What is a Barangay?

Subli

Barangay originated from the word “balangay”, a kind of sailboat that originally brought settlers of Malay stock from Borneo to the Philippines. It is known as the oldest watercraft found in the Philippines, carbon dated to 320 AD.

Balangay_Replica The balangay replica docked at CCP Harbor, Manila after its South East Asian expedition.

In the early Filipino settlements, the real social unit in the Philippine society is the barangay. It is a kinship group which evolved out of the manner the archipelago was colonized by early people.

The individual boatloads that settled in the Philippines consisted of a kinship group, a large family group whose head, the master of the boat, retained power as leader of the village established by his family. He was called datu who ruled them and led them in war and who they obeyed and respected.

Barangay villages sometimes grew to include some 30 to 100 families…

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