about the exact location of the Kingdom of Tawalisi contained in his letter to Dr. A.B. Meyer of Dresden, Germany. Rizal’s hypothesis was contained in the eminent historian Austin Craig’s pamphlet entitled, “The Particulars of the Philippines Pre-Spanish Past,” which came out in 1916.
To sum up Rizal’s theory, the Kingdom of Tawalisi exists and so was the voyage of the 14th century Arab traveller Ibn Batuta who visited it. The location of the Kingdom is somewhere in the “neighborhood of the northern part of the Philippines.” With Austin Craig corroborating Rizal’s theory, Kingdom of Tawalisi and the amazon Princess Urduja mentioned in the narrative of Ibn Batuta became historical truths during the American Period. In 1925, the book published by Benitez & Benitez stated the existence of Princess Urduja and her Kingdom. The biographical sketch read:
About six hundred years ago, Pangasinan was an important kingdom.
At one time, the ruler of the kingdom was woman whose name was
Princess Urduja. (Zafra 153; 1977)
Ten years after in 1935, another book published by Zoilo M. Galang, the reiterated and expanded the entry on Princess Urduja as an historical figure. It read:
When Pangasinan was a kingdom, about seven hundred years ago, there lived a
Famous woman ruler in that dominion. Young, beautiful and well-educated.
Princess Urduja was reputed to be a good warrior who personally led her
Soldiers to the battle fields. (153)
In the same year, Galang also published Gregorio R. Zaide’s book which described Urduja in this way:
Quite a number of famous women had appeared, like shooting meteors, across
the firmament of Philippine history. Among them… was Princess Urduja, said
to be the Amazonic ruler --- warrior of ancient Pangasinan, who was visited
in 1349 or 1348 by Ibn Batuta, Mohameddan traveller from Morocco.
All these publications legitimized the narrative of Ibn Batuta about his visit to the Kingdom of Tawalisi where he met the amazon ruler Princess Urduja. To all these however stood Dr. Nicolas Zafra of UP’s Department of History refuting Rizal’s and Craig’s opinion on the exact location of the Kingdom of Tawalisi and regarded Urduja and her Kingdom as myths. But about this time in the 20th century, the focus was no longer on the exact location of the Kingdom of Tawalisi but on the beautiful, educated, fierce amazon warrior Princess Urduja. The image of a maiden warrior has captured the imagination not only of the people of Pangasinan but of the entire nation.
As a cultural icon, the exoticized image of Princess Urduja will be reproduced in paintings, movies (Amalia Fuentes original and the Susan Henson version) and other forms of art. The residence of the provincial governor is named Urduja house. Nearby here still stands the big billboard Urduja hotel in Urdaneta. Interestingly, there is still the Farmacia Urduja in Dagupan, the Rural Bank of Urduja in Tayug and the Urduja Communications building in Sual. Or even the Urduja sari-sari store in Sta.