This is a drawing of a Datu who is doing the process of 'Sanduguan' or 'Blood Compact'. This picture is drawn by Eriza Saclolo.

Form of Government  

The unit of the Government was the barangay which composed of 30 to 100 family. Every barangay is governed by a Datu that is why we can say that there is no centralized government that controls it. The relation of each barngay was strengthen by an agreement of friendship and unity which they called " Sanduguan". In this process, then leaders of the barangay gets a blood in their arm by a knife. They combined it, they also mixed it with alcohol and they drink it.They do this agreement to avoid war and misunderstanding in between barangays.

The barangay is only a small unit of the government that is because it is a part of a broader and powerful Sultunato Government of Sulu.The sultunato Government are distributed in each district that was led by a "panglima". Some of the Sultunatos that have been established are in Mindinao, Sulu, Borneo, Moluccas, and some parts of Visayas and Luzon.


This a picture of a duel between the accused person. This duel is called 'alaw'. This picture was drawn by Vianca De Jesus.

Laws and Punishments

    The laws in the pre-colonial Period are based on their superstition and this laws could be written or not. They send the elders to the government to be the adviser of the Datu in approving the Law. Most of the Laws are about mortal sins like bewitching and killing.

    The only record of ancient laws were the "Code of Kalantiaw", it was a mythical legal code which is written in 1433 by Datu Kalantiaw. There are 18 laws written under this Code. One of the known laws in there was

    Article XII
  which state all who interfere with their superiors, or masters; all those who abuse themselves through their lust; and those who destroy their anitos (religious icons) by breaking them or throwing them down shall be drowned.

    There is a punishment for the people who did not follow the rule. There are also people accused in breaking the law. They gave a challenge for the accused persons and whoever lose was said to be the sinner. They challenge in different ways such as:
1. A rock will be dropped in a boiling water. The accused should get the stone inn the boiling water. If one of them refused to do the challenge, it means that he was the suspect. But if both of them accept the challenge, the one who has the more wounds was said to be the suspect.
2. The second challenge uses candle. Each person would be given a lighted candle. The first person that runs out of candle will be the suspect.
3. The third challenge was called "alaw". It is a duel, where the person who lose or die was the suspect. Death in this duel was said to be a fair punishment on what he'd done. 
This a picture of a 'Datu' or a 'panglima'. This picture was drawn by Timothy Ahyong.