OUR BEGINNINGS AS A PEOPLE
Geographic and Geological Background
Scientist claim that is evidence to show that about 1 ½ million years ago the Philippines was a part of the mainland of Asia. Geologists believe that during the Pleistocene Period, or Ice Age, great changes occurred, resulting in the formation of the thousands of islands composing the Philippines today. Early Man
Very important to scientists is the evidence of the presence of living things in the form of fossils and artifacts which have survived to the present. Fossils are remains of living things buried and embedded in rocks. Artifacts are implements and tools left by man as evidence of his presence. Specimens of these fossils and artifacts are preserved in the National Museum in Manila.
According to Dr. Robert Fox, the first man reached the Philippines during the Middle Pleistocene Period, 4 to 5 hundred years ago, F. LandaJocano found that, in association of extinct types of animals, man came to the Philippines and internalized the norms, values and taboos of his society.
The most significant finding was the discovery of the Tabon Skull in 1962 by a team headed by Dr. Fox. The different archaeological data indicate that the early man could have been the contemporary of the Java Man (homo erectus) and the Peking Man (homo sapiens). The Aetas or Negritos, the first Filipinos as popularly believed, were prototypes of the modern man.
The number of the early men who reached the Philippines was very small. The first major movement of the modern man in the Philippines took place some 7, 000 to 8,000 years ago. These men can be described as a variable population of Mongoloids or Southern Mongoloids. Our ancestors, therefore, were the Homo sapiens, including the Tabon Man. Ancient Cultural Influences
Most textbooks mention “waves of migration” (Bayer, 1948) implying that a certain times in the cultural history of the Philippines, certain group of people, Indonesians and Malays, came over in boats, carrying with them certain cultural traits and technological knowledge which produced changes in way of life of the people. Jocano(1963) states that migration does not allow for social and cultural development. It implies that the migrants brought culture traits into the Islands readymade and that people accepted those traits. This theory is considered illogical. In the absence of more sufficient scientific data, these waves of migration may be accepted as hypothetical. Hence, we think of the waves of migrations as beginning with the Negritos, the Pro-Malay, the Indonesians and the Malay, and ending with the historical era. Cultural Influences Which Affected Filipino Culture
1. The languages and dialects of the Philippines develop a single prototype- the “original Indonesians”. They also develop a system of writing resembling that of India, and then it was later on traced to Malayan origin. 2. Arabs introduced cultural traits and ideas which the people absorbed and incorporated into the basic culture of their society. Islam was introduced between 1450 and 1480 when Abu Bakr arrived in Sulu and established the Mohammedan church. 3. Chinese trade later becomes dominant which eliminates the Arab trade. Chinese merchants intermarried with native women. The influence of Chinese culture pervaded the family. The greatest contribution of the Chinese is the economic aspect of life. From them may be traced the “sari-sari” store (retail syndrome) and the use of the middleman in the trade. 4. Indian influences may be observed in the Philippine Languages, art, forms, myths and rituals. PRE-WESTERN CULTURAL HERITAGE
Our cultural heritage that we adopted from the influences of different culture of our neighbors that have an interaction to our fore fathers. These influences are summarized as follows in different aspects of our culture:
A. Community Organization
Early settlements are...