Masawa claims to hold the first advance civilization in the Philippines. By the 10th century, locals had established trading relations with people from Vietnam (Kingdom of Champa), Sumatra Indonesia (Srivijaya Empire), and China (Song Dynasty). This was testified by a written account from China during the Song dynasty, which stated trading relations with a land described geographically as the old Masawa. Artefacts were found from excavations around the area of current Butuan supported the claims. These artefacts were products from Vietnam, China & Indonesia - these are currently displayed in the Museum of Butuan.
One very important and expensive artefact is currently not displayed in our own museum - the Golden Tara. This is currently displayed in a museum in the USA. After a storm in the 1917, a Manobo woman found it in the muddy bank of Wawa River. The Golden Tara was said to be Indian in origin. The ancient figure a tests to the presence of Hindu culture in our land back then; it was said to be during the height of the Srivijaya Empire.
My city, Butuan, has an interesting history. Too sad, many people living here are not aware of the glorious past of our ancestors. When I was in gradeschool, my mom brought me to a lecture about the history of Butuan, and that is when I learned about our history. Last year, I brought my boyfriend in the Museum of Butuan - I told him a brief history of Butuan that I know, and together we spent a day looking and appreciating the history of our homeland.