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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Aeta: Indigenous People of Northern Philippines

The Aeta’s are thought to be earliest inhabitants of the Philippines, preceding the Austronesian migrations. They are one of the indigenous people in Luzon parts of the Philippines. They are classified as Negritos, having dark skin, curly to kinky afro-like textured hair, small nose and dark brown eyes. They are thought to be the descendants of original inhabitants of the Philippines which arrived through land bridges that linked the country with Asian mainland about 30,000 years ago.

Aeta’s have very low life expectancy ranging in just 16.5 years - this is one of the reasons why their population is decreasing with time. Their language is already influenced by Austronesian Filipino neighbors. Some of them were able to speak Tagalog, Sambal, Kapampangan and English especially those who attend formal school. Some believe they are monotheism believing in “Apo Na” as their God especially those within Mt. Pinatubo. Some are also animists who believe in environmental spirits such as anito and kamana. Today some Aeta’s were already Christian after some visits of foreign missionaries in their locations.

Male Aeta are born hunters while women are skillful in weaving winnows and mats. Their traditional visual art is body scarification and their traditional clothing are loin cloths and bark cloth for male and female respectively. Nowadays, they were influenced by Austronesian Filipino people to wear casual clothing like T-shirts, pants and sandals.

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