Camperspoint Philippines

Pre-Spanish Period

Friday 20 February 2004, by catseye

The Filipinos before the arrival of the Spaniards were basically hunters, fishers, and cultivators. These tribes were groups of highlanders who barely had access of seawater. And because of the presence of rice terraces, only the central mountains of Luzon had well structured livelihood that resulted to a more fixed territory.

The lowlanders lived in a kinship headed by a Datu or a chief within a community called Barangay; the most stable economic and political unit of no more than a few hundred individuals. Within that unit, there were three broad classes: the datu and his family and the nobles, the freeholders and the dependents. Under dependents, there were sharecroppers, debt peons and war captives- which the last two levels were considered slaves by the Spanish.

There was no consistent religious heirarchy that time, however animism constituted beliefs and ritual practices. The arrival of Islam in Mindanao infuenced the lowlanders and thus changed this pattern. It even reached the far north Datu of Manila. If, however, Spanish arrived strictly for commercial reasons and had stepped in a century later, chances of Islamism would had covered the entire country until today.

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