The Philippines and Its People

This was posted on my other blog – Subli. There was a problem on reblog so I just repost it here. Enjoy the dance at the bottom of the blog.

Family of Negritoes
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 from YouTube 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.
Rosalinda

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

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When the American soldiers landed in Batangas – 1945

Batangas Map
Map of Batangas province. Way below it (the white space) is Mindoro. Alitagtag borders Taal Lake on the south side.

 

This is the continuation of the article that appeared on Pacific Paratrooper’s blog about my parent’s escape from the Japanese when the American soldiers landed in Batangas in 1945. If you have not read it yet, I advise you to go to Pacific Paratrooper’s blog first before you continue reading this article. Thanks.

 

My father was uncomfortable staying in Alitagtag because where they were hiding was not that far from the main road. It was only a mile away even though it was wooded and close to a ditch. Dad decided to take a chance and leave Alitagtag. After dark, they joined another group and moved to another location south of the main road somewhere near Bauan where my mom’s family lived. Some of the townspeople were moving to farms farther south away from the main road.

They decided to leave after dark. Dad made a papoose bag and carried me in it. Mom grabbed some clothes for us and a scarf to cover her head. They thought it would be safer where they were going because the Japanese camp was so close to Alitagtag and the Japanese might advance to Alitagtag and meet the Americans head on.  Dad’s two younger brothers joined them. They left under the cover of darkness.

As they passed the main road, they looked all around them to see if there was anyone in sight.  Nobody was around. They safely crossed the main road, went quietly through people’s yards and began their trek. It was total darkness and not a sound could be heard except their footsteps. As they reached the farm beyond the houses, there was a faint glow from the moon above. They walked at a very fast pace. Dad was leading the group as they followed a trail he knew. They headed south passing through farmland. They reached a small rise then turned east towards the place where two big mango trees, a local landmark, were and turned south again. Every so often, they would stop and listened for strange sounds. When they thought it was not a Japanese patrol, they kept their steady pace. The quiet of the field was only broken by sounds from the night owl and bats roaming the night. They kept on looking back but could not see a thing.  

They veered left through another path which would take them to Bauan. This time, the moon disappeared behind the cloud. Everything around them went pitch black.  They slowed down their trek, trying to listen to any noise or movement. They had to be alert to any possible danger. They found a clearing and rested for a while. They might have dozed for an hour. Then they saw the moon begin peeking through the clouds again. They decided to move on. They kept on walking that seemed like forever. They reached Bauan as the dawn was coming up.

They went straight to their Ninong sa Kasal’s (wedding sponsor) house near Bauan town market. The town was still quiet. Not a soul was up yet. They knocked at the door. The mayordomo opened the door. Dad asked if his godfather was home but was told he left with his family for Mindoro where it’s safe.

“I’m not sure it’s safe anywhere anymore. The Japanese are killing civilians now, not just soldiers and guerillas. Are you staying here?” Dad asked. The old man told Dad they were leaving town soon and would go into hiding.  

“I think you should leave now and go to some remote barrio where the Japanese do not venture at all,” Dad told the mayordomo.

Dad decided to move on and find my mother’s family. They went to Asis, a small barrio between Alitagtag and Bauan far from the main road where my maternal grandmother and uncles were hiding. My maternal grandfather died when Mom was five years old.

They were only at Asis a few days when they noticed a black cloud coming from the west. From where they stood, they could not see the flame but it was definitely a big fire. They saw black smoke shooting up to the sky coupled with bright light on the horizon. They had the suspicion that the Japanese started burning some areas. Dad was worried about his parents who were hiding in Alitagtag. He hoped the fire was not there. Mom thought of her aunt and her aunt’s family who were hiding near Taal at a sugar cane field.

Dad told Mom he had to go back to Alitagtag to make sure his parents were OK.

“What about your brothers?” She asked.

“They are staying with you and the baby. You’ll all be safe here. Take care of the baby in case I don’t come back.”

Dad walked back to Alitagtag. He followed the same path he did a few nights before. It took him all day. He could smell the smoke as he was getting closer to the main road in Alitagtag but it looked like it was coming from the northwest of where his parents were. The air was gray with smoke. He crossed the main road and it was empty. Nobody was around. Looking right and left, he ran across the street beyond the houses and into the fields. So far he had not encountered any Japanese soldier.

He reached the area where his parents were hiding. His parents were glad to see him. He found out everything was fine there except the Japanese started burning the villages from Muzon about two kilometers from where they were all the way to Taal in retaliation for their losses in Muzon.

Filipino Guerillas – Photo Credit – Pinterest

Apparently, the Philippine guerillas in Batangas, a ferocious looking group of Batanguenos, ran into a group of Japanese soldiers a few days ago. A fierce skirmish with the Japanese soldiers ensued at the junction of Alitagtag and Muzon. The fight ended with some Japanese casualties. The Japanese thought the revolutionaries came from Taal so they set fire to all the houses from Muzon all the way to Taal.  

As the fire started to spread out, people near Taal did not think it would reach them since it started too far from where they were. But as the fire spread through several villages, people who were still in their home started scrambling and ran for their lives. They went running to the sugar cane fields away from the main road. They joined some villagers who were already hiding there. But the Japanese made sure they burned the whole perimeter of all sugar cane fields including those which dotted the roadways to Taal so people had no way of escaping. They were trapped.

My grandfather told Dad to go back to Bauan and bring back his family to Alitagtag. So the next day, Dad was back on the dirt path going back to Asis to take his family back to Alitagtag. However, Mom insisted on staying for a few more weeks till everything calm down. They stayed for a couple of months until they got word that Alitagtag was now safe.

After large-scale enemy resistance in southern Luzon had collapsed, the Japanese in Batangas unleashed their brutal campaign of torture, rape and butchery against the Filipino civilians. Groups of men were rounded up and sent to a building and then the building was doused with kerosene and burned. Thousands of residents were massacred both in Lipa City and in Bauan. One of Mom’s relatives went to one of the so called “meetings” in Bauan where people were locked up in a schoolroom and then the building was doused with kerosene and set on fire. He died in that massacre.

Alitagtag was lucky to be spared the wrath of the Japanese because rumor was the Mayor was a Japanese sympathizer. Behind their back, he was also working for the Americans giving them intelligence report on where the Japanese were. There was a saying around that time, “Pilipino Tagu, Pilipino Turu” meaning Pilipino hides then Pilipino points in the other direction”. The mayor was playing both fields thereby gaining good graces from both parties.

Thanks for reading this article. My parents survived the war. Mom is still alive at 95. Dad passed away in 2007. The story was related to me by my father on their last visit to the United States before Dad died.

Rosalinda

 

 

 

Holy Week in the Philippines

Holy Week in the Philippines is celebrated with religious fervor. Here is an excerpt from “The Iron Butterfly”.

 

During Cuaresma (Holy Week), from Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) to Pasko ng Pagkabuhay (Easter Sunday), Catholic rites in the Philippines were infused with special fervor. It was a time for street pageantry and spiritual cleansing with processions, flagellantes, and passion plays. On Palm Sunday, the devouts brought palm branches to church to be blessed as symbols of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In rural areas, the palms might be dried and ground as a medicinal ingredient. Ceremonies reenacting the washing of the feet of the apostles were held in churches on Holy Thursday and Good Friday was a very solemn day. It was also marked by a vigil and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In churches, priests expounded on Christ’s seven last words spoken on the cross. During Lent, tradition calls for either the reading or singing of the Passion, a book of verses from the creation of man all through Christ’s resurrection, either by an individual or a group as a devotional prayer.

 

Easter Sunday marked the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and the purple cloth of mourning was removed from the religious images. Church bells pealed and alleluias were sung. The salubong (meeting) took place. The Easter celebration started at dawn around five o’clock with a procession heralding the resurrection of Christ and his reunion with his mother, Mary. After the mass at dawn, twin processions left the church; one led by statue of Mary, the Sorrowful Mother followed by women and the other led by Resurrected Christ followed by men. The two processions went in opposite direction around the town plaza and then met in front of the church on the way back.

 

As choruses were sung, the statues “met”, meaning placed side by side beneath an arch adorned with flowers in front of the church. A little girl dressed as an angel, with wings and a halo, will remove Mary’s black veil with a long handled hook. Its removal was connected with superstitions about the harvest (e.g. a smooth unveiling meant a good harvest, a fallen veil drought). It put so much pressure on the little girl who was doing the honor.

 

When Adelaide was little, she was selected to take part in the Easter early morning ritual when the Blessed Virgin Mary met the resurrected Christ in a procession that went around the block next to the church. Both the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus were covered with a black cloth which the young girls would unveil. Adelaide was always selected to do the honor of taking off the black veil from the head of the Blessed Virgin while another girl would pull off the black cloth from the head of Jesus.

 

The four young girls would climb an elevated platform. Adelaide and her counterpart each held the pole with a hook and the other two girls held a basket of flowers. Adelaide was to take the black veil covering the image of the Blessed Virgin while on the other side of the walkway the other girl would take the black cloth covering Jesus. After the unveiling, they sang Hosanna, a hymn of praise and adoration and sprinkled petals of fragrant flowers to the crowd as people followed the procession back to church.

 

Easter was also marked by many other customs related to growth and renewal: the sick were lifted from their beds to receive new vigor; the short jumped and stretched to gain height; parents tossed young children in the air, believing they will thrive; plants were shaken so they will grow well. The fast of Lent ended with a lavish Easter feast.

 

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, The Rose Lady

 

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author and Garden Writer

The Iron Butterfly

BAHALA NA (Come What May)


KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEALS FOR “BAHALA NA (COME WHAT MAY”

Kindle Countdown Deals for BAHALA NA (COME WHAT MAY) is set to begin on May 26, 2014 at 8:00:00 AM PST.

You can buy your Kindle copy of my book, “Bahala Na (Come What May)” at a discount price of $.99 on Monday, May 26, 2014. The best deal!

The price goes up to $1.99 on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.

On Wednesday, May 28, 2014, the price will be $2.99.

On Thursday, May 29, 2014, the price goes up to $3.99, still a dollar off the regular price.

On Friday, May 30, 2014, the price goes back to the regular price of $4.99.

So take advantage of the discounted price at www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan.

Learn about a young man’s obsession to meet the love of his life and his effort to stay alive after WWII starts. Gain insight about the Philippines and the Filipino people and how their faith helps them in their struggle through life. “Bahala Na”, “Leave it to God” is one dictum they cling to when they are in trouble.

Rosalinda Morgan, author, “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”.

Holy Week in the Philippines

When I was growing up in the Philippines, during Cuaresma (Holy Week), from Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) to Pasko ng Pagkabuhay (Easter Sunday), Catholic rites in the Philippines were infused with special fervor. It was a time for street pageantry and spiritual cleansing with processions, flagellantes, and passion plays.

On Palm Sunday, the devouts brought palm branches to church to be blessed as symbols of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In rural areas, the palms might be dried and ground as a medicinal ingredient. Ceremonies reenacting the washing of the feet of the apostles were held in churches on Holy Thursday and Good Friday was a very solemn day. It was also marked by a vigil and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In churches, priests expounded on Christ’s seven last words spoken on the cross. During Lent, tradition calls for Passion, a book of verses from the creation of man through Christ’s resurrection was read or sung either by an individual or a group as a devotional prayer.

Easter Sunday marked the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and the purple cloth of mourning was removed from the religious images. Church bells pealed and alleluias were sung. The salubong (meeting) took place. The Easter celebration started at dawn around five o’clock with a procession heralding the resurrection of Christ and his reunion with Mary. After the mass at dawn, twin processions left the church led by statues of Mary, the Sorrowful Mother, and the Resurrected Christ and followed by women and men, respectively. The two processions went on opposite direction around the town plaza and then meet in front of the church on the way back.

As choruses were sung, the statues “met”, meaning placed side by side beneath an arch adorned with flowers in front of the church. A little girl dressed as an angel, with wings and a halo, will remove Mary’s black veil with a long handled hook. Its removal was connected with superstitions about the harvest (e.g. a smooth unveiling meant a good harvest, a fallen veil drought). It put so much pressure on the little girl who was doing the honor. I used to participate in this tradition. It was one of the most memorable days of my growing up years.

THE FALL OF BATAAN

Just as Dec. 7 will be remembered as Day of Infamy, April 9 will be remembered as the The Fall of Bataan.

The American and Filipino forces fought the Japanese valiantly on Bataan for three months after the war started. Then Pres. Roosevelt ordered MacArthur off the Philippines. MacArthur reluctantly obliged, prompting him to make his famous promise of “I shall return”.

By the end of March, 1942, the plight of the defenders had become desperate. Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright notified Washington that the meager food supplies would be exhausted completely by April 15. By early April, the weak, hungry, demoralized American and Filipino troops had no fight left. By one source, 75 percent had malaria, while all suffered from malnutrition, all horses and water buffalo having been consumed. Seeing the terrible state of his troops, on April 8, Maj. Gen. Edward P. King, commander of Bataan forces, made the anguished decision to surrender. As he rode forward to meet Gen. Homma on April 9, he remembered that Gen. Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox on the same day. In contrast to the outcome of each battles, Gen. Lee’s army was defeated during the Civil War while Japan was defeated during WWII.

On April 9, 76,000 men squeezed onto the tip of Bataan peninsula officially surrendered to the Japanese. They were without food or ammunition, and malaria and dysentery were widespread. They were forced to begin marching up the peninsula which survivors later aptly named the notorious “Bataan Death March”. Many more than a thousand deaths awaited the surrendering forces as the Japanese marched them off to a prison camp. The four-day, sixty-three-mile march in ninety-five degree weather would not have been difficult for well-nourished soldiers; but for malaria-ridden, ill-fed troops, the march was brutal. The Japanese killed many prisoners who were unable to move forward. It has been estimated that upwards of 10,000 died along the way from exhaustion or atrocious brutality imposed by their Japanese captors. The suffering survivors were herded into boxcars in San Fernando in the province of Pampanga and taken to an internment camp at Capas in the province of Tarlac. Upon reaching the prison camp, untold more thousands perished for lack of food, water and medical supplies.

By Rosalinda Morgan, author “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”.

BOOK GIVEAWAYS HAVE ENDED

The giveaways for signed copies of my book, “BAHALA NA, (Come What May): A World War II Story of Love, Faith, Courage, Determination and Survival” have ended. 431 entered to win. Goodreads has selected three winners, one from each of these towns:

Boise, ID

Weymouth, MA

Baker City, OR

The winners will receive their books in a few days. If you did not win, “BAHALA NA, (Come What May): A World War II Story of Love, Faith, Courage, Determination and Survival” is available at www.amazon.com.

Learn about a young man’s obsession to meet the girl of his dream. Read about his struggle to find his way home from a faraway place after WWII starts and transportation ceases to exist. Gain insight about the Philippines, the Filipino people and how their faith helps them through life and in their fight for survival during the war. “Bahala Na”, “Leave it to God” is one dictum they cling to when they are in trouble. It is a true story that reads like historical fiction.

Rosalinda Morgan, author, “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”.