THE SURVIVOR AS FILIPINO austronesian roots

The Pinoy’s Austronesian Roots


Filipino Genesis 02
By Bernie Lopez
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The genesis of Filipino spirituality can be traced to events that started 10,000 BC. At the end of the fourth and last glacial period, a momentous human dispersal that would encompass half the globe and take five thousand years, began from the area now called Burma in the china mainland.


Archeologists call it the Austronesian dispersal. They are the ancestors of present-day Filipinos, Indonesians, Malaysians, and Polynesians, or more popularly known as the ‘brown race’. They were ancient mariners, the first boat people of human history, free spirits obsessed by wanderlust. Centuries before the Phoenicians roamed the calm Mediterranean in the first known wooden ships, the Austronesians were probing the inhospitable South China Sea in their tiny makeshift boats (balanghay in Pilipino), spreading out to the vast Pacific as far as Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa.


Hugging the Vietnamese and Indonesian coasts in the absence of celestial navigation, they headed south towards Borneo. In one theory, the dispersal split into two. One group headed north towards the Philip­pines, the other east towards Celebes. In another five millennia, they would reach Micronesia and every nook of the vast pacific. The dispersal was so complex and spanned eons that there are today varying theories on migration patterns.


The essence of the Filipino is then primordially nomadic. He avoids ‘rules’ that inhibit his freedom. He is a traveller and adventurer, taking unreasonable risks casually. That is why we have millions of overseas workers, who are unmoved by warnings of wars in the Middle East. He is extremely adaptable, that is why he is the first choice as overseas workers. He speaks English well. He is a genius in improvising when resources are meagre. He is a survivor in times of crisis and want. During the lean summer, the Mangyans of Mindoro eat ‘stones’ as if it were chocolate. They are actually hardened lime-based clay rich in mineral.


The series of articles on “Filipino Genesis” will focus on stories and anecdotes about the ancient primordial Filipino emerging into the 21st century. This is the second of the series.


Filipino Genesis 01
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