First, First, First Filipinos

I hate history. We, who live in the past, cannot move ahead. Yet one professor in Phil History I clearly remember for her similarity to Korina Sanchez (hi, Ms. Tantengco!) in looks, in speech..and in notoriety flunking even prospective dean’s listers – made me put up with PNU’s dusty, jurassic, and sleep-inducing library.

Prehistory was assigned to me. First year college, first presentation, fresh faces…I’d rather lose sleep than lose face. Unfortunately, our reference books were mostly written by Spanish and American settlers so the prejudice was apparently unresolved.

Though you didn’t go to grad school, I bet you knew that Philippine Prehistory is not the tale of Negrito, Malay, and Indonesian settlers, as we have earlier real ancestors than them. The discovery of the Tabon Man in Palawan, which skull was proven to be older than the fossils found at Malay Peninsula, supports Landa Jocano’s claim that we were not of Malaysian or Indonesian origin. Rather, we are products of the long process of evolution and movement of people.

What should we be proud of our real ancestors?

They’re smart, peacable and resilient people like the Filipinos of today. Jocano’s books (thin volumes, though) cite our ancestors’ sophisticated knowledge of mummification, art and science of dentistry (golden teeth were found among preserved skulls), folk therapy (the presence of miracle-workers, a.k.a. babaylan), and barangay system. Before the Spanish settlers came, we never knew barbarism and land grabbing because we were raised in a society of sharing – the spirit still present in the form of Bayanihan.

I hope to go into the tiniest details yet Landa Jocano and other  Filipino Anthropologists could help you far better if you want to deepen your search and satisfy your curiosity on our race real origin. The move to change the First Year High School’s textbook in Philippine History in all public schools from the misleading book of Teodoro Agoncillo  to Salinlahi, was indeed bold and praiseworthy.

Let Filipinos talk of Filipino ancestry.