The “trocha de tukuran” refers not to one site but to a roadway or defense line fortified by field and permanent fortifications. Built from 1891 to 1896 (although some sites were built earlier), most of the structures along this defense line was built during the military campaign of Gen. Valeriano Weyler, who was governor general of the Philippines from 1889 to 1891. Subsequent to his campaign to bring under control the Maranao who inhabited the littorals of Panguil and Illana bay, Lake Lanao and Agus River, some fortifications were rebuilt in more permanent form to maintain Spanish presence in Mindanao.
Because of the long lasting and persistent threat of Muslim communities in Mindanao, Spain saw the urgency of controlling the island and the region. The military campaign against the different Muslim tribes began with Gov. Narciso Claveria’s 1846 campaign against the Sama Balangingi of the Sulu Sea. The campaign against the Maranao was the last of the major campaign until the Spaniards lost the Philippines during the Philippine Revolution and the take over by the Americans in 1898.
Arranged from north to south (with notations on present provincial names) and ending at Tukuran, now in the Zamboanga del Sur province, the fortifications of this line of defense and their descriptions as listed by Aguilar Nieto are as follows:
- Tangok. [Probably present day Tangub (City)] On Panguil Bay near Misamis [Ozamis] to which it is linked by a road. The fortification is a palisade had two towers in bad state. Fort personnel: one officer and 20 infantry men.
- Balactacan. On Panguil Bay. A fortification like Tangok.
Lanao del Norte
- Iligan. An old Christian settlement has a very old fortification of stone and encircles quarters of light material. In its vicinity is a good infirmary, where lives those who are sick or have been wounded during a campaign. Fort personnel: one officer and 30 men of the third civil district. (Fuller description found in catalogue no. 10-04)
- Almonte [Lianga(a)]. In the bay of Iligan, near the entrance to the Bay of Panguil. On a narrow tongue of land formed by the sea and the Liangan River. A rectangular fortification 25 x 30 meters in dimension and one story. A double palisade and a moat 10 meters wide. At two corners batteries and the remaining two corner towers which was at the same time the officers’ quarters. Within the perimeter two structures of wood and zinc roof for the troop barracks, infirmary and other auxiliary facilities. Fort personnel: one captain, one officer and 58 men of the infantry, 8 Spanish artillerymen with one officer and 20 disciplinarios. (Fuller description found in catalogue no. 10-05)
- Fort (Valeriano) Weyler in Momungan is situated 16 kilometers from Iligan, and is placed on an elevated mesa between the lake and the coast and is on the right bank of the Agus River, which is deep and swift and has at this point a width of more than 100 meters. (Fuller description is found in catalogue no. 10-06)
Lanao del Sur
- Lintogud. Built along the Trocha de Tucuran, a military road, is Lintogud, located some five kilometers from the mouth of the Lintogud River. The fortification is a made of tree trunks which enclose quarters of light material, which served as barracks for the officials and troops.
- Lubig. Located at the center the military road Tucuran, Lubig has quarters of light material defended by a palisade with two towers, made of rough timber. Fort personnel: one officer and 40 men.
- Malabang. Near Parang-parang [Parang, Cotabato] to which it is connected by regular road. The fort is a near the shore, located at a point where a stream flows on three sides of the fortification. It is a double palisade, where all the buildings of the garrison are located. They are made of wood and zinc. Fort personnel: one captain, 3 subalterns, 200 men and 10 artillerymen manning two pieces of bronze canons at the outer palisade.
- Malabang (La Sabanilla). It is a most important point for operations against Lake (Lanao) with which it is connected by a 50-kilometer road. A short distance from the present palisade exists the ruins of the fort of Sabanilla, which was constructed in 1639. A suitable site for a permanent fort which can use the foundations and materials accumulated by our predecessors.
- Baras. Situated along Illana bay and about 10 kms from Malabang. It connects with Lake (Lanao) through a rough and steep road. It is an important market for the Moros of Illana. Fortification is needs to be repaired and upgraded. Total personnel: one captain, three subalterns, 200 infantry, 10 artillerymen with two pieces.
Zamboanga del Sur
- Tucuran. At the south end of the military road in the coast of Pagadian and the river of the same name, a garrison is located half way up the slope of a hill near the bay, a garrison of light materials protected by a stockade. The coast is defended by a blockhouse. Fort personnel: one chief and 6 men; the coastal defense, one chief and 8 soldiers.
Near the garrison is a wooden and tabique pampango building with a zinc roof used as an infirmary. An on the plateau of the hill there is a badly constructed fort made of a stockade of timber and two towers covered with a zinc roof. Fort personnel: one sergeant, one chief and 8 men.
Note: To man these series of independent garrisons, separated by considerable distances, are a mere 60 personnel.