In the 16th century, Ferdinand Magellan, captain of the first expedition to circumnavigate the world, came to the Philippines. Magellan landed in an island recently called Limasawa and he introduced Christianity to the native people in the island. Many years later, other expeditions followed as Spain sought to establish trade routes across the Pacific. The first permanent Spanish settlement in the Philippines was established on Cebu. The Philippines was Spain’s only colony in Asia.
Spain initially had three principal objectives in colonizing the islands: to secure a share of the spice trade in the Moluccas, to provide a base from which to convert Asians to Christianity, and to convert the people of the Philippine Islands. In the 17th century, Spain sovereignty over the Philippines colonize the Philippines has been fully established. They were able to for over 300 years. This brought great changes to Filipino culture from what it is before because of this many years of colonization of the Spaniards.
The Filipinos lives in settlements called barangays before the colonization of the Philippines by the Spaniards. As the unit of the government, a barangay consisted from 30 to 100 families. It was headed by the datu and was independent from the other group. Usually, several barangays settled near each other to help one another in case of war or any emergency. The position of datu was passed on by the holder of the position to the oldest son or, if none, the eldest daughter. However any member of the barangay can be a cheiftein depending on one’s skills and capabilities.
They were the datu (ruling class), maharlika (freeman and notable persons), timawa (commoners) and alipin (slaves). There were two types of alipin such as the aliping namamahay, who were household servants and the aliping saguiguilid who’s were slave workers. The datus were the one that heads the barangay consisting of 30 to 100 families. This title is passed down to the family of the recent datu to his oldest son or daughter if there is none. The maharlika were the feudal warrior class in ancient Tagalog society in the Philippines. They belonged to the lower nobility class similar to the timawa of the Visayan people.
The Timawa were the feudal warrior class of the ancient Visayan societies of the Philippines. They were regarded as higher than the oripun (commoners, serfs, and slaves). They were roughly similar to the Tagalog maharlika caste. The alipin refers to the lowest social class among the various cultures of the Philippines before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the Visayan languages, the equivalent social classes were known as the oripun, uripon, or ulipon.
The men wore short sleeved and collarless jackets, whose length reached slightly below the waist. The color of the jacket appeared to indicate the position of the wearer in the society (e. g. red for the chief and blue and black for below him, depending on the social class. ) For the lower part they wore bahag ( a stripped of cloth wrapped around the waist, passing between the tights). A piece of cloth wrapped around their head called putong served as a head gear. they also wore necklaces, rings, armlets, kalombiga and anklets.
For women, they wore a sleeved jacket called baro. over their skirts (saya o patadyong)was wrapped a strip of clothes called tapis. They also wore gem studded bracelets, neckalces, rings, and gold earrings, Tatoos were part of their body ornaments that serve as war medal. the more tattoo they have, the more impressive their war record are.
Agriculture was the early Filipinos’ main means of livelihood. They also grew abundance of rice, sugarcane, cotton, coconuts, bananas, and many other fruits and vegetables. Land cultivation was by tilling or the kaingin system.
Other industries were fishing, lumbering, poultry raising, shipbuilding, and weaving. Fishing was particularly thriving for the settlements along rivers and seas. In domestic trades, the barter system was used as business transactions because there was no currency. In the barter system, Filipinos exchanged their goods such as gold or foods for clothes, umbrellas, spices and other materials they needed.
Their God Bathala was the supreme leader of the pre-Spanish Filipinos. They attributed to Bathala the vreation of the heaven, Earth, and man. They were lesser gods and goddesses, like the god of death, god of agriculture, god of harvest, god of seas and many more. They also believed that things found in nature was full of spirits more powerful than human being. Spirits of dead relatives were also revered. Sacrifices were offered to all of them. The ancient Filipinos believed in immortality of the soul and the life-after-life. Disease or illness was attributed to the whims of the environmental spirits and the soul-spirits of the dead relatives. They also revered idols called anitos or diwata.
Serif Kabungsuan was responsible for the spread of Islam in Mindanao. He lead the force of Muslim Samals from Jahore that conquered the natives of what is called now Cotabatop and converted them to Islam. He also married an influencial family and founded the first sultanate of Mindanao as he himself the head. The God they believed in was Allah and their holy book was the Quran. Their head was called the sultan unlike the other parts of the Philippines which was called datu. However, the further spread of the influence of the Islam were cut short by the conquest of the Spanish and the colonization of the Philippines starting in 1665.
Chinese influences the Filipinos mainly in economic, however cultural influences were inevitable. Many words of the Philippine Language has Chinese origins. They taught the Filipinos the use of gongs, umbrellas, lead and porcelain s well as the manufacture of the powdered gun. Many words of the Philippine appears in the Sanskrit origins. In addition, ancient religious beliefs prove Indian influence on Filipinos.