The Philippines and Its People

Family of Negritoes - Photo Credit: Compton Encyclopedia 1931 Edition

Archeological evidence suggests that the Negritos, a broad term for indigenous people of dark complexions, reached the Philippines over 30,000 years ago by a land bridge from the Asian mainland following the migration of animals. Excavation at Palawan’s Tabon cave yielded a human skull carbon-dated to 22,000 B.C. About 10,000 years ago, the ice melted, the sea level rose and the land bridges disappeared.
Waves of Indonesians followed by sea from 3,000 BC, and Malays got a firm foothold around 200 BC, followed in later centuries by waves of Chinese settlers. Most of today’s Filipinos have grown out of intermarriages between indigenous and Malay people. Modern Filipino culture, including language and cuisine, was heavily influenced by the Malays, who also introduced arts, literature, and a system of government.
A few centuries before the Spanish reached the Philippines in the 16th century, Filipinos involved in trade had also met Arabs and Hindus from India, while the expanding Chinese population wielded considerable commerical power. Muslim clergy start to bring Islam to the Philippines from Indonesia and Malaya via Borneo in the late 14th century.
The Philippine population is a mix of tribal and ethnic groups representing 111 linguistic, cultural and racial groups. The majority is of Filipino-Malayan descent with Japanese, Chinese, European and American added to the mix. The minority is the aboriginal group called Negritos whose average height is about 58 inches, dark brown to almost black skin color, wide noses and tight curly hair. The Negritos or Little Negroes are one of the dwarf Australoid people of the ancient populations of the world. It is believed that inland forest situations with very few proteins and steep terrain contributed to their short stature. They kept to the deep forests while the Igorots kept to the mountains. They have survived because of their secluded location. The Negritoes survived by hunting and fishing and eventually had adopted a rudimentary form of farming. Local groups were composed of five to ten families living in a group of thatched lean-tos around a circular space. The leader of the band was determined by age or consensus. The group moved frequently for economic reasons or because of deaths, feeling of ill luck or quarrels. They have their own distinct language.
There are about 87 different languages and dialects spoken in the Philippines. Tagalog was made the national language in 1946. Tagalog was changed to Pilipino in 1962. Most of my generation still call it Tagalog. English is also widely used. Some young people nowadays used Taglish which is a mixture of both Tagalog and English in their conversation.
The Philippines is a conglomeration of various cultures due to the influence of different civilizations over the past 1500 years. Perhaps because of their over three centuries of Spanish rule, the Filipinos are passionate about life in a way that seems more Latin than Asian and because of their 48 years under the American administration, they can communicate easily in English and have been great imitators of American culture.
In spite of new influence from neighboring Asian countries, culture from the first settlers still remain. These include belief in the active powers of spirits and the importance of omens. Spirits once played an important part in the lives of all Filipinos, and many who have been converted to Christianity or the Muslim faith still retain a few of their ancient beliefs. The Igorots still worship their ancient gods, the highest of them is called Diwata. The Philippines is the only predominantly Christian nation in Asia.
The Philippines has been ruled by various Asian and western empires. From 200 to 1565 AD, part of the Philippines may have been ruled by Hindu-Malay empires, the Javanese Madjapahit empire and the Ming Dynasty of China. From 1440 to 1565, the northern Luzon was controlled by the Japanese and Borneo and Brunei controlled the south.
Until 3,000 years ago, contact with the outside world was minimal. Between 1500 BC and 1440 AD, the Philippines traded with Borneo, Indonesia, Japan, Persia, India and China who made the Philippines their base of operation. The earliest known trade with China occurred during the T’ang Dynasty (618 to 906 AD), although contacts did not become extensive until the Sung Dynasty (960 to 1279), Yuan Dynasty (1260 to 1368), and Ming Dynasty (14th to 16th centuries). Records show that the Chinese name the Philippines largest island “Liu sung” which became Luzon later on. Historian says that the name Visayas was derived from Swirijaya, the Indo-Malay Empire that ruled Sumatra from the 7th to 13th centuries. 
Here is something to entertain you from young Filipinos at UCLA dancing the Philippine native dance called Tinikling.
The Tinikling is a pre-Spanish folk dance inspired by the tikling (heron) bird. The steps imitate the movement of the bird as they walk between grass stems and tree branches escaping the bamboo traps set by farmers.
It is the best performance I have seen so far. Watch those feet while they dance with blindfolds. Enjoy.
Until next time. The Philippine story continues.

Philippine Guide by Jill and Rebecca Gale de Villa
Philippine Handbook by Carl Parkes
Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia

Has Anyone Mistaken You For A Famous Person?

I received an email from someone asking for donation regarding the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington DC on Monday, May 27, 2019 of which he will be the Marshal. My husband being a WWII veteran I sent in a donation in his honor and also because of who sent me the email which brings me to this topic of mistaken identity.
The person soliciting the donation is no other than Lou Holtz, the Notre Dame coach. Since I have never been a football fan, I didn’t know who Lou Holtz was years ago until my husband told me a story when he came home after my son’s soccer game when my son was in grade school.
One of the kids watching the game called his father and said, “Look Dad, there is Lou Holtz.”
Matthew Morgan
A lot of people have mistaken my husband with Lou Holtz. I have no idea how tall Lou Holtz is but my husband is 6’ tall and blond. He used to be reddish blond. I see Lou Holtz is also blond.
When we moved to Charleston, we were at the Charleston Market downtown having a quick snack and people stopped and asked if he was Lou Holtz. He denied it but people did not believe him.
The first time we went to dinner at Hyman Restaurant downtown, we saw a picture of Lou Holtz on the wall. I noticed people stared at my husband and then looked at the wall.
Then when my stepdaughter and her husband together with my three granddaughters came one summer, we took them to Hyman. Lou Holtz’s picture was one of the pictures posted along the stairway. They seated us on a table near the stairway. On the table was carved “Lou Holtz sat here.” I didn’t know if it was intentional or a coincidence that we were seated at that table.
Another time, we were waiting in line outside for a table and the waitress asked for our name and our guests having known the story said, “Holtz like in Lou Holtz.” When they called Lou Holtz, we were taken to the bar and there was a picture of Lou Holtz at one corner of the bar. Customers at the bar looked at my husband and then at the wall and asked if he was Lou Holtz and he said no. They didn’t believe him. When our bill came at the end of our dinner, our guests picked up the tab so the restaurant did not know if he was Lou Holtz or not.
The last time we were at Hyman with my son and his girlfriend, the same thing happened. It was hilarious to the point of totally out of control. It was the worst in my opinion. Two people addressed him as Lou Holtz and asked for my husband’s autograph. They even asked to have their pictures taken with him. It did not make sense to me because Lou Holtz was supposed to broadcast a game the same day in another city. He could not possibly be in Charleston at the same time. People were not thinking.
A waiter must have tipped the owner of the restaurant because he came over to our table and thanked my husband profusely for coming and bringing some friends. I think he really believed he was Lou Holtz. I could not wait to get out of the restaurant. My son paid the bill so it was still a mystery to the restaurant if he was really Lou Holtz. My son’s girlfriend suggested my husband should study Lou Holtz’s biography so he could answer questions intelligently to make it look real. I said, “No!”.
I don’t think I’ll ever set foot at Hyman Restaurant again. At least not with my husband. Of course, with his health condition right now, he can’t go anywhere so that solves that problem.

Will the real Lou Holtz please stand up?

Lou Holtz  Matt at Alex's wedding

The Philippines - A Tropical Paradise

What do you know about the Philippines?
Here is a glimpse of my old country, its geography and its natural beauty.
Photo Credit –
The Philippines is a tropical paradise in Southeast Asia with spectacular beaches fringed with gently swaying palm trees on fine white, pink and in some areas almost black sand. Some islands are well known and some are still deserted and undiscovered, home to underwater wrecks like Spanish galleons, Chinese junks and warships surrounded by vast expanses of verdant landscapes and classic baroque churches.
Philippine baroque church
Photo Credit –
The Philippine Islands consisting of about 7,100 separate islands largely of volcanic origin traversed from north to south by irregular mountain ranges spread more than 1,100 miles (1850 kilometers) from north to south and nearly 700 miles (1,100 kilometers) east to west at its widest. Total land area is nearly 115,000 square miles (roughly 300,439 square kilometers), slightly larger than New Zealand, roughly the size of the state of Arizona of which about two-thirds is contained in Luzon and Mindanao. The total water surface of the archipelago is 705,115 square miles.

Philippines physicalmap
Photo Credit –
The Philippines consists of three main island groupings: Luzon which includes the islands of Mindoro and Palawan; the Visayan Islands; and Mindanao which includes the Sulu archipelago. The islands are located within the Pacific volcanic belt, are very mountainous, with a comparatively small area of lowland. The islands are subject to floods, typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Some volcanoes of interest are Taal, the lowest volcano in the world and Mt. Mayon, recognized as the most perfectly-formed volcano cone in the world, both of which show many indications of recent eruptive disturbances. The larger islands have high rugged, mountainous interiors, mostly ranges running north to south with peaks emerging above hills and valleys. The main mountain ranges are the Cordillera Central on the western side, and the Sierra Madre on the eastern side, both running north to south, roughly parallel to the coastline of Luzon. The highest mountain in the Philippines is Mt. Apo, 2,954 meters (9,600 feet) high in Mindanao. Slightly smaller is Mt. Pulog at 2,928 meters (8,481 feet) in northern Luzon. In some places, the mountains drop steeply to the sea.
Scattered between the Pacific Ocean on the east and the South China Sea on the west, Balintang Channel on the north and Celebes Sea on the south, the islands of the Philippines form an archipelago almost as large as that of Japan proper. The biggest island and farthest north, Luzon at 40,410 square miles (104,688 square kilometers), occupies 35 per cent of the nation’s total land area, and is surrounded by numerous islands and islets. It is about 105 kilometers (500 miles) from Taiwan and about 1,250 miles from Australia. The Philippine Trench (Mindanao Deep), the world’s deepest spot at 10,057-meter ( 32, 995 ft.) deep is 60 kilometers (37.28 miles) off its southeast shores. Mindanao is the second largest island and is located in the south. Many islands have extensive coral reefs offshore.
Palawan by Huff Post
Photo Credit of Palawan – Huffington Post
The ten largest islands are Luzon, Mindanao, Samar, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Mindoro, Leyte, Cebu, and Bohol. All but 460 out of the 7,100 islands occupy areas of less than one square mile apiece. Only 46 are larger than 62 square miles (100 square kilometers). Many of the 7,100 islands are little more than rocks, reefs, or sandbanks. They are mere specks on the ocean. Some 4,600 are named and about 1,000 are inhabited. The Philippine Islands share a total length of about 11,500 miles (18,000 kilometers) of coastline. There are hundreds of rivers and bays. Manila Bay is the main port.
The Philippine Islands lie wholly within the tropics, between latitudes five degrees and fifteen degrees north of the Equator, so that if they could be brought straight across the Pacific to the American continents, they would extend from the middle of Mexico to the middle of Colombia in South America.
The Philippines has a complex weather pattern. It has moist tropical climate. The Philippines is hot and humid year-round with seasons determined by the prevailing winds. The eastern parts of the Philippines receive their heaviest rainfall from November to June and the western parts of the Philippines have heavy rain from June to November. Rainfall can average seventy inches a year with some areas getting as much as two hundred inches especially during the monsoon season between October and April. Climate varies by region, but one can escape heat by moving to higher elevations like Baguio, the 1,524-meter high elevation summer capital.
There are plenty of mineral deposits like gold, coal and iron in various locations. The volcanic soils of the Philippines promote a rich, varied growth of plants. Much of the archipelago was covered with thick jungle with diverse tropical vegetation, much of which is in the mountainous interiors. Rugged ridges of hills and steep mountain ranges dot the countryside. Tropical rainforests give way to open parklands. The area outside the equatorial belt, particularly north of the equator, is also subject to devastating periodic typhoons. Swift-flowing streams during the rainy season turn into deep arid gullies during the hot dry season.
Rivers flowing from the highlands water the extremely fertile soil of the agricultural lowlands. Rice paddies, vast swamps, coconut, sugar and tobacco plantations abound. Coconut trees, the Philippines’ most important tree, are everywhere. It is used for coconut wine to drink, coconut milk to drink, coconut meat to eat, coconut heart for making lumpia (egg roll) and salad, coconut oil for cooking and coconut wood for building materials. There are hardwood trees of ebony, teak and cypress for building and making furniture. Rattan and bamboo abound. Nipa palms are used for roofing materials. Beautiful mahogany and narra are very special wood for making furniture.
Durian by
Photo Credit of Durian –
The Island also produces an abundance of delicious tropical fruits. Mangoes, avocado, papaya, guava, lanzones, chico, duhat, siniguelas, langka and the hugely smelly durian are some of the more popular and exotic fruits. Breadfruit and bananas can also be found in the Philippines, the former being used also for making barkcloth. There were two major species of bananas grown, the Musa troglodytarum with a vertical fruit stalk and the more familiar looking Musa sapientum whose fruit stalk bends downward. I miss them all!
Waling Waling
Photo Credit of Waling-Waling Orchid - YouTube
Botanists have discovered more than 12,000 different species of plants. Orchids thrive here. The 1,000 orchid species include the popular waling-waling orchid of western Mindanao. Sampaguita, the white, sweet-smelling national flower, frangipani, bougainvillea and hibiscus also abound. In addition, more than 1,000 species of fern and more than 8,000 plant species flower, decorating the country with an array of color and fragrant scents. At least 130 species of Philippine fauna now stand on the United Nation’s list of endangered and threatened species.
Some fifty years ago, forest, conservatively valued at $20 billion at the time, covered more than 53 percent of the islands. Hungry for foreign currency, commercial logging was a nationally prioritized industry from the 1950s to the 1970s. The Estrada administration banned commercial logging but more than 70 percent of the nation’s original forests have already been destroyed by that time.
The Philippine is Asia’s best kept secret diving haven. Luzon’s most accessible dive area is Anilao in Batangas, a few hours’ drive south of Manila. Across the strait from Anilao is Puerto Galera in Mindoro, blessed with rewarding sports diving. In northern Luzon, divers can visit several World War II wrecks in Subic Bay. The famed 19th century dreadnought USS New York lies in 90 ft of water, with El Capitan, a 430 ft freighter, submerged just 40 ft below. Coron Bay, off northern Palawan’s Calamian Island, features some of the Philippines’ best wrecks. The dozen accessible wrecks comprise a fleet of supply ships for Japanese Naval Admiral Kurita, sunk during the October 1944 battle of Leyte Gulf.

Until next time. The Philippine story continues.

Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia
Insight Guide Philippines – APA Publications
Philippines Traveler’s Companion by Kirsten Ellis
The Philippines by John Cockcroft

On Writings - Quote 1