Repost from the old site. Updated April 2, 2012.
The peopling of the Philippines is a bit better understood than the peopling of Indonesia described in my another post. At least we know that most of the Philippines was first settled long ago by Negritos.
There is also another Negrito race in the Philippines – the Mamanwa Philippines Negrito Race. The woman and child above are both Mamanwas. The woman has the typical woolly hair, but the baby has the wavy, Veddoid-like hair seen in many Mamanwas.
The Mamanwa are a group of Philippine Negritos from northeastern Mindanao that are very different from all of the rest of the Negritos in the area. They live in Surigao del Sur in northeastern Mindanao, especially near Mount Hilong-Hilong.
They are thought to be the last remains of the original Negritos to move into the Philippines. There are considerable differences in stature and blood proteins between the Mamanwas and the other Negritos, and they may represent separate migrations.
Excellent photos of modern-day Mamanwas, a group of only 5,000 or so people, can be seen here. I cannot help but notice the resemblance to the Veddoid people of India and Sri Lanka and the Senoi of Malaysia. A few have woolly Negrito hair, but look at how many have the wavy Veddoid hair.
The Mamanwa language seems to be in good shape, judging by the figure that only 7% of the Mamanwa can read and write in their second language. Most Philippine Negrito languages are in bad if not terrible shape; the Mamanwa probably benefit from isolation in the jungle.
Here is a linguistics text on Mamanwa. This called a “text”, in this case a “text” of Mamanwa. It means it is a snippet of Mamanwa, with English translation usually written interlineally so we can see not only what the text means, but what the parts of each word mean too, as even the words are divided into morphemes and translated as best they can be.
The text in most primitive groups usually has to do with myths, legends or stories of the ethnic group, rather than stories about day to day behavior. In this case, it is interesting that the Mamanwa, the oldest Negritos on the Philippines, have a story about the time of their ancestors, when the Mamanwa were “like children”. I guess this means that the early Mamanwa had not reached a very high level of civilization.
Sometimes these stories seem silly or boring to me, but usually they have a lot of meaning for the group who tells them.
Unlike many other places where the Negritos seem to have died out or transcended to other forms, in the Philippines they still exist in a relatively pristine form, even if they are going extinct, culturally, linguistically and probably racially.
Although some give the Negrito population at as low as 32,000, I say that there are 119,606 Negritos left in the Philippines, most of whom are still speaking Negrito languages, based on my estimate from here. The total Negrito population, including those who have given up on their native languages, is not known. They are found throughout the archipelago in various types.
They long ago lost their original languages and now speak Austronesian languages related to the Austronesian settlers who began arriving 5,000 years ago. Philippine Negritos have bred in heavily with standard-issue Filipinos such that the Negritos are now closer to Filipinos than to any other group.
On the other hand, Filipinos do not seem to have much Negrito in them. Genetically, we can see only tiny traces of the original Negritos in the Filipino genome. Similar traces can be seen in Micronesians and probably in Malays and Indonesians. These traces range from .02 to .11% – truly minuscule.
Anthropologically, Filipino skulls look SE Asian. Nor do Filipinos look Negrito. In appearance they resemble other Austronesians like Taiwanese aborigines, Indonesians and Malays.
While Philippines Negrito genes look Filipino, Negrito skulls look Australoid, clustering with Aborigines, the Ainu, Tamils, Aborigines, the Sakai of Malaysia, Papuans, Melanesians and Fuegian and Pericu Amerindians.
The Negritos have long been a small group in the Philippines, and the other Filipinos have long dwarfed them in population. Hence, a small amount of inbreeding quickly produced many Filipino genes in Negritos but few Negrito genes in Filipinos.
Traditionally, the Manobos are considered to be among the Nesiot Austronesians. 54% of Agusan Manobo can read and write in their native language, which has 60,000 speakers. That is a pretty impressive figure for such an isolated group.
A very difficult linguistics paper on Agusan Manobo is available here. It deals with a subfield called discourse analysis, something I never studied and hence don’t really understand very well.
It analyzes language at the discourse level – beyond sounds (phonology), parts of words (morphology), words (lexicology), and sentences (syntax). It analyzes narratives and tries to locate patterns and truths about the way that humans use language to make narratives and tell stories. Believe it or not, the rules and patterns of language work at the narrative level too.
The Agusan Manobo allowed husbands to have multiple wives, common in many primitive cultures. This was usually relegated to those men who had the most money. In this tribe, only women can be religious leaders, which is interesting and resembles the Kalash of Pakistan. The Druze of Lebanon and Israel also have many female religious leaders. I think this is a great idea as I have been worshiping females all my life.
Some Filipino populations, such as the Manobos, described above, that have a somewhat higher level of Negrito genes, but even that level is very small, around 2%. The Manobos live scattered all through Mindanao, but some of the Agusan Manobo live next to the Mamanwas in Surigao del Sur and clearly there has been some interbreeding.
Most Filipinos have few if any Negrito genes. There are some Filipinos with Negrito ancestry, and this is readily observable in their woolly or kinky hair and very dark complexion.
There are many photos in the older literature of Filipino-Negrito half-breeds, and there is probably still some interbreeding going on. There is a lot of discrimination against Negritos in the Philippines.
On Luzon there is a regular festival in honor of the local Negritos. Almost everyone at the festival is a non-Negrito. A few Negritos wander around the crowd begging and are treated with contempt and ridicule by their non-Negrito brethren.
One of my Filipino contacts told me that the best description of the Filipino attitude towards Negritos is that they do not even exist.
The Philippine Negritos are related to the first groups out of Africa 60-70,000 years ago. They left via the Horn of Africa, got on boats and crossed over to Yemen, then went on boats or walked along the shore along the Indian Ocean to Iran, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, New Guinea, Indonesia and Australia.
There were widespread mangrove forests all along this route back then, though most of them have since died out. There’s plenty to eat along the coast, and the weather is much milder. A journey inland through deserts by such primitive people may have been deadly. Probably the first people undertaking this epic voyage, to which we are all indebted, were the Negritos.
It is generally accepted that Negritos or pre-Negritos probably arrived in the Philippines 30,000 years ago. Findings in caves on Palawan include a 22,500 year old skull called Tabon Man. The skull most resembles modern-day Ainu and Tasmanian people – hence, the Tabon Man people were an Australoid or Aborigine-type people. They were not Negritos.
However, there is also a fragment of a human tibia bone dated 47,000 years ago, so Negritos or pre-Negritos must have been present in the Philippines nearly 50,000 years ago. These caves show habitation going back, some say, 50,000 years.
Finds at the Tabon Caves are interesting in that giant tortoises and even elephants are found there, animals that have since died out on the Philippines.
At other sites, boars, deer, giant and pygmy elephants and rhinoceros have been found. Presently, large mammals are rare to lacking on the archipelago, a common characteristic of islands.
Some archaeologists believe that an even earlier man was present on the Philippines up to 250,000 years ago. This “Dawn Man” is thought to be related to Peking Man and Java Man, that is, he is a variety of Homo Erectus. No bones of this man have been found, but that has not prevented archaeologists from strangely speculating about his appearance.
Dr. Otley Beyer, an American anthropologist, is the one who postulated the existence of Dawn Man.
But findings at Tabon Cave date back at most 50,000 years, not 250,000 years.
Nevertheless, there are what some say are human artifacts in the Cagayan Valley on Luzon dating back 500,000 years, so Otley may have been onto something. Other reports indicate these tools date back 800,000 years, in the range of Java Man.
Others investigating similar sites in the Philippines question whether or not these are really tools, but even these people describe their own clear human artefactual finds as Acheulean and Lower Paleolithic.
These inhabitants must have been Homo Erectus, and were probably related to Java Man and possibly to Peking Man. Acheulean dates from 100,000 to 1.8 million years ago, and Lower Paleolithic spans from 120,000 to 2.5 million years ago. Clearly, the use of these terms by these Cagayan doubters means that even they feel that Homo was in the Philippines at least 120,000 years ago.
Palawan is at the very far end of the Philippines near Indonesia.
Indonesia has been inhabited by Homo derivatives for 2 million years. The theory is that Palawan was at one time connected to Borneo, and early man came to the Philippines via this land bridge.
All artifacts and bones have to be shipped out of the Philippines to more developed countries to be analyzed and then shipped back, since the Philippines, with its semi-feudal capitalist model, lacks the modern facilities to analyze artifacts. This is the one great thing Mao did for China – he built a modern country. Mao’s achievement is best seen in comparisons like this one. This blog supports the NPA in the Philippines.
The caves of Tabon show evidence of jar burial connected with the Plain of Jars in Laos and other sites in Sri Lanka. This is probably a Negrito culture in Sri Lanka and Laos.
The Negritos probably came to the Philippines from Malaysia, where they existed 50,000 years ago, down the Malay Peninsula, over to Borneo and up to Palawan in the Philippines, then to the rest of the islands. A map of land bridges in the area 50,000 years ago is here.
Today, the Negritos are known as Ati, Aeta, Agta, Arta, Atta, Alta and Ita, among other names. The word appears to be not their own name for themselves but an appellation placed on them by the surrounding Filipinos. In Austronesian languages, a word like ita often means “black”.
They practiced a Stone Age culture up until modern times.
Today, their lands have been invaded and stolen by non-Negrito Filipinos, and the Negritos labor as peasants on the lands of the Filipinos. Many are unemployed, and cultural collapse is evident. Marriages are unstable, domestic abuse is common, drunkenness is omnipresent, and watching pornography is a pastime. The languages are in a state of Language Death.
In the past few decades, there have been quite a few murders of Negritos by Filipino settlers. There have been few, if any, prosecutions for these crimes.
Being short and dark is an advantage in very hot climates. Dark skin avoids skin damage from UV waves and prevents the destruction of folic acid in the woman’s body during pregnancy, lack of which kills a high percentage of fetuses. Being short enables one to dissipate heat more quickly in a very hot climate. A large body quickly overheats in such a climate.The Tiruray language is in excellent shape. All 50,000 Tiruray speak it, and the literacy rate in Tiruray is 49%.
After the Negritos, two more possibly Australoid groups came to the Philippines, both poorly understood.
Traditional Philippine anthropology says that the Australoid-Sakais came first, and then the proto-Malay. It’s possible that it may have been the other way around, if their arrival in the Philippines mirrored their arrival in Australia.
My working of events reverses the traditional model and postulates that the proto-Malay appeared first, and then the Australoid-Sakais. The proto-Malay were short and very hairy – were they related to the Ainu? It is not known if they were Australoid or not. The nature of the proto-Malay is completely unclear.
A very hairy and early Asian seems to imply someone related to the Ainu. The proto-Ainu were in Thailand 18,000 years ago as the Jomon, when they got on boats and moved up to Japan. In Malaysia, the proto-Malay are the product of Austronesians from Taiwan breeding in with Veddoid Senoi.
It is not known if the proto-Malay described in the peopling of the Philippines are the same people as those in Malaysia, but these people do not seem to be hairy at all.
It seems more logical that the proto-Malay described here may have been the same Murrayan Jomonese-Ainu who came to Australia 15,000-20,000 years ago, possibly from Thailand, later mixed with the Carpinterians, and went on to become the Aborigines. As the Philippines is on the way from Thailand to Australia, it’s conceivable they could have moved into the Philippines along the way.
Australoid-Sakais were the next group to come to Philippines after the proto-Malay. The Sakais are the same as the Senoi in Malaysia.
The Senoi are the subject of the most flagrant yet little known anthropological frauds of our time – the Senoi Dream Theory fraud. A discussion goes beyond the scope of this post, but this exhaustive site fills in all the blanks.
They seem to be a part-Veddoid group with links to the Veddoids of India and Sri Lanka. They also seem to have some roots in Southern China 5,000 years ago. It appears that whatever movements brought them to Malaysia may have carried them over to the Philippines. The Sakai mixed in heavily with the Negritos.
It is quite possible that this is the same group as the Carpinterian Australoids who left India 10,000-15,000 years ago and went to Australia to mingle with the Murrayan Australoids and become the Aborigines. As the Philippines is on the way from southern India to Australia, it’s conceivable they could have stopped by the Philippines along the way.
All of these early Australoid groups – the Sakai, the proto-Malay and the Negritos – seem to have left little trace on the Filipinos of today.
The next group to come to the Philippines were the Nesiots. Some say the Nesiots were Austronesians from Taiwan; others say they came from Indonesia. Wherever they came from, their ancestors are the Tboli of Mindanao, Apayaos, Gaddangs, Ibanags, Lumad and Kalingas of Northern Luzon; the Tagbanuas of Palawan; and the Bagobos, Manobos, Mandayans, Bukidnons, Tirurays and Sabanuns of Mindanao.
The Tboli language is in excellent shape, with 95,000 speakers, and there are 10,000 Tboli monolinguals. Tboli is spoken freely and everywhere by the group. Their literacy rate in Tboli is 50-60%, excellent for such a small language.
This document, Figurative Uses of ‘Breath’ in Tboli, is a linguistics text dealing with the field of Semantics, or the meaning of words. It’s easily readable by any reasonably educated reader of this blog, and you might find it interesting to dip into it.
In Tboli, one may combine the noun “breath” with 53 different adjectives and verbs to create different expressions of emotions, characteristics, or new verbs. Lengun nawa – “coffin breath” – worry, anxiety – is a cool example. More at the link.
The first wave of Nesiots came 5,000 years ago. They were tall and thin, and had light skin, deep set eyes, aquiline noses and thin lips. It is common to say that these people were part-Caucasian, but there is little evidence of this. Some of the Mangyan of Mindoro today do look somewhat Caucasian.
Some Bontoks look quite Negrito – the woman in this photo obviously has Negrito blood.
An Alangan Mangyan woman from north-central Mindoro.The language has 7,694 speakers and is in good shape. Some say these people may be related to Negritos, but that is not proven. I have a friend on Mindoro who says she likes the Mangyan but prefers not to deal with them when they come into Calapan City where she stays sometimes. Asked why not, she said it is because they smell bad.
They live pretty primitive lives via slash and burn agriculture in the jungles of Mindoro, but maybe they don’t bathe all that much. They come into the cities now and then to buy stuff. The men, even today, are often clad only in a loincloth.
A second wave came later. They were shorter, bulkier and darker, with thick lips, wide noses and heavy jaws. As these groups are also related to the Sea Dayak of Borneo and the Batak of Sumatra anthropologically, and the Paiwan Taiwanese aborigines genetically, it seems strange to say that they came from Indonesia.
They were probably ancestors of the Paiwan who came to Indonesia and the Philippines by boats. Ancestors of the Batak later went on to populate Polynesia and from there Micronesia. I call the group made up of Sea Dayak, Sumatrans, Balinese and the Paiwan the Island SE Asian Race.
From 700-2,300 yrs ago, the last wave of Austronesians came from Taiwan, and these are the present day Pinoys. This group, traditionally called Malays, is almost exclusively related to the Ami aborigine tribe of Taiwan. An initial group of these Ami came 1,900-2,300 years ago and formed the primitive, headhunting groups in the Luzon hill tribes. These tribes include the Igorots, Ifugaos , Bontoks and the Tinggians or Tinguians.
Another group of Ami came from 700-1,900 years ago, and includes the Visayans, Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Bicolanos and Kapampangans. This group was much more advanced than the earlier group, and actually used an alphabet. The overwhelming majority of Filipinos today are related to this last group.
900 years ago, a large wave of southern Chinese came to the Philippines on boats and totally mixed in with the Ami-Filipinos.
Present-day Filipinos are mostly related to the Ami of Taiwan who came 700- 2,300 years ago, with heavy Southern Chinese admixture from the Chinese who came 900 years ago. The ancient Southern Chinese portion has totally mixed in to the point where we cannot see it genetically anymore, but it is there and can be seen by plotting Filipinos with Southern Chinese and noting that they plot quite close together.
More recently, there has also been some mixing with Chinese, but most Filipinos do not show evidence of this recent mixing. About 20% of Filipinos do have recent Chinese ancestry though.
Tales that the Filipinos are part-Australoid or heavily mixed with Negrito, very common beliefs among racists, racialists and amateur anthropologists on the Internet, are all in error, at least based on genetics or skull measures. The notion that Filipinos are part-Australoid is based on looking at their faces and noting that their faces appear somewhat Australoid.
This older anthropological method of dividing up groups into racial types a la Carleton Coon has fallen completely out of favor in recent years.
The Filipinos are first and foremost a Southern Chinese people, genetically related to the far Southern Han Chinese from around Hong Kong and the aboriginal Taiwanese tribe, the Ami.
Recent research shows some intriguing suggestions of closer link between Ami and the rest of the extra-Taiwanese Austronesian languages than between extra-Taiwanese Austronesian and the non-Ami Taiwanese languages. Austronesian is a vast family, but all of the main branches but one are on the island of Taiwan.
All extra-Taiwanese Austronesian languages form one vast family. There are cognates between such unexpected languages as Tagalog and Hawaiian, showing that the two peoples are related. The very deep diversity in Taiwanese Austronesian indicates that the Taiwanese languages have been evolving on the island for a very long time.
In fact, I was able to construct a compact race called that I called the South China Sea Race, composed of Filipinos, the Ami of Taiwan and the Guangdong Han, a shorthand for the Southern Chinese of Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and the Taiwan Strait.
The ancient proto-Ami descendants of the Filipinos were the speakers of Austronesian ancestor language of all the Philippines, the Sama-Bajau languages and Gorontalo-Mongondow languages. They also founded the Zabag Empire and it’s successor Lusung Empire, ancient small kingdoms in the Philippines. There were ancient Yue Kingdoms in Guangdong that were originally founded by the Ami of Taiwan.
There have been complaints in the comments section at the end of the post that Filipinos and Hong Kong Chinese do not look much alike. I do not know Asians very well, and to me Southern Chinese from around Hong Kong have darker skins and more SE Asian features than any other Chinese that I have encountered.
Apparently, Hong Kong Chinese and Filipinos can be readily discerned by those in the know. However, some say that when they are in Hong Kong, they have a hard time telling the Filipinos from the Hong Kong natives. They says the only way they can tell them apart is by talking to them.
But my racial classification is not based on phenotype – it is based on genes and genes alone. Check the Capelli and Chu papers linked at the end of the piece for evidence linking first the Filipinos to the Ami, and then the Hong Kong Chinese to the Ami.
The Chinese in this area have some of the world’s highest recorded IQ’s of around ~105. Oddly, the Filipino IQ is only 86, but there is a tremendous amount of malnutrition in the Philippines, and the population is poorly educated as the semi-feudal state spends almost nothing on schooling the people.
Filipinos I have known of no more than average intelligence show typical Asian traits of behavioral inhibition, calmness, shyness, self-consciousness and even a degree of introversion in the females along typical Asian time preference and providence (willingness to work hard today in the interest of possible rewards at some unknown future time).
Improvidence is typically associated with lower IQ’s, while increased providence is associated with higher IQ’s, so it is interesting to see that the Filipinos, with a relatively low IQ of 86, have behavioral attributes of higher-IQ groups.
I have been completely stunned by the highly developed math skills of Filipinos who have only at best average intelligence. Asian intelligence is highly weighted towards math and visual intelligence. All of these things add weight to the notion of Filipinos being a Southern Chinese people.
India, with a national IQ of only 81, has developed an amazing high tech and call center economy. Call centers are moving to the Philippines, where, if anything, English skills are better than in India. I think that the Philippines shows good potential for IT, based on better than expected math skills. Lack of behavioral disinhibition and good time preference ought to be good traits in the Filipino labor force.
Like many people who evolved in the tropics, Filipinos are sunny, happy and seemingly carefree. They love to laugh, sing and party. In this way they resemble Thais, Cambodians, Laos, Malays, Polynesians, Micronesians, Melanesians, Indonesians, Caribbeans and even Africans.
The Philippines may have a better future in the modern economy than many think.
This blog does support the armed Maoist insurgency waged by the New People’s Army in the Philippines, but that is really the subject of another post.
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Capelli, C., Wilson, J.F., Richards, M., Stumpf, M.P.H., Gratrix, F., Oppenheimer, S., Underhill, P., Pascali, V.L., Ko, T.M., and Goldstein, D.B. 2001. A Predominantly Indigenous Paternal Heritage for the Austronesian-Speaking Peoples of Insular Southeast Asia and Oceania. American Journal of Human Genetics 68:432-443.
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Gaillard, Jean-Christophe and Mallari, Joel P. 2004. The Peopling of the Philippines: A Cartographic Synthesis. Hukay: Journal of the University of the Philippines Archaeological Studies Program. 6:1-27.
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Headland, Thomas N. 2003. Thirty Endangered Languages in the Philippines. Work Papers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota Session 47.
Jablonski, N. and Chaplin, G. 2000. The Evolution of Human Skin Coloration. Journal of Human Evolution.
Miller, Jeanne and Helen W. Miller. 1978. Mamanwa [language texts]. In Evan L. Antworth (ed.), Folktale Texts, 80-90. Studies in Philippine Linguistics, 2(2). Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines and Summer Institute of Linguistics.
Omoto, K. 1984. The Negritos: Genetic Origins and Microevolution. Acta Anthropogenetics 8(1-2):137-47.
Omoto, K., Ueda, S., Goriki, K., Takahashi, N., Misawa, S., and Pagaran, I. G. 1981. Population Genetic Studies of the Philippine Negritos. III. Identification of the Carbonic Anhydrase-1 Variant With CA1 Guam. American Journal of Human Genetics 33(1):105-111.
Porter, Doris. 1977. Figurative Uses of ‘Breath’ in Tboli. Studies in Philippine Linguistics 1(1):148-50.
Schumacher, Ronald L. 1986. Stative Verbs at Peak in Agusan Manobo Narrative Discourse. Studies in Philippine Linguistics 6(1):80-93.
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