about pre colonial philippine

Part I
Pre-Colonial Philippines

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1. The Setting:
Volcanoes and Earthquakes- The Philippines lies within Pacific seismic belt and has consequently experienced severe earthquakes, though these have been as destructive as those that had rocked Japan.
– August 2, 1968, a violent earthquake occurred. Apartment buildings collapsed, killing hundreds of people.
– June 3, 1868, the most destructive earthquake that occurred in the Philippines that destroyed Manila Cathedral and hundreds of government structures and residential houses collapsed and many people were killed.
– The famous Filipino priest Dr. Pedro Pablo Pelaez was also killed.
– April 1, 1955, another destructive earthquake occurred in Visayas and Mindanao ranging from Intensity III to Intensity VIII.
– August 17, 1976, by far the most destructive earthquake in the Philippines occurred in Mindanao. It triggered a tidal wave and rendered 90,000 persons homeless, 3,000 dead, and more than 3,000 missing or presumed to be dead.
Coastline- Aside from the ruggedness of the land mass, the Philippine has an irregular coastline that extends to about 10,850 statute miles, twice as long as that of continental United States.
– Manila, Bay, which has an area of a little more than 700 square miles and a circumference of 120 miles, is one of the finest natural harbors in the world.

Products and Natural Resources- The Philippines in natural resources that are yet largely undeveloped.
– The still primitive way of agriculture is one of the causes of the failure of the Philippines to produce enough rice for export.
– However, a breakthrough in rice production was made during the first four years of President Ferdinand Marcos administration when the so-called “miracle rice” was developed.
– The People- The Filipino belongs to a mixture of races, although basically he is a Malay.
– Doubtless, the Filipino at the coming of the Spaniards was brown skinned like his Malay forebears.
– The inter-marriage between the Filipino and the foreigner, particularly the white, led to a class known as mestizo class, also humorously called the “mestizos.”
– Negritos- first ancestors of the Filipinos
– Calao Cave- found the 1st remain of human.
– Mestizo- Spanish-Filipino
– American Mestizo- Filipino-American
– Chinese Mestizo- Filipino-Chinese
– Indian Mestizo- Filipino-Indian
– Mestizo- by virtue of his social and financial status, looked down upon the “native” as a bore. E.g., pretentious, boastful, arrogant, etc.
– In the mind of the “native”, the mestizos were insolent.
Common Traits- It is difficult, if not impossible, to define what a Filipino is.
– Hospitable
– Respect for the elders- “po and opo” is a sign of good breeding.
– Filipino is naturally fatalistic.
– Fatalism is best symbolized in the phrase “Bahala na”
– Loyalty to a friend or to a benefactor is one trait that is very strong in the Filipino.
– Lack of Initiative is a trait explained by a natural fear of competition.
– Helpful and cooperative, respectful, and generous even to a fault, the Filipino is nevertheless individualistic.
– Jealousy is another trait of the Filipino.
– Regionalist
– May pakikisama
Regional Traits- That the milieu or environment exerts an influence in molding the character of a people is proved in the Philippines where different regions exhibit different and oftentimes, opposite traits.







2. Before the Conquest- The tradition of Philippine history writing, which the Spanish chroniclers originated and which American and Filipino writes followed later, had the Spaniard, more specifically Ferdinand Magellan, discover the Philippines.
Peopling of the Philippines-
– Early 1970s, it had been assumed that Philippines was a part of mainland China.
– In February 1976, however, his theory of the “land bridges” to Asia as disputed by Dr. Fritjof Voss, a German scientist who studied the geology of the Philippines.
Introduction of Islam-
– The foundation of Islam was laid in Malaysia by the Arabian scholar Mudum, who arrived in the Malay Peninsula about the middle of the 14th century.
– Abu Bakr followed Mudum’s religious activities about 1450, left Palebang for Sulu.
– Serif Kabungsuan, who had meanwhile arrived from Johore with his men, immediately began laying the foundations of Islam in Mindanao.
Relations with the Orang Dampuans-
– Between 900 and 1200 A.D., another group of immigrants came to the Philippines from southern Annam.
– Also known as “men from Champa,” they established trading posts in Sulu.
Relations with Banjarmasin-
– The fame of Sulu reached as far as northern Borneo and soon Banjarmasin and Brunei.

Relations with China-
– Sung Dynasty (960-1127) in China, Chinese goods began to flow in a continuous stream into the Philippines.
– They regained control of the Philippine trade when Ming emperor, Yung Lo (1402-1424), came to the throne of China.
The Ten Bornean Datus-
– Sultan Makatunaw was mistreating his subjects, so that ten of the chieftains (or datus) decided to leave for unknown parts in search of freedom.
– Datus Puti, Bangkaya, Dumalugdog, Sumakwel, Lubay, Paiburong, Dumangsil, Balensusa, Paduhinog, and Dumangsol secretly sailed in their balangays.
The Alleged Code of Kalantiaw-
– It has been alleged that about 1433 the third chief of Panay, Datu Kalantiaw, probably a descendant of Datu Sumakwel, issued orders for the guidance of his people.
Article I
– Ye shall not kill, neither shall ye steal nor shall ye hurt the aged, lest ye incur the danger of death. All those who this order shall infringe shall be tied to a stone and drowned in a river or in boiling water.
Article II
– Ye shall punctually meet your debt with your headman. He who fulfills not, for the first time shall be lashed a hundredfold, and If the obligation is great, his hand shall be dipped threefold in boiling water. On conviction, he shall be flogged to death.
Article III
– Obey ye: no one shall have wives that are too young, nor shall they be more than what he can take care of, nor spend much luxury. He who fulfils not, obeys not, shall be condemned to swim three hours and, for the second time, shall be scourged with spines to death.
Article IV
– Observe and obey ye: Let not the peace of the graves be disturbed; due respect must have accorded them on passing by caves and trees where they are. He who observes not shall die by bites of ants or shall be flogged with spines till death.
Article V
– Obey ye: Exchange in food must be carried out faithfully. He who complies not shall be lashed for an hour. He who repeats the act shall, for a day be exposed to the ants.

Article VI
– Ye shall revere respectable places, trees of known value, and other sites. He shall pay a month’s work, in gold or money, whoever fails to do this; and if twice committed, he shall be declared a slave.
Article VII
– They shall die who kill trees of venerable aspect; who at night shoot with arrows the aged men and the women; he who enters the house of the headman without permission; he who kills a fish or shark or striped crocodile.
Article VIII
– They shall be slaves for a given time who steal away the women of the headmen; he who possesses dogs that bite the headmen; he who burns another man’s sown field.
Article IX
– They shall be slaves for a given time, who sing in their night errands, kill manual birds, tear documents belonging to the headmen; who are evil-minded liars; who play with the dead.
Article X
– It shall be the obligation of every mother to show her daughter secretly the things that are lascivious, and prepare them for womanhood; men shall not be cruel to their wives, nor should they punish them when they catch them in the act of adultery. He who disobeys shall be torn to pieces and thrown to the caymans.
Article XI
– They shall be burned, who by force or cunning have mocked at and eluded punishment, or who have killed two young boys, or shall try to steal the women of the old men (agurangs).
Article XII
– They shall be drowned, all slaves who assault their superiors or their lords and masters; all those who abuse their luxury; those who kill their anitos by breaking them or throwing them away.
Article XIII
– They shall be exposed to the ants for half a day, who kill a black cat during the new moon or steal things belonging to the headmen.
Article XIV
– They shall be slaves for life, who having beautiful daughters shall deny them to the sons of the headman or shall hide them in bad faith.
Article XV
– Concerning their beliefs and superstitions: they shall be scourged, who eat bad meat of respected insects or herbs that are supposed to be good, who hurt or kill the young manual bird and the white monkey.
Article XVI
– Their fingers shall be cut off, who break wooden or clay idols in their olangangs and places of oblation; he who breaks Tagalan’s daggers for hog killing, or breaks drinking vases.
Article XVII
– They shall be killed, who profane places where sacred objects of their diwatas or headmen are buried. He who gives way to the call of nature at such places shall be burned.
Article XVIII
– Those who do not cause these rules to be observed, if they are headmen, shall be stoned and crushed to death, and if they are old men, shall be placed in rivers to be eaten by sharks and crocodiles.


Chinese Influences-
– The long contacts of the Filipinos with the Chinese, beginning with the tenth century of the Christian era.
1. Bimpo: It is read as bin-po. Bin as in face, Po as in fabric.
2. Hikaw: Hee means ear and kaw means hook.
3. Susi: It is supposed to be pronounced as So-see, which means lock-key.
4. Bihon: It literally translates to rice flour, because it is noodle made of Bi as in rice, Hoon as in flour.
5. Pansit: It is originally read as Pien-sit. Literally translates to Pien meaning convenient and Sit meaning food. I guess because noodles are so easy to cook, it has turned into what it means now.

Indian Influences-
– It is reflected in the Philippine languages, particularly in Filipino.
1. asa (hope) – asha in Sanskrit
2. salita (speak) – cerita in Sanskrit
3. balita (news) – berita in Sanskrit
4. karma (karma)
5. mukha (face)
6. guro (teacher) – guru in Sanskrit
7. dalita (suffering) – dharta in Sanskrit






3. Early Customs and Practices- Before the coming of the Spaniards the Filipinos had a civilization of their own.
– Male attire is consisting of kanggan and bahag.
– Female attire is consisting of baro and saya.
– The early Filipinos had a weakness for personal adornment, for women, as well as men, burned themselves with such trappings an armlet called kalumbiga, pendants, bracelets, gold rings, earrings, and even leglets.
– Built to suit the tropical climate, the ancient house was made of wood, bamboo, and nipa palm.
Social Classes-
– Philippine society was divided into three classes: the nobles, the freemen, and the dependents.
The Position of Women-
– Women before the coming of the Spaniards enjoyed a unique position in society and their descendants during the Spanish occupation did not.
– There was a custom, not so strictly followed, in which man belonging to one class married a woman of the same class.
Mixed Marriage-
– If the married couple belonged to different classes, say, a freeman and a dependent, their children were equally divided among the parents in so far as social status was concerned.
Inheritance and Succession-
– Among the ancient Filipinos, the legitimate children automatically inherited the property of their parents, even without a written will.
– The barangay was a unit of government and consisted of 30-100 families.
– Laws were either customary or written.
How a Law was Made-
– When a chieftain of a barangay wanted a law enacted to prevent, say, the commission of serious or minor crimes, he called in the elders of the community and told them what he had in mind.
– A public announcer, called umalohokan, was summoned and ordered to go around the barangay.
Judicial Process-
– Disputes are inevitable in any society, and Filipino society before the arrival of the Spaniards was not an exception.
Trial by Ordeal-
– The medieval European had no monopoly of the trial by ordeal, for the ancient Filipinos practiced it under certain circumstances to determine the guilt of a person.


Religious Beliefs-
– The ancient Filipinos believed in the immortality of the soul and in life after death.
– Bathalang Maykapal- equivalent of Dios in Spanish
– Idiyanale- God of Agriculture
– Sidapa- God of Death
– Balangaw- God of Rainbow
– Mandarangan- God of War
– Agni- God of Fire
– Anito in Filipino
– Diwata in Visayan
– Belief in life after death and in the relation between the dead and the living made the ancient Filipinos respectful of the dead.
Divinations and Magic Charms-
– The ancient Filipinos, like their contemporaries in many lands, put very much stock in divination, auguries, and magic charms.
Economic Life-
– Economic life during pre-colonial days was not much different from that found today in many remote barrios.



4. Pre-Colonial Culture- The ancient Filipinos had a culture that was basically Malayan in structure and form.
– There are more than a hundred languages and dialects in the Philippines, eight of which may be considered major languages. They are Filipino, Iloko, Pangasinense, Kapampangan, Sugbuhanon, Hiligaynon, Samarnon and Mangidanao.
System of Writing-
– The Filipinos before the arrival of Spaniards had a syllabary which was probably of Sanskrit or Arabic provenance.
– Baybayin- it consists of 17 symbols, or which three were vowels standing for the present five vowels, and 14 consonants.


– The literature of the Tagalog consisted of sabi (maxim), sawikain (saying), bugtong (riddle), suliranin and indulanin (street songs), talindaw (boat songs), diyuna (song of revelry), kumintang (war song which evolved into a love song.
Music and the Dance-
– The Filipinos are born musicians, for they easily learn tunes by ear.
– Many Filipinos who play two or more musical instruments have never been in music academies, nor have they knowledge of the music notations except what they know by ear.
– The first glimpse of the artistic sense of the primitive inhabitants of the Philippines can be had in the remains of their tools and weapons.

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