The Black Roots of the Filipinos: Moorish History – By Filipino

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Our ancestors in the Philippines are ebony Black, from the ancient pygmy tribes Aeta, Ati, Dumagat, Mamanwa, Tagbanua etc. We even share their facial features, even though most of the rest of us were mixed with Malayo-Polynesians, Chinese and Spanish and so our skin is now brown and so some of us have some Asian and European features too.

There is an old Philippine story we still tell among ourselves of how 10 Datus (chiefs) from Borneo arrived on the island of Panay in prehistory. They were running away from the expansion of Muslim kingdoms over their old Srivijaya kingdom in what is now our kin nations of Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia. There, the 10 Datus met the paramount king of the original Black Ati people called Marikudo, who traded some of his coastal land with Datu Puti, the prime minister of Rajah (king) Makatunaw for a salakot (conical hat) made of pure gold, silk and other gifts; then honored the oath in a blood-oath ritual which we call “sandugo”. He agreed that the Ati share the land with the many thousands of Malayan refugees called Visayans, and as the sandugo was already done, both groups (Visayan and Ati) were immidiately to be considered as kin, so of course we intermixed. The Ati who returned to the hills had a terrible harvest many many years later, and famine ensued. They made their way down to the coast and their Malayan cousins (the Visayan people) remembered their sandugo with them, and provided their Black kin with food and provisions. The Ati and Visayans feasted as a result of the end of the famine. To this day this feast still exists called “ati-atihan” (To blacken) in which the Malayan descendants of the 10 datus in panay island blacken their faces in gratitude and dance to the same rhythm they danced with to celebrate the sandugo of blacks and malayans (when the Spanish came, they forced the natives to dedicate it to the Child Jesus/Santo Nino, but we Filipinos know the 10 Datu story and know the real reason why it is still performed).

Our islands became rich, so much so that the other Asians called us Suvarnadvipa (land of gold). One group of Visayans moved north to become the Tagalog people, who are the people of Manila our capital city, and their language is the government language now of our country. When the Spanish colonizers came in the 1500s, they changed this peaceful coexistence.

This is how the Tagalog (main ethnic group of Manila) upper-classes looked when the Spanish first arrived in the 1500s:

filipino tagalogs 1505

Note the black skinned chief with brown skinned queen, the two native groups in the Philippines, and all the gold and silk worn.

When the Spanish came, they force converted the mixed coastal Malayan population like the Tagalogs and Visayans to Catholicism, and the Aeta/Ati fled to the forests and island interiors to escape the Spanish. The Spanish then indoctrinated the coastal people against their own dark brown skin and slowly, a self-denigrating culture appeared, along with a history in which they were put onto sugar and hemp plantations, the Spanish soldiers, priests and hacienda owners raped the serf women and stole from villages, and many uprisings were quelled with bloodshed.

In the 19th we won our freedom from the Spanish, albeit for a short while, because the Americans then took over and immediately called us the “Niggers of Asia”. In some ways they were worse than the Spanish. This is how they depicted us in their newspapers:

filipino negros

We are now an independent nation, but we have so many scars from our past that as a result, so many of our women are caught up with whitening their skin nowadays to look “mestizo”, due to post-colonial mentality. Shade-ism exists in full force in our media, and the poor in our country who do not finish their full education have no idea that they too are the descendants of Black people, and are quick to call on how different the Aeta are in their nappy hair, shorter stature and darker skin tones.

Despite this ignorance among some, there will always be Filipinos who will pass our ancient history down to our children, as those who came before us did. Hope this history shares light on the Black history of the Philippines from a Filipino person, which you will not find in Eurocentric history books.


Moros of Philipines

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24 thoughts on “The Black Roots of the Filipinos: Moorish History – By Filipino”

  1. Thank you for this information. It is very interesting to know of the history of black people in other parts of the world, like southeast asia.

    1. Amazing! I had a friend from the Philippines who shared with me the history of the aboriginal people, but I never read any other history about it until now.

  2. Interesting article and it’s a shame so many groups who have black antecedents deny their heritage and bleach themselves away into a paler and paler oblivion. I wonder how the Aeta are treated overall? I enjoyed watching a you tube video that went viral of a Aeta street kid singing Justin Bieber songs, talented and beautiful people.

    1. Thank you my brother for your first hand account about our peoples oral traditions. This portion of our ‘hidden history’ needs to be made more well known. I’m posting a link to your (our) story on my Pinterest page, Asar Kush, Asia, South Pacific Islands, Buddha. Any comments are appreciated.
      Continued Peace and Blessings,
      Asar Kush

      P.S. Rasta Livewire, glad I found yall! Keep up the good work!

    2. Thank you, I new some of these things about the Philippines, though some is also new to me. Thank you again, I research these histories so that I may share them with my children about their ancestors.

  3. I have lived in AFRICA my whole life. Am a patriot and passionately in love with all peoples from the continent of AFRICA. With that said though, I would like to say the following:

    ” of all AFRICAN people I have come across nothing to generously indicative and reassuring of great skill, spiritual enlighten, or even ambition has lent itself to me. Except in NIGERIANS who seems to posses a gene for Passion. I want to know truly what is it that makes the west AFRICANS different and inherently Soo royal and extravagant achievers in AFRICA??’ How a great are the West AFRICANS ??!

    Before the entrance of the BANTUS from west AFRICA Cameroon-Nigerian region, most AFRICANS occupying the Central-mid Section were a special dwarf race of pygmies. I have met the so called pygmie, in characterization: he is an adequate man with seriously underdeveloped physical stature.

    He is the shocking case: of an AFRICAN who is completely physically incapacitated and under compensated ! That’s to say, the pygmie is obviously physically handicap as far as stature goes and none of this unapparent to him.

    VERILLY he is naturally shy of the BANTUS and seeks protection when it can be afforded to him and in this way his way of life is not known. They prefer to keep to themselves and their way of life a secret, lest they should be discovered and rendered ruined!!!

    The Pygmie was the main occupier of Central and Eastern Africa and even parts of southern AFRICAN before the arrival of the Asians in Madagascar and the southern most tip of AFRICA.

    I say that to say this that traditionally the So called AFRICAN was a dwarf with very compromised physical power to influence his surrounding. His most common Response to any major problem especially medical was a compulsory migration.

    This is probably how they arrived in Asia in the first place but I highly Doubt they arrived their as conquerors and emperors. Rather I think it was a different wave of AFRICANS all together from west AFRICA. (The Moors) who gave these guys the glorious attachments. (Indicated by the iconic ‘moor’ head band displayed in that photo and flaunter for Gold wealth – classic of West AFRICA!)

    My point is…UNTILL today in AFRICA it stands readily available: That amongst the AFRICANS, the west AFRICANS are the special ones, royal and blessed! Bigger in stature, more extravagant in culture, occupying a land more rich in resource and vegetation ((a rainforest)), incredibly endowed for combat and battle skills, easily and by far the strongest of all AFRICAN breeds, not too mention and the most Africanly charming and charismatic! Trully puts the the African in the negro. Also makes the best AFRICANS sounds. While the rest are just ordinary Inherent pygmie adaptations.

    I therefore put forward for any interlectual consideration the hypothesis that: ” if you subdue the western region of AFRICA you have rendered black people ideologically incapacitated!”

    It’s really about time in Africa before the game gets too far ahead that we discuss in her premature state of development:

    ” what is it truly that makes the West AFRICANS different from the rest of Us! And such great and EXELLENT achievers on such a royal scale! None the less I would like add, We give thanks and are glad we have got you guys on our side, may we build an empire worthy!”

    1. This is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. Is congo in west Africa? Egypt? Zimbabwe? South Africa? You need to do some homework.
      As for why the west is currently more progressive… because the west is currently more progressive. It’s easier for European countries to trade with west Africa than east Africa. And just before the Atlantic slave trade, it would have been west African kings benefiting from fair trades first. Perhaps they were more likely to stand up to pillaging then after dealing with westerners for a while. Non the less, geography wise, the west side of Africa faced the side that currently has power and would most likely have had a head start before this age of technology

    2. Breeds??? African sounds??? What the hell do you think you’re talking about??? Animals??? You are either a white racist whose perpetrating a fraud. Or an extremely dumb zip coon black. Either way it goes, no wonder why you’re disrespected and in the situations you’re in.

  4. Wow! I LOVE this blog post! To the person that wrote this: You are so educated, enlightened and FAR from ignorant! You taught me more history of my Filipino ancestors and made me even more prouder to be a dark-skinned Filipino living in Australia as part of diaspora. I used to hate having dark skin from my father, but then I saw an emergence of so many BEAUTIFUL dark skinned models who made it look so good that I wear it PROUD! Those Filipinos who bleach look like so silly, like they’ve seen a ghost and lost all their pigment because of it haha. Anyway, great blog post, LOVED this article! 🙂

  5. Thank you for this. Very sad that a lot of filipinos are stuck in Colonial Mentality. I am brown with coarse wavy hair. And I know that is because of our tribal – negritos heritage and I am never ashamed to admit that. It just makes me shake my head when women bleach their skin to be light. And some do not even admit they are Filipinos. If you can’t love who you are then what do you have to show for? Thank you again.

  6. Wonderful information too long hidden conversely the struggle to deny the common thread of blackness is alive and well to think of one’s of birth assigns superiority is unfortunate and is in and of itself a perpetuation of colonialism and a denial of the humanity of all people created in the image of God

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