Here are some little known facts that the Sama deserve credit for in the Philippines and worldwide.
The name for Zamboanga City
Many would like to deny that Zamboanga City comes from the Sama12. People are quite proud of their “flowered” city. Finding out the details of where the name Zamboanga comes from are just as simple as asking an old Sama fisherman. In Central Sinama the word “Sambuwang” means a large mooring stake. “Sambuwangan” is a derivative of the word that means a place for mooring. Zamboanga City, known as Sambuwangan by the Sama people is a place where they have traditionally gone with their boats and interacted with the land dwellers in trading.
The Coming of Islam to mainland Mindanao
The Sama are often counted as the last/lowest of the 14 Filipino Muslim tribes, but it is often neglected that it was the Sama who brought Sharif Kabungswan to the Maguindanaon people on Mindanao island. This is a well documented detail within the Maguindanaon tarsila as well as in the book, “Studies in Moro History, Law, and Religion” by Najeeb Saleeby (pg. 54)3.
LapuLapu was Sama?
The evidence is not clear enough to claim that LapuLapu was Sama though he very well may have been. However, we do know from the Aginid (oldest historical work about Cebu) that LapuLapu was an Orang Laut4. Orang Laut is Malaysian for man of the sea and that his origin is the same location that many say the Sama came from, Borneo. In Borneo today it is the Indonesian Bajau that are considered, Orang Laut. It means to say that to think of LapuLapu as a Cebuano would be a lot further from the truth than to think of him as a Sama. Culturally LapuLapu was very much like the Sama.
More to come later. Do you have any input about Sama impact on the Philippines and the World? We would love to share them here.