Honoring Filipino Ancestors: Building Balangay

Article Repost

Honoring Filipino Ancestors: Building Balangay



The Voyage of the Balangay has just started last June 2009. In Manila, the Balangay landed near Harbor Square, Manila Bay. We conquered the stormy weather just to experience the great ancient vessel: the Balangay.

Balangay was used by our ancestors to sail across the the oceans. I’ve seen it personally and I can say that this kind of boat is amazing and built faithfully. It is huge, and looks invulnerable to ocean waves.

The main objective of The Voyage of Balangay is Boat Building. The authentic Balangay will be crafted by master boat builders from the Island of Sibutu and Sitangkay in Tawi-Tawi, whose skills had been handed down through generations.

This will not only showcase the capability of the Filipino boat builders but would also be our way of instilling and propagating the idea among the present Filipinos, particularly the youth, that the Filipinos have been world-class boat builders even before the coming of the Western colonizers.

These are the sailing route of Balangay based on the projected timetable.

2009 The Philippines
2010 Southeast Asia
2011 Micronesia and Madagascar
2012 Sail across the Pacific onward to the Atlantic, all the way around the world
2013 Back home to the Philippines

The Philippine Mt Everest Team. Left to Right: Noelle Wenceslao, Carina Dayondon, Dr. Voltaire Velasco, Art Valdez, Leo Oracion, Pastour E

The Balangay Building will be headed by the Philippine Mount Everest Expedition. Their team leader Art Valdez has an organizational expertise and rich experience that can serve as the guiding light in the accomplishment of this project, his new “Everest.”

The Balangay will become the catalyst to stir up historical consciousness among Filipinos today. Without that keen knowledge of history, our people will continue to suffer as our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, aptly described, “Ang taong hindi lumilingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa patutunguhan.”

Kaya ng Pinoy!

New Research Reconstructs Ancient History of Island SE Asia

Article Repost:

New research reconstructs ancient history of Island Southeast Asia

April 9, 2010 <!–


(PhysOrg.com) — An article in this month’s Current Anthropology challenges the controversial idea that Island Southeast Asia was settled 5,000 years ago by a migration of farmers from Taiwan.

The article, by Mark Donohue of the Australian National University and Tim Denham of Monash University (Melbourne, Australia), also questions the broader idea that farming technology and spread together in many parts of the world as a “cultural package.”

Scholars have debated for years about the history of Island Southeast Asia—the present-day countries of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. The most prominent theory about the region’s history is the “out of Taiwan” model. According to the model, people from Taiwan migrated south into the region about 5,000 years ago. Advanced farming technology enabled the migrants to displace indigenous hunter-gatherers, and establish their culture and language as the dominant one in the region. Linguistic evidence seems to support that version of events. All of the languages spoken in the region—called the Austronesian languages—can be traced back to a Taiwanese origin.

Influential scholars, including Guns, Germs and Steel author Jared Diamond, believe that the “out of Taiwan” model is a prime example of how prehistoric farming cultures tended to expand their territories, bringing their language and other cultural traditions with them. Advocates of the model believe similar scenarios explain language patterns in areas of Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.

But Donohue and Denham present a very different history of Island Southeast Asia.

“Genes, languages and material culture—including agriculture—did not all spread together through migration,” Donohue said. Instead, the region was “home to a mosaic of maritime networks of prior to the spread of the Austronesian languages.”

The latest genetic studies show no evidence of a large-scale Taiwanese migration, the Donohue and Denham contend. “Although some of the genetic variation among human populations in [the region] can be attributed to Taiwanese influence, the proportion does not by any means represent the wholesale replacement or absorption of preexisting populations,” they write.

In terms of agriculture, Donohue and Denham show that many of the domesticated plants and animals common in the region appear to have arrived before any Taiwanese influence—and from multiple sources. Chickens and pigs most likely came from mainland Southeast Asia, and bananas and sugarcane from New Guinea. Such evidence challenges the notion that the region owes its agricultural history solely to Taiwanese migrants.

A detailed look at the linguistics of the region also casts doubt on the explanatory power of the “out of Taiwan” model, according to Donohue and Denham. Languages change over time and as populations move around. If the Austronesian languages came to the region through a southward Taiwanese migration of peoples, one would expect that the languages spoken in the northern part of the region would be more similar to the original source language than the ones spoken in the southern part, which matches the dispersal of some archaeological markers. But that is not the linguistic pattern in Island Southeast Asia. According to Donohue and Denham, there is no linguistic evidence for an orderly north-to-south dispersal.

Irregular patterns in the vocabulary and grammar and other linguistic anomalies throughout the region call into question the idea that the language came to the through mass migration. Rather, Donohue and Denham suggest that the profile of the Austronesian languages in Island Southeast Asia is “consistent with the mechanisms of language shift and abnormal transmission.”

Taken as a whole, the evidence from genetics, archaeology and linguistics calls into the question the idea that agriculture and language spread together, Donohue and Denham conclude.

“The demonstration that farming and language did not reach Island Southeast Asia together has implications for other places where that idea has been applied, including Europe and sub-Saharan Africa,” Denham said.

More information: Mark Donohue and Tim Denham, “Farming and Language in Island Southeast Asia: Reframing Austronesian History.” Current Anthropology 51:2 (April 2010). http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/650991