Parallelism between Luzon and Visayan social stratification

Accounts were not written by social scientist that led to disorderly, imprecise, and even contradictory. Difficult to distinguish legislative, judicial and executive functions in native government. Example, datu as social class or political office. Translation of terminologies from 16th century Spanish to have no equivalent to modern English, example “pechero” becomes a commoner.

Miguel de Loarca’s Relacion delas Islas Filipinas (1582). He was an ecomendero in Panay. More on the economic details. Father Juan de Placensia’s Relacion de las costumbres de los indios se han tener en estas Islas (1589). Franciscan missionary, wrote indicating personal experience, careful observation, and thoughtful reflections.

Father Plasencia describes Filipinos as being divided into social conditions or “estates”: principales, hidalgos, pecheros and esclavos. In other treatise on custom law, he distinguishes three “estates”: rule, ruled and slave. Similar with Antonio de Morga. The first two estates distinguished from one another for purpose of administering justice, fixing fines and inheritance. 1st estates enjoy trial by peers, 2nd trial by the first and the 3rd estate have no right to trial at all.

A datu must be a member of the maginoo class. He is the ruler of the barangay – “barrio of people subject to one”. Role of a datu arose from the captain of the boat migrating to the Philippines with his family, relatives and servants. They (Plasencia and others) believe that they arrived in the archipelago a short time before. Datu governs like that of a captain of the ship Perhaps a barangay was a social unit necessary to build, launch, supply and fight a man-of-war and support its captain’s argosies.

Varied in size from 30 to a hundred household, part of a settlement which included other barangay, either continuous or at some distance. The land they occupay is called a bayan and the settlement is called pueblo as appeared in the dictionary. (Kaninung pabuwisan ang bayang ito?) Taytay Rizal had 4 barangays – 4 datus – with hundred families according to Father Chirino in 1591.

Boxer manuscript thinks 3 or 4 datus are normal for such a settlement. Loarca says if there are ten or more datus live in the same pueblo, they obey the wealthiest Morga says only the best warrior are obeyed Plasencia holds that datus were not subjejct to one another.

Boxer manuscript calls datus “señores de titulo. Maginoo lineage, exercised by men line from father to son or brother. His power depends on the fealty of men in the 2nd estate and the support of the 3rd estate. Usually the chioce is the best warior. Duties: govern the people and lead them to war. Render judgement to any lawsuit filed by his followers. Initiates and enforce trial by oath, divination and ordeal.

Control over disposition of barangay real property is vested in the datu. Right to retain land and use for his priviledge. Example, restriction of fisheries, collection of fees for a market open or strategic passage of waterways. A datu may alienate territory. Converts his rights to regular payments.

A datu receives services, agricultural produce and respect from his people Services are of two kinds: seasonal field labor which nobody is exempted, maritime and military expeditions and unscheduled occasions like building houses or opening a road, etc. Plasencia equates datu to a knight, maharlika with hidalgo, timawa with pechero and alipin with esclavo.

Philippine custom law calls the 2nd estate timawa. Common people for Placencia and plebians for Morga. Both term suggest ineligibility to marry a royal blood. They enjoy agricultural rights to the land of the barangay. To harvest without paying any tribute. Their patron are lords and landlords. Neither rich nor poor.

Birthright aristocracy who render military service Accompanies his captains where ever he goes, row his boat It does not explain the origin of their ascribed status. Maybe a diluted maginoo blood. Descendants of fixed marriages between a ruling dynasty and one out of power Subject to same requirements of seasonal and community labor. Less free than he timawa.

An alipin is a man in debt to another man. His subordination is obligatory and not contractual. The other man is his creditor rather than lord. May be born as such – called gintubo. He inherits his parents debt, indenture or sentence. His debt can be transfers from one creditor to another, to his detriment.

Alipin with landrights are called namamahay and the one that lost that right is called alipin sa gigilid. Or those who never had such right. Boxer manuscript has a remark that there is a kind of slave both mananahay and gigilid called tagalos.

Loarca and the boxer manuscript divides mankind into 5 types of species: datus, timawas, oripun, negroes, and the overseas aliens. Later the 16th century Visayans divided them into three divinely sanctioned orders: datu, timawa oripun. Datu is used both social class and political title: the class is a birthright aristocracy. Timawa’s are datus comrades-at-arms, personal bodyguards, tasting his wine for poison, everybody else is oripun.

Members of the datu class enjoys ascribed right to respect, obidience and support from the oripun. They can dispose of their followers person, houses property. No documents tells of land use. Sons of datu have equal rights, competition is keen among them, datu wives practice abortion. They marry among their kind They recognizes another lineage called tumao – “to be a man”.

The estate of the datu is called ginoapan. There is a cluster of house called gamoro. Boxer manuscript states that the people obey their datu because “most of them are their slaves and are not the relatives of the datu”. In the event that the datu is captured in war, they contribute for the ransom. Ruling datu has the duty to execute judicial decisions handed down by experts in custom law. Datu’s main function is to lead the war All crimes are punishable by fines.

Timawa are personal vassals of a datu. They pay no tribute, no render of agricultural services and have a portion of a datu blood in their veins. Knights and hidalgos. (Boxer) Freemen, neither chiefs nor slave. (Loarca) The 3rd rank of nobility. (Alcina)

Commoners in technical terms. They cannot marry peopel of royal blood and are under obligation to serve and support the aristocracy of the 1st order. Common to all Visayan account (Oripun)

I would like to thank and acknowledge Prof. Aldrin Gueverra for making this PPT

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