The Nayong Pilipino Foundation Virtual Museum Project is part of the Heritage Space Program. The project will consist of digital exhibitions of the different artifacts with the intention of going beyond the standard flat images and short captions. This will be achieved through different multimedia outputs, such as videos, three-dimensional imaging, social media integration, and community-centered content generation. The last two are important in creating a dialogue and co-production between NPF, the indigenous communities represented, and the public.

    Our future cultural park will include a museum that will house the NPF permanent collection that has over 2,500 artifacts from the different indigenous peoples of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The NPF collection is diverse and varied, ranging from intricate beaded jewelry to striking weaponry for hunting and warfare to ritualistic artifacts. It also includes musical instruments, vessels, funerary objects, and textiles.

    WHAT’S NEW?

    18 August 2021 – Museo ng Nayong Pilipino Bulletin (August 2021)

    25 May 2021 – Museo ng Nayong Pilipino Bulletin (April 2021)

    19 February 2021 – Museo ng Nayong Pilipino Bulletin (February 2021)

    10 February 2021 – Museo ng Nayong Pilipino presents “Unthread”

    16 December 2020 – Museo ng Nayong Pilipino Bulletin (December 2020)

    The Philippines has a wide array of basket forms, all depending on their use. Moreover, the weaves, their sizes, and even the fibers used to produce these point to a craft and artistry that has spanned centuries. The practicality of their storage use hints at the multiplicity of their use and an art that has been passed.

    See also:

    The Making and Meaning of the Different Basket Forms in the Philippines

    Essay Series: Natural Heritage and Basketry – Rattan | Bamboo | Abaca | Nitu | Pandan | Anahaw | Buri | Colorants

    Follow Museo ng Nayong Pilipino on Instagram SalikSining: Entwined

    Unravelling the Museo ng Nayong Pilipino Project

    Unthread explores the role of textiles and accessories in community life, concentrating on those that are worn for various occasions, rites of passage and liminalities, indicators of status, expressions of local creativity, place wisdom, and biocultural heritage. Read more


    Scoping Resources on Textiles and Personal Ornaments

    Studying the clothing textile and body ornaments, through its facets of composition, method, and types of production, use, and function, and consumption will aid in a better understanding of the wearer’s cultural identity. Read more


    Unthread: Patterns from Interwoven Philippine Communities

    With every thread woven, the weavers and wearers carry the histories and stories of different Philippine communities. Read more

    Follow Museo ng Nayong Pilipino on Instagram SalikSining

    In photo: Filipinas weaving cloth (1907-1916), University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.

    While the study of funerary artifacts can give us so much information about past societies, the practice also brings up questions of ethics, remembering that these burials were not initially meant to be disturbed by future societies.

    ― Patricia Panganiban

    We hope that this article starts a series of conversations on reasons why these grave markers were taken by collectors in the 1970s – 1980s from their original communities, and to begin asking questions if this is something one should collect.

    museo ng nayong pilipino - grave expectations

    ULINIGIN: The Sound and Soul of our Shared Heritage

    “The Nayong Pilipino currently has several musical instruments that may represent several groups of the Philippines. It is our goal to present some of the materials in our catalogues, so that these materials can be studied and shared with those interested in under standing how musical material culture floats through identity and geographic space. And  like the music that they bring, we hope to highlight the Filipino talent, not only in sound  but to show how it is embedded in the soul.”

    Full text

    ULINIGIN: The Sound and Soul of our Shared Heritage

    The commonality of sound and song resonates throughout different groups around the world, and it is certainly no different with the various Philippine groups. It is no wonder  that music can relay relationships through time and space, akin to spoken language emitted by cultural groups which expands by transmitting part of their identities. 

    In a recorded lecture by National Artist Dr. Ramon P. Santos, he explained that Philippine musical heritage largely came from two traditions: from our Southeast Asian neighbors and the Euro-American Western influences. The European Western influences of  course stem from the onset of Spanish colonization in the Philippines where musical influences may be attributed to global exchanges, especially at the onset of the Manila Galleon Trade. However, the Southeast Asian musical influences continue to live on through traditions and communities. Dr. José Maceda (Maceda 1978), another National Artist for Music, mentioned that similarities of instruments—alongside other material cultures—is comparable to the Philippines’ neighboring countries; yet the sound, melody, forms, and the roles of these musical instruments greatly vary throughout a  wider geographic distribution. This is not surprising, given that the Philippines is formed by numerous islands, all with a unique geographical environment that led to the  rise of hundreds of languages. In this way, while influences cannot be denied, there is also  a unique property in the sounds and melodies that each group can produce. 

    One of these is the ganza or gangsa, the brass gongs used by the Cordillerans for their rituals. Different ways of eliciting tone from the gangsa are used depending on the  observed occasion. In one way, the hands are used to beat and slide on the brass material  to develop a ringing tone. However, on the occasion of a ritual, the six people will play  different sizes of gangsa to produce various tones to produce a dance. Brass gongs in Southern Mindanao, however, have a mound in the middle, which must be struck by a percussion stick to produce sound. These can be suspended from strings of rattan on  bamboo suspension, an instrument utilized for signaling and as the beat for the music.  One or two people can play this at the same time. This type of gong can be found  throughout Mindoro to the indigenous groups of Mindanao. The most widely known  gongs, however, are those that are laid according to size, famously known as the kulintang and mostly associated with the Islamic groups of Mindanao. The kulintang is able to play the melody, unlike the other gongs that mostly play the beat. 

    Aside from this, the kudyapi or stringed lute, zithers, and the Jew’s harp can be found throughout the Philippines, indeed only varying in the tones that they produce. In a letter describing the cutiape (kudyapi) of the Bisayas, a Spanish priest marveled: “The strings used for [the harp] are made from twisted silk…it bears a close resemblance to a  hurdy-gurdy, and has four copper chords. They play it so cleverly, that they make it express whatever they wish; and it is asserted as a truth that they speak, and tell one another what ever they wish, by means of that instrument, a special skill in those of that nation” (vol. 29,  p. 290). The importance of this kudyapi is prominent in courtship and in other speaking  engagements, where these can be used as a speaking instrument that happens to play musical tones. Brandeis (2012) elaborated on the various forms of the kudyapi throughout  the Philippines, mentioning that in Mindanao there are more or less 20 forms of this  instrument! 

    Other materials such as the zithers, Jew’s harp, and xylophones are commonly made of  bamboo. (Dioquino 2008) As always, the bamboo is considered one of the most import ant plants in the Philippines, featuring prominently in communities. These range from  the material for house building, bridge construction, basket-making, and here also in music-making (Roxas 2012; Tamolang et al. 1980). Such importance given to the plant indicates the intricate knowledge and understanding that the Filipino bestows upon their environment and learning their properties and uses. It is not hard to imagine that  the initial Filipinos have high regard for the plants that command such a variety of use in  life. 

    Music and melody are then representative of identity and histories as their uses range from everyday community music to ritual performances accompanying important life transitions such as celebrations of marriage, death, harvest rituals, and head-hunting. Each group also has various musical instruments, which may also only be played in a  certain event. Maceda (1998) provided examples of these musical instruments, which he  summarized to mostly composed of brass gongs and bamboos. Nevertheless, he expounded on other instruments such as drums constructed with the deer hide on a group of  bamboos held together by rattan, and also other instruments found throughout the Philippines. Nicolas (2008) connects it to the Southeast Asian musical tradition which is not only present through ethnographic analysis, but also present in archaeological excavations throughout Indonesia, Taiwan, Borneo, and others. This shows the long history of  the musical instruments used by various groups, although it was only with the Spanish  arrival that the terms used were eventually recorded (Blair and Robertson 1903-1909). 

    Beyond daily life and music’s contribution to rituals and transition, musical instruments  played by various Philippine ethnic groups also provide a subtle indication of gender  roles, although as is with any Southeast Asian groups, such may also be fluid (Andaya 2000). This ties musical instruments to the daily and gendered lives of the people, which  Mora (2008) provided in a study of the musical instruments used by the T’boli of Lake Sebu, Mindanao. While the instruments themselves are engendered, much like the  domestic practices that are viewed as either male or female, the players themselves may  play the musical instrument commonly attributed to gender while they themselves are not of the same sex. This complex nature of musicality and instrument shows the multifaceted roles of each member of the group when it comes to making music, and thus also the context in which these are used. 

    The Nayong Pilipino currently has several musical instruments that may represent several groups of the Philippines. It is our goal to present some of the materials in our catalogues, so that these materials can be studied and shared with those interested in under standing how musical material culture floats through identity and geographic space. And  like the music that they bring, we hope to highlight the Filipino talent, not only in sound  but to show how it is embedded in the soul. 

    References 

    Andaya, Leonard Y. 2000. The bissu: Study of a third gender in Indonesia. In Other   pasts: Women, gender and history in early modern Southeast Asia, edited by B. W.   Andaya. Honolulu, HI, USA: Center for Southeast Asian Studies. 

    Blair, Emma, and James Robertson. 1903-1909. The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898.   Volume 26: 260. Cleveland: Arthur Clark. 

    Brandeis, Hans. 2012. Boat Lutes in the Visayas and Luzon – Traces of a Lost Tradition.   Musika Jornal 8:3-94. 

    Dioquino, Corazon. 2008. Philippine Bamboo Instruments. Humanities Diliman 5   (1-2):101-113. 

    Maceda, José. 1978. Introduction to Philippine Music. The World of Music 20   (2):78-81. 

    Maceda, José. 1998. Gongs and Bamboo: A Panorama of Philippine Music Instruments.  Quezon City, PH: University of the Philippines Press. 

    Mora, Manolete. 2008. Lutes, Gongs, Women and Men:(En)Gendering Instrumental   Music in the Philippines. Ethnomusicology Forum 17(2):225-247. 

    Nicolas, Arsenio. 2008. Nicolas 2008 Review Maceda(1998) Gongs and Bamboo. A Pan  orama Of Philippine Musical Instruments. Musika Jornal 4. 

    Roxas, Cristina A. 2012. Handbook on Erect Bamboo Species Found in the Philippines.   Laguna, PH: Department of Environment and Natural Resources Ecosystems   Research and Development Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural   Resources, College. 

    Tamolang, Francisco N., Felipe R. Lopez, Jose A. Semana, Ricardo F. Casin, and Zenita  

     B. Espiloy. 1980. Properties and Utilization of Philippine Erect Bamboos. In Bamboo Research in Asia, edited by G. Lessard and A. Chouinard. Ottawa, CA: International Development Research Centre. 

    SalikSining

    Museo ng Nayon Collection: Ethnographic Materials Labeled as Hunting and Warfare Materials

    The Nayong Pilipino Foundation currently houses various ethnographic materials labeled as hunting and warfare materials. Such a label showcases the intrinsic understanding of the Filipino when it comes to explaining material cultures to worldview. The collection of spears from Ifugao and the bladed weapons from Mindanao demonstrates the fluidity of the panday who skillfully traverses through meanings through technology and craft. We hope that while the labels seem to be an either/or solution, like the weapon, it does not have to be. As a blade can be used for cooking and for conflict, the panday indicates that these implements may transcend and transform depending on the flowing and intertwining spheres that is the culture and life of the Filipino.

     


    Panday: Overlapping Social Spheres for Tools in the Philippines

    Tools have been used for development and identity throughout the world and that includes the Philippines. The variety of their uses signal the varied lifestyles, cultural practices, and beliefs of various groups.

    It is hard to believe that people in the archipelago once highly utilized stone tools in the time of the Philippine paleolithic, around 600,000 years ago to at least 9,000 years ago. These stone tools, while quite rare in the archaeological record, are still considered rare materials. However, while the utilization of stone tools is considered a sophisticated practice, their forms in the Philippines hardly changed over the thousands of years that this was used. One of the prevailing theories rationalizes that this may be due to the abundant presence of stone that can be picked up and used anytime, leading to people not needing a complex form of stone tool as they may rely on other materials such as wood—specifically the bamboo (Bar-Yosef et al., 2012)—which is present throughout the tropical archipelago, but unfortunately hardly lasts in the humid tropical environment.

    Full text

    PANDAY: Overlapping Social Spheres for Tools in the Philippines

    Tools have been used for development and identity throughout the world and that includes the Philippines. The variety of their uses signal the varied lifestyles, cultural practices, and beliefs of various groups.

    It is hard to believe that people in the archipelago once highly utilized stone tools in the time of the Philippine paleolithic, around 600,000 years ago to at least 9,000 years ago. These stone tools, while quite rare in the archaeological record, are still considered rare materials. However, while the utilization of stone tools is considered a sophisticated practice, their forms in the Philippines hardly changed over the thousands of years that this was used. One of the prevailing theories rationalizes that this may be due to the abundant presence of stone that can be picked up and used anytime, leading to people not needing a complex form of stone tool as they may rely on other materials such as wood—specifically the bamboo (Bar-Yosef et al., 2012)—which is present throughout the tropical archipelago, but unfortunately hardly lasts in the humid tropical environment.

    Nevertheless, Philippine history and ethnography have shown that wood is an important material in the cultural practice of the people, even down to the tools being used. Hunting certainly largely relied on wood, and this is evidenced in the neolithic Philippines when smooth stones with sharp edges called adzes were hafted on wood and were likely used as a crude version of an axe (Ronquillo, 1998). Aside from their use as tools, adzes may also have special meaning, since shell versions were found in archaeological excavations in Mindoro (Pawlik et al., 2015), Tawi-Tawi (Ronquillo et al. 1993) and also in Palawan (Fox, 1970). The shell adze found in Duyong Cave, Quezon, Palawan was associated to a neolithic burial. Aside from their utilitarian use as tools, the use for these tools may also be associated to a belief system currently unknown to us.

    The utilization and the production techniques for metal eventually made their way into the Philippines, thus paving the way to making new types of hunting materials and weaponry. At around 500 BC, metal implements can be found associated with burials in what archaeologists may signal as the beginning of the Metal Age (Jocano, 1998). However, as many have criticized, the Metal Age in the Philippines is not necessarily associated with the presence of metals, but with highly crafted pottery and burial jars, indicating mastery of heat, fire, and sculpting. All these may be associated with the concept of producing metals, where a disciplined and artistic craftsmanship is demanded to produce these materials.

    Metals exponentially grew in their use application, essentially expanding its cultural meaning depending on the worldview of the people. The skills developed by the blacksmith or the panday not only includes the mastery of fire and heat, but also the rough metal pounded and forged into submission to become a smooth equivalent of its original form. The panday must also understand geology, to ensure that the stones used as anvils will not break with the force. What may look like a simple blade needs the panday’s expertise to make sure that the blade thickness will withstand its constant use over time.

    Although the early history of metalworking is currently lost to us, Spanish historians who initially observed the Bisaya method of forging metals noted the similarity of the technique with the neighboring Malay and Island Southeast Asian groups (Scott, 1994). Eventually, ethnographers in the turn of the 1900s observed that this method continued on, and observed in the Bontoc among the Ifugaos (Jenks, 1905), the Subanens of Zamboanga (Christie, 1909), and also among the Bagobo group in Mindanao (Cole, 1913). True to the intertwining of use and beliefs, these forges not only produce weapons, but also metal pipes for the Bontoc, and metal bells for the Bagobo.

    Finally, when this is done, the metals are paired with other materials such as wood that may serve as hilts, spears, sheaths, or even shields. Carving and manipulating the wood takes the same energy and skill, but this time using a vastly different medium from the one forged in fire. Although the English term differentiates blacksmith and carpenter, many languages in the Philippines use the word panday to refer to people who either choose to form iron or wood. Many may not have the same skill set depending on the medium, yet the unity of the term harkens to the concept of experts producing a craft and may transcend them to art. Like the many craftspeople producing art, these overlapping skills point to the intricacy of use, technique, art, and belief.

    These overlaps can be found in the combination of metal and wood, as seen by weapons that the panday produce. A metal knife may be used for everyday tasks including the domestic—cutting of wood, preparing the food—but the user can only grasp the wooden hilt of the knife. Once done, they can sheath it into a specially-made container carved to follow the shape of the blade. In Mindanao, the Bagobo kampilan or even the Maguindanaoan kalis, with its blade conjuring images of the slithering snake, may be designed with elaborate hilts and sheaths to capture their ritualistic use. However, the nearby group of the Blaan utilizes their knives for both agricultural work and defense in times of warfare (Cole, 1913). The weapons’ transformation of spheres follow the demands of their users, thus showcasing the complexity of the weapons’ label and use. In this case, domestic and even agricultural tools can transform into weapons, while weapons may also be soothed to step back into their everyday use.

    It is no wonder that Salazar (1999) identified the panday as one of the important pillars of society alongside the datu (who oversees regulation among the community) and the babaylan (who supervises the religious needs of the people). The panday is seen as the keeper of technological knowledge, of which this craft must be passed down. Achanzar-Labor (2006) expands this thought by showing the various use for the word panday where in Pangasinan the midwife may also be termed thus, indicating that skill and craft is an important association to be called a panday.

    Like the metal-and-wood implements, whose use encompasses warfare, agriculture, the domestic, and ritual, it is no wonder that the panday is flexible in their profession as they navigate through their craft.

    The Nayong Pilipino Foundation currently houses various ethnographic materials labeled as hunting and warfare materials. Such a label showcases the intrinsic understanding of the Filipino when it comes to explaining material cultures to worldview. The collection of spears from Ifugao and the bladed weapons from Mindanao demonstrates the fluidity of the panday who skillfully traverses through meanings through technology and craft. We hope that while the labels seem to be an either/or solution, like the weapon, it does not have to be. As a blade can be used for cooking and for conflict, the panday indicates that these implements may transcend and transform depending on the flowing and intertwining spheres that is the culture and life of the Filipino.

    References

    Achanzar-Labor, Honey Libertine R. 2006. The Philippine Panday: From the Historical Past to the Ethnographic Present. The Journal of History 52 (1).

    Bar-Yosef, Ofer, Metin Eren, Jiarong Yuan, David J. Cohen, and Yiyuan Li. 2012. Were bamboo tools made in prehistoric Southeast Asia? An experimental view from South China. Quaternary International 269:9-21.

    Christie, Emerson Brewer. 1909. The Subanuns of Sindangan Bay. Manila: Bureau of Printing.

    Cole, Fay-Cooper. 1913. The Wild Tribes of Davao District, Mindanao. Anthropological Series 12 (2):49-203.

    Fox, Robert B. 1970. The Tabon Caves: Archaeological Explorations and Excavations on Palawan Island, Philippines. Manila, Philippines: Monograph of the National Museum.

    Jenks, Albert Ernest. 1905. The Bontoc Igorot. Vol. 1. Manila: Bureau of Public Printing.

    Jocano, F. Landa. 1998. Filipino Prehistory: Rediscovering Precolonial Heritage, Anthropology of the Filipino People. Diliman, Quezon City: PUNLAD Research House, Inc.

    Pawlik, Alfred F., Philip J. Piper, Rachel E. Wood, Kristine Kate A. Lim, Marie Grace Pamela G. Faylona, Armand Salvador B. Mijares, and Martin Porr. 2015. Shell tool technology in Island Southeast Asia: an early Middle Holocene Tridacna adze from Ilin Island, Mindoro, Philippines. Antiquity 89 (344):292-308.

    Ronquillo, Wilfredo. 1998. Tools from the Sea. In Kasaysayan: The Story of the Filipino People, edited by J. Y. Dalisay, pp. 62-69. Hong Kong, HK: Asia Publishing Company Limited.

    Ronquillo, Wilfredo P., Rey A. Santiago, Shijun Asato, and Kazuhiko Tanaka. 1993. The 1992 Archaeological Reexcavation of the Balobok Rockshelter, Sanga Sanga, Tawi Tawi Province, Philippines: A Preliminary Report. Okinawa, Japan: Okinawa Prefectural Library.

    Salazar, Zeus. 1999. Ang Babaylan sa Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas. Quezon City, PH: Palimbagan ng Lahi.

    Scott, William Henry. 1994. Barangay: Sixteenth-Century Philippine Culture and Society. Quezon City, Philippines: Ateneo de Manila University Press.

     


    PANDAY: Forging Weapons, Symbols of Life and Death

    “While Salazar (1999) introduced the four pillars of society, Achanzar-Labor (2006) elaborated on the concept of the panday and the role they play in the community. Tracing the various connotations of the word throughout Philippine and other Austronesian languages, she pointed out that the panday is generally considered one who does craftwork. In Samar, for example, the panday can be associated with metal-working, but may also refer to carpenters who are knowledgeable in making boats or houses. They are always male, with their skills passed down by apprenticeship. However, she notes that among the Tausug and the Sama, the panday may refer to a female midwife, inferring that their craft of healing and providing help during maternal labor as a specialized skill.”

    Full text

    PANDAY: Forging Weapons, Symbols of Life and Death

    The Context of Tools in the Philippine Past

    The panday are celebrated members of society, who Salazar (1999) considers one of the important pillars of a community. Alongside the datu (political leader), the babaylan (religious leader), and the bagani (warrior imposing peace and order), the panday or the blacksmith is the artisan who can wield metal and other mediums such as wood. The end result, finely-constructed materials such as spears for hunting, or wooden poles for houses, all of which are part of the community’s needs.

    The materials, techniques of production, and use are all partly determined by their situatedness in cultural landscapes and biospheres. Utilization may be associated with the environment of the users, their lifestyle, and even their cultural beliefs. Each tool embodies the abilities of the maker and lifeways of communities.

    The evolution of tool styles and methods of use, while similar, do not necessarily follow a comparable linear path throughout communities. While material evidence in permanent collections suggests the increasing sophistication and importance of tools in communities, some are produced for various purposes ranging from everyday use to commodities for the connoisseur. Questions often revolve around the method in which these were used, the trajectory of the tool evolution, and eventually focusing on the concept of the users’ identity.

    Tools, thoughtfully and wonderfully crafted by the human hand, are embedded in the living traditions of each heritage place. In the Philippines, the makers of tools are often those who also use them since it is imperative that makers bear intrinsic knowledge on how these materials will be used in order to ensure ease and continuity of practice.
    The importance of these materials lies not only in their utilization but also in their association to power and beliefs. Stone tools are some of the most important tools for thousands of years even in the Philippines, yet by around 5000 BC, shell tools were being used by people in Mindoro (Pawlik et al., 2015). Similar forms were found in Tawi-Tawi (Ronquillo et al., 1993) and in Quezon, Palawan (Fox, 1970), indicating that there was a widespread presence of these shell tools. It may point to a changing practice of use from stone to shell or utilization of local resources; however, the shell adze found in Duyong Cave, Quezon, Palawan was thought to be associated with a burial during this period. We can interpret this tool either as a device for manufacturing another material or simply as a burial good.

    Wood, on the other hand, is a raw material that is almost often overlooked. The number of tools crafted out of wood is numerous, including the wooden spears or the bows and arrows used by many groups even to this day. However, due to their organic nature, evidence of their use is hardly found in the archaeological data and must be found through proxy. And yet, considering the tropical environment of the Philippines, we can understand that wood is an intrinsic part of every community’s everyday life, to the point that it is entrenched in all of the people’s life: the wooden houses where people live, the boats used to fish, the spears used to hunt, the baskets used for carrying, the barks used for producing textiles and the trees’ fruits used for dyes, and many more. The skill to manipulate wood is central to the lives of the Filipinos, to the point that when metal eventually found its way into the Philippines, these two elements wove together and metamorphosed into various weapons that still utilize wooden handles, and where the blade is placed inside wooden sheaths.

    To understand the skill in making these materials, we look into the panday or the craftsmen themselves. It is they who honed this skill and passed this on to generations, eventually making meaning out of the objects by understanding the intended use.

    Crafting Metal Tools for the Community

    While Salazar (1999) introduced the four pillars of society, Achanzar-Labor (2006) elaborated on the concept of the panday and the role they play in the community. Tracing the various connotations of the word throughout Philippine and other Austronesian languages, she pointed out that the panday is generally considered one who does craftwork. In Samar, for example, the panday can be associated with metal-working, but may also refer to carpenters who are knowledgeable in making boats or houses. They are always male, with their skills passed down by apprenticeship. However, she notes that among the Tausug and the Sama, the panday may refer to a female midwife, inferring that their craft of healing and providing help during maternal labor as a specialized skill. 

    When it comes to metal-working, the panday is generally known for their ability to manipulate the malleable iron metal into its strong form. Scott (1994, 54-55) pointed out that among the Bisaya, the panday who works on iron is highly respected and constantly sought-after. In an observation of the Bisaya during the 17th century, rich and powerful leaders would seek out a skilled blacksmith to trade weapons. Iron and metal is a commodity that only few can afford, and the familiarity in which the panday can work the raw material often ensures that other leaders would essentially seek their knowledge (Alcina 1668 [2004]). Knowing that the raw material is rare and hard to come by, the metals on each end of the spear, arrow, or even blade comes with a hefty price.

    The blacksmith’s working area is commonly near his dwelling. Scott (1994) described that the bellows (hasohas) are commonly made of tree trunks that were hollowed to accommodate the escaping smoke. The piston (tamborok) is manned by the blacksmith’s apprentice (masaop), who is in charge of ensuring that the smoke escapes in a timely manner. Large bamboo poles are also attached to the forges, generally called the Malay forge (Legarda, 1998). Casts made of earthenware may be used to mold the metal tool, but these were only found in Quezon, Palawan (Fox,1970), and it is generally thought that the blacksmiths learned how to shape the desired tool.

    This Malay forge is the commonly-used method of metal forming in the Philippines. Cole (1913) noted among the Bagobo in Mindanao that aside from weapons, metal ornaments such as brass bells and bracelets were also made by these skilled craftspeople. When it comes to weapons, iron and steel are tempered to make daggers and knives that the Bagobo will use for their everyday tasks. He noted that this was the same method of metal production among the Bukidnon of Mindanao (Cole, 1956) although, by the time he managed to observe the area, the group was mostly getting their supplies of metal weapons from the Muslim groups scattered throughout Lake Lanao. Christie (1909) also observed a similar method of forging among the Subanen of Zamboanga.

    As for the northern Philippines, the weapons of the Cordillera groups were also highly studied. Even up to the early 1900s, ethnographers in Ifugao referred to the two manual bellows made of bamboo as the way for controlling heat (Jenks, 1905). The anvils are made of large rocks while the hammers are also made of stones. Specific areas may make a specific type of weapon, and as Jenks (1905, 129) points out in Ifugao, it is only the smiths of Baliwang who make the axe used for headhunting. The users of these axes would barter for good whetstones to keep their weapons sharp. The iron, meanwhile, can be bartered from lowlanders, specifically from Chinese traders who would provide the metals in exchange for raw materials. While these include the cauldrons and bars of irons, any other scrap metals were also acquired and melted for their use. This may have also been true with trades they would conduct with lowlander communities. 

    Once the blade is finished, the blacksmith will insert the tang into the wooden shafts or handles. These may be highly decorated, but the metal panday may hand this off to another expert since woodwork is a separate craft. Alternatively, the wooden parts may be carved by the users themselves, who are also experts in their own rights. They may attach the metal works to delicately carved hilts or may house them in intricately carved sheaths—all depending on their use and their demand. The more utilitarian the blade, the fewer designs it will likely have. The metal ends of spears may be attached in wooden spears through the ferrules.

    This craft of making these implements persisted for centuries, presently aided by modern machinery that allows for the quicker sharpening of the blades. However, the tradition of hafting and use continues even today. This enduring practice hints at a tradition among the panday, who bear the knowledge of this craft through every weapon or tool they produce.

    The Blacksmith and Blacksmithing: pag-panday 

    Such a tradition of craftsmanship indicates the continued support of the community and the contribution of the panday to the rest of society. Metal and wood put together provide craftsmanship that is easily understood as an art, honed by years of observation and practice through apprenticeship. This knowledge, passed down from one master to another, points to the importance of community relations, an education tied to cultural familiarity.

    Thus, we turn to the persons themselves, the keepers of this knowledge, whose craftsmanship was always studied. 

    Despite the keen interest in the metal sources, the method of making, and even the use of the final product, very little has been done on the actual panday themselves. It was only through Lars Ubaldo’s book “Mun-udi: Ang Panday na Ifugao bilang Tagapag-ingat ng Taal na Kaalaman” (2016) that the blacksmiths themselves became the focus of the study. Here, he not only provided a wealth of information on the end products that were the blades, but also shed light on the mun-udi or the blacksmith as a bearer of intangible heritage situated within a cultural landscape. This included delving into myths of the Ifugao regarding the importance of forging metal as well as the symbols of their work, thus firmly establishing the role of the mun-udi within the community not just as makers of tools used for headhunting, but also as stewards of knowledge that continues to be sought after even today. Despite the industrialization of metal workings, the fine works of the mun-udi show that the community continues to recognize the leadership role they take through the work that they pour over their projects. 

    The salient ideas in the book affirm Achanzar-Labor’s proposition that pagpapanday is not only about producing the tangible object itself but is also a highly ritualized task. For the Tagabawa Bagobo of Davao, Mindanao, for example, the panday is guided by the spirit of the forge. The chosen panday is highly recognized, and while the skill may be passed, the guiding spirit may not necessarily choose the apprentice.  This is symbolized through the possession of the only panday’s forge; others may work in it, but they may only do so in the presence of the panday. In Taal, Batangas, a place widely considered in making superior metal blades, the panday is bestowed with the blessing of the babaylan or ritual leader. This ensures that the forge will produce an efficient blade. In both cases cited, the blacksmith is not only a singular individual enjoying prestige but one expected to transmit knowledge and guide others, while also depending on the rest of the community who supply and share the resources needed to enable the production of tools.

    Finally, Ubaldo pointed out that the blacksmith is, of course, tied to the warfare that the Cordillera groups may have. While they may produce metals used for spears or bows for hunting, or even make the blades for knives used in rituals, so do they produce the blades used for axes used in head-hunting. Achanzar-Labor also remarked on this dichotomy where the panday is tasked to make the decorative blades of the datus in Mindanao, recalling the 17th Century texts regarding the Bisaya and their sought-after skills. As they ensure that their works are reliable, the panday secures their place in the community, providing materials within the context of both ritual and necessity. 

    The Specialized and Interwoven Tools

    This interweaving of social spheres—utilitarian and ritual use—is a repeating theme in Philippine communities. So as the panday equips the hunter and the farmer, the symbol of their labor becomes an important representation of power in relation to subsistence and food security. 

    Weapons may also have more than one purpose: from the necessary agricultural and hunting (Combis, 2019) to the societal tensions resulting in power relations and warfare (Coballes and De la Cruz, 2021). Combis (2019) enumerated the numerous agricultural implements forged by the panday—important materials to the livelihood of farmers. Tools such as the sickle familiar among the rice farmers, and the plough made of metal and wood pulled by the carabao, are all backbones of the community’s daily life. Spears may be used to catch fishes and squids in rivers or at the sea during the dead of night. Aside from this, blowguns and bows and arrows used by various groups—and especially by the Negritos—are wielded only during hunting for food. Oftentimes, these are used only for small animals such as birds or large reptiles.

    It is interesting to see the same material utilized for both subsistence and weaponry, or a tool for sustaining lives at once having the power to take away life. Dacanay (1979) discusses that weapons vary their uses in the Philippines, expressing the changing occasions when particular forms of knives, swords, and shields will be used. The kalis or kris, referring to the Islamic sword commonly found in Southern Mindanao, may be used to simply show that the wielder is a powerful or rich person simply by their design; nevertheless, this is not intended to deceive those who see it since the kalis can be a deadly weapon when wielded properly and with intent (Casiño, 1978). Dagger forms may be divided according to specific work, which is also divided among genders. The shields—made either of rattan or wood at the south, and mostly wood at the north—showcase the fierce warfare that groups face and must use in the event of raids or headhunting.

    Ethnohistoric details on various groups back this as Cole (1913) described some of the various knives used by the Bagobo group, but without elaborating on the local names of the weapons. Nevertheless, this gives us an idea of the manner in which these metal implements are used and treated. For example, the wooden sheaths wrapped with rattan and bamboo may also have decorative beads around them, which Cole described as ways to adorn the material for their own satisfaction. This is not to say that the metal implements are not important to their daily lives, only that it is possible that information regarding their particular use need to be extrapolated and sourced further. However, this similar duality was observed among the Bukidnons of Mindanao (Cole, 1956) where blades may be used for both warfare but mostly for the clearing of land, or to gather wood and fruits from the forests.

    Krieger (1926) also hinted at this duality when discussing the various weapons collected by the Smithsonian Museum during the early 1900s. Each of the various weapons—made up of swords, spears, headhunting axes, and shields—are discussed according to the various group’s context. In true colonialist museum fashion, the kalis or kris (swords) from Mindanao, often used by leaders and may be used for execution, raids, or as a show of power are groups with the spears and blowguns. Lasco (2020) expands this by looking at the designs on blades, which are often made of wood or bamboo. Some of these include the snakes (naga) or other reptiles present in the wooden handles, intricately carved presumably by the panday. He notes the commonality of many symbols throughout history and through geographic distribution from the Philippines to other Austronesian-speaking communities in Island Southeast Asia, which showcases a possible belief system embedded upon the weapon and the sword. By going through the meaning of the sword for many wielders, understanding the myth, and taking the panday into account, he argues that swords like the talibong or kampilan not only showcase ingenuity in craftsmanship and power but that the swords themselves have embedded designs that subtly refers to the worldview of the communities.

    Whether the tool is decorative or simplistic, these implements have multiple meanings embedded in them. Molded and guided by the panday through their craft, shared among the rest of the community, and throughout time and space, we can try to trace how these implements for agriculture can transform and become materials for warfare and ritual.

    Tools and Implements as Links to Beliefs

    Given the various backdrops of all these tools, then it is no wonder that these tools are also featured heavily in many rituals. Knives and daggers, of course, may be a ubiquitous force and are often utilized for ceremonies involving warfare. The gaman are only used for beheading and never for anything else. In discussing the rituals of the Tinguian in northern Philippines, these gaman may also beat the shields or kalasag, blessed during a ritual to ensure that the anitus or spirits will continue to bestow their blessings upon the materials.

    Keeping these changing social spheres of weapons in mind, we can now rethink the use of tools and how they find their way alongside burials as an associated good. This was true in the shell adzes given as examples above, yet this practice continued on to the metals and possibly wood fragments found associated with jar burials in Casiguran, Sorsogon (Dizon, 1979), in Tabon (Fox, 1970), and other archaeological sites within the Philippines. It would seem that metals only replaced the other earlier tools and continued to be practiced throughout the Metal Age of the Philippines at tentatively 500 BC (Dizon, 1983), continuing on the Contact Period (Locsin, Ongpin, and Paterno, 2008), possibly even during the Colonial Period. For now, we can only speculate whether these tools accompanying the burials may be associated with the role of the person who died, or may have been a pabaon or gift for the dead as they make their way to the next world.

    Whatever the answer is, the tool that the panday has labored over is now not merely a utilitarian tool, it has now become a commodity that embodies identity and power of the wielder, and is also used to negotiate with the anitu through ritual and the transformative nature of death—guided by the weapons wielded by the users, and forged in fire throughout the life of the blacksmith. 

    References

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    Alcina, Ignacio Fransisco. 1668 [2004]. History of the Bisayan People in the Philippine Islands. Translated by C. J. Kobak and L. Gutierrez. Edited by C. J. Kobak and L. Gutiérrez. 4 vols. Vol. 2. Manila, Philippines: UST Publishing House. Original edition, 1668.

    Casiño, Eric S. 1978. The Old Trusty Blade: Traditional Mindanao Bladed Weapons. In Filipino Heritage: The Making of a Nation, edited by A. P. Roces, G. Cordero-Fernando and C. Quirino, pp. 1703-1708. Quezon City, PH: Lahing Pilipino Publishing.

    Christie, Emerson Brewer. 1909. The Subanuns of Sindangan Bay. Manila: Bureau of Printing.

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    Cole, Fay-Cooper. 1913. The Wild Tribes of Davao District, Mindanao. Anthropological Series 12 (2):49-203.

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    Dacanay, Julian E. 1979. A Weapon for Every Occasion. In Filipino Heritage: The Making of a Nation, edited by A. P. Roces, G. Cordero-Fernando and C. Quirino, pp. 916-924. Quezon City, PH: Lahing Pilipino Publishing.

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