Before I start talking about the Aetas, here is a brief history of Philippines.
and consists of 7,100 islands.
no longer a colony of
“four cultural heritages” which are “Asian, European, Hispanic and American”.
The Aetas Background…
The Aetas are one of the many ethnic or indigenous people in the Philippines.
The Aetas belongs to a group called “Negrito”. They are known for various names
such as “Ayta, Agta, Atta, Ata, Ati, and Ita”. One of the articles on the internet
claimed that they have “Australoid physical features”. Australoid is a term used
by anthropologist for the purpose of racial classification. “Australoid physical features”
are described as having dark complexion, from kinky to wavy and straight hair.
However, the term “Australoid” is no longer used by anthropologist today.
It is not clear as to how Aetas arrived in the
According to Waddington (2002), the author of “The Aeta”, many historians
and anthropologist believed that Aetas migrated around 30,000 years ago
He also added that they are “one of the first inhabitants of the
Typical locations of the Aetas are in Central and Northern part of
as well as Northern part of
main islands in the
the remote mountainous region. Their livelihood consisted mostly of hunting,
gathering, trading, and fishing. They live in the jungle and are able to sustain
themselves with food and every day necessities.
Map of the Philippines.
Circle indicates location of the Aetas
The Aetas Today
For about a thousand years, many Aetas resided at the foot of a volcano
land during the violent eruptions of
Aetas home were completely destroyed. Some of them now live
“in urban areas in
the fact that
Pictures of Aetas (Mt. Pinatubo)
Mount Pinatubo (Crater Lake)
Most of the Aetas are beginning to assimilate to the Filipino culture
but there are still some Aetas who are resistant towards change.
One example is the picture below of an Aeta child holding a karaoke mike.
Karaoke mic as we know is a form of modern entertainment.
As of now, many Aetas are losing their language and identity. Filipinos are
constantly struggling to educate them not realizing the disadvantages
of losing ones culture.
There were times in history when the Aetas do not care for money.
They were living and surviving on their own untouched by our materialistic world.
But they are now earning their living through tourist attractions. They either
show their skills in climbing trees or dancing to entertain tourist.
Recent Photo (Subic Bay Philippines )
Like many indigenous people around the world, Aetas have suffered
greatly. They were able to preserve their culture from Spanish
conquerors because many of them lived in far and remote areas.
Presently, the Aetas are still suffering from oppression, loss of language
and identity, poverty and lack of resources. Most Aetas are unfamiliar
with the value, or concept of Land ownership much like Native Americans.
But some are beginning to assimilate into the Filipino culture.
Aetas are constantly losing their homes from logging and mining industries.
Once, logging and mining industries discover natural resources, they take
Aetas land. It is sad to know that the
just recently granted the Aetas their ancestral land.
On February 22, 2001,
Aetas the lands in which they presently occupy.