Princess Urduja: The Mother of Ibalois?

Have you ever heard of Princess Urduja? If your elementary teacher was like ours, she would have told you about the warrior princess who is believed to have ruled the Kingdom of Tawalisi way before Magellan begged the Queen of Spain to give him those danged ships to, in the words of George W, circumcise the globe. [Note: The painting above right is a visualization of Urduja by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo.]

Princess Urduja and her kingdom [queendom?] was first mentioned in the travel accounts of Muslim explorer Ibn Battuta. Our national hero Jose Rizal then speculated, based on the time and distance it took Battuta to travel from said kingdom to China, that Talawisi was in Luzon. Subsequent scholars placed the kingdom in Pangasinan and its neighboring areas.

Anyway, there is an ongoing debate whether Urduja ever existed and whether the Kingdom of Tawalisi really is modern day Pangasinan. Incidentally, the province of Pangasinan honors the memory of Urduja by naming its capitol the Urduja Palace and by putting up a statue in her honor.

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