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It is believed that around 3000 B.C.E.

Malay
people—or people that evolved into the Malay
tribes that dominate Malaysia, Indonesia and the
Philippines—arrived in the Philippines. About 2300
years ago Malay people from the Asian mainland
or Indonesia arrived in the Philippines and brought
a more advanced culture such as iron melting,
production of iron tools, pottery techniques and
the system of sawah's also known as rice fields.
Additional migrations took place over the next
millennia.
Many believe the first Malays were seafaring, tool-wielding Indonesians
who introduced formal farming and building techniques. According to
are report It's fair to assume that this bunch was busily carving out the
spectacular rice terraces of North Luzon some 2000 years ago. With the
Iron Age came the Malays. Skillful sailors, potters and weavers, they
built the first permanent settlements and prospered from around the
A.D. 1st century until the 16th century, when the Spanish arrived. The
wave migration theory holds that the Malays arrived in at least three
ethnically diverse waves. The first wave provided the basis for the
modern-day Bontoc and other tribes of North Luzon. The second laid
the foundations for the most dominant of modern-day indigenous
groups - the Bicolano, Bisayan and Tagalog. The third wave is thought to
have established the fiercely proud Muslim Malays.”
Over time, social and political organization developed and
evolved in the widely scattered islands. The basic unit of
settlement was the barangay (a Malay word for boat that
came to be used to denote a communal settlement). Kinship
groups were led by a datu (chief), and within
the barangay there were broad social divisions consisting of
nobles, freemen, and dependent and landless agricultural
workers and slaves.
The social and political organization of the population in
the widely scattered islands evolved into a generally
common pattern. Only the permanent-field rice farmers of
northern Luzon had any concept of territoriality. The basic
unit of settlement was the barangay, originally a kinship
group headed by a datu (chief). Within the barangay, the
broad social divisions consisted of nobles, including the
datu; freemen; and a group described before the Spanish
period as dependents. Dependents included several
categories with differing status: landless agricultural workers;
those who had lost freeman status because of indebtedness
or punishment for crime; and slaves, most of whom appear
to have been war captives.
Written records and archeological artifacts from this
period are few. “Migration is only one theory. “An
alternative proposed by some Philippine scholars
suggests that the early inhabitants of Southeast Asia
were of the same racial group (the Pithecanthropus
group, to be exact), with more or less the same
traditions and beliefs. Over time, they say, divisions
formed according to the demands of the
environment.”