Guide - Arthur Soriano aka @Igorot.Sky & @MaharlikanChronicles on Instagram
Precolonial Philippine History has made major developments since 2008. However, if you are reading data from before 2008 note that migrations theories are always changing, Negrito (Black Indigenous People of the Philippines = BIPP) tribes aren't the proven first Homo sapiens discovered in present day Philippines and the "Out of Taiwan Theory" has gone from a strong theory to a weaker one with recent genetic studies.
It's common to start Precolonial Philippine research with Antonio Pigafetta's account of the first circumnavigation of the earth with Magellan and crew. I encourage you to read the first western account of the Philippines. Generally, it's where most Philippine history books begin and this fact is why I began my quest for Philippine history prior to 1521.
After reading many versions of general Philippine history and keeping up with recent discoveries in science, I realized that there is a much better story to tell for the history of the Philippines. In Maharlikan Chronicles you will learn about the forefathers of most Austronesian peoples, the great ancient maritime "Discoverers" who sailed the vast oceans, the "warlike people fond of human blood" who struck terror in the Chinese as they pillaged China's coastlines and the warriors who could not be matched in hand to hand combat and whose skills are used by special forces around the world today.
Academics don't consider oral traditions as history. In Maharlikan Chronicles we use the words of our ancestors and new archaeological and genetic discoveries to update and fill in the gaps that historians neglected or did not have access to.
Issue #1 is all history, science and oral tradition. It begins with the discovery of archaic human life 709,000 years ago and introduces the Igorots who are the base for most Philippine peoples culture and heritage. Because of genetic discoveries, we now know that the Igorots are the ancestors of most Austronesian peoples. This issue features the oral tradition of Apo Anno and Ibn Battuta's written history of Urduja, the warrior princess, claimed by the Ibaloi tribe and known among the people from the "place for salt", Pangasinan.
Maharlikan Chronicle is the best beginning or "genesis" of Philippine History.
Issue #2 is now available. It provides updates on recent scientific discoveries, dives into the history of the Visayas and displays culture in the "Dayang Of War" stories.
Issue #3 is due out in the end of October 2022. It dives primarily into the history of Mindanao and displays culture in the "Dayang Of War" stories.
Get your copy at www.MaharlikanChronicles.com in the USA with limited service to the UK and Canada, link to Shopee orders in the Philippines or search Maharlikan Chronicles on eBay from YZdirect for international orders.
The Boxer Codex transcription and translation by Geroge Bryan Souza and Jeffrey S. Turley is the best early account of 16th Century Philippines and illustrations. Outside of being a great resource for the Philippine Islands and it's peoples, it is also a great for researching other Southeast Asian peoples and China.
The book describes and has illustrations for the following:
Island of Ladrones - Chamorro People in present day Guam
The Cagayan area of Northern Luzon Philippines - Cagayan tribes; including Negrito tribes
The Sambal of Zambales, Luzon
The Moros of Mindanao
The Tagalogs of Central Luzon
Maluka Islands (Spice Islands)
Aceh (Northern Sumatra)
Siam (present day Thailand)
Giao Chi (Northern Vietnam)
Quang Nam (Central Vietnam)
Champa ( Southern Vietnam)
Danshui (Northwest Formosa/Taiwan)
Daimao (Pangasinan, Luzon, Philippines)
Kampuchea (present day Cambodia)
Terengganu (present day island off the East coast of Malaysia)
Patani (a kingdom in present day Malaysia)
Kingdom of Tai Ming (China)
Barangay by William Henry Scott is the best written summary of precolonial Philippine history I have come across. Mr. Scott is the historian of historians for ancient Philippine studies and I am sure he would have had quite a bit to say about discoveries since his passing in 1993. His work is mostly derived from the writings of the 16th century authors and he presents the culture, religion and science of the peoples without all of the boring information about European interests found in so many of these records.
Mindanao and Luzon
Barangay is a must read for anyone wanting to learn about precolonial Philippines.
Building on the fact that the Igorot tribes are ancestors to most Austronesians. The Bontoc Igorot by Albert Ernest Jenks is one of the best books available to learn about how pre-filipinos lived before the Spanish arrived.
Other Igorot tribes like the Kankanaey, Ibaloi and Ifugao are also recognized as great examples of what the early Austronesians were like, but much of what is found in this book about the Bontoc many times holds true for other Igorot tribes and many peoples in the Philippines in general.
One practice among the Bontoc that I don't find among most Igorot tribes was the "olag" or sleeping place for all unmarried marriage age females.
The Bontoc Igorot is filled with familiar early 20th century pictures of the Igorots.
This book by Samuel E Kane was printed in 1933 and is my favorite memoir about Igorot tribes. First arriving in the Philippines as a US soldier during the Philippine-American War, Kane ends up living with Igorot tribes for about thirty years and recounts his experiences and relationships with the different tribes. I found it to be a very enjoyable and informative read. There are also a good number of photos in this book I have not seen elsewhere.
Filipino Tattoos - Ancient to Modern by Lane Wilcken is primarily a book about Filipino tattoos and it is written in such a way that you can feel the connection and reverence Lane Wilcken has for the spirituality, culture and importance permanent body art had for our ancestors and tribes who still practice it today. A very well written book with information about our ancient tattoo culture that was practiced by most Philippine tribes.
Nabaloi Law and Ritual by Claude Russel Moss is the most informative book I have read concerning Igorot rituals. This book is a great resource for studying many actual rituals and chants from one of the Philippines earliest peoples.
Filipino Prehistory by F. Landa Jocano was written in 1998. However, what I picked up from this maverick of historians was that he was against the "Out of Taiwan Theory". Too bad he passed just before archaeological and genetic studies came out in support of his belief.
Princess Urduja - Before and After Her Time was written by Professor Antonio del Castillo Y. Tuazon of the University of Pangasinan in 1986. Urduja is a controversial figure in history, but she was written about in the 14th Century by the era's greatest historian and traveler Ibn Battuta. In his travels he met with Urduja on his way to China at a place described as Tawalasin or "trades salt" which the people of Pangasinan claim is their land which means "place for salt".
The book gives a lot of detail and debate concerning Urduja and the period in which she lived.
Prehispanic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History by William Henry Scott was written in 1984. Scott was the premiere historian of Philippine early history and any of his books are worthy reading. What I picked up most from this book is that Tabon Man, the earliest Homo sapiens found in the Philippines, was proven not to be Negrito.
Written in the 1980's and still today there is a large following for the old belief that the Negrito was first on the islands of the Philippines when the proof doesn't support it.
This article shows the inaccuracy of many theories and sets the stage for current early Philippine history. Rhinos and man have been on Luzon much earlier than any scientist knew before 2018.
Below I will share the link, but let me make one very important statement regarding early man. For whatever reason, scientists have a fascination with Homo sapiens as the modern man that came out of Africa, even when we know archaic humans existed well before Homo sapiens and could mate successfully with them. How do we know? It's in our genes. People from the Philippines and most Southeast Asians have the genes of at least four archaic humans, two of which we have not found fossil genetic material of yet. Why scientists consider Homo sapiens as "us" and not "archaic humans" is a mystery to me when Homo sapiens mated successfully with archaic humans? It's like saying a German Shepherd is not a dog when it can successfully reproduce with a Labrador.
I have two Instagram accounts where I am a bit more up to date with what I am sharing, but I created this website to maintain the integrity of what I write without the fear of being shut down or blocked by Instagram/Facebook. This website also serves as an independent place for interested parties to find Precolonial History on the Philippines without having to join Instagram.
This website will also be a nice place to set up links for further study, which is difficult to share on Instagram.
From the post above we learned that some form of archaic human was on Luzon 709,000 years ago.
With this article we find the earliest remains of an archaic human on Luzon. This archaic human existed at the same time as other archaic humans on Luzon. I will talk more on this in future posts.
Homo luzonesis was believed to stand about 4 foot tall and some suggest that Homo luzonesis was the ancestor to the Negrito since both are diminutive in size. Continued below...
The chart to the left can be found in it's entirety with the link at the bottom of this segment along with the full article.
The long column that is cut off at the bottom and next to Homo naledi is for Homo erectus whose remains have been discovered in Southeast Asian islands standing 6 feet tall.
When Homo sapiens mixed with archaic humans on Luzon, two of the archaic humans we have genetic evidence for are Homo neanderthalensis and Denisovans. The other two archaic humans are yet to be discovered. Perhaps Homo luzonesis or Homo erectus are the missing archaic humans found in our genes. The reason we don't know is that although these genes are found in Filipino and other Southeast Asian peoples make up, scientist have yet to pull genetic material from Homo luzonesis and Homo erectus to identify them within our DNA.
However, when reading about migrations and dates of when the first peoples of the Philippines arrived. Understand that the Igorots say that they have always been on Luzon and evidence like this supports that someone has been on Luzon for a very long time.
In the below referenced study by Sarah Sloat, the University of Adelaide discovered that in early Southeast Asia anatomically modern humans mated with at least four archaic humans. These archaic humans show up in our genes today. They are Neanderthal, Denisovan and two unknown humans. The percentage of Neanderthal is so small that modern man is believed to have mixed with Neanderthal before reaching Southeast Asia.
The significance of this find for me is that if unknown archaic humans could successfully reproduce with later arriving humans we call modern, but we have no idea of who they are or what they looked like, then most likely their memories were passed on with modern humans and the old Cordilleran/Igorot oral tradition that states that they never migrated to Luzon, Philippines still holds true with this find.
Link to Sarah Sloat Article and study:
Pictured is a Tabon Cave where the Tabon Skull Cap was discovered with other fossils in Quezon, Palawan, Philippines by Robert Fox from the National Museum of the Philippines on May 28, 1962. These fossils of modern man (Homo sapiens sapiens) were dated using the direct dating methods. The skull-cap is now dated to 16,500 years ago (14,500 B.C.) and the mandible to 31,000 years ago (29,000 B.C.). The oldest human fossil recovered by the National Museum during the re-excavation of the Tabon Cave is a tibia (bone of the lower leg) that dates back to 47,000 years ago (45,000 B.C.). The cave was believed to be inhabited by humans from 50,000 to 9,000 years ago. The skull cap is believed to be from a Homo sapiens female of non-negrito origin. Further proof that we were on the archipelago well before all the early migration theories. Look at the size of that cave! The Philippines was Paradise even in the caveman days!
Link to the Philippine National Museum Site - No longer works.
Link to Academic Paper although Wikepedia may be preferable to many:
History Learning Article about Tabon Man:
When looking at the migration theories that seem to change with each discovery, it is important to find out when we have proof of people going out to sea. At the Jerimalai shelter in East Timor South of the Philippines and the Maluku Islands (Spice Islands) we have our proof. It turns out that scientists uncovered Tuna and Parrotfish bones from the shelter that date to 40,000 BC. Since these fish are only found in the deep sea we can surmise that people were hunting the big game fish out in the sea at this time. Since there is proof of deep sea fishing, that most likely means that people in Southeast Asia were also traveling between the islands at that time too.
The fish hook found in the same shelter dates to about 14,000 to 21,000 BC.
Link to the article: