The Philippine Prehistory

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  • Topic: Philippines, Katipunan, Philippine Revolution
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  • Published : April 1, 2012
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The Philippine Prehistory
Civilization and Culture
Culture is the way of living of certain people. How they dress, how they eat, how they court and bear children, how they are buried, and many more refer to their culture. Edward B. Taylor defined culture as that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, moral, laws, customs, and any capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society and Leslie A.White refers to culture as an organization of phenomena which includes arts, objects, ideas and sentiments.

The ancient Filipinos were divided into social classes. These were the nobles, freemen, and the dependents. Among the dependents were classified into aliping namamahay and the aliping sagigilid. Among the Bisayans, the dependents were of three kinds: the tumataban, who worked for one day for hismaster; and the ayuey, who worked three days a week for his master. During those times, women were theequal men. They could own and inherit property and sell it. They could engage in trade and succeed to thechieftainship of their community. The pre-Spanish Filipinos believed that the soul was immortal. They believed in life after death. They worshipped a Supreme Being called the Bathalang Maykapal. Our ancestors venerated their dead by carvingidols called diwata in Bisayan and anito in Tagalog. Ancient Filipinos were very respectful of their dead because they believe in life after death and theimmortality of the soul. Mourning for the dead chieftain was called the Laraw; for a dead man, Maglahe; and for a dead woman, Morotal

There are more than a hundred languages and dialects that exist in the country today. Of these, eight areconsidered major languages, namely: Sugbuhanon (Cebuano); Tagalog; Iloko; Pangasinan; Hiligaynon(Ilonggo); Kapangpangan; Magindanaw; and Samarnon (Waray-waray). They are sister-languages and belong to one family of languages called Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesian. The Philippinealphabet is called syllabify because every letter is pronounced as a syllable. The Tagalog script was called baybayin, sometimes erroneously called alibata. It consisted of three vowels and fourteen consonants, witha total of 17 letters. The writing system was horizontal, from left to right.

Asian cultural heritage
Early people of the Philippines
In 1962, a skullcap and a portion of a jaw-presumed to be a human origin-were found in the Tabon Caves of Palawan by archaeologist Robert Fox and Manuel Santiago, who both worked for the National Museum. Carbon dating placed their age at 21,000 to 22,000 years. This proves that man came earlier to the Philippines than to the Malay Peninsula; therefore, the first inhabitants of our islands could not have come from the region. The “Tabon Man” is said to resemble Java Man and Peking Man. He gathered fruits, leaves and plants for his food. He hunted with weapons made of stone. Although further research is still being done on his life and culture, evidence shows that he was already capable of using his brain in order to survive and keep himself safe.

The second group of migrants was composed of dark-skinned pygmies called “Aetas’ or “Negritoes”. Negrito woman | Aeta womanAbout 30,000 years ago, they crossed the land bridged from Malaya, Borneo, and Australia until they reached Palawan, Mindoro and Mindanao. They were pygmies who went around practically naked and were good at hunting, fishing and food gathering. They used spears and small flint stones weapons. The Aetas were already in the Philippines when the land bridges disappeared due to the thinning of the ice glaciers and the subsequent increase in seawater level. This natural event “forced” them to remain in the country and become its first permanent inhabitants. Because of the disappearance of the land bridges, the third wave of migrants was necessarily skilled in seafaring. These were the Indonesians, who came to the islands in boats. They were more advanced than the Aetas in that: they had tools...
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