I. How Philippine Prehistoric/Pre-colonial Literature Got Rediscovered
Philippine pre-colonial literary history is the longest (…-1564)
Filipinos have the misconception that Philippine literary history began with the coming of the Spaniards in 1521.
This human skull cap was discovered by Dr. Robert B. Fox, American anthropologist of the National Museum, inside Tabon Cave Palawan, on May 28, 1962. This human relic was called the "Tabon Man".
With the discovery of the Tabon Man in 1962, we learned that the history of the Filipinos dates to as far back as 50,000 years ago, suggesting also the possible length of existence of Philippine literature.
According to scholar William Henry Scott , “there is a discrepancy between what is actually known about Philippine prehistory and what has been written about it” many chroniclers possessed biases towards early Filipinos and these were reflected in their accounts/writings.
William Henry Scott, renowned historian who authoried 15 books in Philippine history including The Discovery of the Igorots , is dead. He was 72 years old.
Reading for the Day: William Henry Scott on the Igorots February 25, 2007 at 3:06 pm
They were intelligent, well-built, light-skinned, naked save for G-strings, and estimated to number between 18 and 20 thousand.
They were headhunters frequently at war with their neighbors, held the most successful collectors of these trophies in high regard.
They worked their mines mainly by panning gold in placers in the streams and bartered it, at qualities up to 22 carats, with particular trading partners in Pangasinan for rice, pigs, and carabaos, driving these animals back on the hoof.
Igorot gold fields are regularly referred to in 16th-century accounts as the wealthiest in the archipelago.
Ang taong nagigipit, sa patalim man ay kumakapit. Ang taong nagigipit kung minsan ay napipilitang gumawa ng mapangahas na bagay na maaaring maging dahilan upang lalu lamang siyang magipit. Halimbawa, ang taong may mabigat na pangangailangan ng pera ay nagagawang mangutang ng patubuan, tulad ng five-six, na nagiging dahilan upang lalu pa siyang mangailangan ng pera.
Tongali The tongali is a four holed nose flute (one hole in the back) from northern Philippines and played by the Kalinga and other peoples of Luzon. The tongali is one of the few nose flutes in the world that is still actively taught, thanks to the work of Jose Maceda at the University of the Philippines and the ongoing effects of the music department of UP Quezon. The tongali is one of numerous traditional instruments that students can study at UP. There are stories from this region that say that the nose flute was used to help rice grow when it was young, as the rice was attracted to the soft sounds of the flute, and would grow to put its ear above the water to hear it better .
Aliguyon or the Hudhud of the Ifugaos tells of the exploits of Aliguyon as he battles his arch enemy, Pambukhayon among rice fields and terraces and instructs his people to be steadfast and learn the wisdom of warfare and of peacemaking during harvest seasons.
Biag ni Lam-ang (Life of Lamang) tells of the adventures of the prodigious epic hero, Lam-ang who exhibits extraordinary powers at a very early age. At nine months he is able to go to war to look for his father’s killers. Then while in search of lady love, Ines Kannoyan, he is swallowed by a big fish, but his rooster and his friends bring him back to life.
Labaw Donggon is about the amorous exploits of the son of a goddess Alunsina, by a mortal, Datu Paubari. The polygamous hero battles the huge monster Manaluntad for the hand of Abyang Ginbitinan; then he fights Sikay Padalogdog, the giant with a hundred arms to win Abyang Doronoon and confronts the lord of darkness, Saragnayan, to win Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata.
The Agyu or Olahing is a three part epic that starts with the pahmara (invocation) then the kepu’unpuun ( a narration of the past) and the sengedurog (an episode complete in itself). All three parts narrate the exploits of the hero as he leads his people who have been driven out of their land to Nalandangan, a land of utopia where there are no landgrabbers and oppressors.