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Lesson 1 : Introduction ................................................... 1

Lesson 2 : Geologic Formations................................... 7

Lesson 3 : Physical Environment ................................... 13

Lesson 4 : Peopling of the Philippines .......................... 18

Lesson 5 : Cultural Divisions of
Precolonial Philippines ................................ 23

Lesson 6 : Age of Contact and Trade ............................ 27

References ........................................................................ 32

Research on Philippine history has been expanding in recent years. Foreign

and Filipino historians have looked at the various events, incidents and
personalities that have shaped Philippine history while authors and pub-
lishers have published numerous books that deal with Philippine history.
Although this trend is very beneficial to students and to the nation as a
whole, there is a particular lack of emphasis on reading materials that
discuss Philippine prehistory. Aside from the lack of competent reading
materials, only a cursory and glancing discussion of this vital part of our
Filipino heritage is found in many textbooks.

It is for this main reason that this humble work is written. Entitled Philippine
Prehistory: Module, its aims are twofold; to provide high school students
with the necessary reading material that discuss pertinent issues and con-
cepts in studying Philippine prehistory and to serve as a teaching/module
guide to high school teachers assigned to teach Philippine prehistory to
the class.

The authors hope that through this module, students and teachers would
appreciate the importance and value of Philippine prehistory in under-
standing Philippine culture and society. It is also hoped that this humble
work will inspire students to study, conserve and protect all aspects of Fili-
pino culture and heritage.

The Authors
Lesson 1
1. To define the concept of prehistory.
2. To analyze the importance of prehistory in studying Philippine culture.
3. To identify the different media used to study prehistory.

The term prehistory is characterized as the time period before recorded

history. The study of prehistory provides significant methods and analysis
that are somewhat different compared to the study of recorded history. Because
the study of prehistory involves exploring and analyzing the past that has no
written or documented records, exploring the past involves a multidisciplinary
approach encompassing key areas such as archaeology, chemistry, geology,
history, etc.

The study of prehistory is an important discipline in order to better understand and
analyze the events in prehistoric times. Since prehistory often involves the lack of
written records, studying prehistory involves a variety of natural and social sciences,
such as paleontology, biology, archaeology, palynology, geology, archaeoastronomy,
comparative linguistics and anthropology in order to analyze and explore
prehistory. It is important to note that there are aspects that differentiate the
study of prehistory from history.

Prehistory involves the study of archaeological cultures. Since prehistoric events

are mostly non-documented, prehistoric study is supplemented by archaeological
methods in order to reconstruct the past. The archaeological excavations pro-
vide significant artifacts that help historians better explore and understand
the way of life during prehistoric times. Artifacts are the primary source
in exploring prehistory. Through artifacts, prehistorians are able to recon-
struct the way of life of prehistoric societies. It helps in providing a picture
on the type of lifestyle and level of technology involved in a certain time

Sources of data in the study of prehistory

Artifacts and Ecofacts

One significant source of data is science specifically geology, archaeology,

botany and zoology. These disciplines provide us knowledge on how the
changes in the environment influenced and affected the way of life of peo-
ple. Through science we use artifacts and ecofacts in exploring pre-historic

Artifacts are any materials made my humans which enable us to understand

the way of life and level of technology of early human societies.

Examples of artifacts are stone tools and pottery shards. On the other hand, eco-
facts are environmental information that helps in exploring prehistoric human
activities. Ecofacts are natural materials used by early human beings in their
process of survival. Some examples of ecofacts are the remains of plants and
animal, seeds, sea shells and pollens.

Examples of stone tools Plant fossil


Another important source of data in the study of prehistory are documented

materials and written accounts. This includes narratives written by early
travelers. Written accounts provide historians with early descriptions of new
societies across different locations. However, we must be cautious in using
written accounts since this type of source can be biased at times.

Pigafettas manuscript Morgas Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas


Ethnography can be termed as a scientific approach that is used in studying
people specifically ethnic groups. Ethnography is important in the study of pre-
history since it helps researchers gather historical information on different human
societies and cultures. The significance of using ethnography and other similar ma-
terials in the study of prehistory focuses on the scientific research approach lever-
aged in order to acquire historical data.

A group of Tboli women

One important data gathering technique used in the study of prehistory is the
genealogical method. Through this method historians and anthropologists alike
are able to trace the kinship, descent, and marriage of families. Ethnography also
supports the study of local areas through the use of questionnaires. Through this
approach, researchers are able to explore and discover local beliefs and culture
which are significant in historical research.

Important Personalities in Philippine Prehistory

In the Philippines, numerous individuals have studied the prehistory of the

country. These individuals consist of Spanish friars and foreign travelers
during the Spanish period and American specialists and government officers
during the American period. Among the prominent archaeologists and
important personalities that studied Philippine prehistory are the following.

Jose Rizal

As the national hero of the Philippines, Jose

Rizal can be remembered for his works and
writings that characterize and captures the
different Filipino experiences under Spain.
Rizal was a novelist, linguists, polyglot,
ophthalmologist, writer to name a few.
However, Rizals was also interested in
archaeology and anthropology. While
exiled in Dapitan from 1892 to 1896, he and
his party undertook various cave and open
site excavations in the area.
In addition, when he studied in Europe,
he was inducted as a member of the Berlin
Jose Rizal Ethnological Society and the Berlin
Anthropological Society under the patronage of the famous pathologist
Rudolf Virchow. He also delivered a speech in German in 1887 about the
orthography and structure of the Filipino language. Added to this, his
archaeological interests enabled him to observe and study different monuments
and artifacts across the different countries he visited. On some instances, he
even illustrated these artifacts for record purposes.

J. Montano

In 1884-85, J. Montano was the first to attempt classifying the Filipinos into
racial groups through anthropometric measurements, study of remains and
living population. He concluded that the country comprises of three groups
known as the Negritos, Indonesian group and the Malays who migrated into
the country. His claim was supported by Ferdinand Blumentritt through the
studies of Rudolf Virchow and A. Meyer.

H. Otley Beyer

H. Otley Beyer was a chemist by profession.

His interest in anthropology encouraged after
seeing the Louisiana Purchase Centennial
Exposition in Saint Louis in 1904 where
aspects of Filipino culture were displayed.
He joined the Ethnological Survey in 1905 to
study the Philippines and moved to Manila
months after the appointment. Beyer was
able to study Philippine language, culture,
and mythology. He traveled to China, Egypt,
Southern Asia, North Africa and Europe in
the year 1908 and returned to the Philippines
H. Otley Beyer
in 1910 where he studied the Ifugaos, Igorots,
Apayaos, Kalingas and the inhabitants of
Ilocos, Pangasinan and Pampanga. He has
also made significant contributions in
cataloguing and collecting pottery shards,
tektites and other artifacts.

Robert B. Fox

One of the most prominent anthropologists that made significant contri-

bution to the study and exploration of Philippine prehistory is Dr. Robert
B. Fox. He is known as one of the pioneers in the development of Philip-
pine prehistoric research. He was the curator of the Philippine National
Museum Anthropology division from 1948-75, Dean of Brent School
in Baguio and consultant to the Office of the President. Dr. Fox led the
National Museum team that excavated the Tabon cave complex in 1962.
The team was able to unearth burial jars, jade ornaments and other forms
of jewelry, stone tools, animal bones, and human fossils. Carbon dating
identifies that these remains can be dated as far as 47,000 years ago a
clear evidence that early humans existed in the Philippines during the date

Because of his works, Dr. Fox was able to receive different awards and
recognitions for his contribution to Philippine anthropology and history.
Some of these include the Rizal Pro-Patria Award of the Republic of the
Philippines and the Foundation Award in Philippine anthropology be-
stowed by the Research Foundation in Philippine Anthropology and Ar-
chaeology Incorporated.

Alfredo Evangelista

Dr. Alfredo Evangelista contributed to the study of Philippine prehistory.

He was part of the National Museum of the Philippines where his studies
include the oldest and primary burial site in the country found in Palawan.
His discoveries include the Duyong Cave in Palawan which is approxi-
mately 5,580 years old, the Laguna Copper Plate which is the earliest legal
document in the Philippines and the Banton burial cloth, the only existing
prehistoric cloth found in the Philippines.

He continued to head the Anthropology Division of the National Museum

of the Philippines until he retired as deputy director in 1989.

F. Landa Jocano
A professor emeritus at the University of the
Philippines Asian Center, Dr. Jocano proposed
a cultural classification applicable to the
Philippines based on his research on Philippine
prehistory. He divided Philippine cultural
development into formative, incipient and
emergent stages. Dr. Jocano also discussed
that geological data reveal that the archipelago
had gone through series of changes that affected
prehistoric humans. Jocano has also written
numerous journal articles and books on topics
such as Philippine prehistory, culture, values
F. Landa Jocano systems and folk medicines.

Lesson 2
1. To analyze the geologic formations of the Philippines during prehistoric
2. To discuss the implications of geologic formation to the peopling of the

The study of Philippine prehistory entails an understanding of the geologic history

of our country. The development of the early man in the Philippine islands was a
product of his adaptation to the various changes in his environment.

Early man was also interrelated with his ecological setting that consists of the ele-
ments such as the natural or physical habitat and the social and cultural system.
The development of mans social and cultural system, however, is dependent
on his natural or physical habitat. The islands, plains, mountains, volcanoes
and various land and water forms has a consequential effect on mans way of

Examples of land forms in the country

Geological and paleontological studies suggest that the earliest or first traces
of life occurred in the Archeozoic Era which is about 1,500 million years
ago. The most important materials for the evolution of man and his culture,
however, could be traced to the Cenozoic Era which spans between 75 to 1
million years ago. The Cenozoic Era is divided into two major periods: the
Tertiary and Quaternary. The Tertiary Period is known as the age of mammals
while the Quaternary Period is known as the Age of Modern Man.

Land Formation in the Philippines during the Tertiary Period

Geologically, the basic land structure of the Philippine archipelago was defined
during the Tertiary Period. With only a few readjustments due to faulting and
folding of the earths crust, volcanic activities and erosion, the framework of the
Philippine archipelago during the Tertiary Period, about 50 million yrs. ago, is
basically the same as it is today. The islands are basically composed of igneous
rocks overlaid by extrusive rocks from more recent times. Base rocks containing
anesites and pyroxene comprise majority of the islands especially that of Luzon
and Masbate. Other rocks such as quartzdiorite, gabbro, metadorite, granite,
synite and pyroxenite are also found which lend proof to the antiquity of the

Igneous rocks

It had been said that the changes in the alignment of the islands in the
Philippines caused our archipelago to form a connection with neighboring
Formosa or Taiwan. The link with Formosa is said to have occurred during
the Eocene and Oligocene (early Tertiary) epoch. This is proven by the existence
of similar fossils and rock deposits that were found in both Formosa and
the Philippines. It would be improbable that the similar materials between two
places were just transported by chance. The existence of the Formosan connection
was, however, lost due to the effects of volcanism and other tectonic movements
under the earths crust.

The late part of the Tertiary Period saw changes in the internal structure
of the Philippine archipelago. Extensive coral reefs and sandstones were
deposited in the islands. This time scale is called the period of subsidence.
A flattening of the existing higher grounds occurred as the greater part of
the Philippine archipelago was submerged under water. Vast land masses
such as the central plains of Luzon, Cagayan Valley, and central Mindanao
were submerged under water. Due to rising sea levels, much of the land
was submerged underwater. The existing land mass during this time would
include eastern Davao, Samar, Leyte, Sulu, western Panay and Masbate.

Land Formation during the Pleistocene

The Quaternary Period is associated with the advent of modern man. This
period is divided into two, the Holocene and the Pleistocene. The Holocene
epoch is the present period and relatively stable. However, it was during the
Pleistocene epoch where turbulent changes occurred that affected life in the
planet. Extreme climatic changes made the planet undergo series of alternating
warm and cold climates, each one lasting for several thousands of years. This
was the time when the freezing temperature caused the buildup of glaciers in
the northern and southern hemispheres.


The movements of water resulting from widespread glaciations and deglaciations
caused tremendous changes in the land formations throughout the world,
including Southeast Asia and Australia. The shorelines of these two continents
in the proximity of the Philippines widened resulting in the emergence of the Sunda
and Sahul Shelves. These land masses, though rough and uneven, supported diverse
plant and animal species.

Sunda and Sahul land masses

Between these Sunda and Sahul shelves lies the Philippine archipelago and
other islands that were actually peaks of underwater mountains like Sumba,
Lumbok, Timor, and Celebes in Indonesia and Halmahiera in New Guinea.
These islands, including the Philippines were linked to the Sunda and Sahul
Shelves through a series of isthmuses. Borneo and Celebes were linked via
the Philippines during the Pleistocene epoch. Palawan also served as the
link to the Sunda land at that time.

The existence of the river connections in the Sunda land accounts for the
similarities of the fish fauna of the Philippines with those in Sumatra and
Borneo. The same could be said of the similarities of floral and faunal species
in Mindanao and New Guinea. The geographical link of these localities in
the past facilitated the transfer and propagation of various species in the

Several changes occurred towards the end of the Pleistocene epoch that
affected the Philippine archipelago. A series of volcanic eruptions and
faulting and folding of the geological base of the islands occurred. The
Luzon and Visayas region underwent changes before it settled into its
original formation today. The Batanes group of islands was disconnected
from the main island of Luzon due to volcanic eruptions and geophysical
changes. Bohol emerged underwater; coralline islets united to form the
present island of Cebu; Panay and Negros separated; and Palawan was
cut off from Borneo.

The series of changes during the Pleistocene Epoch which affected the
land formation of the Philippine archipelago had resulted to evolutionary
changes in the geographical features of the Philippines. Having been stable
through the years, these geographical conditions were able to impose a
number of ecological requirements for adaptation and movements of all
the living species in the archipelago- including our prehistoric inhabitants.

Flora and Fauna

The Philippine terrain was very different during this period. There was a
growth of vegetation and massive rainforests supporting different floral and
faunal species that cover the land. The only open spaces are located along
the margins of streams, flood plains, beaches and places where there is no
vegetation. The land was also constantly reshaped and reclaimed by natural
events such as volcanic eruptions, flood and lava flows. Because of these
very complex events, vegetation was characterized by an immense variety of
flowering and non-flowering species.

Rainforest Flower species

This high incidence of specific plants and flowers in the Philippines suggest
that the Philippines was first connected then separated from mainland Asia
thus enabling it to develop a high percentage of endemic floral species. Evi-
dences of this connection include Philippine flora species that share distinct
affinities with flora found in New Guinea, Australia, Formosa and the Asian
continent. The eastern high mountain ranges connecting Mindanao and

Celebes contain floral species that are similar with species found in tropical
Australia. This Australian similarity is represented by 38 species mostly be-
longing to the epacridaceae, proteaceae, centrolepidaceae families.

Pine trees

On the other hand, Philippine flora on the western part of the country has a
closer connection with species that are commonly found in Borneo. This is
represented by 66 species from Borneo, 20 of which found are in Palawan,
Calamianes, western Mindoro and Panay. There are also species of Asiatic
flora mainly found in northern Luzon but not found in the southern part of
the archipelago.

Lesson 3
1. To describe the physical environment of the Philippines during the prehistoric
2. To construct how the physical environment affected the Philippines fauna
and flora species.

The physical surroundings of the Philippines during the prehistoric period
is as important as it is to us today. Other than it paved the way for different
life forms to develop and flourish, early Filipinos became very much tied to the
kind of landscape existing in ancient times. Their kind of habitation, sustenance
and livelihood were dictated by the geographical distribution of the natural
resources available to them. However, in understanding how such relationship
was established it is first necessary to identify the natural setting of the Philippines
during this time.

It should be understood that like most of the things around us our physical
environment is not static. The earths physical environment including that
of the Philippine archipelago is in constant flux. The environment that we
see today is actually a product of striking changes that have occurred over a
period of time brought about by climatic changes and formation of landforms.
Yet, these radical changes and its effects in the physical environment as shown
in the table below is a breakthrough.

The massive developments that were in the surroundings allowed the rapid growth
of plants, grass, forests and vegetation which in turn supported animal life. As
transformations took place from one period to another it became more and more
favorable for human habitation. The outcome of such transformations in the physical
environment allowed early man in the Philippines to survive. Plants and animals
provided ancient Filipinos with the basic material for economic sustenance.
However, survival was not the only outcome of this interaction between life
and environment. Our early ancestors in their continuous attempt to device
mechanisms in order to cope in the existing physical conditions found their
way into developing another facet of life such as culture.

This can be clearly seen on how one of the early

known Filipinos have shaped their kind of
lifestyle, their needs and even their skills to
suit the kind of environment they had. In
the case of the Tabon Man, visitors of the
site where human fossils were found might
conclude that these early humans were
greatly dependent for marine resources.
Although the cave to date is overlooking
the ocean it is remarkable to note that Robert
Fox who excavated the site hardly found marine
shells from any sea level that might conclude Tabon skull cap

such assumption.

The rationale behind the lack of marine life in any sea level is pointing into
the fact that the thriving habitation at the Tabon Cave was simultaneously
occurring with the period when the Sunda shelf was exposed. Given the said
condition it is most likely that during that time the distance of the Tabon Cave
from the coast was as far as 35 kilometers.

Tabon cave

Such findings redirected studies to look into other possible prehistoric means of
living that the unearthed archaeological evidences in the area might otherwise
indicate. One possible evidence that provided indications of how the Tabon
Man had lived was the kind of faunal remains that were found. A large number
of these remains were small birds, bats, elephants and giant tortoises. The
occupation of these fossil insinuates that the area during its occupancy from
35,000-9,000 BP might then be part of a flourishing sizeable rain forest. For
this reason it is not far out to suppose that there existed prehistoric hunting
hence making the Tabon Man one of the earliest Filipino foragers of some
kind. Hunting might had been the probable means of the early habitants to
deal with their surroundings. It was a viable means to survive and endure the
wild nature of their environment.

Archaeological findings showed that early habitation in the area of the Tabon
Cave was problematic for ancient humans given the tropical rain forests then.
Rain forests which were typically characterized with acid soils, high humidity
and high annual rainfall brought about a far more complex form of subsistence
than simple hunting for them. It even became more apparent why caves played
an important factor in ancient Philippines. Thus, the caves practically served as
a refuge from wild animals and shielded them from the severity of the climate
during prehistoric times.

The relationship of the Tabon Man to its environment is just one of the few
cases on how the interaction between man and its environment developed
in prehistory. This concretizes how the physical environment even during
the early stages of earths development was able to lay down the essential
conditions for man to survive which eventually facilitated early Filipinos
own advancement.
Period in Geological / Changes that Life forms that
Philippine Climatic Occurred became present
Prehistory Condition

Cretaceous- - Tectonic - Warm shallow - Flowering

Paleogenet processes that seas plants
might have
break the Pan- - Squirrel like
gaea primates

- High sea levels - Insect-eating

- Warm climate
- Corals

- Mangroves

Neogenet - volcanic - Basaltic rocks
upheavals flooded large
parts of the
- earthquakes archipelago

- Start of

Oligocene- - Faulting, - Land - Mammals

Miocene folding of the connections dominated
(Tertiary) earths crust with other
neighboring - Primates
- Volcanic activities archipelago
- Erosion were - Plants entered
established the Philippines
- Early part of
the period
tropical with
periodic mon-
soon rains

- Latter part of
the period-
warm to cold

Pleistocene - Altering warm - Riverine - Introduction

and cold cli- connections of of new species
mates which the archipelago of fish fauna
lasted several with the rest of
thousands of Asia
End of - Volcanic - Luzon, Visayas - New species of
Pleistocene eruptions and Mindano flora and fauna
were divided
- Faulting and into major
folding islands

- Tropical - Coralline
climate limestone

Table 1. Summary of the geographical and climatic changes that have occurred during different period in Philippine prehistory.
Source: Jocano, F. L. (1998). Filipino prehistory: rediscovering precolonial heritage. Quezon City: Punlad Research House.

Place Ancient Animals Date

Pasig Antelope (teeth) 1910

San Juan, Rizal Water Buffalo 1920

San Juan, Rizal Deer 1920

Cagayan Valley Rhinoceros Philippinensis 1936

Fort Mckinley Stegodon Luzonensis 1926

Novaliches-Marilao Stegodon Trigonnocephalus 1936

Pangasinan Elephants 1936

Anda Elephants 1935

Mindanao Stegodon Trigonnocephalus 1897

Stegodon Non-Trigonnocephalus 1886

Elephant 1911

Stegodon Mindanensis 1890/1942

Parastegodon 1949
Table 2. Summary of the different animals species excavated in the Philippines.
Source: Jocano, F. L. (1998). Filipino prehistory: rediscovering precolonial heritage. Quezon City: Punlad Research House.

Lesson 4
1. To differentiate and distinguish the theories on the peopling of the Philippines.
2. To analyze the different theories on the emergence of prehistoric human
in the Philippines.

Historians as well as scientists believe that it was during the Pleistocene period
that the first inhabitants of the Philippine islands emerged. Several theories
were raised to explain the emergence of the first inhabitants of the Philip-
pine islands. Among the theories are the wave migration theory by H. Otley
Beyer, Peter Bellwoods Out of Taiwan hypothesis, Wilhelm Solheims Nusan-
tao Maritime and Trading Communication Network and F. Landa Jocanos

Beyers Migration Theory

According to the theory of H. Otley Beyer, a renowned archaeologist, the

Philippines was once a part of the Asian continent because of land bridges.
This geographical feature was common during the Pleistocene Period or the
Ice Age some 1.8 million years ago. Waves of migrants from mainland Asia
made their way to the Philippines by using these land bridges.

The wave migration theory of H. Otley Beyer has become the most widely
known version to explain the first inhabitants of the islands. According to
Beyer, the ancestors of the Filipinos came in successive waves of migration.
The first migrants in the archipelago were the Dawn Man, also known as the
caveman because they lived in caves. He is similar to the Java Man and other
Asian Homo sapiens that lived 250,000 years ago. Beyer called the first Filipino
the Dawn Man, for he arrived in the archipelago at the dawn of time.

The second group of migrants was composed of dark-

skinned pygmies called Aetas or Negritos. About
25,000 and 30,000 years ago, they crossed the
land bridges from Malaya, Borneo, and Australia
until they reached Palawan, Mindoro and
Mindanao. They were pygmies who went
around practically naked. They subsisted by
hunting, fishing and food gathering. They
used spears and crude flint stones weapons.
According to Beyer, the present Negritos
and Aeta in the country represent this second Aeta family
group of migrants

Because of the disappearance of the land bridges due to rising sea levels, the third
wave of migrants came in using simple boats. These were the Indonesians, who came
to the islands in boats. They came in two waves of migration with type A, arriving
around 3,000 to 4,000 B.C and type B, estimated at 1,500 to 500 B.C. Beyer described
the Indonesian A migrants as tall, slender with light complexion, and thin lips. The
Indonesian B was shorter, with
bulky body, dark complexion
and thick lips. They were more
advanced than the Negritos
since they had tools made out
of stone and metal that enabled
them to build sturdier houses.
They engaged in farming
and mining, and used
materials made of brass.
They also wore clothing and
other body ornaments. Banaue Rice Terraces

Last to migrate to the Philippines,
according to Beyer, were the Malays
that introduced the Iron Age technology.
They reached the islands at around 300
B.C to the 14th and 15th centuries A.D.
The Malays were brown-skinned and
of medium height, with straight black
hair and flat noses. Their technology was
said to be more advanced than that
of their predecessors. They engaged
in pottery, weaving, jewelry making
and metal smelting. They were also
practiced the irrigation system in rice Example of pottery shards

Beyers migration theory became popular and unquestioned for quite a number
of decades. Currently, the so-called waves of migration is now being
challenged and replaced due to lack of concrete archaeological and ethnographical
evidences to support it.

H. Otley Beyers migration theory was then the accepted theory on the origin
of the people in the Philippines, but were there other theories on how the
peopling of the country came about? Aside from Beyer, two other theories
were developed to explain the peopling of the islands. These two are the
Out of Taiwan hypothesis by Peter Bellwood and the Island hypothesis or
the Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network by Wilhelm
Solheim. Through linguistics and archaeological evidences, Peter Bellwood
explained that the Austronesians travelled and expanded from Taiwan and
Philippines to Madagascar and the Pacific islands while Solheim proposed
an alternative that regarded a group of prehistoric people, the Nusantao,
propagated a widespread civilization in Asia, Pacific and Madagascar.

Out of Taiwan Hypothesis

In 1985 Peter Bellwood introduced an alternative

theory to Beyers migration theory; he formulated the
Out of Taiwan Hypothesis. According to Bellwood, his
theory explains the movement of Proto-Austronesians
from southern China at around 5000 BC to 1250 AD.
The movement of the Austronesian people started
in southern China around 5000 BC towards Taiwan,
arriving in about 4500 BC. Among the cause of this
movement maybe the search for rich agricultural land
Peter Bellwood due to overpopulation and meager food supply.

Movement then began again in around 2500 BC when the Austronesians crossed the
seas and settled in the Philippines and then Indonesia in 1500 BC. They would then
branch out, moving both eastward and west ward, reaching Madagascar near the
coast of Africa around 1000 AD and Easter Islands off the coast of South America in
1250 AD. Bellwood and other archaeologists support the Out of Taiwan Hypothesis
on linguistic evidences and the similarity of pottery and other artifacts from various
sites in Asia and Oceania.

Extent of Austronesian distribution

Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network

Wilhelm Solheim is the pioneer of what is called the Nusantao Maritime Trading
and Communication Network, which was known before as the Nusantao Maritime
Trading Network. Solheims theory forwards the movement of a group of maritime
oriented people, the Nusantao. According to Solheim, the Nusantao, majority of
whom speak the Austronesian language family, were a maritime oriented people
that spread their culture and technology in the different parts of Asia, Indian and
Pacific Oceans. These people, a majority of them speak the languages of the
Austronesians, including them in the Austronesian family. The Nusantao are maritime
people who spread their trade, culture, technology and beliefs in Asia, Indian and Pacific
Oceans. The spread of the Nusantao is due to an intricate network of trade and exchange
called the Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network.

The Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network is divided into

four lobes, each with a different time of development. The Central Lobe overlaps
with the three other lobes, the western, the northern, and the eastern lobe. The
Central Lobe is composed of coastal mainland Southeast Asia and island Southeast
Asia. It is approximated to have developed a few centuries before 5000 BC. The

Northern lobe consists of Coastal China, North Taiwan, Japan, Korea and the
Ryukyus. It began approximately 5000 BC, expanding from the coast of South
China. The Western lobe expanded westward from the coasts of Southern Vietnam
and Cambodia during 2500 BC. It included Sumatra, the western coast of the
Malaya Peninsula, as well as the coasts of India, Burma and Madagascar. The
Eastern lobe was the last of the four expanding during 2000 BC from East India
and South Philippines. It consists of the Moluccas and the Pacific.

Coastal China,
North Taiwan,
Japan, Korea, the

Sumatra, West coast Coastal Molucass and the

of Malaya, Burma, mainland Pacific
India, Madagascar Southeast Asia
and Island
Southeast Asia

Expansion of the Nusantao

While the concepts put forward by Bellwood and Solheim are still classified as
hypothesis, archaeologists, anthropologists and prehistorians are still looking for
additional evidences and artifacts to fully explain the emergence and spread of
a common culture in both mainland and island Asia.

Meanwhile, F. Landa Jocano proposed an alternative hypothesis regarding the

peopling of the Philippines. Based on fossil evidence, he argued that early
humans were present in the Philippines and he classified them as the core
population. Groups of people started to trickle into the islands, thus
forming a human population that now inhabits Southeast Asia. Fossil evidences
suggest that present day Indonesians, Malays and Filipinos are products of a
long process of evolution and generic interaction between the core population
and groups of people who came to the area.

Jocano also belied the claim that the Negritos were the first inhabitant of the
Philippines. According to Jocano, there is no data available to support the
argument that the Negritos first came to the Philippines although experts
agree that these groups of people are well-distributed in Southeast Asia and
the Pacific.

Lesson 5
1. To present and distinguish the different cultural divisions of precolonial
2. To organize and synthesize the different cultural divisions presented.
3. To summarize and critique the different cultural divisions presented in
the lesson.

To properly study prehistory, archaeologists and prehistorians have devised

a number of systems that can order and classify specific time periods and
events. Such cultural periodization is based on the similarity of specific
artifacts such as stone and metal tools, the use of related and comparable
technologies used in pottery, smelting and agriculture, among others. While
categorization and classification of time periods and prehistoric events is helpful to
archaeologists, one periodization system is not universally applicable to all other
locations and sites. Because of this inherent fault, systems of cultural periodization
are used carefully by archaeologists.

Three Age System

The most widespread cultural periodization used today is the Three Age System
first proposed by Danish archaeologist Christian Thomsen. The focus of
these stages are the development of human tools and advances in human
achievement in various fields including human behavior.

A. Paleolithic (Old Stone Age; approx. 500,000-10,000 years ago) characterized

by crude stone tools, with usable edges.Part of the stone are chipped from the core.
The flake tools are the most numerous artifacts found at Tabon cave. Evidence
revealed the earlier stone tools were larger and they exhibited no retouching or
deliberate sharpening of their edges.

B. Neolithic (New Stone Age, 10,000 years ago-

500 BC)- characterized by more polished
weapons and tools from stone and flint.
According to Peter Bellwood, agriculture
flourished in this period. It is also the time
when prehistoric cultures practiced plant
and animal domestication. This laid the
foundation of civilization whereby enough
food surplus had to be accumulated to support
specialized craftsmen who devoted much their
time to the manufacturing of tools, pottery,
clothing and dwellings.

C. Metal Age (500 BC-500 AD)- this period suggested more organized communities
with division of labor and early contacts with other human settlements. The metal
age in the Philippines is estimated to have begun between 800-600 BC. Copper
and bronze artifacts were the earliest metals found in Philippine sites such as Palawan.
These metal artifacts were in the form of socketed axes, spearhead, arrow, knives
and possible barbed harpoons and needles. This period is also marked by the
widespread use of glass beads, gold ornaments and burial jars.

Adze Burial jar shards

Formative, Incipient and Emergent

F. Landa Jocano, an eminent anthropologist and historian, archaeologist

proposed an alternative cultural periodization very different from the
popular Three Age System. Jocanos periodization takes into account the
unique nature and condition that the Philippines experienced.

A. Formative Phase-(50,000-500 BC) Stone-tool and ceramic technology.

There were three main trends in technological development. The first was
characterized by unpolished and more generalized implements. Stones found
near the kill sites were deliberately fractured by striking it against each other.
The sharp-edged fragments were used to skin animals or cut the meat for
food. The second trend was skillfully removing narrow flakes from stone nodule or
core, a process known as flaking. The third trend was characterized by polished,
highly developed and more specialized tools. This period is also characterized by the
widespread use of horticulture and ceramics.

Excavated balangay boat

B. Incipient Phase (500 BC- 1 Millennium AD) It is used to describe the

beginning of general leveling of isolation, specifically among communities along
coastal areas. The term may be understood in terms of two important developments,
the use of metal and the improvement of pottery. As material progress took place
during this stage due to improved economic growth, communities became bigger
and interaction among them intensified. Local trade became an important source of
economic life. Foodstuff and utensils were traded between settlements. Pots of different
decorations, types, sizes and uses appeared.

C. Emergent Phase- (1st -14th Centuries AD) This is characterized by
intensive trading, appearance of a definable social organization and a certain
pattern of dominant culture. The prehistoric society had grown in population
size and had developed craft specialization in ceramics, pottery and jewelry.
There was widespread maritime trade coming in and out of Asia and the Middle
East that was participated by coastal and inland groups. Commerce brought
economic affluence. It also stimulated the development of craft specialization,
like pottery, iron smelting, jewelry designing and fabric weaving. Comparative
analyses of archeological materials recovered from various parts of the country
suggest intensive as well as extensive trading activities between early Filipinos and
other overseas settlements.

Examples of Chinese cermamics, a vase and a jar.

Lesson 6
1. To identify the different groups of people that interacted with the early
2. To discriminate and contrast the interaction between early Filipinos and
different groups of people during the Age of Contact.
3. To appraise the causes and effects of these interactions to early Filipino

Regular trade occured between lowland settlement and hunter-gatherer

groups living in the mountains and forests. Hunter-gatherer groups would
trade in forest goods such as honey, resin, hardwood, wild meat while the
lowland groups would barter pots, jars, food seasonings such as salt, fishes, sea
shells and other body ornaments. Due to trade, the early Filipinos also came
into contact with other groups of people in mainland and island Southeast

The group of people that interacted with the early Filipinos includes the
Southeast Asians, Arabs and the Chinese. The early Filipinos interacted with
these groups of people mostly through economic and commercial trade.

Southeast Asia

Evidences of trade and commercial relations of the Philippines with other

Southeast Asians are mainly derived from excavated artifacts such as burial
jars, glass and stone beads, ceramics and pottery. Based on ceramics found
in various parts of the country, early Filipinos traded directly and indirectly with
Siam, now known as Thailand. Early Filipinos also traded with the kingdom
called Champa, located in the southern part of modern Vietnam. Based
on the discovered shipwreck in Pandanan, Palawan, there was an on going
trade between the Chams and early Filipinos. Explored by underwater Filipino
archaeologists, the trade ship contained pottery and ceramics from southern
Vietnam and hundreds of glass beads manufactured in todays modern day

Due to the proximity of Mindanao and Sulu to the early kingdoms of Sri
Vijaya and Majapahit located in Indonesia, there was also an intensive trade
connection between early Filipinos and people from these kingdoms. Early
Filipinos and foreign traders exchanged local products and prestige goods
by crossing the Sulu and Celebes Seas. Some of the products being traded
are glass beads, ceramics, pearls, pottery, jewelry and forest products.

Glass beads


Trade between early Filipinos and Southeast Asians followed two routes.
Trade ships coming from Champa and Thailand start from the Gulf of Thailand
sailing along the coast of Malaysia and Borneo and passing through the
southern tip of Palawan. On the other hand, trade ships coming from the
south would sail off the coast of Borneo and Moluccas to reach Sulu and

Early Filipinos also traded with the Arabs. When the Chinese authorities prevented
Arab traders from entering Chinese ports, they established ports in Malaysia. Arabs
traded with the early Filipinos exchanging products needed in the Arabian markets.
Aside from Arab traders, missionaries started to preach Islam in Malaysia, Borneo
and southern Philippines. Sulu and Mindanao became the center of Islamic faith in
the Philippines. The Sulu sultanate extended its power and influence in the southwestern part
of Mindanao. When the Spaniards arrived at the Philippines, the process of Islamization
started by Arab traders and missionaries has already begun.

Trade and commercial relations of early Filipinos with the Chinese empire is very
well documented. Aside from excavated ceramics and pottery, early Filipinos were
documented by Chinese dynastic annals and Chinese travelogues. Chinese traders
from the empires southern ports traveled to the Philippines bringing ceramics,
porcelain and other prestige goods while early Filipinos barter pearls, sea products
like tortoise shells, cloves, animal hides and other forest products.

Tortoise shell Cloves

Chinese blue plates

Trade relations between Chinese and Filipinos were so beneficial that

many Filipino sea ports became important. Among the important ports
in this trade are Mindoro (known as Ma-i or Mait to the Chinese), Butuan,
Manila and Lingayen. Early Filipinos also sent tribute missions to the
Chinese imperial court. Most of these trade missions came from Butuan.
Rulers from Mindanao, Luzon, Mao-li-wu (Marinduque or Mindoro),
Pangasinan and Sulu also sent separate tribute missions to China during
the reign of the Ming dynasty. On October 8, 1417, the Sulu delegation
arrived in China to pay tribute to the Chinese emperor. Along the way,
one of the chieftain, Paduka Batara died and was buried in a Confucian
ceremony. A stone memorial was also erected and the two sons of the chieftain
remained behind in China along with their household.

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and comparative perspectives. Canberra: ANU E Press.

Fox, R. B. (1970). The Tabon Caves : archaeological explorations and excava-

tions on Palawan Island, Philippines. Manila: Peco Print Press.

Jocano, F. L. (1975). Philippine prehistory : an anthropological overview of the

beginnings of Filipino society and culture. Quezon City: Philippines Center
for Advanced Studies.

___________. (1998). Filipino prehistory: rediscovering precolonial heritage.

Quezon City: Punlad Research House.

Scott, W. (1989). Filipinos in China before 1500. Manila City: China Studies
Program, De La Salle University.

Solheim, W. G. (2006). Archaeology and culture in Southeast Asia : unravel-

ing the Nusantao. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.