Philippine Negritos



ETHNONYMS: Aeta, Atta, Baluga, Batak, Dumagat, Mamanwa, Pugut


The Negritos of the Philippines are comprised of approximately twenty-five widely scattered ethnolinguistic groups totaling an estimated 15,000 people. They are located on several major islands in the country: Luzon, Palawan, Panay, Negros, Cebu, and Mindanao. They are assumed to be the aboriginal inhabitants of the archipelago. The religion of most groups remains animistic, often with a thin overlay of Roman Catholic influence. All the Negrito languages are Austronesian, as are all the native languages of the Philippines. The Negrito languages do not form a subfamily among the Philippine Austronesian languages. Rather, they tend to be most closely related to, but usually mutually unintelligible with, the languages of the non-Negrito peoples in their particular geographical areas. All Negrito adults in every area are bilingual, able to converse in and understand the major languages of their non-Negrito neighbors with only minor difficulty. The population of the Negritos has declined greatly since the early Hispanic period (1600) and continues to decline today because of high death rates resulting from encroachment by outsiders, deforestation, depletion of their traditional game resources, and general poverty and disease. These Negroid peoples are phenotypically quite different in appearance from the Mongoloid peoples of the Philippines, who today outnumber the Negritos by 4,000 to 1. In spite of their Negroid appearance, all scholars reject the theory that their ancestors came from Africa. Rather, the accepted theory today is that Philippine Negritos are descendants of groups of Homo sapiens who migrated into the Philippines during the Upper Pleistocene from mainland Southeast Asia, and subsequently developed their phenotypic traits in situ, through processes of microevolution, some 25,000 years ago. All of the Negrito groups are or were hunter-gatherers. Today they are found in various stages of deculturation. Most practice some marginal cultivation themselves, and all groups carry on intense symbiotic relationships with neighboring non-Negrito peoples, trading forest products for cash or starch food (rice or corn), serving as forest guides, and especially working as casual laborers on nearby farms.

See also Agta ; Tasaday

Bibliography

Eder, James F. (1987). On the Road to Tribal Extinction: Depopulation, Deculturation, and Adaptive Well-Being among the Batak of the Philippines. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Fox, Robert B. (1953). The Pinatubo Negritos: Their Useful Plants and Material Culture. Manila: Bureau of Printing.

Garvan, John M. (1964). The Negritos of the Philippines, edited by Hermann Hochegger. Vienna: Verlag Ferdinand Berger Horn.

Omoto, Keiichi (1985). "The Negritos: Genetic Origins and Microevolution." In Out of Asia: Peopling the Americas and the Pacific, edited by Robert Kirk and Emoke Szathmary, 123-131. Canberra: Journal of Pacific History.

THOMAS N. HEADLAND

User Contributions:

1
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Nov 28, 2010 @ 10:22 pm
The term "Negrito" is the Spanish diminutive of negro, i.e. "little black person", referring to their small stature, and was coined by early European explorers who assumed that the Negritos were recent arrivals from Africa.
Occasionally, some Negritos are referred to as pygmies, bundling them with peoples of similar physical stature in Central Africa, and likewise, the term Negrito was previously occasionally used to refer to African Pygmies.[4]
Sometimes the term "Negroid" will be used when referring to these groups, especially to their superficial physical features, such as their hair texture and skin color.
2
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Jul 30, 2011 @ 9:21 pm
i remember my good friend told me about my history and he is not filipino wow thats sad lol. Its awesome to know history and its awesome to know that we have black in us filipino. Dont ignore the truth brothers and sisters =].. i would love to meet one of my ancestors
3
John
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Oct 24, 2012 @ 12:00 am
My high school math teacher was stationed in Southeast Asia for a while as part of his military service, and he would occasionally tell us stories about the Negritos. All I can remember is that they have wicked knives and extremely accurate blowguns...
4
Beatrice
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Jul 28, 2013 @ 3:15 pm
I love that our black people are scattered all over t.he world. I love my hair and my tan skin. In Asia today, we have pockets of black people. And the white man is trying to kill us all.
5
Chary Cassey
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Jun 22, 2014 @ 7:07 am
I appreciated the info about negritos because it helped me with my assignments in our school.
6
albert
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Jul 1, 2014 @ 5:05 am
The term "Negrito" is the Spanish diminutive of negro, i.e. "little black person", referring to their small stature, and was coined by early European explorers who assumed that the Negritos were recent arrivals from Africa.
Occasionally, some Negritos are referred to as pygmies, bundling them with peoples of similar physical stature in Central Africa, and likewise, the term Negrito was previously occasionally used to refer to African Pygmies.[4]
Sometimes the term "Negroid" will be used when referring to these groups, especially to their superficial physical features, such as their hair texture and skin color.
7
Sammie
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Oct 1, 2014 @ 2:14 pm
I was stationed at Clark AFB Philippines for 10 years. I met several Negretoes families. Al so I bartered or Traded bicycles for knives and blow guns. They are very friendly people and are honest. Their village were outside of the base. We hired a lafy to be our house maid.
8
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Feb 3, 2015 @ 12:00 am
Hello everybody!
First of all I want to congratulate you for have created this site.
I am African, from Bioko Island but I currently live in Spain.
I am writing to you because 7 months ago I found Filipinos on Facebook whose family name is Batapa, I got surprised because the sure name Batapa is my family name too; so I added them and up to now we're still in touch through Facebook and skype because we wanted to know how could that be possible because I ama black aAfrican and they are white or brown Filipinos. Later on

n we realized that we may be relatives because the Bat APAs of Bioko island cannot married with other Batapas
9
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Feb 3, 2015 @ 12:00 am
So as I was saying, the Batapa of Filipina are not eather allowed to married other Batapa even they don't know them because they considere that all Batapa are relatives not matter where they come from. So when they told me this I got more surprised because the Batapa of Bioko island which is located in Africa, they cannot rather get married with other Batapa even they don't know themselves. So I am proud as them for who we are because now we Batapa of Africa, we connect with the Btapa of the Filipinas islands.
I have learnt some Filipino words, some bisaya and Igalow words too and I am teaching them Spanish because Spanish is official language even though I speak other African language.
I will soon travel to Filip in as to meet my pinsan.
10
Archie
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Dec 7, 2015 @ 11:23 pm
I was stationed at Clark AB late 60's and again early 70's.. Most of the Negritos stayed in the forested hills outside the NW perimeter of the base. When Mt Pinatuba erurpted I'm sure they were displaced. They kind people.. What ever became of them?
11
franklin hasty
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Jan 11, 2016 @ 4:16 pm
i have a 6-7 foot black wood spear with a metal point about 1 foot long.this was given to me by friend who served in the pacific during and after ww2. he told me it was given to him in appreciation of service by a chief of a negrito tribe.he has passsed and i have no other info.would attach photo if i knew how.
12
Roy Donald
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Jun 23, 2016 @ 11:23 pm
Very interesting. I am a white (Caucasian) American in love with a Marikudo Ati and have made her my fiancé. She, her family, and her tribe have shown me every courtesy and respect I can ask for. She is tall for a Filipina, 5'5", but other than that, fits the physical description. But who cares about race? She is a fine, dedicated, caring Christian woman and that is what counts.
13
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Jun 25, 2019 @ 10:10 am
I heard about the Negritos or Itas before i sojourned to the Philippines,i was surprised to find a family of an old man and a woman,their daughter or younger sister and a child begging for alms along the San Miguel highway in Tarlac city,Tarlac.i happened to be walking so they quickly identified with their African brother and came to me for money which i gave willingly of course.They are Filipinos true and true but because of American KKK and Spanish influence fair skin colour is the accepted Filipino norm.I met another well groomed Ita gentleman in the same Tarlac city and we took a picture since he happened to know my friend in the same church.I have also interacted with a man from La Union also a descendant of Itas and yet another in Bacoor Cavite in Manila close to our boarding house(short dark skin and huge Afro like those i met in Tarlac city) and two extra brown Filipinos brothers in Baguio City,whose skin colour were even darker than me the African,they always smile when they see me,the speak deep Filipino language,Yet again in Camp along Kennon Road is this almost unbelievable Negro with pure Filipino tongue already tagged as an African by us Foreigners.he cannot be a pure African because he speaks the local language very well and surely not a child of an American expatriate or Military otherwise he won't be too shabbily dressed at times and can barely speak English.He never speaks with me but i've heard him speak the native tongue many times.The latest Negro Filipino i met was in Ayala mall in Alabang,Manila in the early part of 2019.Same skin like mine but with curly hair and hanging out with other Filipinos.So i have seen much to know and believe the Negritos are part of the country but economic neglect makes them stay in their own villages,as a documentary on one of the Television stations shows how they struggle in the National Capital Region and other big towns in terms of acceptance and job opportunities. They make crafts out of Bamboo and come to the big cities during the Yuletide season to sell them and buy some sacks of rice and other cooking ingredients to take with them inside the forested villages to also enjoy the Christmas festivities in the own small way..cooking the 'pancit' and fried chicken(which at the look of things is eaten once in a blue moon)for the entire family and feasting on banana leaves as the plate.

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