The country has colorful and rich history. Because it was colonized by different
powerful nations in the past, our country's history is marked by many courageous
and nationalistic events that will make Filipinos proud of their history.
Because of the scarcity of written records, much of what is known about our early
history came from archaeological findings, and works of archaeologists and
During the early ice age, it is believed that the sea level around the Philippines
was about 170 feet below its current level. The Malay Peninsula and the islands
around it were interconnected by lands. When the earth's atmosphere started to
warm, many of the glaciers on top of the land mass melted. The sea level rose
and the surface of the interconnected land mass fell below the water level. They
became separate islands that exist now.
The first human inhabitants in the country arrived most likely in Palawan, as
indicated by the Tabon Caves, or in the neighboring islands of Mindanao, Negros,
and Panay. Including Luzon, Mindoro, Cebu, Leyte, and Samar, the nine largest
islands of the archipelago comprise nearly 90% of the country's land area. Some
archaeologists believe that land bridges interconnected many of these islands
some 30,500 years ago. But others contend that they were not necessarily
interconnected but the sea level was low enough that the water separating the
island was not a barrier for the early inhabitants to migrate.
Based on the oldest human fossil found in the country, it was estimated that the
skull of a "stone-age" person was about 22,000 years old. The early settlers were
thought to be Australo-Melanesian people who were short and small, with tight
and dark skin, and with black curly hairs. They were nomadic hunters who used
crude stone tools for survival. Their descendants were the Negritos, or Aetas, who
adapted well to our tropical forest. They hunt and forage in small family bands, or
groups, under a very primitive leadership structure.
Our country established trade relations with Indonesia and Malaysia - countries
that also have strong trade relations with China and Japan, in addition to their
cultural ties with India.
Direct trade and commerce were started with China and Japan. The Chinese
became the country's dominant commercial and trading partner.
Arab traders and missionaries arrived, conducted trade and commerce, and
preached Islam. They started from Sulu and spread northward to other parts of the
country. The Muslim immigrants introduced the most basic concept of territorial
government through the barangays ruled by rajas and sultans.
Start of the Spanish era that lasted for nearly three centuries.