Social Classes in the Philippines

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Social Classes in the Philippines

Maginoo - This comprises of the nobility of the early caste system, which mostly refers to the ruling class of Datus, Rajahs and their families. A datu with power over a large area held the title Lakan or Rajah. The Datu is a leader, a mediator in disputes, and was responsible for the welfare of the people within his jurisdiction. Men and women of this class were generally referred to with the respectful title of Ginoo. Individually, the terms, Gat, meaning Lord, or Dayang, meaning Lady, preceded by their names. The title of Datu (Sultanante) can be acquired through blood lineage or if a commoner showed exceptional skills especially in acts of bravery and heroism. Timawa – The timawa class were free commoners of Luzon and the Visayas who could own their own land and who did not have to pay a regular tribute to a Maginoo, though from time to time, be obliged to work on a datu’s land and help in community projects and events. They were free to change their allegiance to another datu if they married into another community or if they decided to move. Maharlika – The Tagalog maharlika rendered military service to the datu at his own expense and shared with his leader the spoils of war. They generally have the same rights and responsibilities as a timawa. This class disappeared sometime in the 1630’s when the Spaniards were able to unite diverse kinship groups (Rodriguez, 1998). Alipin - These were captives of war, those unable to pay their debts, all illegitimate children; those purchased, and punished criminals. In the Visayas, an alipin was called oripun. They are divided into two types:

• Aliping Namamahay - had his own family, little house and lot, and served the master during planting and harvesting season or in the construction of houses.

• Aliping Sagigilid - those who are living with the master, had no property, and could not marry without the master’s consent. The sagigilid,; however, could buy his...
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