Philippines Ethnology and Languages

Ethnology. – The indigenous population in the Philippines is divided in regards to race and culture into two distinct groups: the pygmy Negritos and the Indonesian tribes. These in turn can be grouped into three groups. The most ancient group includes the Mangyan of Mindoro, the Tagbanua of Palawan (both with a large percentage of Negrito blood) and the Samal of the Sulu Islands. A small part of the Mangyans still lead an unstable life of hunters and gatherers today; in the dry season they live under canopies and during the rains in huts on stilts covered with leaves and without walls. The clothing is made of beaten tree bark; the known weapons are spears, knives, bow and arrow; the latter is equipped with a poisoned wooden or bamboo point. Yet there are also traces of a higher civilization here: in fact, a writing of Indian origin is used, the signs of which are engraved in the bamboo: a part of the Mangyans also knows ceramics and the weaving of cotton. Most of them also practice hoe cultivation, which is part of the culture of all the other populations of the islands. In this superior cultural group a more archaic layer is distinguished to which especially the tribes of Mindanao and those of the interior of Luzon belong: Manobo, Bagobo, Mandaya, Ata and others in eastern Mindanao, Subanun in western Mindanao; Igorote (Bontok, Kankanai, Nabaloi), Ifugao, Kalinga, Tinggyan, Apayao, Ilongot in the inner provinces of northern Luzon. Some of these tribes are still pagan today. Faced with these mountain tribes there are numerous populations that have risen to a certain height as a result of their contacts with the Spanish and American civilizations, and, even before, by means of the navigation that brought in the country many elements of Indian and Asian civilization. Oriental. To these populations belong mainly the Tagalog in Manila, the Bisaya in the islands between Luzon and Mindanao, the so-called “Moro” of the Sulu islands and the western regions of Palawan and Mindanao. The “Moro” of the Sulu islands are a mixture of numerous indigenous and foreign elements (Malaysians from Ternate and Borneo and also Arabs) and were gathered in powerful sultanates under the Islam that penetrated there in the century. XIV; they were once famous and feared for their piracy. Today they are largely Mohammedans (1918: 43,000), while among the Tagalog Islam, which had spread widely at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards, was replaced by Roman Christianity: this is also professed today by most of the other civilian tribes. The Tagalog, above all, have been able to use the advances of modern civilization; their activity in industry and commerce, their highly developed popular education and their spiritual attitudes combined with a desire for political autonomy make them the most advanced element of the entire indigenous population (v.negritos ; Indonesians).

Languages. – The languages ​​spoken in the Philippine Islands all belong to the western group of the Indonesian family (see maleo – Polynesian, languages); even the Negritos, who although anthropologically and ethnically are very different, like all the Pygmies, do not have their own language, but have adopted an Indonesian idiom from a people that either became extinct or merged with the Tagalo and Bisāya.

The most important Filipino languages ​​are: bis ā ya, which is divided into several dialects (the most important of which are those of the islands of Sebu and Panay), spoken by over two million individuals; l ‘ ibanag, spoke from Cagayan in the basin of Rio Grande of Cagayan in Luzon (idioms is one of the few Filipinos who uses lip- f); l ‘ Ilokano, spoke dagl’Ilokano in Luzon, etc. The most well-known Filipino language, both for the number of speakers and for their culture, and for the literature that exists in it, is Tagalo or Tagalog, that is the language of the Tagalos. Now the Tagalog it is written with Latin letters, but once it had a special alphabet of Indian origin.

Spanish, imported by the conquistadors, gave rise to a well-known Creole language, called Filipino-Spanish or more frequently espanol de cocina (see Creole, languages).

Philippines Ethnology