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The Philippines Proto-History: An In-Depth Summary and Analysis

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William Robert D. Silva                                                                 Yr./Sec: I-25

Readings in Philippine History

Reading Review #1

                The Philippines Proto-history: An In-depth Summary and Analysis

Prior to reading the three Documents; “Ang Saysay ng Inskripyon”, “Filipinos in China before 1500” and the “On the Chinese and Arab trade”, I have known for a fact that Philippine archipelago was constituted of small islands wherein every islands has their own political system called ‘Barangay’,a Tagalog word originally meaning “boat,” referring to a boatload of related people, their dependents, and their slaves. These kinship groups were led by a datu, hence “barangay” also meant the following of a datu, a political community defined by personal attachment, not territorial location. The barangay settled together in a community ranging from thirty to one hundred households, and through subdivision, many were still that size when the Spanish arrived in the sixteenth century- (Corpuz, 1997; Guerrero, 1970; Agoncillo, 1960).

I have never thought that a lot of things relative to that set up traced our history of trade relations on our neighboring countries. Having that kind of system makes our country an accessible trade partner. These scenarios also depicts how the early primitive Filipinos made their living and establish their connections to the outside islands or countries.

Upon reading the materials, I’ve noticed a few instances of Philippines being a central trade community. With respect to its location and resources, I can perhaps fairly say that our country sets the main trends on mercantilism in the south-east Asia.  Since, the area was surrounded by waters, most of the people were sea fearers, and thus, they were able to have a contact with the kingdoms in Southeast Asia and North Asia; especially in China and Japan (Salazar, 1999). According to Samuel Tan (2008) in his book History of The Philippines, during the 500 B.C.E to 900 C.E; the Neolithic Era, there were jade ornaments in the archipelago which have an affinity to the ornaments of Vietnam as an artifacts belongs to the Sa-Huynh (North east coast of Vietnam) .

Hence, this suggests vividly an extensive interaction between the archipelago and the rest of the Southeast Asia, in effect, a highly developed maritime technology and trade. More so, as evidence to the prior conclusion, there was 15- meter length boat being excavated during 1978 at Butuan, which was dated 320 C.E., this type of sea craft can explore adequately the interisland and interregional travel (Tan, 2008). In the 618 B.C, the islanders began the first contact to Tang Dynasty, China (Abinales and Amoroso, 2005; Salazar, 1999).

Henceforth, the Chinese economic and Socio-cultural influences came by the way of Chinese porcelain, silk and traders/merchants, the latter was being engaged with the traders of India that filtered through the Indianized Empires in the Southeast Asia; the Srivijaya and Majapahit Empires. Furthermore, in the 5th century C.E, the Kunlun ship presumably from Java and Shrivijaya have traded with the Philippines and other Southeast Asian Countries, and China.

In the late Neolithic, wet cultivation marked an essential point in the economic development of the archipelagic communities. The irrigation system was then implemented, likewise, the husbandry or domestication of animals, which resulted to the emergence of surplus of agricultural goods and other products out of the abundant resources In addition, 982 C.E Ma-i, probably Mindoro, brings goods directly to Canton for the first time.

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