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Long before the arrival of the Spaniards, ancientFilipinos were living in scattered barangays and ruledby different chieftains. Although, they were livingseparately, they were similar in many ways, theirreligion, mode of dressing, houses, system ofgovernment and marriage practices and economicactivities, in short, they wee refined and civilized; theypossessed a distinct culture that distinguish them fromother race.Pre-Spanish Period
• Houses were made of light materials likewood, bamboo and nipa palm. A ladder wasplaced to prevent strangers from intrudingwhen the owner was not around. Strong postat the lower part of the house was enclosed.A jar of heart was placed in a gallery called“batalan”.House• Some of them built tree houses to protect themselves againsttheir enemies or from being attacked by wild animals.
Dress• Male clothing- consisted of the upper and lower parts. The upper part wasa jacket with short sleeves called “kangan” while the lowerpart was a strip of cloth wrapped around the waist and inbetween the legs called “bahag”. Males used a piece of clothor a headgear called “putong”.- Putong symbolized the number of persons the wearer hadkilled.• Female clothing- they wore “baro or camisa”, a jacket with leeves. The lowerpart was called “saya”.
Social ClassesNobles – who werecomposed of rulersand their families,occupied the highestclass. They wereusually addressed asGat, Lakan, Raja orDatu.Freemen – werethe working classSlaves – wereclassified into two;* Aliping namamahay – were not fullpledge slave. They had their ownrespective families and their own houses.They were required to serve their mastersonly during planting and harveting period.* Aliping sagigilid – were the real slaves,they were homeless, forbidden to formtheir own families, required to stay in theirmasters dwelling and they could be usedas a payment for debt.
Government•The government was called “barangay”.•There was no national government. There weremany independent barangays and datus. But therewas no datu strong enough to unite the archipelagointo one nation. Some barangays, however, unitedto form a confederation.•It was headed by a ruler called datu or raja.
Power and Functions of Datu•Implementing laws.•Maintaining peace and order.•Giving protection to his subjects.•He also made the law, with theassistance of group of elders who gaveadvice.•(a newly enacted law was madeknown to the public through town criercalled “umalokohan”)•He acted also as a judge during trial.•(it was easy for the datu to run for thebarangay since the population was verysmall.
•Ancient Filipinos started the practice of payingtaxes. The purpose of paying taxes was simple,it was for the protection they received from thedatu. The collected tax was called buwis. Thechieftain’s family members were enjoyingexemption from paying taxes. Non-payment oftaxes was already punishable during thisperiod.Taxation
Alliances•Like community of nations, alliances amongbarangay were formed. The purpose of formingalliances was for trade, peace and mutualprotection.•An alliances was sealed through blood compact(sanduguan), to ensure conformity, sincerity andcommitment of the chieftains.
Trial and Determination of Guilt•Judicial process was influenced by religion. The manner of determiningguilt of the accused showed the religiosity of the natives.•They waited for the intervention of the deities.•Their judicial process was called trial by ordeal, example;- Holding lighted candles by the suspected offenders. The man wholecandle died out first would be declared as the culprit.- Another form of this trial was ordering the suspects to plunge intodeep river with their lances. The first come to the surface would beadjudged as the guilty party.•Datu served as chief judge who was assisted by group of elders in thebarangay that acted as members of the jury.
Courtship and Marriage• The man was required to give a dowry.“Bigay-kaya” – was the type of dowry consisted of a piece ofland or gold.The groom’s parent gave a gift called “panghimuyat”.“himaraw” – was another payment for raising the future brideduring her infancy period, to be paid by the groom’s parent also.Including the bride’s wet nurse received a share of dowry; it wascalled “bigay-suso”.•Mixed marriage, that was marriage between couples belonging todifferent social classes were not common. Early Filipinos practiceddivorce. Several grounds of divorce were:1. Adultery2. Abandonment on the part of the husband3. Cruelty4. And insanity
• Before Roman Catholism and Islam were introduced, natives worshipped manygods and goddesses.Bathala – supreme beingIdiyanale – god of agricultureSidapa – god of deathAgni – god of fireBalangaw – god of rainbowMandarangan – god of warLalahon – god of harvestSiginarugan – god of hell• They also believed in the immortality of souls and life after death.• There were sacred animals, which they venerate like white monkey (manaul) andcrocodiles.• There were aslo sacred place and sacred trees, which nobody was allowed to cutdown.• They also worshipped the sun and the moon.• Regular sacrifices and prayers were offered to placate deities and spirits. Rewardand punishment after death was dependent upon behavior in this life.Religious Beliefs
Natives believed in;• aswang (witch)• dwende (tiny creatures like humans)• kapre (tall and apelike creatures smoking cigarettes, usuallyfound on trees.• mangkukulam (an old lady capable of harming others usinga doll and a pin)• tikbalang (half-man and half-horse creature)• tiyanak (a baby that sucks blood on human.They also believed in magical power of amulets and charmssuch as anting-anting, kulam and the use of gayuma or lovepotion.Superstitious Beliefs
Ornaments• The natives wore ornament made of gold andprecious stones. Women including men wore armlet,leg lets, bracelets, gold rings and earring. Puttingtattoos in their body was practiced.• Males having many tattoos were admired because itsignified bravery in war. They also inserted goldbetween their teeth as an ornament.
•To transmit knowledge, it wasacquired through observation,imitation and practice. There was noformal education during pre-Spanishperiod. Children were taught to readand write by their parents. It was fair tosay that they were literate.•The purpose of education during theirtime was for survival. Their father onhunting animals taught males, fishing,agriculture and other economicactivities while their mothers inmanaging the household taughtfemales.Education
•Domestic trade of different barangays fromdifferent regions and islands were made possibleusing boats.•Foreign trade was carried on with countries likeBorneo, China, Japan, Cambodia, Java and Siam(Thailand).•Other means of livelihood were shipbuilding,weaving, poultry raising, mining, weaving andlumbering.Economic life
• Natives were without a doubt, music lovers. Each communityhad their own sets of musical instrument. In the account ofPigafetta, the official historian of Magellan expedition, womenfrom Cebu were harmoniously playing- cymbals (plantiles)- nose flutes, bamboo mouth organs (aphiw)- brass gong (gansa)- flute (bansic)- long drum (colibao)- bamboo harp (subing)- water whistle (paiyak)- guitar (bugtot)- xylophone (agong)- drum (tugo)Music
•The most ancient dances could be traced to the wardance in order to incite the “warlike” enthusiasm of thenatives.•They danced primarily to please their gods, anitos adthe spirit who it was believed, were always jealous ofthe action of the natives.•Their dance could be described as the pantomimestoday.•They also danced during festivals and other merry-making occasions.Dances
• Eight are considered major languages, namely:-Tagalog-Ilocos-Pangasinan-Pampangan-Sugbuhanon-Hiligaynon-Magindanaw-Samarnon• They also had their system of writing. The ancient Filipinosalphabet consisted of three vowels and fourteen consonants.Natives wrote on many different materials; leaves, palm fronds,tree bark and fruit rinds, but the most common material wasbamboo.Language and System of Writing
• The early form of literature during pre-Spanish period was aclassified into written or oral. Examples of oral literatureconsisted of;-maxims (sabi)-Bugtong (riddles)-Boat song (talindaw)-Victory songs (tagumpay)-Lullaby (uyayi)-Wedding song (ihiman)-War song (kumintang) etc.• examples of written literature are;-Biag ni Lam-Ang (Ilocano epic)-Indarapatra at Sulayman and Bidasari (Muslim Epics)-Handiong (Bicolanos)Literature