Who Discovered the Philippines? by Perry Diaz


Who Discovered the Philippines? PerryScope Perry Diaz, Global Balita Philippine history books have been saying that Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines. But was he really the one who discovered the Philippines? Long before Magellan landed in the Philippine archipelago, visitors and colonizers from other lands had come to our shores.  The earliest evidence of the existence of modern man — homo sapiens sapiens — in the archipelago was discovered in 1962 when a National Museum team led by Dr. Robert Fox uncovered the remains of a 22,000-year old man in the Tabon Caves of Palawan.  The team determined that the Tabon Caves were about 500,000 years old and had been inhabited for about 50,000 years. In the late 1990s, Jared Diamond, Professor of Geography at UCLA and winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, and Peter Bellwood, Professor of Archaeology at the Australian National University, postulated that the Austronesians had their roots in Southern China.  Diamond said that they migrated to Taiwan around 3,500 B.C.  However, Bellwood believed that the Austronesian expansion started as early as 6,000 B.C.  Around 3,000 B.C., the Malayo-Polynesians — a subfamily of the Austronesians — began their migration out of Taiwan.  The first stop was northern Luzon.  Over a span of 2,000 years, the Malayo-Polynesian expansion spread southward to the rest of the Philippine archipelago and crossed the ocean to Celebes, Borneo, Timor, Java, Sumatra, Malay Peninsula, and Vietnam; westward in the Indian Ocean to Madagascar; and eastward in the Pacific Ocean to New Guinea, New Zealand, Samoa, Fiji, Marquesas, Cook, Pitcairn, Easter, and Hawaii.  Today, the Malayo-Polynesian speaking people have populated a vast area that covers a distance of about 11,000 miles from Madagascar to Hawaii, almost half the circumference of the world. In 2002, Bellwood and Dr. Eusebio Dizon of the Archaeology Division of the National Museum of the Philippines led a team that conducted an archaeological excavation in the Batanes Islands, which lie between Taiwan and Northern Luzon.  The three-year archaeological project, financed by National Geographic, was done to prove — or disprove — the “Out of Taiwan” hypothesis for the Austronesian dispersal.  The archaeological evidence that they gathered proved that the migration from Taiwan to Batanes and Luzon started about 4,000 years ago.  For the next 500 years after the arrival of the Malayo-Polynesians in Batanes and Northern Luzon, native settlements flourished throughout the archipelago. The Philippine islands’ proximity to the Malay Archipelago, which includes the coveted Moluccas islands — known as the “Spice Islands” — had attracted Arab traders who had virtual monopoly of the Spice Trade until 1511.  By the 9th century, Muslim traders from Malacca, Borneo, and Sumatra started coming to Sulu and Mindanao. In 1210 AD, Islam was introduced in Sulu.  An Arab known as Tuan Mashaika founded the first Muslim community in Sulu.   In 1450 AD, Shari’ful Hashem Syed Abu Bakr, a Jahore-born Arab, arrived in Sulu from Malacca.  He married the daughter of the local chieftain and established the Sultanate of Sulu. In the early 16th century, Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuan, a Muslim preacher from Malacca arrived in Malabang in what is now Lanao del Sur and introduced Islam to the natives.  In 1515 he married a local princess and founded the Sultanate of Maguindanao with Cotabato as its capital.  By the end of the 18th century, more than 30 sultanates were established and flourished in Mindanao.  The Sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu were the most powerful in the region.  Neither of them capitulated to Spanish dominion. Chinese traders — who were also involved in the Spice Trade — started coming to the Philippine archipelago in the 11th century.  They went as far as Butuan and Sulu.  However, most of their trade activities were in Luzon. In 1405, during the reign of the Ming Dynasty in China, Emperor Yung Lo claimed the island of Luzon and placed it under his empire. The Chinese called the island “Lusong” from the Chinese characters Lui Sung.  The biggest settlement of Chinese was in Lingayen in Pangasinan.  Lingayen also became the seat of the Chinese colonial government in Luzon. When Yung Lo died in 1424, the new Emperor Hongxi, Yung Lo’s son, lost interest in the colony and the colonial government was dissolved.  However, the Chinese settlers in Lingayen — known as “sangleys” — remained and prospered.  Our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal descended from the sangleys. The lucrative Spice Trade attracted the European powers.  In 1511 a Portuguese armada led by Alfonso d’Albuquerque attacked Malacca and deposed the sultanate. Malacca’s strategic location made it the hub of the Spice Trade; and whoever controlled Malacca controlled the Spice Trade.  At that time, Malacca had a population of … [Read more...]

Macario Sakay: Tulisán or Patriot? by Paul Flores

eskrima kali arnis

Macario Sakay: Tulisán or Patriot? by Paul Flores © 1996 by Paul Flores and PHGLA All rights reserved Contrary to popular belief, Philippine resistance to American rule did not end with the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo in 1901. There were numerous resistance forces fighting for Philippine independence until the year 1910. One of these forces was led by Macario Sakay who established the Tagalog Republic. Born in 1870 in Tondo, Macario Sakay had a working-class background. He started out as an apprentice in a calesa manufacturing shop. He was also a tailor, a barber, and an actor in comedias and moro-moros. His participation in Tagalog dramas exposed him to the world of love, courage, and discipline. In 1894, Sakay joined the Dapitan, Manila branch of the Katipunan. Due to his exemplary work, he became head of the branch. His nightly activities as an actor in comedias camouflaged his involvement with the Katipunan. Sakay assisted in the operation of the Katipunan press. During the early days of the Katipunan, Sakay worked with Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto. He fought side by side with Bonifacio in the hills of Morong (now Rizal) Province. During the initial stages of the Filipino-American war, Sakay was jailed for his seditious activities. He had been caught forming several Katipunan chapters and preaching its ideals from town to town. Republika ng Katagalugan Released in 1902 as the result of an amnesty, Sakay established with a group of other Katipuneros the Republika ng Katagalugan in the mountains of Southern Luzon. Sakay held the presidency and was also called "Generalisimo." Francisco Carreon was the vice-president and handled Sakay's correspondence. Julian Montalan was the overall supervisor for military operations. Cornelio Felizardo took charge of the northern part of Cavite (Pasay-Bacoor) while Lucio de Vega controlled the rest of the province. Aniceto Oruga operated in the lake towns of Batangas. Leon Villafuerte headed Bulacan while Benito Natividad patrolled Tanauan, Batangas. In April 1904, Sakay issued a manifesto stating that the Filipinos had a fundamental right to fight for Philippine independence. The American occupiers had already made support for independence, even through words, a crime. Sakay also declared that they were true revolutionaries and had their own constitution and an established government. They also had a flag. There were several other revolutionary manifestos written by the Tagalog Republic that would tend to disprove the U.S. government's claim that they were bandits. The Tagalog Republic's constitution was largely based on the early Katipunan creed of Bonifacio. For Sakay, the new Katipunan was simply a continuation of Bonifacio's revolutionary struggle for independence. Guerilla tactics In late 1904, Sakay and his men took military offensive against the enemy. They were successful in seizing ammunition and firearms in their raids in Cavite and Batangas. Disguised in Philippine Constabulary uniforms, they captured the U.S. military garrison in Parañaque and ran away with a large amount of revolvers, carbines, and ammunition. Sakay's men often employed these uniforms to confuse the enemy. Using guerrilla warfare, Sakay would look for a chance to use a large number of his men against a small band of the enemy. They usually attacked at night when most of the enemy was looking for relaxation. Sakay severely punished and often liquidated suspected collaborators. The Tagalog Republic enjoyed the support of the Filipino masses in the areas of Morong, Laguna, Batangas, and Cavite. Lower class people and those living in barrios contributed food, money, and other supplies to the movement. The people also helped Sakay's men evade military checkpoints. They collected information on the whereabouts of the American troops and passed them on. Muchachos working for the Americans stole ammunition and guns for the use of Sakay's men. Unable to suppress the growth of the Tagalog Republic, the Philippine Constabulary and the U.S. Army started to employ "hamletting" or reconcentration in areas where Sakay received strong assistance. The towns of Taal, Tanauan, Santo Tomas, and Nasugbu in the province of Batangas were reconcentrated. This cruel but effective counter-insurgency technique proved disastrous for the Filipino masses. The forced movement and reconcentration of a large number of people caused the outbreak of diseases such as cholera and dysentery. Food was scarce in the camps, resulting in numerous deaths. Meanwhile, search and destroy missions operated relentlessly in an attempt to suppress Sakay's forces. Muslims from Jolo were brought in to fight the guerrillas. Bloodhounds from California were imported to pursue them. The writ of habeas corpus was suspended in Cavite and Batangas to strengthen counter-insurgency efforts. With support cut off, the continuous American military offensive caused the Tagalog Republic to weaken. Fall of … [Read more...]