The Imam bathed his body : three times facing east, three times facing west, and three times on his back. Dirt would be removed from the anus and other bodily orifices to insure complete ritual purity.   The head was shaven, eyebrows plucked, and fingernails neatly trimmed. Finally, the man would be dressed in a suit of shroud-like white clothing specially prepared for the occasion.

No, i am not describing how a  corpse is prepared for a Mohammedan burial, I am however describing how a Moro warrior, would prepare himself  in a suicidal attempt to kill as many Christians as he could, preferably American soldiers during the Moro Pacification Campaigns.

They were called the Juramentado, and they were hard to stop.

The juramentado, a Moro warrior with a blade in hand on a suicidal killing rampage against targeted enemies is a phenomenon unique to Mindanao. The term juramentado came from the Spanish word juramentar, which means “one who takes an oath.”

juromentada (1)

Armed with a Spear or a Sword, his extremities bound by white strips of clothes braided into  a rope and tied as one would put on a tourniquet, the Juramentado would choose a crowded area where he could find a lot of Christians, usually a marketplace, there he would unsheathe his short sword and start hacking people left and right until he is ultimately stopped by a bullet or bolo.

The book A Political, Geographical, Ethnographical, Social and Commercial History of the Philippine Archipelago Embracing the Whole Period of Spanish Rule with an Account of the Succeeding American Insular Government by John Foreman, published in 1906 mentioned how the juramentados posed a constant threat to a community:

“Every few days a juramentado would enter the town and attack a white man with his bárong in broad daylight. There was nothing furtive in his movements, no hiding under cover to take his victim unawares, but a straight, bold frontal attack. Bárong in hand, a Moro once chased a soldier though the street, upstairs into a billiard-room, and down the other steps, where he was shot dead by a sentinel. At another time a juramentado obtained access into the town by crawling through a drain-pipe, and chased two soldiers until he was killed.”

Victor Hurley’s Swish of the Kris, vividly describes a harrowing encounter with a Moro juramentado  and it reads:

“While they were tying these prisoners beneath the house, a Moro in a near-by field was plowing rice with a carabao. They heard him shout as he leaped to attack with a barong. “Timbuck aco,” he was shouting; “shoot me.” He came with long bounding strides, headed straight for the waiting patrol. Four of the soldiers opened fire on the advancing Moro in support of Lieutenant Ellsey. A stream of hot lead poured into his body, but the Moro never faltered. He came nearer, slower now, but still on his feet. The barong was upraised as he headed for Lieutenant Ellsey. Ellsey fired his last shot, and the Moro still came. Ten feet from the officer a Krag bullet thudded into the amuck’s spine. His legs gave away. As he fell, he hurled his barong before he died. The patrol stripped the dead man and turned him over. Twelve bullet holes were in his body. Ellsey had escaped decapitation by only ten feet.”

So how did the early peace officers stop those deadly Juramentados in their tracks?

in his  Annual Report of June, 1904, General Leonard Wood (commanding American forces engaged against the Moros in the PI, stated his opinion on the subject:













“It is thought that the .45 caliber revolver (Constabulary Model 1902) is the one which should be issued to troops throughout the Army…. Instances have repeatedly been reported during the past year where native have been shot through and through several time with a .38 caliber revolver, and have come on, cutting up the unfortunate individual armed with it… The .45 caliber revolver stops a man in his tracks, usually knocking him down… It is also recommended that each company …. be furnished with … 12-guage Winchester repeating shotguns.. There is no weapon in our possession equal to the shotgun loaded with buckshot.”