Peopling of the
Prof. Florisa B. Simeon
Faculty, Social Sciences
In Partial Fulfillment
Of the Course Requirements for
Dennis Mark A. Dela Cruz
Sept. 22, 2005
Origin of the Filipinos
“He who does not look back to where he came from will not know where he is going.”
As the saying goes, many theories have been written regarding the origin of the Filipinos. Yet, no adequate evidences can prove where, when, and how our early ancestors came. What we have are the best explanations that could help us trace if not have in mind the origin of our ascendants: the theory of creation, theory of migration and the theory of evolution.
But because we are Christians, we believe in the Holy Bible’s story of God’s creation of man. We take it as true and any other explanation about how the early people came are merely the product of the human thinking and it can never be true.
The Theory of Creation
Then God said “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have a dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
Almighty God is our creator, we must love all our fellows whatever race we belonged because God is so good that he created and loved us. As Christians, we don’t believe that human kind evolved from apelike creatures but rather we do believe that we are created by God in His image and likeness.
According to the Holy Bible, people on earth descended from the first man and woman created by God - Adam and Eve. They have lived in the Garden of Eden and from them all other people on earth came. In Genesis 5:3-32, these are Adam’s descendants to Noah: Adam was the father of Seth and Seth became the father of Enosh. A son named Kenan was born to Enosh. Mahalalel descended from Kenan and he became the father of Jared. Before Jared’s death he became the father of Enoch and the latter was the father of Methuselah. From Methuselah came Lamech who became the father of Noah. According to the Holy Bible, Noah had three sons namely; Shem, Ham, and Japeth. After the Great Flood, Noah together with his sons and their families were left and settled the earth. One of Japeth’s son named Javan, a grandson of Noah, came out four sons – Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim and Rodanim (Genesis 10:1-4). Thus, according to the Holy Bible, “From these the riverine people spread out with their men of their own languages into their own estate within their nations.” In that manner, a Jesuit historian, named Fr. Francisco Colin, wrote that the first settlers of our country was Tarshish together with his brothers and their offspring1, The descendants of these Biblical characters spread in the different parts of world that presently we know Asia, including the archipelagos of our country- the Philippines.
On the other hand, scientists strongly believe to their evolutionary theory. We Christians do not believe that we originated from apelike creatures but rather we believe that people on earth were created by God in his own image and likeness because He loved us. Any other explanations of how the early man exists can never be true because those are merely product of human thinking.
Myths and Legends
There are many imaginative stories about the origin of the Filipinos, but all of these are not true. These legends and tales were told by old folks to little children to get them interested in their past.Every group of people had their own stories on how the world came to be populated, For the Bisayan’s, first man and woman descended from Sikalak and Sikabay who came out when a bamboo split apart:2
Long, long ago, two gods in the sky got married. After days, they quarreled and because of anger, Kaptan told Maguayan to go away and the latter left with a heavy heart. When the goddess had gone, Kaptan felt very lonely realizing that what he had done to his wife was wrong. He looked for Maguayan in the skies but it was too late. He never found her. To ease his grievances he planted a bamboo in a garden called Kabilyawan. He kept himself busy planting plants. The bamboo grew fastest into a beautiful plant.
Kaptan was very happy to the beauty of his creation. “Ah!” he murmured,’if Maguayan were here, she would enjoy this beautiful sight. She could fell and listen to the sighs of the breeze, and the moving leaves blending in a song of hope and joy. One day, while Kaptan was watching the breeze playing with the bamboo leaves, said to himself, “I will make creatures to take care of these plants for me”. After he said these words, the bamboo broke into two sections; First man stepped out from the slit and Kaptan named the man Sikalak which means “sturdy one”, then later men were called si lalak or lalaki for short. From the other half of node stepped out a woman. She was called by the God Sikabay, and became the partner of Sikalak. Thus, women were called babaye or babae.
The man and woman took care the plants, Kaptan left and traveled to look for Maguayan. When the God had gone, Sikalak asked Sikabay to marry him but Sikabay refused. In the end, after asking tunas of the sea and earthquake, Sikabay was convinced to marry Sikalak. Their first child was a boy and they called him Sibu and their daughter was named
The other version of this legend state that the first man was Malakas and the first woman was Maganda who both of them came out when a bamboo split apart caused by the clever bird who pecked the bamboo.
The second legend is more interesting.To the Muslims, the first settlers descended from a beautiful daughter of a goddess who fell on the Sulu islands while wandering.3
Many, many years ago, Bumbaran was ruled by a mighty ruler and great warrior named Malikol Mis’ra. He had a son named Kesanol Besari but unfortunately, this son was stolen from the nursery of Bumbaran by a steel-clawed bird and was brought to the
After knowing this, he decided and asked his wife to accompany him to visit the land of his father. Together with their children Putri and Sugra, Malikol Jian lent them the magic cape which transported the whole clan from the sky to the earth.
Unexpectedly, while on their way, a sudden outburst of wind blew away the young beautiful princess Putri and she fell on Sulu island. Very lucky she was unharmed because she fell right on the spot where the agile and clever hunter of Sulu, was hunting. Tangba-a- Rugung, the young hunter fell in love with the princess and they were married. Lawalanan-sa-sulog, a beautiful girl was born to them and became the ancestors of all the Maranaws as well as the whole mankind.
- According to the Holy Bible, God created the first man and the first woman – Adam and Eve respectively
- Adam’s descendants to Noah are as follows; from Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Enoch, Jared, Mahalalel, Methuselah, Lamech and Noah
- Fr. Francisco Colin wrote that the first settlers of our country were Tarshish together with his brothers and their offsprings.
- For the Bisayans, mankind descended from Sikalak and Sikabay, first man and first woman who came out when a bamboo split apart.
- To the Muslims, the first inhabitants of the earth descended from Putri, the beautiful princess of Sitarnasi who fell on the Sulu islands.
The Migration Theory
There were already inhabitants in the archipelago before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers. Many researches have been made by historians and Anthropologists regarding the origin of the Filipinos but they only come up with assumptions. No adequate evidences and information can show how people in the
The Migration Theory of Dr. H. Otley Beyer is the most popularly known version of the peopling of the
On the other hand, Dr. Beyer arranged the peopling of the
The first to reach the archipelago was the cave man “Dawn Man” type, the prehistoric cousin of the Java man, Peking man and other Asian homo sapiens. This primitive man emerged at the dawn of time, thus, Dr. Beyer called him “Dawn Man”. It was assumed that he appeared in the
The inhabitants of the archipelago after the disappearance of the prototype man were the Negritos. They arrived between 25,000 and 30,000 years ago. According to the migration theory, they reached the
The third to arrive were the seafaring and tool-using Indonesians who came between 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. Indonesians were the first to reach the
The last to reach the
Dr. Beyer’s migration theory became popularly known and unquestioned for so many years. Presently, the theory is now being rejected for there are no definite evidences to support it, archaeologically or historically, Prof. Jocano elaborated several grounds regarding the inadequacy of migration theory.11
1. It is too simplistic to be useful in explaining the complex problem of cultural development…
2. It is quite realistic to assume that the physical characteristics of prehistoric migrating peoples can be correlated with specific cultural developments.
3. It is doubtful whether the ancient peoples always arrived in periodic time sequences and with foreknowledge of their destination as implied by the term immigration. There are no definite data to show, moreover, that each wave of migrants really constituted a culturally and racially homogeneous group.
4. It is quite difficult to accept that the small boatloads of immigrants…, coming at certain periodic time sequences…, would be capable of maintaining large-scale community patterns in a new land under pioneer conditions. It is likewise difficult to assume that prehistoric populations didn’t yield to such hazards as infant mortality, epidemics, and malnutrition, which, even until very recently, are considered serious problems, so as to enable them to maintain a stable population that is identifiable even today.
5. The theory does not allow for variant social and cultural developments to take place in response to local ecological development situation. Instead, it impresses an orientation that all culture traits as well the physical types of our ancestors were brought into the archipelago readymade….
In addendum, The inland push theory that the aborigines of the
The Mainland Origin Hypothesis of Peter Bellwood of the
Another hypothesis, The Island Origin Hypothesis, believes that the pre-colonial ancient people emerged from an island in Southeast Asia, Wilhelm Solheim II of the
· Migration theory was theorized by Dr. H. Otley Beyer.
· Dr. Beyer, arranged the peopling of the
· According to Prof. Jocano, the inland push theory that the aborigines were pushed into the hills of the mountains when the Indonesians and the Malays arrived must now be improved or be rejected because of no adequate evidence supporting it with regards to the movement of the earliest known inhabitants of our country.
· The Mainland Origin Hypothesis states that the movement of immigrants Austronesians originated from South China into
· Island Origin Hypothesis believes that pre-colonial ancient people emerged from an island in Southeast Asia; that proto- Austronesian developed primarily in Northeastern Indonesia and
Theory of Evolution
Another account of the origin of the early Filipinos comes from the archaeologists who study the past through the fossils and old material relics. Theory of evolution views that peopling of the Philippines is a result of the continuous process of human evolution which have occurred through the changes in climatic conditions in an area.16 Scientists believe that man evolved from apelike creatures into civilized homo sapiens. These apelike creatures had lived in caves for many years with their very crude tools.
Evolution theory is more challenging but scientists have to make thorough researches to clear all the problems particularly the adjustment made by early humans to the changes in the environment… “there are many loopholes in the theory of evolution… “missing link” in the evolutionary chain from ape to homo sapiens.”17
The discovery of the skullcap and jaw fragments of a human in
Scott (1984) enumerated found artifacts in different parts of the
22, 000 B.C. Tabon Cave: earliest known human fossils in the
8, 030 B.C. Musang Cave Penablanca, Cagayan stone flake tools including jade.
890 B.C. Manunggul Cave,
100 B.C. Bato Cave, Sorsogon: polished stone tools and jar burial.
560 A.D. Tucucan,
These archeological materials unearthed in the different parts of the Philippines bearing imprints of human use, show that people emerged and had wandered in the regions. Old material relics like burial jars,shows that they buried the dead with due respect.
In addendum, the Core Population Theory which is still evolutionists, 19 states that early Filipinos came from settlers within the islands not from the outside and in fact our ancestors migrated outside to the nearby islands to spread our own culture to other lands.
According to this theory, the early inhabitants consist of a core population to which accretions of people came who moved in through the regions. The movements of the people were erratic rather than in sequential waves. This core population shared common cultural traits or base culture. They used similarly styled tools, ornaments, pendants, housetypes, beliefs, rituals and funerary practices. And if there were differences, these were due to some factors like adaptations; they need to adjust to the changes in geographical conditions, climate, flora and fauna in the environment. 20
As documented by fossil material recovered from different regions caused by the movements of other people from Asian Mainland, peoples of prehistoric Island Southeast Asia belonged to the same race. The Filipinos, Malays, and Indonesians are the results of both the long process of evolution and the later demographic events.” They stand coequal as ethnic groups, without anyone being the dominant group, racially or culturally”.21 Filipinos were not merely receptors of outside cultures but adaptors, and in many ways, pioneer of creative changes. They developed different technology and medium to express their artistic talents (Zaide, 1994).
New breed of historians favored the core population theory in explaining the cultural integrity and adaptability of early Filipinos. This hypothesis shows a dynamic and mobile people that it emphasizes the native ability of the Filipinos to adapt, transmit, and even originate, patterns of culture and technology. We can find out that in this theory, we have shared elements in common way of life with other Southeast Asian peoples, without anyone group-Indonesian, Malay or Filipino being considered more dominant or ascendant than the others. We and the other groups are treated equally with regards to cultural affinity.
This theory is still evolutionists. Professor Jocano, its leading proponent, states that, “It might be argued on the basis of fossil evidences,that the premodern human represents the core population in the area around which genetic accretions where superimposed, as later groups of people emerged, thus, giving rise to a new population which we now recognize as contemporary Southeast Asians”.22 Furthermore, the core population could have well- evolved from the region as supported by the fossilized evidenced of early humans in Java-the Pithecanthropus erectus, the modern ones in Niah and Tabon caves- the Homo sapiens sapien23.Still, intensive researches and adequate data are needed to disclose the many loopholes and missing link in the evolutionary process.
Finally, these scientific explanations about the origin of the early Filipinos cannot even agree with the beliefs of the Christians, God created man in his image and likeness because God loves us.
Title: Evidences of Evolution
Direction: Complete the table below with the appropriate information.
1. Stone flake tools
28550 B. C.
2. Skull cap, jaw fragments, human fossils
3. Stone flake tools with jade
8030 B. C.
4. Burial jar
890 B. C.
5. Polished stone tools and Burial jar
100 B. C.
6. Stone tools and iron
560 A. D.
· Theory of Evolution views that peopling of the
· A skull cap and jaw fragments was found in
· The Core Population theory states that, early Filipinos came from settlers within the islands, not from the outside
· According to the Core Population Theory, the early inhabitants consist of a core population to which accretions of people came who moved in through the regions
· Filipinos, Malays and Indonesians are the results of both the long process of evolution and they stand coequal as ethnic groups without anyone being the dominant group, racially or culturally
Title: Knowing our Early Ancestors
Direction: Explain the significance of knowing the origin of the Filipinos. Why do we have to know our ancestors?
For us to know our country, we must learn the valuable lessons from the past. Knowing our origin is important in our everyday living. In the same manner, we would know if we had our culture that we must be proud of and that, we did not just borrow and receive it from other cultures. Moreover, its importance is for historical values and purposes.
Our early ancestors had a culture of their own. Many evidences of their works can be seen up to this time. One is the scenic rice terraces in
We have many tribal groups in our country, each have their own customs, beliefs, arts and crafts. We should respect and we must protect these tribal minorities and understand them, even though they lived in primitive ways of living for they are part of our colorful past.
Finally, having known of the Gospel, we should take it and be a good Christians. We are created by God in His image and likeness. God is so good and if we believe that we are created by God, we must be good and love all our fellows, even though they lived in backward ways of living. Knowing our origin would leads us to have direction in life and our everyday living would be meaningful.
· Biblical Story states that, humankind descended from Adam and Eve- the first man and woman created by God.
· Father Francisco Colin wrote that the first settlers of our country were Tarshish with his brothers and their offsprings.
· Bisayans believed that men descended form Sikalak and Sikabay- the first man and woman who came out when a bamboo split apart.
· While the Muslims believed that the first inhabitants descended from Putri, the beautiful princess who fell on the
· The Migration theory of Dr. H. Otley Beyer arranged the peopling of the
· Theory of Evolution states that the peopling of the
· Evolutionists believed that humans evolved from apelike creatures into civilized homo sapiens.
· The Core Population theory states that, early Filipinos came from settlers within the islands, not from the outside and that according to it, the early inhabitants consist of a core population to which accretions of people came who moved in through the regions.
1Sonia M.Zaide, Philippine History and Government, 3rd ed. (
2 Felipe Landa JOcano, Outline of Philippine Mythology (1969; rpt.
3 Ibid., pp.43-44.
4Teodoro A. Agoncillo, History of the Filipino People, 8th ed. (Quezon City: Garotech Publishing, 1990), p.21.
5 Sonia M. Zaide, The Philippines A Unique Nation, 2nd ed. ( Quezon City: All-Nations Publishing Co., Inc, 1999), p.32,.
6 F. Landa Jocano, Filipino Prehistory: Rediscovering Precolonial Heritage ( Manila: Punland Research House, 1998), p.58.
7 Zaide, Philippine History and Government, 3rd ed. op.cit., p33.
9 Lea T. Castelo, This Is The Philippines (
10 Francisco M. Zulueta and Abriel M. Nebres, Philippine History and Government Through The Years (
11 Jocano, Filipino Prehistory : Rediscovering Precolonial Heritage, Op.cit., p.61.
12 Ibid., p.39.
13 Ma. Christine N. Halili, Philippine History (
14 Jocano, Filipino Prehistory: Rediscovering Precolonial Heritage, Op.cit., p.64.
15 Halili, Op.cit., p.40.
16 Jocano, Op.cit., p.52.
17 Zaide, The Pilippines A Unique Nation, Op.cit., p.28.
18 Zulueta et.al. Op.cit., p.20.
19 Zaide, Op.cit., p.37.
20 F. Landa Jocano, Questions and Challenges In Philippine Prehistory (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1975), p.49.
22 Jocano, Filipino Prehistory: Rediscovering Precolonial Heritage, Op.cit., p.53.
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