Pre-Spanish Era & Original Pinoy Culture


The early communities in the Philippines in the Pre-Spanish era were patterned to be scattered by sociopolitical units called Barangays, a few of which became super Barangays with population of more than 2000 inhabitants. With this Barangay state scenario, culture and the form of government were still developed within the unit. That is particularly a distinct culture in terms of government system, language and system of writing (Alibata), social structure, religion practices, land ownership, and economic activities. The barangays in some coastal areas already engaged into trade relations with neighboring countries in Asia. Our communities looked to be politically, economically and socially stable before the coming of the Spaniards.

It is just sad to know that by the start of the Spanish occupation we lost this sense of our own original culture. This “deculturalization” was coupled to the forced subjugation of our society along with the forced conversion to Christianity so as it would be easy for the Spaniards to implement and govern. One effect was the changes from the original places into its Spanish foreign names. Town names like Sugbu was changed to Cebu so it would be easy to pronounce for the Spaniards. The same was done with “Cavite”, converted from the term “Kawit” which means “hook” –i.e., the peninsular shape of the city of Cavite. We retain a few, such as Mactan and Lapu-Lapu, but the majority of the towns, cities, and major roads were already replaced. The replacement to foreign names of politicians have continued with the American occupation until the present day.

Its strongest impact is our loss of history and “identity of place”. We looked to “float” culturally because we are influenced with each of the cultures of our foreign occupants. Our adoption of foreign names made inroads into our nationalism. We love less our society, our country. With these replacement of our place and people names, we become easily swayed to external forces – be they political, economic, or social.

What would be the solution? A proposal of consideration of a national cultural program of researching our original place names and to push the reversion from foreign and political name to its original root version. It looks to be a long and tedious process but with the help of various government agencies cooperating with the LGUs’ recipient, this is not impossible.

This “Original Place Name” campaign will, in one way, revive our love of country. This will act as a reminder of our roots and our history way further back before the Spanish colonization. We are not only nationalistic by trait, but also by our places’ names.

Ibabao, R. A. (2017, October 15). History of planning in the philippines: Pre-spanish and american period [Powerpoint].
Astillero, E. I. (2017, September 14). Philippine original place names [Web Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://hapihumanist.org/features/philippine-original-place-names/

Categories : HQ and Office Affairs