Aeta people

The Aeta (Ayta /ˈaɪtə/ EYE-tə; Kapampangan: áitâ), or Agta, are an indigenous people who live in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of the island of Luzon, the Philippines.

These people are considered to be Negritos, whose skin ranges from dark to very dark brown, and possessing features such as a small stature and frame; hair of a curly to kinky texture and a higher frequency of naturally lighter colour (blondism) relative to the general population, small nose, and dark brown eyes. They are thought to be among the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines, preceding the Austronesian migrations.[1]

The Aeta were included in the group of people named "Negrito" during the Spanish Era. Various Aeta groups in northern Luzon are named Pugut or Pugot, an Ilocano term that also means "goblin" or "forest spirit",[2] and is the colloquial term for people with darker complexions. These names are mostly considered inappropriate or derogatory by fellow Aeta of northern Luzon.

Young Negrito girl, Mariveles, 1901
Young Aeta girl from Mariveles, Bataan, in 1901.
Indigenous People of Iriga City 03
Young Aeta boy from Iriga City, Camarines Sur, in 2015.


Aetas, detail from Carta Hydrographica y Chorographica de las Yslas Filipinas (1734)
Aetas as illustrated in Carta Hydrographica y Chorographica de las Yslas Filipinas, 1734. The caption in Spanish describes them as "wild men of the mountains".
Bosquejo del archipiélago filipino, 1885 "Negritos o Aetas" (3817431370)
An artist's illustration of Aetas in 1885.

The Aeta people in the Philippines are often grouped with other Negritos and the Australo-Melanesians, which includes other groups such as Aborigines in Australia; Papuans; and the Melanesians of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, and the French overseas special collectivity of New Caledonia.

The history of the Aetas continues to confound anthropologists and archaeologists. One theory suggests that the Aeta are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Philippines, who, contrary to their seafaring Austronesian neighbors, arrived through land bridges that linked the islands with the Asian mainland. Unlike many of their Austronesian counterparts, the Aetas have shown resistance to change. Aetas had little interaction with the Spaniards as they remained in the mountains during the Spanish rule. Even the attempts of the Spaniards failed to settle them in reducciones or reservations all throughout Spanish rule.

According to Spanish observers like Miguel López de Legazpi, Negritos possessed iron tools and weapons. Their speed and accuracy with a bow and arrow were proverbial and they were fearsome warriors. Unwary travelers or field workers were often easy targets. Despite their martial prowess, however, the Aeta's small numbers, primitive economy and lack of organization often made them easy prey for better-organized groups. Zambals seeking slaves would often take advantage of their internal feuding. They were often sold as slaves to Borneo and China, and, unlike the serf feudal system imposed on other Filipinos, there was little chance of manumission.[3]


It is estimated that there are about 20,000 to 30,000 Aeta people living in the Philippines.


Washing of clothes traditionally
Aeta lady washing clothes in Iriga City.

The Aeta are nomadic and build only temporary shelters made of sticks driven to the ground and covered with the palm of banana leaves. The well-situated and more modernized Aetas have moved to villages and areas of cleared mountains. They live in houses made of bamboo and cogon grass. Aetas are found in Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga, Panay, Bataan and Nueva Ecija, but were forced to move to resettlement areas in Pampanga and Tarlac following the devastating Mount Pinatubo eruption in June 1991.

Mining, deforestation, illegal logging, and slash-and-burn farming have caused the indigenous population in the country to steadily decrease to the point where they number only in the thousands today. The Philippine government affords them little or no protection, and the Aeta have become extremely nomadic due to social and economic strain on their culture and way of life that had previously remained unchanged for thousands of years.


All Aeta communities have adopted the language of their Austronesian Filipino neighbors, which have sometimes diverged over time to become different languages.[4] These include, in order of number of speakers, Mag-indi, Mag-antsi, Abellen, Ambala, and Mariveleño.


Aetas on stage
Aetas performing on stage at a shopping center.

Indigenous monotheistic religion

There are different views on the dominant character of the Aeta religion. Those who believe they are monotheistic argue that various Aeta tribes believe in a supreme being who rules over lesser spirits or deities, with the Aeta of Mt. Pinatubo worshipping "Apo Na". The Aetas are also animists. For example, the Pinatubo Aeta believe in environmental spirits. They believe that good and evil spirits inhabit the environment, such as the spirits of the river, sea, sky, mountain, hill, valley and other places.

No special occasion is needed for the Aeta to pray, but there is a clear link between prayer and economic activities. The Aeta dance before and after a pig hunt. The night before Aeta women gather shellfish, they perform a dance which is partly an apology to the fish and partly a charm to ensure the catch. Similarly, the men hold a bee dance before and after the expeditions for honey.

Indigenous polytheistic religion

There are four manifestations of the "great creator" who rules the world: Tigbalog is the source of life and action; Lueve takes care of production and growth; Amas moves people to pity, love, unity, and peace of heart; while Binangewan is responsible for change, sickness, and death.

  • Gutugutumakkan – The Supreme Being and Great Creator who have four manifestations, namely, Tigbalog, Lueve, Amas, and Binangewan.
  • Kedes - The god of the hunt.
  • Pawi - The god of the forest.
  • Sedsed - The god of the sea.

Colonial religion

In the mid-1960s, missionaries of the American-based Evangelical Protestant mission group New Tribes Mission, in their effort to reach every Philippine tribal group with the Christian Gospel, reached out to the Agtas/Aetas. The mission agency provided education, including pastoral training for natives to reach members of their own tribe. Today, a large percentage of Agtas/Aetas of Zambales and Pampanga are Evangelicals.[5] Jehovah's Witnesses also have members of the Aeta people. (See 1993 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses)


Their traditional clothing is very plain. The young women wear wrap around skirts. Elder women wear bark cloth, while elder men wear loin cloths. The old women of the Agta wear a bark cloth strip which passes between the legs, and is attached to a string around the waist. Today, most Aeta who have been in contact with lowlanders have adopted the T-shirts, pants and rubber sandals commonly used by the latter.


Varanus bitatawa stew being prepared by Agta tribesmen - ZooKeys-266-001-g071
Varanus bitatawa stew being prepared by Aeta tribesmen.

The Aetas are skillful in weaving and plaiting. Women exclusively weave winnows and mats. Only men make armlets. They also produce raincoats made of palm leaves whose bases surround the neck of the wearer, and whose topmost part spreads like a fan all around the body.

According to one study, "About 85% of Philippine Aeta women hunt, and they hunt the same quarry as men. Aeta women hunt in groups and with dogs, and have a 31% success rate as opposed to 17% for men. Their rates are even better when they combine forces with men: mixed hunting groups have a full 41% success rate among the Aeta."[6]


Aeta women are known around the country as experts of the herbal medicines.


A traditional form of visual art is body scarification. The Aetas intentionally wound the skin on their back, arms, breast, legs, hands, calves and abdomen, and then they irritate the wounds with fire, lime and other means to form scars.

Other "decorative disfigurements" include the chipping of the teeth. With the use of a file, the Dumagat modify their teeth during late puberty. The teeth are dyed black a few years afterwards.

The Aetas generally use ornaments typical of people living in subsistence economies. Flowers and leaves are used as earplugs for certain occasions. Girdles, necklaces, and neckbands of braided rattan incorporated with wild pig bristles are frequently worn.


The Aeta have a musical heritage consisting of various types of agung ensembles, ensembles composed of large hanging, suspended or held, bossed/knobbed gongs, which act as drone, without any accompanying melodic instrument.

See also


  1. ^ "The Aeta".
  2. ^ Thomas N. Headland; John D. Early (Mar 1, 1998). Population Dynamics of a Philippine Rain Forest People: The San Ildefonso Agta. University Press of Florida. p. 208.
  3. ^ Scott, William (1994). Barangay. Manila, Philippines: Ateneo de Manila. pp. 252–256.
  4. ^ Reid, Lawrence. 1987. "The early switch hypothesis". Man and Culture in Oceania, 3 Special Issue: 41-59.
  5. ^ "37 NEW AETA BELIEVERS BAPTIZED IN THE PHILIPPINES". Asia Harvest. 11 November 2008.
  6. ^ Dahlberg, Frances (1975). Woman the Gatherer. London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-02989-6.
Abellen language

Abellen, Abenlen, Aburlin, or Ayta Abellen, is a Sambalic language. It has about 3,500 speakers and is spoken in a few Aeta communities in Tarlac province, Philippines Ayta Abellen itself is part of the Sambalic language family in the Philippines and is closely related to not only the 5 other Ayta dialects, but also the Botolan dialect of Sambal.

Alabat Island

Alabat Island is an island of the Philippine archipelago, in the Quezon Province of the CALABARZON region, situated just off the east coast of Southern Luzon. The island has an area of 192 square kilometres (74 sq mi) and a population of 41,822.

Alabat Island comprises 3 municipalities, Perez in the northern tip, Alabat town proper in the center and Quezon in the south. The first inhabitants of the island were the indigenous Inagta Alabat people who are Negritos, the earliest settlers in the Philippines. The indigenous people spoke the Inagta Alabat language, one of the most endangered languages in the world.

The island is located in the Lamon Bay and (33 km long) has an extensive mangrove fringe along its southwest shore, with several hundred hectares of intertidal mudflats exposed at low tide. Large portions of the original mangrove forest have been degraded or completely destroyed for the construction of fish and shrimp ponds.Alabat enjoys a humid tropical climate with no dry season, but a very pronounced period of maximum rainfall from November to January. The island is home to the indigenous Alabat Agta people, whose language is critically endangered.


In physical anthropology, forensic anthropology and archaeogenetics, Australo-Melanesians (also Australasian, Australomelanesoid or Australoid) form a large group of populations indigenous to Maritime Southeast Asia and Oceania.

The group includes Papuans, Aboriginal Australians, Melanesians (mainly from Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu) and the populations grouped as "Negrito" (the Andamanese, the Semang and Batek people, the Maniq people, the Aeta people, the Ati people, and various other ethnic groups in the Philippines).

The Vedda people in Sri Lanka and a number of dark-skinned tribal populations in the interior of the Indian subcontinent (mainly Dravidian-speaking groups and some Austroasiatic-speaking peoples, like Munda) are also suggested to belong to the Australoid group, but there are controversies about this inclusion. A research involving cranial morphology, made by Indian anthropologists, however, suggests that the South Asian Indian populations have different cranial characteristics from Australoid groups. This difference got possibly strengthened in recent times due to the miscegenation with peoples of different origins. A genetic study in 1985 suggested connections between tribal peoples of Southern India, Sri Lanka and Negrito populations of the Philippines and Malaysia. Nevertheless, a more recent study sustains that the Southern Indian populations are not closely related to the classic Australo-Melanesian groups.The term "Australioid race" was introduced by Thomas Huxley in 1870 to refer to certain peoples indigenous to South and Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Terms associated with outdated notions of racial types, such as those ending in "-oid" have come to be seen as potentially offensive

and related to scientific racism.

According to a large craniometric study (Raghavan and Bulbeck et al. 2013) the native populations of South Asia (India and Sri Lanka) have distinct craniometric and anthropologic ancestry. Both southern and northern groups are most similar to each other and have generally closer affinities to various "Caucasoid" groups. The study further showed that the native South Asians (including the Vedda) form a distinct group and are not related to the "Australoid" group.If there were an Australoid “substratum” component to Indians’ ancestry, we would expect some degree of craniometric similarity between Howells’ Southwest Pacific series and Indians. But in fact, the Southwest Pacific and Indian are craniometrically very distinct, falsifying any claim for an Australoid substratum in India.

Baler, Aurora

Baler, officially the Municipality of Baler (Tagalog: Bayan ng Baler; Ilokano: Ili ti Baler), is a municipality and capital of the province of Aurora, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 39,562 people.Baler is located 231 kilometres (144 mi) north-east of Manila via a mountain pass accessible by bus and private vehicle. It is host to spectacular geographic formations and is situated on a vast plain at the south end of Baler Bay, a contiguous segment of the Philippine Sea.

It became the capital of Aurora on 14 June 1951 under Republic Act No. 648 signed by President Elpidio Quirino. It remained the seat of government of Aurora on 21 November 1978 under Batas Pambansa Blg. 7 signed by President Ferdinand Marcos.


Buno ("to throw" in Tagalog.) is a system of Filipino wrestling like Dumog.

Harimaw Buno, formerly Harimaw Lumad (King of Tiger Wrestling), is a style of Buno used by the Mangyans of Mindoro and the Aetas of Infanta, Quezon.Buno usually uses standing throws, control locks, joint manipulation, striking, take-downs and ground wrestling techniques,There is also an armed style of Buno. Weapons that the practitioner can use are knives, spears and bow and arrows. The main weapon used is the lubid or a four-feet long rope.Training utilizes mud training, canoe training, tamaraw wrestling, log training and tree climbing.Nagpambuno came from this root word, the meaning is to resist, or grab something from another's grasp.

Davao del Sur

Davao del Sur (Cebuano: Habagatang Dabaw) is a province in the Philippines located in the Davao Region in Mindanao. Its capital and largest city is Digos. The province is bordered by Davao City to the north, Davao Occidental to the south and Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato and Sarangani to the west. To the east lies the Davao Gulf.

Ethnic groups of Southeast Asia

The ethnic groups of Southeast Asia comprise many different linguistic stocks. Apart from Negrito, which is a physical description, they are here arranged according to the family their languages belong to. The Southeast Asian population stands at 641 million (2017).


A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging (collecting wild plants and pursuing wild animals). Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on domesticated species.

Hunting and gathering was humanity's first and most successful adaptation, occupying at least 90 percent of human history. Following the invention of agriculture, hunter-gatherers who did not change have been displaced or conquered by farming or pastoralist groups in most parts of the world.

In West Eurasia, agriculture lead to widespread genetic changes when older hunter-gatherer populations were largely replaced by Middle Eastern farmers during the Neolithic who in turn were overrun by Indo-Europeans during the Bronze Age.Only a few contemporary societies are classified as hunter-gatherers, and many supplement their foraging activity with horticulture or pastoralism.

Kapampangan language

Kapampangan, Pampango, or the Pampangan language is a major Philippine language. It is spoken in the province of Pampanga, most of Tarlac and Bataan. Kapampangan is also understood in some municipalities of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija and by the Aeta people of Zambales. The language is known honorifically as Amánung Sísuan ("breastfed, or nurtured, language").


Kapre is a Philippine mythical creature that could be characterized as a tree giant. It is described as being a tall (7 to 9 ft), big, black, hairy, muscular creature. Kapres are normally described as having a strong smell that would attract human attention.

Lebbo' people

The Lebbo' people (also known as the Lebu') are part of the indigenous Dayak people of East Kalimantan province (east central Borneo), Indonesia. They generally regard themselves as a subgroup of the Kenyah people.Before the modern era, the Lebbo' people were often hunter-gatherers or horticulturalists.

Most members of the Lebbo' live in the Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat Karst range and speak the Lebu’ Kulit (or Lepu' Kulit) language, also known as Wahau Kenyah (or Waha Kenya).

List of Philippine musical instruments

Philippine Musical Instruments:

1. Aerophones

Bulungudyong – vertical flute (Pinatubo Ayta)

Palendag – lip-valley flute (Kalinga)

Tongali – nose flute (Kalinga)

Tumpong – bamboo flute

Tulali – flute with 6 holes

Tumpong – bamboo flute

Bansik - bamboo flute with three holes of the Negrito people in Zambales.

2. Chordophones

Bamboo violin – a three-stringed violin of the Aeta people.

Butting – a bow with a single hemp 5 string, plucked with a small stick.

Faglong – a two-stringed, lute-like instrument of the B'laan. Made in 1997

Budlong - bamboo zither

Pas-ing - a two-stringed bamboo with a hole in the middle from Apayao people.


Bandurria – part of rondalya ensemble, it has a shorter neck and 14-strings compared to its Spanish ancestor.

Kudyapi – a two-stringed boat lute from Mindanao.

Laúd – similar to the bandurria, it is ultimately of Spanish origin. Also part of a rondalya ensemble.

Octavina – part of a rondalya ensemble, it is of ultimately Spanish origin.

Tuned gongs

Agung – large gong suspended from an ornate frame

Gandingan – set of four large hanging knobbed gongs

Kulintang – set of eight tuned gongs placed horizontally in an ornate frame, tuned pentatonic scale|pentatonically.


Gambang/Gabbang – bamboo blades on a frame (Yakan, Batak, B'laan, Badjao, Taus)

Luntang – wooden beams hanging from a frame (Maguindanaon)


Kulintang a tiniok – set of eight, tuned knobbed metal plates strung on a wooden frame (Maguindanaon)

Babandil- small gong

Saronay – eight tuned knobbed metal plates strung over a wooden frame (Maranao)


Agung a tamlang – bamboo (slit drum)

Dabakan – goblet drum (Maranao)

Gandang – double-headed barrel drum (Maranao)

Kagul – scraper

Libbit – conical drum (Ifugao)

Sulibao – conical drum (Ibaloy)

Gambal- drums

Tambul- drum


Kubing – jaw's harp (Maranao)

Lost Battalion (1960 film)

Lost Battalion (aka Escape to Paradise) is a 1960 black-and-white Filipino war film and love story produced and directed by Eddie Romero, and co-produced by Romero and Kane W. Lynn. Set during World War II, it stars Leopoldo Salcedo, Johnny Monteiro and Diane Jergens. It was later released in the US by American International Pictures as Lost Batallion, on a double feature with Guns of the Black Witch in 1962. The film's ad line read "200 Men and One Girl Trapped in a Ring of Steel!"

Mount Isarog

Mount Isarog is a potentially active stratovolcano located in the province of Camarines Sur, Philippines, on the island of Luzon. It has an elevation of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) above mean sea level.The peak of the mountain marks the point where the borders of five municipalities and one city meet (listed in clockwise direction, starting north): Goa, Tigaon, Ocampo, Pili, Naga City, and Calabanga.

Mount Isarog was where local troops of the Philippine Army and Constabulary units and Bicolano guerrillas hid during the Japanese Occupation. In the 1970s, with the leadership of Romulo Jallores and his brother, they established the New People's Army in the Bicol region at the foot of this mountain.

Mount Pinatubo

Mount Pinatubo (Sambal: Bakil nin Pinatobo; Kapampangan: Bunduk/Bulkan ning Pinatubu, Bunduk ning Apu Malyari; Pangasinan: Palandey/Bulkan na Pinatubu; Ilokano: Bantay Pinatubo; Tagalog: Bundok/Bulkang Pinatubo) is an active stratovolcano in the Zambales Mountains, located on the tripoint boundary of the Philippine provinces of Zambales, Tarlac and Pampanga, all in Central Luzon on the northern island of Luzon. Its eruptive history was unknown to most before the pre-eruption volcanic activities of 1991, just before June. Pinatubo was heavily eroded, inconspicuous and obscured from view. It was covered with dense forests which supported a population of several thousand indigenous Aetas.

Pinatubo is most notorious for its Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) 6 eruption on June 15, 1991, the second-largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century after the 1912 eruption of Novarupta in Alaska.

Complicating the eruption was the arrival of Typhoon Yunya, bringing a lethal mix of ash and rain to towns and cities surrounding the volcano. Predictions at the onset of the climactic eruption led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the surrounding areas, saving many lives. Surrounding areas were severely damaged by pyroclastic surges, ash falls, and subsequently, by the flooding lahars caused by rainwater re-mobilizing earlier volcanic deposits. This caused extensive destruction to infrastructure and changed river systems for years after the eruption.The effects of the eruption were felt worldwide. It ejected roughly 10,000,000,000 tonnes (1.1×1010 short tons) or 10 km3 (2.4 cu mi) of magma, and 20,000,000 tonnes (22,000,000 short tons) of SO2, bringing vast quantities of minerals and toxic metals to the surface environment. It injected more particulate into the stratosphere than any eruption since Krakatoa in 1883. Over the following months, the aerosols formed a global layer of sulfuric acid haze. Global temperatures dropped by about 0.5 °C (0.9 °F) in the years 1991–93, and ozone depletion temporarily saw a substantial increase.


The Negrito () are several different ethnic groups who inhabit isolated parts of a region known today as Austronesia. Their current populations include the Andamanese peoples of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Semang ethnic groups of Peninsular Malaysia, the Maniq people of Southern Thailand, and the Aeta people, Ati people, and 30 other official recognized ethnic groups in the Philippines.

Rettet die Naturvölker

Rettet die Naturvölker (Save the primitive peoples), founded in Ludwigslust in 1991 as Freunde der Naturvölker , is a non-governmental European human rights organization that works in the field of indigenous rights. Campaigns are carried out on a global level, with members traveling to East Africa, the Amazon Rainforest and the Philippines.


Sibat is the Filipino word for spear, used as a weapon or tool by natives of the Philippines. The term is used in Tagalog and Kinaray-a. It also called bangkaw, sumbling or palupad in the islands of Visayas and Mindanao.

Sibat are typically made with rattan, bamboo, bahi or other hardwood, either with a sharpened tip or a head made from metal. These heads may either be single-edged, double-edged or barbed. Styles vary according to function and origin. For example, a sibat designed for fishing may not be the same as those used for hunting wild game such as boar.

According to Kalis Ilustrisimo archivist Romeo Macapagal, in Kapampangan, it is known as tandos or tandus and a fishing harpoon with 3 or more prongs is a salapang in both Tagalog and Kapampangan.According to Filipino martial arts researcher & author Celestino Macachor, a shorter version of the Visayan bangkaw in Cebu is the sapang, around 38 inches (97 cm) in length and a thrusting weapon, and a budiak or bodjak is a Moro weapon that is about the same length as the bangkaw, but heavier.In the Mountain Province of Luzon, the Igorot people have different versions of them such as the fan′-kao and kay-yan′, and the fal-fĕg′ war spear of the Bontoc people.The sibat/bangkaw is widely used in Arnis systems such as San Miguel Eskrima, Modern Arnis, Kombatan, Inayan Eskrima and Pekiti-Tirsia Kali.

or Expatriates
Andaman Islands

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.