I’m reading Jaime B. Veneracion’s Agos ng Dugong Kayumanggi: Isang Kasaysayan ng Sambayanang Pilipino for LET review today. I decided to make a graphic of the indigenous class structure since it would complement the colonial class structure from Eden Gripaldo, et al.’s Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas that I posted previously.
I had fun with this:
Here’s some description:
It’s important to note Veneracion’s explanation that indigenous class structure is different from the Western framework where status and roles between classes had clear demarcations. For example, Veneracion points out that the maharlika who were privileged free men sometimes worked as rowers of the datu’s boat while at other times they could also be reapers during the harvest season. There were even datus who accompanied the alipin to sow, tend, and harvest the rice field. Further, the sakop or subject in indigenous Filipino society could even choose which datu or master to serve and be protected by.
So at the end of the day, indigenous Filipino communities before the Spaniards came to colonize were quite diverse. It’s an interesting contrast for me that the Spaniards for their part came, conquered, and standardized. They began this mission by breaking up the communities along the river banks through the reduccion, building the plaza complexes, and replacing the old rituals with religion. They won some, they lost some. After all, the Philippines has become a predominantly Catholic nation. But some diversity remains in the folk practices that our forefathers infused with the Catholic. No amount of book burning and castigation from the friars really succeeded in rubbing out the indigenous flavor in our variation of Christianity. For better or worse, we owned Catholicism and made it ours.