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The Soul

Boats
Abuso | Aluad | Paltongan | Verastigue

Outline
I. Introduction
II. Alfredo E. Evangelista
I. Soul Boats
II. The Roles of Caves and Rockshelters in
Philippine Culture-History
III.

Similar Practices

Soul Boats

BANGKA

baka[h]

BOAT

Bangka
Kabang

Harong
Larong
Kabaong
boathouse

BARANGAY/
BALANGAY/
BALANGHAI/
Butuan Boat

Kabaong

Journey to the Afterlife


Abay
boats sailing together; a person who accompanies another in a journey;
the soul of another that would accompany the dead to the afterlife

Marabay
the mourning ritual, thus meant seeking a soul to act as companion for
the dead relative, which was why it ended only upon the taking of the life
of another

Catutubo
person who was the same age as oneself

Soul boats:

A Filipino journey of self-discovery


Alfredo E. Evangelista

Kabaong

Boat coffins

Soul boats

Archaeological Activity in the Tabon


Caves of Palawan
1. Late Neolithic jar-burial
assemblage
Manunggul cave
1000 B.C.
Hundred funerary pottery
vessels and associated artifacts
Burial jar which had a cover
featuring a ship-of-the-dead
with the figures of two humans
riding in it
2. pottery coffin
73 centimeters long by 34
centimeters wide
First-known coffin made of
pottery

Yawning Gap?
Early Metal Age

Archaeological Activities in
Kuruswanan area of Quezon, Palawan
1.

Lungun Cave
Coffin made from the trunk of the
hardwood ipil tree
115 centimeters by 32 centimeters
Coffin had perforated flanges at both
extremes of the body and lid
Locked by wooden pegs
Bones of a young adult and a juvenile
(secondary burial)
Fragment of a pottery vessel, rice knife,
small knife (for Areca nut), and a fragment
of a spearhead with a tang
Decorated earthenware vessel
Between 700 and 1000 A.D.

Archaeological Activities in
Kuruswanan area of Quezon, Palawan
2.

Boat

224 centimeters by 37 centimeters


Made of ipil wood
Bones of a young adult (primary burial)
Holes along the sides of the cover and the body of the coffin
Associated with fragments of a brown-glazed Chinese stoneware jar
Late 13th or early 14th century A.D.

COFFIN BURIAL PRACTICE


Caves in Northern and Southern Mindanao, Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Samar, Masbate, Panay,
Higantes Island group, Romblon, Palawan, Mindoro, the Bicol Peninsula

Common Characteristics
1.

Hardwoods as raw material for the coffins

2.

Presence of accompanying artifacts


ceramic wares, locally made pottery vessels, metal implements, ornaments of glass, carnelian
shell and gold

3. Presence of artificial skull deformation


4. Foramen magnum
5. Found in caves
6. Utilization of wood and bamboo pegs

Archaeological Activity in Banton


Island, Romblon
Humans skeletal remains with artificially deformed skulls, Yuan
and Sukhotal pottery, and gold and Carnelian ornaments.

Pioneers
Alfred Marche

Carl Guthe

The Roles of Caves and


Rockshelters in
Philippine CultureHistory

Soul Boats from Kahoy: Wood in the Philippines by


Cheed Sangalang Fadriquela (2013)
Woods are very significant means of transportation for the living and the
dead.
According to Abrera, the word kabang denotes the Tagalog word Kabaong
or coffin, a means of transportation of the dead journeying to paradise.
(page 181)
During the pre-hispanic period, Filipinos use Ipil and molave tree to make
the kabaong of the dead for it can last for a long time compared to the
other kinds of trees found here in the Philippines, while in the uplands, they
use pine tree because of its availability and durability.(p.181-183)

Kulong, the
wooden
coffin of the
Ibalois of
Benguet

The coffins
of Sagada
Mt. Province

The wood
markers or
Sunduk of
Sulu,
Philippines

The Roles of Caves and Rockshelters in


Philippine Culture-History (Evangelista)
According to old beliefs, it was considered a sacred place for it is a place for the
immortals where it was restricted to enter such places.
The caves and rock shelters provide primary source and data for Philippine
archeological studies.

Tabon cave, Guri cave, Duyong Cave and others like the Ipot cave of Romblon,
however the practice of leaving the dead on caves and rock shelters is still alive
today until now.

Tabon cave

Guyangan
cave in
Banton,
Romblon

Death
blanket
found in
Banton,
Romblon

Igorot Death
Blanket

Similar
Practices

Batanes burial sites (1595 A.D.)


Part of the 1994 Batanes Archaeological Exploration of
excavating jar burials, ijangs or castle-like structures, and
the nakavajayan or old settlement areas
"...down on the rolling plain, there were boat shaped stone
grave markers in regular patterns. The stones were arranged
[to present the] current traditional boat or tataya, where the
bow or prow and stern appear prominently.
Limestone bed
Clay soil
Sandy clay loam deposits

Batanes burial sites (1595 A.D.)


The bow of the markers
pointed towards the sea.
Also, the bow of the boat
markers align with the
appearance of the band of
the Milky Way Galaxy

Catanauan burial site


The boats in Catanauan
are also oriented towards
the sea.
VS. BATANES BURIAL SITE
made of coral slabs
Contained multiple burials

Sama grave markers or


Sunduk/Sundok
The seafaring Samals of the southern
Philippines mark their graves with
human figures that indicate the
gender and age of the deceased
Sometimes sundoks are inserted into
a base formed into a boat, sea cow,
or some other animal

Sama grave markers or Sunduk/Sundok


Some male graves
feature phallic
ornamental masts,
while for females
they take the form
of flat panels

Tboli burial tradition


Dr. Erlinda Burton: They believe that a person is
composed of both body and spirit
Death happens when the spirit leaves the body
permanently, or when it is taken away by an evil
spirit called busao
The Tboli bury children and adults differently
Children: wrap him/her in a kumu (blanket) or igam (mat)
and suspend the body in a branch of a tree
Adult: placed in a lungun (coffin), which looks like an
owong (boat)

Tboli burial tradition


VS. OTHER PRACTICES:
At the end of the wake, the wooden coffin will be placed
over a fire but the fluid that oozes through the burning
wood is collected
Tbolis have no specific burial ground so they bury the dead
anywhere
After the feast, the deads possessions are destroyed.

SOUL BOAT TRADITION


=
AUSTRONESIAN
MOVEMENT
(Melanau of Sarawak,
Borneo)

In the existence and the similarity among


the boat markers may be interpreted
using Out Of Taiwan Theory and Nusantao
Maritime Exchange Theory. However, this
study leans towards the latter.

SACRED SERPENT
People then used sacred seeds to fill in the hollowed out eyeballs of the serpent. The
sacred seeds symbolizes gods effort to lead the persons soul to the right path.

The onset of coffin burial in the allowed the addition of seemingly ornamental pieces.
However, designs like Snakes and the Sarimanok were prevalent in Mindanao.

Jocanos study and other sources show how


boats were used not just as a vehicle for
transportation but also of culture. The much
given importance of communities to boats as it
offers them a form of subsistence translated
even to their burial practices. Here boats were
not used as a vehicle of living persons but also of
their souls when they pass away.

References
http://www.jstor.org/stable/29792430
http://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph/nationalmuseumbeta/Collections/Ethno/Marker.html
http://nga.gov.au/Exhibition/LIFEDEATHMAGIC/Default.cfm?IRN=198846&BioArtistIRN=&
mystartrow=37&realstartrow=37&MnuID=3&GalID=5&ViewID=2
https://pimephilippines.wordpress.com/2003/11/01/burial-traditions-in-mindanao/
https://www.academia.edu/4755218/The_Tboli_Songs_Stories_and_Society?auto=download