Created on March 22, 2012, this blog is dedicated to the rich and diverse Philippine cultures and it's people. You will find here pictures of the indigenous, music, dances, baybayin art, places in the Philippines, tattoo's, animistic beliefs, myths and legends, deities, food, martial arts, and everything that makes us Filipino, as well as our fellow Pin@y's from all over the world.
So basically saying that innocent people dying and getting hurt in the name of God being with Filipin@’s because of the current disputes between Taiwan and the Philippines because the Philippines Coast Guard killed a Taiwanese fisherman and saying God is with “us” is fuckin karma. When the Taiwanese have every right to be in a dispute with the Philippines because the governments and Aquino’s sorry ass of an apology was just that, a sorry ass of an apology that wasn’t serious.
Because the lives of people getting killed or hurt is something to be proud of when it’s your coast guard who killed a fisherman and your government giving a lame, apology without a proper investigation.
And this is why I’m sick of the ASEAN Facebook page because of the Filipin@ admin representing the Philippines and Filipin@’s on there. Not only have they posted things that shame and look down upon our Muslim Filipin@ brothers and sisters and praising the U.S. and how we were colonized by them and how they are our “saviors”, but now she does this.
And you wonder why I have a love-hate relationship with the Filipin@ community,
Notable People of Filipin@ Ancestry Preciosa Caballero (aka Anggoran)
Preciosa, also known as ‘Susa’ or Anggoran, her native name, was a 73 year old babaylan, (priestess) and epic chanter from the Barangay, Garangan, in Calinong, Iloilo, Panay who passed away in December of 1993.
She is one of the many epic chanters to be recorded and contributed in the help of preserving epics from Panay. On a journey and mission to record 9 other epics following the Filipin@ folklorist and anthropologist, Dr. Felipe Landa Jocano, Alicia P. Magos from the University of the Philippines in the Visayas, with her research assistant and guide, and with funding from the French government, met Anggoran and from August to November of 1993, Anggoran was recorded when she spoke lines of two epics, Humadapnon sa Tarangban (which is recited for 24 hours) and Derikaryong Pada (recited in 7 hours).
During those months she would sing lines from the epics for 10 minutes at a time and would rest. Due to her old age Alicia Magos gave her plenty of time to chant at her leisure. Anggoran would chant when she felt like it and was inspired to, at times waking up at dawn around 4 in the morning to chant and be recorded.
At the end of November of 1993 she finished recording both the epics, but unfortunately she passed away in December of that year leaving at least 2 other epics she knew about and spoke of to be unrecorded.
Native Writing Scripts of the Philippines The Baybayin Script, NOT Alibata
At the time the early Spaniards arrived in the islands of what is now known as the Philippines they noted that the people were already reading and writing in their own scripts and according to Spanish accounts the Tagalogs have already been writing for at least a century. At the time of the Spaniards this script was spreading throughout the islands and was still in the process of developing even further.
At the arrival of Magellan though the script didn’t seem to have arrived in the Visaya’s in 1521 based on the records of Antonio Pigafetta who mentioned the people were not literate, years after the fall of Magellan, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived in 1567 and by this time he noted that they did have a writing script similar to the Malays. A century later the well known Jesuit missionary, Francisco Alcina who kept detailed accounts of the Bisayas from its people, their cultures, dress, and the local flora and fauna, wrote,
The characters of these natives, or, better said, those that have been in use for a few years in these parts, an art which was communicated to them from the Tagalogs, and the latter learned it from the Borneans who came from the great island of Borneo to Manila, with whom they have considerable traffic… From these Borneans the Tagalogs learned their characters, and from them the Visayans, so they call them Moro characters or letters because the Moros taught them… [the Visayans] learned [the Moros’] letters, which many use today, and the women much more than the men, which they write and read more readily than the latter.
Another missionary who was a Jesuit priest, Pedro Chirino, wrote in an entry in 1604
So accustomed are all these islanders to writing and reading that there is scarcely a man, and much less a woman, who cannot read and write in the letters proper to the island of Manila.
According to Antonio de Morga he also noted how literate the people actually were supporting the others on saying,
Throughout the islands the natives write very well using [their letters]… All the natives, women as well as men, write in this language, and there are very few who do not write well and correctly.
So at the time of the Spaniards and toward a century after their arrival the native people already knew how to read and write. So why aren’t their any written records by our ancestors?
The main reason is that though they did know how to read and write it was for personal use only. Our literature was an oral one, meaning stories, events, myths, and records from history were passed orally from one generation to the next. They would be memorized, sung and told by the old to the young. Writing was mainly only used for personal letters and poetry especially between lovers as noted in the Boxer Codex 1590,
They have neither books nor histories nor do they write anything of length but only letters and reminders to one another… [And lovers] carry written charms with them.
Of course with recent finds such as the Laguna Copperplate Inscription which was written in the ancient Indonesian script, the Kawi script, but the language was in a mix of Old Tagalog, Sanskrit, Old Javanese, and Old Malay, we know that at least prior to Baybayin, Kawi was used in everyday writing and has been used in official documents like the recent discovery of the Laguna Copperplate. However besides that document that pushed the Philippines written history back to the year 900 C.E. on April 21 based on the date written in the inscription using the Hindu calendar of the Saka era date of the year Siyaka 822, month of Waisaka, the fourth day of the waning moon, as of today we haven’t found any other documents.
When the Spaniards tried to convert the native people to Catholicism, one of their tools were books written in Baybayin. The earliest book, the Doctrina Christiania en lengua española y tagala, written in Tagalog was printed in 1593. It is the oldest print of Baybayin to date and is also an example of how the Tagalog language was before the Spanish language influenced Tagalog.
The Baybayin script today is often wrongly called and taught as, Alibata. The term Alibata was actually coined in the 20th century by Paul R. Veroza, basing his invented term on the Maguindano script whose arrangement of letters takes after the Arabic script. His basis is unsupported by evidence because Baybayin was never recorded to have arrived in that part of Mindanao and the script has no relations to Arabic at all along with every other scrip in Southeast Asia not being any way related to the Arabic script.
Unfortunately today based on the term being wrongly used in schools and textbooks the invented name has spread through many Filipin@’s who are taught the script in school as a passing topic.
The script is actually an abugida script an alphasyllabary script and is part of the Brahmic family that is throughout the Southeast Asian region and India. Being an abugida script, each letter of the script represents a syllable not a sound, where it has vowel modifying marks known as kudlits, usually dot markings, to signify the change in vowel. Later on during the early Spanish colonial period another mark to cancel the vowel sound was created by the Spaniards through putting a cross next to the syllable which is known as a virama mark. At the time of the Spaniards the script was still developing and the people didn’t have a vowel cancellation mark. With the modern virama mark it has made Baybayin to be written through the traditional method without the virama mark and with the modern method with the virama mark.
Today most people use the traditional way in regards to artwork however in writing they use the modern method often either using the cross marking or in other modern variations such as a curve to make it easier to read and write.
Though the script isn’t used today in everyday use there is a growing interest among the younger generations to learn and write in Baybayin and the other Philippine scripts and is part of the cultural revival movement among Filipin@’s. Many have created artwork with Baybayin as well as in the form of tattoo’s.
Salakot is a traditional wide-brimmed hat from the Philippines. It is usually made of either rattan, reeds, or bamboo, and is known as the native hat, one of the traditional hats worn in the country.
It’s use predates Spanish colonization and is also recorded being worn by the wife of Rajah Humabon of Cebu, where she wore a salakot greeting the Spaniards.
Like many other conical hats found in pretty much most of Asia, especially in China and practically all Southeast Asian countries, the hat was designed to protect the head of the wearer from the heat of the sun as a shade especially for farmers who were out working in the fields and from the rain.
The Itik-Itik dance is popular among the Visayans of the province of Surigao del Norte. It has many variations of steps from which the dancers choose and combine. Its steps are similar to the movements of a duck (itik, in Filipino), as it walks with short, choppy steps and splashes water on its back while attracting its mate. It is used in folk dances in different parts of the Philippines.
The dance is believed to have originated from the dance Sibay danced to the Dejado music. The Sibay is a bird dance that came from neighboring Visayan Islands. Philippine dance authority Reynaldo Gamboa Alejandro identified that Visayan Island to be Samar. True enough, since a 1668 book written by Fr. Ignacio Alzina (a Jesuit missionary to Samar) described a ‘bird imitating dance’ popular in Samar then, the Sabay. According to Fr. Alcina the dance imitates flying birds. An illustration in that same book had a caption: “su danza para hombre y mujer” (dance for man and woman); very appropriate for the characteristic Waray amenudo dances.
The present form of the Itik-itik is from Carmen, Lanuza, Cantillan, and Carrascal towns of the present-day Surigao del Norte province in the Caraga Region. A tale says that a lady named Kanang came up with the popular version. Dancing in one baptismal party, Kanang grew so spirited that when ducks from nearby pond caught her eye, she imitated their movements. The spectators found her dance so interesting that they themselves imitated her. The rest is history.
Despite the popularity of the Itik-itik Surigaonon, there are also other versions of the dance found mainly in Visayas. One version from Samar is danced to the same music. Two other versions came from Sibonga, Cebu, and Tibiao, Antique.
Ethnic groups from the mountain provinces of Luzon preserve their identity, customs and lore. Their dances celebrate important events in life such as birth, wedding, victory in war and thanksgiving. A Kalinga wedding dance is an important celebration. The bridegroom offers the bride the protection and comfort of his blanket. He simulates the movements of a rooster at love play, aspiring to attract and seize his love. The bride’s friends are ready to help prepare the bride by offering “bangas” (earthen pots) filled with fresh water from the mountain spring.
The B’laan teeth filing and blackening the teeth and the precolonial practices in the Philippines Video Submitted by:daavenrey Commentary by Ligaya
The B’laan are an ethnic group in southern Mindanao who have held onto their indigenous culture and practices being one of the few ethnic groups who have resisted colonial influences.
One of their cultural practices is of the blackening and filing of the teeth. For the B’laan it is sign of beauty as well as status. The younger generations however have started to choose not to practice them for being ashamed of their cultural practices due to being harassed and made fun of by their Christian peers who find it weird.
But what and who is weird exactly? The B’laan who have kept their cultural practices despite colonialism in the country or the colonized people who have long forgotten their indigenous practices and cultures who in fact their own ancestors practiced the very same tradition before colonization? What is wrong with keeping hold of your traditions and heritage?
Western beauty ideals differed with those of the early people that populated the islands of what is now known as the Philippines. Prior to colonization believe it or not it wasn’t just the B’laan who had this ideal of beauty of filing and blackening their teeth but many other ethnic groups that were colonized such as the Tagalogs and the Bisayans, also had this practice. Today the descendants of a colonized people who due to colonization some tend to have a mentality of separating themselves as the “civilized people” while those who have kept their indigenous cultures and resisted colonization as “uncivilized or tribal”. This mentality which still is strong in the Philippines, makes it so the uncolonized ethnic groups are looked down on and sometimes seen as a different people from the Christianized and colonized groups.
Having black teeth and filing teeth however was a practice that was spread throughout the Philippines prior to the Spaniards before it was eradicated. It was a form of beauty and the more black it was, especially when you put gold piece like brackets which was a good contrast between the gold and the black, it was seen as more beautiful by our ancestors. Also because they considered white teeth as ugly because to them it was like animals like dogs so they often would chew betel nut to try and make it black. So having black teeth and tooth filing isn’t just something only found in the South but it is in indigenous old practice that died out with the indigenous ethnic groups who were colonized along with many other indigenous practices like tattooing.
Watching this video brings to light what our ancestors did in pre-colonial times. Even the mention of how the tooth filing is done with the use of a stone is also recorded in dictionaries such as the old Tagalog term al-al, which in the Vocabulario de lengua Tagala by Pedro de San Buenaventura in 1613 is recorded as tooth-filing with a stone tool. It also ‘kindly’ mentions in a passage of the disapproval of tooth filing in a sentence, “Whoever files his teeth, I will surely punish”.
According to William Henry Scott in his book Barangay: 16th Century Philippine Culture and Society, he mentions that the Visayans term for tooth filing was sangka, leveling, and just like what was seen and recorded of the Tagalogs and what the B’laan still practice today the process of tooth filing was by using a stone. According to Sanchez 1617, he mentioned that one of the features the early Visayans noted of the Spaniards besides their lack of tattoo’s (as they really didn’t care for skin color as among themselves their were variations of skin pigments) which they called the Spaniards, mapuraw, (undyed, natural), (which was actually an insult really), but they also noticed their white teeth. Basically to the eyes of the Visayans the Spaniards were pretty much the total opposite of beauty as they weren’t tattooed and had white, unfiled teeth, which they saw those with white teeth as being like unclean animals.
There were different methods of coloring the teeth. One was by the chewing of anipay root which made the teeth black. Another way was just like the method shown by the B’laan. It was by applying a tar-based coating which the Visayans called tapul, which not only gave a black polishing effect on the teeth but act as a preservative. Other methods were using red lakha ant eggs and kaso flowers to color not only the teeth but fingernails a deep red which was another color found beautiful besides black. The preserving of the color was then preserved by the chewing of betel nut.
So this practice isn’t something to be ashamed of. Western ideals of beauty may have influenced the way many people see what beauty is and is not but for the youth of the B’laan once mustn’t be ashamed nor shall people looked down on them as this practice is as much as a traditional indigenous practice to many other ethnic groups in the Philippines.
For more on the dentistry of the early Filipin@’s read this post here.