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Parallelism between Luzon

and Visayan social

Accounts were not written by social scientist
that led to disorderly, imprecise, and even
Difficult to distinguish legislative, judicial and
executive functions in native government.
Example, datu as social class or political office.
Translation of terminologies from 16th century
Spanish to have no equivalent to modern
English, example “pechero” becomes a
Miguel de Loarca’s Relacion delas Islas
Filipinas (1582). He was an ecomendero in
Panay. More on the economic details.
Father Juan de Placensia’s Relacion de las
costumbres de los indios se han tener en estas
Islas (1589). Franciscan missionary, wrote
indicating personal experience, careful
observation, and thoughtful reflections.
Father Plasencia describes Filipinos as being
divided into social conditions or “estates”:
principales, hidalgos, pecheros and esclavos.
In other treatise on custom law, he distinguishes
three “estates”: rule, ruled and slave. Similar with
Antonio de Morga.
The first two estates distinguished from one
another for purpose of administering justice, fixing
fines and inheritance.
1st estates enjoy trial by peers, 2nd trial by the first
and the 3rd estate have no right to trial at all.
A datu must be a member of the maginoo class. He
is the ruler of the barangay – “barrio of people
subject to one”. Role of a datu arose from the
captain of the boat migrating to the Philippines
with his family, relatives and servants. They
(Plasencia and others) believe that they arrived in
the archipelago a short time before. Datu governs
like that of a captain of the ship
Perhaps a barangay was a social unit necessary to
build, launch, supply and fight a man-of-war and
support its captain’s argosies.
Varied in size from 30 to a hundred household,
part of a settlement which included other
barangay, either continuous or at some
The land they occupay is called a bayan and
the settlement is called pueblo as appeared in
the dictionary. (Kaninung pabuwisan ang
bayang ito?) Taytay Rizal had 4 barangays – 4
datus – with hundred families according to
Father Chirino in 1591.
Boxer manuscript thinks 3 or 4 datus are
normal for such a settlement.
Loarca says if there are ten or more datus live
in the same pueblo, they obey the wealthiest
Morga says only the best warrior are obeyed
Plasencia holds that datus were not subjejct to
one another.
Boxer manuscript calls datus “señores de titulo.
Maginoo lineage, exercised by men line from
father to son or brother.
His power depends on the fealty of men in the 2nd
estate and the support of the 3rd estate. Usually the
chioce is the best warior.
Duties: govern the people and lead them to war.
Render judgement to any lawsuit filed by his
Initiates and enforce trial by oath, divination and
Control over disposition of barangay real
property is vested in the datu.
Right to retain land and use for his priviledge.
Example, restriction of fisheries, collection of
fees for a market open or strategic passage of
A datu may alienate territory.
Converts his rights to regular payments.
A datu receives services, agricultural produce
and respect from his people
Services are of two kinds: seasonal field labor
which nobody is exempted, maritime and
military expeditions and unscheduled
occasions like building houses or opening a
road, etc.
Plasencia equates datu to a knight, maharlika
with hidalgo, timawa with pechero and alipin
with esclavo.
Philippine custom law calls the 2nd estate
timawa. Common people for Placencia and
plebians for Morga. Both term suggest
ineligibility to marry a royal blood.
They enjoy agricultural rights to the land of the
barangay. To harvest without paying any
tribute. Their patron are lords and landlords.
Neither rich nor poor.
Birthright aristocracy who render military service
Accompanies his captains where ever he goes, row
his boat
It does not explain the origin of their ascribed
status. Maybe a diluted maginoo blood.
Descendants of fixed marriages between a ruling
dynasty and one out of power
Subject to same requirements of seasonal and
community labor.
Less free than he timawa.
An alipin is a man in debt to another man.
His subordination is obligatory and not
The other man is his creditor rather than lord.
May be born as such – called gintubo. He
inherits his parents debt, indenture or sentence.
His debt can be transfers from one creditor to
another, to his detriment.
Alipin with landrights are called namamahay
and the one that lost that right is called alipin
sa gigilid. Or those who never had such right.
Boxer manuscript has a remark that there is a
kind of slave both mananahay and gigilid
called tagalos.
Loarca and the boxer manuscript divides mankind
into 5 types of species: datus, timawas, oripun,
negroes, and the overseas aliens.
Later the 16th century Visayans divided them into
three divinely sanctioned orders: datu, timawa
Datu is used both social class and political title: the
class is a birthright aristocracy.
Timawa’s are datus comrades-at-arms, personal
bodyguards, tasting his wine for poison,
everybody else is oripun.
Members of the datu class enjoys ascribed right to
respect, obidience and support from the oripun.
They can dispose of their followers person, houses
property. No documents tells of land use.
Sons of datu have equal rights, competition is keen
among them, datu wives practice abortion.
They marry among their kind
They recognizes another lineage called tumao – “to
be a man”.
The estate of the datu is called ginoapan. There
is a cluster of house called gamoro.
Boxer manuscript states that the people obey
their datu because “most of them are their
slaves and are not the relatives of the datu”. In
the event that the datu is captured in war, they
contribute for the ransom.
Ruling datu has the duty to execute judicial
decisions handed down by experts in custom
law. Datu’s main function is to lead the war
All crimes are punishable by fines.
Timawa are personal vassals of a datu.
They pay no tribute, no render of agricultural
services and have a portion of a datu blood in
their veins.
Knights and hidalgos. (Boxer)
Freemen, neither chiefs nor slave. (Loarca)
The 3rd rank of nobility. (Alcina)
Commoners in technical terms. They cannot
marry peopel of royal blood and are under
obligation to serve and support the aristocracy
of the 1st order.
Common to all Visayan account (Oripun)
I would like to thank and acknowledge
Prof. Aldrin Gueverra
for making this PPT