Don Pablo I (Datu Jawa)
Prince of Sulu
Datu of Jolo Island
Gobernadorcillo of Jolo
Encomendero of Zamboanga and Sulu
Coronation 1866
Born 1846
Birthplace Jolo, Sulu Sultanate
Died 1902
Buried Manila, Philippines, 1902
Predecessor Datu Bijak
Successor Don Gustavo
Father Datu Bijak
Mother Dayang Zayna
Religious beliefs Roman Catholicism

Datu Jawa (born in 1846, died 1902) also known by his Christian name Don Pablo, was a Tausūg chief leader who helped the Spanish fight Moro raiders and pirates during the Spanish-Moro Wars. He was a native of Jolo, who had considerable influence over the islands. He was born during the reign of Sultan Mohammad Pulalun Kiram.

Born as a Muslim in the island of Jolo, he was baptized as a Roman Catholic and given the name "Pablo", and was officially addressed as Don Pablo I. As a reward for his loyalty to Spain, he was given control of territory, comprising of the island of Jolo, as well as a modern-day Basilan and the Zamboanga Peninsula.

The Governer-General expected him to become the next "Sultan", and some even addressed him with the title - as the Sultan of Zamboanga. He was an influential leader of the native militia forces of Zamboanga that fought for the Spanish Army.

In 1866, after leaving his post as commander of the Zamboanga militia (which he left up to the leadership of his younger brother Gustavo), he moved to Manila. In Manila, he received high support from the Catholic church, and married a Spanish woman by the name of Isabela.


His birth name was Datu Tarikuddin Jawa Kiram in 1846 in Jolo Island during the reign of Sultan Mohammad Pulalun. The Sultan appointed Jawa's father, Datu Bijak (whose regnal name was Abdullah Mu'izzuddin Bijak), to command Jolo's regional forces from foreign threat. He had a younger brother by the name of Masiruddin, and same-age sister by the name of Mariam.

Other than the Sultan himself, Datu Jawa's family branch of the House of Kiram had considerable influence over the other local datus of the Sulu Sultanate. His father often provided the Sultan with most of the military advice that he needed.

Ascension to the Regional throne

When he was the age of 20, his father had become too old and passed the throne on to him. Datu Jawa was disgusted by the Moro piracy against the Spanish and Christian Filipino settlers. He enacted a policy of intolerance towards acts of piracy and militancy and often gave them military advise, and warned them of impending attacks by the Moros. 

Life in Zamboanga

Eventually his collaboration with the Spanish rulers led another local chief, Datu Garang to wage a war against him and his family, and they fled to Zamboanga to be under the care of a Christian Filipino family. In Zamboanga, the datu reported the militancy to the Spanish Army. In return, the Governer-General ordered the datu and his family to be transported to Manila. However, he refused but he allowed his sister to be taken to Manila. There, she was converted to Roman Catholicism and married a Spaniard.

Military commander

In Zamboanga, the Spanish army placed him in command of the militia to fight the incoming pirates from Sulu. He accepted the title of Encomendero, the Spanish also promised that he would be restored to full power in Jolo.

In 1869, Datu Garang sent an invasion force against Zamboanga City, which Datu Jawa soundly defeated.

Life in Manila and conversion to Christianity

In 1870, the Spanish offered to build the datu a home in Jolo Island, as well as Zamboanga Peninsula in payment for his service and loyalty. In 1870, he and his brother reluctantly went to Manila, on the request of the Governer-General. They were invited to a church hall in Tondo.

In Tondo, Datu Jawa requested to be instructed in the Christian faith. He was baptized as Don Pablo I, and was fully addressed by Don Pablo de Sulu, and Don Pablo de Jolo. His brother was also baptized, as Don Gustavo de Masiruddin. On January 1, 1871, a Christian Filipino gobernadorcillo from Zamboanga reported that another pirate attack was on its way.

Return to Zamboanga and Sulu 1871

Don Pablo and Don Gustavo were sent back to the Zamboanga Peninsula, along with a fresh reinforcement of supplies, native Tagalog and Visayan soldiers, and guns from the advanced Spanish military. There, they repulsed another attack by the Moro raiders and pirates. Unfortunately, Gustavo was lethally injured in the ensuing battle after a Moro pirate thrust his sword into Gustavo's abdomen. Gustavo was immediately taken to nearby military installation to receive treatment for his wound.

Pablo also decided to join the Spanish incursion into the Sulu Archipelago. Pablo sent a letter to the Sultan, letting him know that the on-coming attack was a pre-emptive strike against the pirates, and not against the Sultan's people. In 1872, with aid from Spanish and Christian Visayan armies, Pablo soundly defeated Datu Garang, taking back Jolo Island.

As a reward, the Spanish gave the Christian Tausug datu territory stretching from Jolo, Basilan and the Zamboanga Peninsula. There was a common misconception that he was the Sultan of Sulu, and was mistakenly addressed as such. However, his military feat may have been regarded as gaining northern territory for the Sultanate of Sulu under the protectorate of the Spanish Crown.

The Sultan of Sulu also granted him partial domain, and permission for the Spanish Crown to grant him territory that both of them could together, control. 

Final return to Manila and marriage - 1873

In 1873, he accepted an invite by the Spanish Crown to be relocated to Manila. He placed the control of Jolo Island under the leadership of his younger brother Gustavo de Masiruddin. In Manila, he was seen as military hero and was married to a Spanish woman by the name of Isabela. He died in 1902, during the early stages of an independent Philippines.