ASIAN CULTURAL HERITAGE
The popular and widely known Asian “Migration Theory” of professor H. Otley Beyer about the prehistoric peopling of the Philippines is now considered untenable by modern scholars. They questione the manner by which the theory was formulated because of the absence of historical or archeological proofs to support it.
The Asian texture of Filipino culture from the prehistoric Spanish times, therefore, could be traced to evolutionary factors, the continous migrations of people and the early contacts with other Asian civilizations.
Indian influences were traceable in the languages, religious belief, literature, customs and traditions of early Filipinos.
The Supreme God of the ancient Tagalog was Bathala, which came from the Sanskrit word B’hattara (great Lord) Among the pre-Islamic natives of Sulu, Indra Battara was the most prominent deity, Indra, being the sky god. The other gods the natives believed were of Indian or Vedic in origin such as Agni (fire god) and Surya (sun god). The epics of the early Filipinos such as the Biag ni Lam-Ang of the ilocanos, Mahabharata, the Indian epic. Some Filipino superstitious beliefs that originated from India were:
1. A comet is a bad sign; it brings war, famine and other calamities. 2. A pregnant woman must not eat twin bananas for she will give birth to twins.
The putong (headgear) of the early Filipino male was Indian origin. So was the sarong (Indian sari), the lower part of the clothing of pre-Spanish women. Indian influences on Filipino culture are clearly manifested by the presence of Sanskrit words in Tagalog language. Dr. T.H. Pardo de Tavera mentions 340 Sanskrit words. Examples are:
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