
Island, which is a large rock surrounded by a narrow reef.

Maligay Bay (ch. 23, p. 160) is bordered on the eastern side
by a reef over which there is 3^ to If fathoms water, which
reduces its available space by one-half ; in this half the depth
is 37 to 27 fathoms, and it is deep close to the edge of the reef.
The village of Banganga is situated in this bay.

Banganian (Flecha) Peninsula is traversed throughout its
length by a range of hills, the highest of which, Alto de
Flecha, can be seen 34 miles in clear weather. The west coast
of the j)eninsula is clean and steep-to ; the east coast is bor-
dered by a reef and should not be approached within a mile.

Panikian Island is low ; a shoal, covered by 7 fathoms, ex-
tends 1 mile SSE. of the island and is very steep on its eastern
side, no bottom having been obtained with 84 fathoms close
to it. The channel between the islet and the coast is safe.

Anchorage. — During the northeast monsoon vessels can
anchor in the middle of the bay south of Alto de Flecha in
5|- to 9 fathoms ; water can be had at a rivulet about 1| miles
east of the anchorage. There is also anchorage in the same
depth off Point Flecha, but when the monsoon blows fresh a
heavy sea sets round the point.

Illana Bay (ch. 24 and 25, p. 161) is comprised between
Point Flecha and Point Tapian, distant 40 miles. It is sepa-
rated from Iligan Bay on the north side of Mindanao by an
isthmus 13 miles wide.

Rios Rock (Takut Masila), before the little port of Dinas, is a
circular rock of ^ mile diameter. From its center Mount Baka-
yuan bears W. | N., distant 4i miles. Takut Parido, a rock



162 MINDANAO— SOUTH COAST.

smaller than Takut Masila, is said to exist outside that rock.

Port Dinas is of little importance ; it is formed hy an open-
ing in the reef that borders the coast south of Point Pisan
(ch. 24, p. 161) ; this reef is said to extend as far as Point Dii-
pulisan, and the coast here should be approached with caution.
The entrance to Port Pisan is only 2 cables wide, and it should
not be entered without a pilot except at low water, with the
sun and weather favorable for seeing the reefs. There is 11
to 13 fathoms water in the passage, and the anchorage is in 4i
to 5^ fathoms near the shore. The direction of the passage is
with Mount Sambulauan bearing N. 50° W.

The town of Pisan lies a little to the north of the anchorage,
2 miles from the inouth of the river of the same name. The
country is marshy and unhealthy; during the rainy season
the water rises to 5 feet above the surface of the soil.

There is also anchorage in a corner of the reef west of
Sagayaran, one of the Tikala Islands, in 9 fathoms.

Pagadian Bay, in the NW. of Illana Bay (ch. 24, p. 161), in-
cludes the anchorages of Dupulisanand Tiguma (ch. 25, p. 161).
Before the entrance there are some coral banks, one of which
is always uncovered, with passages between them and the
shore to the northward and southward. The southern passage
is preferable, being wider and more direct.

Point Dux)ulisan is bordered to the SSE. and to the west by
a reef of 3 cables extent. There is anchorage west of the point
in about 9 fathoms, sheltered from south and southeast winds.

Point Tiguma is fronted by a reef which extends along the
coast to the ENE. The anchorage is near the coast in 3i
fathoms.

Coast. — From Tiguma, as far as Palak Harbor, the coast is
bordered in many places by a reef which extends to 1 or 2 miles
from the shore; it contains many little bays affording anchor-
age ; generally very near the shore. Several rivers and lagoons
open into the bay, the shores of which are lined with villages.
The native inhabitants, with the exception of those of Tiguma,
are in general hostile to strangers, and it is prudent to take
precautions while dealing with them, without doing so
ostensibly.

Pinatayan Bank consists of two reefs, parallel to each other,
extending 4 cables in a SSE, and NNW. direction; it is 1
cable wide, with a depth of 11 to 22 feet on it. From the
eastern part of the bank the north point of Bongo Island bears
S. i W., and Point Matimus of Tetian E. by S. i S.



MINDANAO — SOUTH COAST. 163

Palak Harbor, between Point Panga to the north and
Point Mariga-batu (Red Rock) to the south, 4 miles distant, is
open to the westward, and protected from the winds of that
quarter by Bongo Island before the entrance. The harbor is
of good depth and safe. On the north side it contains the
bays of Kidamak and Segut, and on the south side a wider
bay in which are the anchorages of Palak and Parang Parang.

A steep coral reef fringes the coast ; on the north side it is
very close to the shore ; on the south side it extends to 2 to 3
cables from it; and south of Segut Bay it projects about l-^-
miles to the S W. The depth at the entrance is over 40 fath-
oms; within, it ranges from 25 to 15 fathoms; and alongside
the fringing reef about 5^ fathoms. The entrance presents
no difficulties ; a small detached hill at the bottom of Parang.
Bay serves as a good mark.

Palak town, deriving its name from the Moro word "palak"
(separated), is situated on the island Palak, which forms the
northern point of the bay, and is separated from the main-
land by a narrow channel, Sampinitan, with only 1^ feet of
water in it at low water. The town was the residence of the
naval commandant.

Anchorage. — Large vessels should anchor SE. of the buoy
at the end of the reef which projects eastward of the mole,
in 16 fathoms. Small craft can anchor at the entrance of
the Sampinitan Creek in 9 fathoms; in that position they
should moor in order to keep a clear anchor. The reef near
the settlement is marked by beacons.

Parang Parang River can be entered by boats with diffi-
culty ; the water in it is good and abundant ; a Moro town is
on the north bank.

Segut Bay is half filled by a reef ; a village lies on the west
coast.

Kidamak Bay contains a small native population; the
eastern point has a small reef off it ; there is anchorage on
the eastern side of the bay in 8 fathoms.

Winds. ^-In Palak Harbor, during the first months of the
year, when the wind is well established from the NE., there
are often squalls' in the afternoon from the north, accompa-
nied with much lightning, wind, and rain; before the squall
begins the wind blows from NW and W., and after it is over
the land breeze sets in until in the morning. During the
southwest monsoon the wind freshens after midday, and varies



164 MINDANAO— SOUTH COAST.

from SW. to W. and NW. ; rain falls in abundance, and
heavy thunderstorms occur.

Tides. — There are always two tides in the bay, with rare
exceptions, which take place in the quarter of the equinoxes
when the moon is at her greatest declination. The mean
"establishment " is 6h. 5m. ; springs rise 8 feet, neaps 4| feet.

Tidal streams. — The stream turns at high and low water at
Palak Harbor, and at all the ports on the coast between Zam-
boanga and Palak. On the coast, with the rising tide, the
stream sets to the north, northwest, and west, according to
local configuration. At Palak Harbor, with the rising tide,
the stream sets to the east on the north shore, and follows the
bend of the coast to the southward and westward ; the ebb
stream sets in the reverse direction.

Bongo Island, at the entrance of Palak Harbor, is about 5
miles long, NNE. and SSW., by 1^ miles wide; it is some 300
feet high, and thickly wooded. The island is surrounded by
a reef, which projects as much as 2 miles WNW. of the north
.point of the island, while on the eastern side the reef is nar-
row and very steep-to; there is no good anchorage off the
island. The channel between Bongo Island and Panga Point
is 4| miles wide, and 30 to 40 fathoms deep.

Volcanoes. — The cordillera of Sugut (Bangaya) lies about
23 miles to the eastward of Palak Harbor; the highest moun-
tain of the range is the volcano of Makaturin, the latest erup-
tion of which occurred in 1872. This eruption was followed
by an earthquake which partly destroj^ed Palak, Kota-batu,
and the village on the banks of the river Mindanao.

Mindanao Rivee (ch. 11, p. 116). — This great river disem-
bogues 5 miles to the south of Palak Harbor by two wide
arms, on the northernmost of which is the town of Kota-batil,
about oi miles from the mouth. The river is navigable for
60 miles by vessels of 3i feet draught ; it flows through a beau-
tiful valley 30 miles in width, which scarcely shows any
change of level ; the valley is capable of producing tobacco,
cacao, sugar, maize, and cotton; but this is only known at
present by specimens produced. The course of the river lies
SE. for 45 miles from its mouth to the lake Ligauasan, out
of which it is seen to flow ; from the other side of the lake the
direction of the river is NNE. to its source in the Sugut
Mountains. At 21 miles from the northern mouth the river
divides into two arms, which enter the sea 4^ miles apart,



MINDANAO — SOUTH COAST. 165

and hetween tliem form a great delta. These branches
comuuuiicate with each other by four small channels. The
northern arm is the widest, deepest, and most navigable ; the
southern one is narrow, and has only 5 feet of water. The
river banks are peopled by Moros.

Entrance. — Point Panalisan (cli. 11, p. IIG), the northern
point of entrance, is surrounded by a shoal extending half a
mile to the westward. The entrance channel, which is south
of this shoal, is 1(3 feet deep, and very narrow. Off the
south entrance point a sand spit extends 2 cables to the NW.,
and is steep-to. The bar, which is in front of Painan village,
has 5 feet over it at low water. After passing the village the
depth increases, and 16 to 20 feet can be carried as far up as
Kota-batu.

A bank, covered by 2f fathoms, with 9 to 16 fathoms near
its outer edge, extends SW. from the northern entrance to a
distance of 1^ miles from the coast, and joins the shore again
near the wooded hill of Timako.

The southern entrance of the river is divided into two arms
by an islet which cannot be passed on the south side; the
northern arm has only 5 feet of water in it ; at 3 cables to the
west of this entrance the depth is 14 fathoms.

Beacons. — A red beacon or buoy marks the extremity of
the north sand bank of the entrance ; a white beacon or buoy
marks the extremity of the south sand bank of the entrance.

A white and red beacon or buoy marks the head of the shoal
between the islets.

A great tripod and white cage stands on Bulusan Point,
and serves to distinguish the mouth of the river from other
entrances on the coast.

Kota-batu town (Stone-fort) is now the capital of the island,
and was the residence of the Governor-General of Mindanao ; it
is connected with Palak harbor by a causeway of stone. The
river is 16 feet deep off the town, and vessels can anchor in it,
taking precautions to avoid the snags carried down by the cur-
rent. Steamers call fortnightly.

Coast marks. — Timako Island, between the two mouths of
the river, is wooded to the water's edge. The hill upon it.
Mount Timako, is a good mark for marking the river. An
elevated range of volcanic mountains, dominated by the
central peak Dikalungan, extends some 70 miles to the south-
ward, nearly parallel to the river Mindanao. The peak



166 MINDANAO — SOUTH COAST.

Kabalala, on wliicli is a cogonal, Si- miles from the soutliern
entrance of the river, and higlier than the neighboring hills,
is another good mark for the river.

Coast. — From the south entrance of the river Mindanao the
coast trends about SW. for 23 miles to Kidipil Point, the most
salient point of this part, and is clean and steep-to. Point
Tapian, midway, is low and surrounded by a reef reaching
out 3 cables. From Kidij^il to Tinaka Point, the southern



Online LibraryUnited States. Adjutant-General's Office. MilitaryMilitary notes on the Philippines. September 1898 → online text (page 16 of 31)