29
Jan
08

Fuerza de Maria Cristina • Parang, Cotabato

Built as part of the Spanish campaign to consolidate rule in Mindanao. The 19th-century fort Maria Cristiana complemented a fortification built in the nearer the shore also at Parang and  the fort at Polloc, which guarded the harbor. Polloc a sheltered cove north of Cotabato was chosen as the site for a harbor because of its tranquil waters.

Aguilar Nieto mentions two fortifications in Parang; of these only the inland fortification Maria Cristina has survived. Aguilar Nieto writes: “Parang-parang: main garrison is in the town and has a quarters for the Infantry and offices quarters, all made of wood and covered by a zinc roof. More inland is the Fuerte de Maria Cristina, made of rubble and mortar (mamposteria), with good quarters. A hospital of wood and zinc and some small barracks as quarters for the troops. Total garrison personnel:

·       500 infantry

·       One officer and twelve artillerymen

·       One company of engineers

·       And another of discipline”

Located in the compound of the Notre Dame de Parang School quadrilateral rubble fort Maria Cristina with corner bastions still stands.  The outer walls are relatively clear of vegetation however the inner enclosure is overgrown with trees.  It is possible to enter the enclosure where ruined barracks can be found.  In fair condition, clearing vegetation can enhance the fort and make it useful for other activities.

Between these two fortifications a town has developed. Beyond this well defended area are numerous Muslim kuta and warlike groups. It is estimated that there are 2500 warriors, two canons, 29 lantakas, 117 rifles and an infinity of hand weapons.”

Also in the town, the Americans built a military installation. 

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