Datu Facundo: Chief of the Unrespected

Dublin Core


Datu Facundo: Chief of the Unrespected


By Robert Schnurr

Datu Facundo and 39 other Samal Moros tribesmen attended the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair as part of the Philippine Exhibit.[1] There they found worse treatment than other Filipinos experienced at Spain’s 1887 Madrid Exposition, experiences one Filipino graphically described as so bad that “…they would rather have all of the tribesmen who participated die than be forced to recall the event.[2] The Moros had in fact refused to go to St. Louis until Facundo, the brother of their Rajah, agreed to accompany them.[3] Despite advance notice of the Moros’ misgivings, Facundo and his kinsmen found basically no respect in St. Louis. They were repeatedly photographed in violation of their religious beliefs.[4] Meanwhile, the public was told that their village would be surrounded by guards if hostilities occurred after their arrival.[5] Subsequent newspaper reports were equally reprehensible. Accounts of Facundo’s fall 1904 trip with other Filipino chiefs and their attendants to visit the White House at President Roosevelt’s invitation were interlaced with derogatory descriptions, including describing Facundo’s group as traveling by train nearly naked, then adopting appropriate attire during the White House visit, but ending with White House crowds allegedly asking about Facundo’s exotic dog eating practices.[6]  The media sought to self-pardon itself from recording Facundo’s personal reactions by describing him and others in his group as being so overwhelmed by the “progress” the Exposition represented that they could only hope to provide “faint accounts” of their impressions.[7]  Small wonder this pertinent question was never asked-one already knew the true answer.

[1] Jose D. Fermin, 1904 World’s Fair: The Filipino Experience, West Conshocken: Infinity Publishing Company, 2004, 60, 146.

[2] William Henry Scott, History on the Cordillera: Collected Writings on Mountain Province History, Baguio Printing and Publishing Company, Cordillera, Philippines, 1975, 104.

[3] Philippine Exposition Board. Report of the Philippine Exposition Board to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and official list of awards granted to the Philippine International Jury at the Philippine Government Exposition World’s Fair, St. Louis Mo.”, (St. Louis, Mo., 1904), 27. http://archieve.org/stream/reportofphilippi00philrich/reportofphilippi00rich_djvu.txt

[4] John L. Silva, “Little Brown Brothers’ St. Louis Blues: The Philippines Exposition, 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair,” Positively Filipino: Online Magazine for Filipinos in the Diaspora-The Magazine, June 12, 2013. (reprinted from Filipinas Magazine, October 1994), http://www.positivelyfilipino.com/magazine/2013/6/litttle-brown-brothers-st-louis-blues-the-philippine-exposition-1904-st-louis-world’s-fair.

[5] “Filipinos From Four Savage Tribes Leave for Quarters At Fair: Negritos, Igorrotes, Moros and Tagalogs Rejoiced to Complete Long Journey and Leave the Train to the Tune of “Hiawatha” Played by a Native Band, St. Louis Republic (St. Louis, Missouri), Mar. 27, 1904. www.newsapapers.com/image/164107065.

[6] “Dattos See Capital: Moros and Igorrotes Gratify Their Curiosity,” Washington Post (Washington, District of Columbia), Aug. 10, 1904. http//:www.newspapers.com/image/28893613.

[7] “Facing the Dawn,” St. Louis Republic (Saint Louis, Missouri), Aug. 22, 1904. http://www.newspapers.com/image/746498688.



Unknown Photographer, "Colony of Samal Moros, from the Philippines."


St. Louis Public Library


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Unknown Photographer, "Colony of Samal Moros, from the Philippines.", “Datu Facundo: Chief of the Unrespected,” History Corps, accessed June 18, 2018, http://dsph-dev.provost.uiowa.edu/historycorps_sandbox/items/show/248.