HomeGeneral InformationAbout Zamboanga CityPolitical BoundariesBy NameTulungatung



Distance from the City Proper 17.00 kms
Political District District I
Historical Background

The real history of Tulungatung is gone with time. At present our only bridge to its antiquity is our elders. There were no written records whatsoever on our table that tell us about the past of our place. Our folks claim that they too, opened their eyes the place is made and is called its present name.

The name Tulungatung is a mystery to us. There are many guesses that suggest how our place got its name. However, none of those ideas were considered seriously. There were times in the past, administrations attempted to resolve our blank originality by offering some benefits or rewards to whoever can write a story about our origin, even though it is fictitious. But no one came up with such an attempt. Maybe during that time, the educational level of our constituents is the main factor that we have to consider why there was no such attempt.

Until one man of this present generation, originally from the place, got the nerve to write a story about how the place obtained its name.

The present members of the Barangay Council are showing interest on that short story on how our place took its name. Although all of them are aware that that story is fictitious, but there is no other choice. Some of them are even showing appreciative thoughts that such story already exists. The story although still on its final stage, the council is already considering it through.

The story on how our place got its name is entitled “Mang Atong”. This was written by a former member of the Barangay Council whose term of office was 1997-2002.

The summary of the story follows:

Long before the Spaniards came to our archipelago, some of the neighboring countries had already set foot in our land. The Chinese in particular have great influence.

One of the instrumental characters named Khua was one of the Chinese traders who set in foot in Manila (Maynilad then). He was on his early teens when he met Atong, a native who was mute then and was a beggar. Khua, who cannot·speak the native tongue, and Atong, a mute, made a good team. They spent most of the time together.

One day, the uncle of Khua left him behind in Manila to watch the leftover trading goods while he went back to China to get some more for their business. Unfortunately his uncle met a tragedy on his way back that cost his life.

Khua and Atong reset their way of life by going to the countryside where they met a former Chinese trader named Chaw. Chaw is a family man had two sons and a native wife. He also owns a few acres of land which he obtained by trading goods from China to the parents of his wife.

The two stayed with Chaw for about a decade. They learned to till the land, planted several fruit trees and took care of domestic animals. One day, a group of Chinese merchants arrived in Manila. One of them was a wealthy man named Wang. He owns five ships with several crew and his ships were heavily loaded with goods that were not meant for trading. His group was heading for a new place to settle, and their intention was south of the archipelago.

Khua learned about their adventure and decided to go with them. He immediately informed Chaw about this idea and that he and Atong would like·go with the group of Wang. Chaw on the other hand realized their ambitions and let the two go with the group of Wang.

On the first few days of their journey, they had smooth sailing ways. Wang told them that they will settle to a land upon their supplies last.

Few more days to go, out there in the sea, they saw thunderstorm ahead of them. Wang gave orders to his men to sail westward to avoid the storm. However, the storm was heading to their direction and they were caught flat footed. The storm destroyed all their ships and killed everyone on it except Khua, Wang and Atong. Wang later passed away because of head injury. Khua and Atong separately managed to hang among the wreckage. They survived and made it to the shore.

Khua was half-dead when found by the natives. He was treated well until he got cured. He went back to the place where he was found on the shore and named it “Dumagsa”, after the native word “dagsa”- meaning landing ground.

Atong on the other hand, just few kilometers away from where Khua was found, made it safely to the shore. He wandered through the bushes to get fruits to eat. He left behind his sling and the clay water jar on the shore-(the water jar, half-full, was the thing that saved his life when he was in the water, since he cannot swim). When Atong went back for it, he passed through a place where the natives were conducting some kind of ritual. He observed them from a distance and noticed some kind of sacrifices that he cannot conceive that gave him the impression that the natives were cannibals. Actually, the ritual is a kind that the natives do and believe to drive away evil spirits. With this impression of cannibalism in mind, Atong was afraid to show himself to the natives. He wandered through the hilly bushes and never showed himself to the inhabitants of the place.

After months of living alone on that place, Atong only ate all types of fresh fruits he could find on the forest. He never ate food that was cooked for fear that he will be noticed by the inhabitants. With these changes in his life, he noticed that he can already make some sounds. His vocal chord must have been working. He practiced and practiced hard to say something about himself to introduce himself to the natives; he knew that sometime in the future, he will be revealed to them.

One day, he saw native kids riding carabao fully loaded with toboggan. As it passed a rocky trail the toboggan got trapped between two large boulders. The kids were helpless since the rocks were too heavy for them to move. Atong thought that this could be the opportunity for him to show himself and help them make an impression that he is friendly. Instead, when he did, the kids ran away with fear as they saw him.

Atong has grown·very masculine with curly hair, heavily bearded and very dark. The kids thought him as a monster. They told their folks bad things about him maybe because of his physical appearance that doesn’t say much of·a good individual.

When the native warriors went and checked the place, Atong was gone and they saw the boulders were moved for a wider road. They were surprised to see that the stones that were displaced were too heavy that all of them together cannot move even an inch.

Many close encounters of Atong and the natives brought worse images of him even though he left traces of good and help in those encounters.

In due time, Atong was being hunted. The warriors trailed him to the bushes and got him surrounded. When Atong was cornered, he uprooted an arm-size guava tree and threw at them.

Although those acts didn’t hurt anyone, the warriors run away frightened and never came back. One day, an old woman, a respected figure of the tribe called a meeting of the elders. They discussed all the encounters by the villagers to Atong. One by one they cited their individual experiences during their encounter with Atong. It seems none of those incidence brought bad fate to anyone of them. So the old woman decided that instead, they should make friends with the stranger.

The following morning, the elders headed by the old woman went to the place of Atong. They brought with them grains, meat, fruits and clothing, to offer him and make friends.

Atong was surprised upon seeing the crowd. He immediately realized that their coming is a friendly one. He faced towards them and waited for them to come closer. When they came face to face, the old woman made a gesture that those things they brought were for him. Then the woman introduced herself as Toyang Ale. She also made a sign that Atong understood she also expected that he will introduce himself in return.

Atong who never had a conversation nor say words before, aside from those words he was practicing, said to them “tulung atong” as he pressed his right palm against his chest. These words came out of his mouth since these are the words he was practicing to say in preparation for his offering of help to the natives. “Tulung” is a Tagalog word meaning help.

The natives nodded that they heard his name clearly. The crowds gathered around Atong and with sign languages invited him to the village. Atong could not·refuse their invitation, went with them to the village.

At the village, the elders offer feast to the stranger. They were talking in sign languages like crazy, that neither Atong nor them understood each other. Atong realized that these people are friendly. From then on, he lived and worked with them. He taught them Chinese farming techniques which he learned from Chaw in Manila. He taught them how to plow the rice fields and plant vegetables during summer. At first, he was the one pulling the plow which he made out of hard wood. He then trained their carabaos to pull the plow.

The news of “tulung atong” spread far and wide. The other tribes came to see him and simulate his farming techniques. To them this stranger was a blessing that his teaching helped them so much that they no longer run out of supply the whole year round.

Khua also heard about “tulung atong”, a stranger on the neighboring village. He went there to see this stranger. At first glance, he didn’t recognize Atong, he had changed a lot. This man was five times bigger than Atong before when they were together, and this man can talk.

Atong didn’t notice Khua’s presence. He was busy working. However when Khua was about to leave, Atong noticed a person with white complexion among the crowd. He went nearer and recognized Khua. He shouted and ran towards him. They were so happy that they met again.

Atong and Khua lived together on that village. They never let the inhabitants down. The humanitarian services of Atong to the people continued until he died. The immediate generation of that village started to call their place Tulung Atong. And in due time, during the transition period from illiterate to literate, the word was written TULUNGATUNG.

Barangay Fiesta
Total Population (2007 Census) 4,373
Number of Households 556
Punong Barangay Ester F. del Rosario
Barangay Kagawad Jesus A. Felipe
Anelfa V. delos Santos
Peregrino S. Macrohon, Jr.
Nelson F. Bigcas
Jenebelle C. Banggoy
Michael M. Musa
Vicenta F. Macrohon
Secretary Divina C. Ellurig
Treasurer Juliet A. Joseph