Published: July 29, 2010
There were no schools as we know them in the pre-Spanish Philippines. The children studied in their own homes with their parents as the teachers or tutors. The parents taught their children a mix of academic and vocational courses. Both the boys and the girls were taught reading, writing, arithmetic, music, religion, and tribal customs. In addition, the boys were trained to be warriors, hunters, farmers, fishermen, boat-builders, miners, and blacksmiths. The girls, on the other hand, were taught cooking, sewing, weaving, and stock raising.
Agriculture was the main industry in the pre-Spanish Philippines. Rice, hemp, coconut, cotton, sugarcane, camotes, bananas, oranges, and many kinds of fruits and vegetables were raised. There were two methods of cultivation;
- Kaingin System – shrubs, bushes and trees were burned to clear the land, after which holes were bored in the ground with pointed sticks and seeds were then planted there.
- Tillage System – wooden plows and harrows drawn by carabaos (buffalo) were used to cultivate the soil. In some regions, irrigation was extensively used to increase farm production.
The system of landholding of the early Filipinos was both public and private. The mountain slopes and other less arable land were considered the property of the entire barangay. Anybody could cultivate the land there. The richer areas, however, were owned by the datu or by private individuals. These private lands were acquired by occupation, purchase, or inheritance.
Aside from agriculture, the ancient Filipinos also raised chickens, carabaos and swine, and fish. They engaged in mining, lumbering, weaving, wine manufacture, weapon making, and boat building.
Fishing prospered because most of the settlements of the early Filipinos lived along rivers and on the seashores. Mining was also an important early Philippine industry. Gold, which was obtained from rivers and mines, was the principal mineral and was used in making rings, bracelets, armlets and necklaces. The abundance of forest trees led the early Filipinos to produce lumbers and build fine outriggered sailboats.
Weaving was a home industry. With wooden looms, the women wove fine textiles such as sinamay, medriñaque cotton, linen, and silk.
Some of the minor industries of the early Filipinos were jewelry making, tanning of animal hide, hunting of edible birds’ nests, making mats and baskets, and making ornaments from carabao horn.