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Skin Color
Descriptions of the color of Filipinos by Spaniards in the sixteenth century were often contradictory. The first Filipinos Spaniards observed were Visayans from Homonhon, Limasawa and Butuan and were described by the visitors as being of medium stature and dark skinned Pigafetta- he called them olivastre ( in Italian), meaning olive skinned or tanned


Visayans were called Pintados (tattooed) by Spaniards batuk or patik - general term for tattoos also meant the marking of snakes or lizards, or any designs printed or stamped on symbols of male valor: applied only after a man had performed in battle with fitting courage and, like modern military decorations, they accumulated with additional feats. a tattooed man who was considered cowardly was compared to a halo monitor lizard, a large black and yellow reptile tattooed all over butBisayan Esclavo (slave) and Halo drawings extremely timid. from Alcina manuscripts (1668)


tattoos were required for public esteem by either sex warfare initiation rite into manhood tigma a youths first taste of war/sex tiklad his first conquest in battle/love mapuraw natural-colored, acceptable for celibate transvestites (asug)
traditional tattooing is still practiced among many Philippine indigenous groups

tattoo artist/specialist used tool

Tattoo designs

labid distinctive inch-wide lines, straight lines and those which go snaking and zigzagging up the leg to the waist ablay/dubdub/daya-daya strait/zigzag lines on the shoulder/chest to throat/arms bangut muzzle/halter or masklike design on the face langi gaping, e.g. crocodiles jaws or beak of predator bird hinawak men tattooed below the waist lipong heroes tattooed all over (except under the G-string) angkles eyelids covering for tattoos long robes (said some friars) or G-string usually?

Decorative Dentistry
sangka - tooth filing, leveling done by an expert with a slender stone file, who sometimes removed half the tooth in the process. designs: open space between teeth saw- toothed points desired effect was always to render them even and symmetrical involved correcting or obviating natural misalignment and the reduction of teeth suggestive of fangs or tusks.


Gold-pegged incisors Pusad - teeth goldwork (inlays,crowns or plating) Mananusad - dental worker Halop - covering plating held on by little gold rivets run through the tooth actual caps extending beyond the gum line also secured by pegs Bansil - gold pegs inserted in holes drilled with an awl called ulok, usually in a thumbnail-shaped field that had been filed into the surface of the incisors beforehand. If they were simple pegs without heads they looked like gold dots on ivory dice when filed flush with the surface of the tooth.

Skull Molding (Bisayan women)

the skulls of newborn infants are so soft that if they are continuously laid in the same position, their heads become flat on one side tangad - a comblike set of thin rods bound to a babys forehead by bandages fastened at some point behind tinangad - adults with the desired tangad profile puyak - flatness of the back of the head

Penis Pins

Visayan men wore a pin through their penis for the greater stimulation of their sex partners tugbuk - pin inserted in childhood; made either of gold, ivory, brass, etc. sakra - a kind of ring or cogwheel with blunt teeth placed on both sides of the tugbuk


widespread in the Visayas called tuli and was technically supercision rather than circumcision-that is, cut lengthwise above rather than cut around pisot - uncircumcised operation was performed informally with no particular ceremony [just like today] and was thought to serve hygienic purposes

Pierced Ears

Both men and women wore earrings men - ear pierced with one or two holes per lobes women - three or four-to accommodate a variety of ornaments earrings with or without pendants were held by thin gold pins run through the ear and fastened behind earplugs - required holes as wide as two fingers, or lobes distended into loops through which a person could stick his fist


Hairstyles usually differed between one community and another and could go in and out of fashion quickly 1520s Bisayas -- Visayans in Homonhon had hair down to the waist, while the king of Butuan wore his at shoulder length, and men on the coast of Surigao pulled theirs back into a knot at the nape of the neck 1560s Bisayas -- Cebuanos were gathering their hair up in a headcloth; twenty years later, a knot or chignon either on top of the head or at the back was the style of the Visayas


Visayan clothing varied according to cost and current fashions and so indicated social standing basic garments Men: Bahag - G-string Women: Malong (Maranaw) - tube skirt; or light blanket wrapped around the body prestigious clothes Lihin-lihin - added for public appearances, formal occasions blouses and tunics, loose smocks with sleeves, capes, or ankle-length robes


made of tortoise shell, mother-of-pearl, precious stones, giant clam shells, and gold vegetables fibers and seeds - used by the poor for everyday wear, and as part of male mourning ritual most of the jewelry was gold