Ayta, Sorsogon

The Aytas are called Negritos for their dark skin and kinky hair. They landed on the archipelago more than 30,000 thousand years ago and are thought to be the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines. The Negritos share some physical features with African pygmy populations.

Nowadays, rare is the Ayta wearing traditional clothing: the bahag (loincloth) for men and wraparound skirts for women. They now use urban attire. Ayta women are skilled in weaving, plaiting, and producing household containers, rattan hammocks, and winnowing baskets of excellent quality. Nomadic Ayta build temporary settlements made of indigenous materials, such as forked sticks, palm or banana leaves, cogon, and bamboo.

In the Bicol Region, the Sorsogon Aytas reside in Prieto Diaz, a municipality located in the province of Sorsogon. They are, by far, the most endangered group of the Ayta population; only few remain today. Unless radical steps are taken to preserve their language and culture, the Sorsogon Ayta will become extinct in the coming decades.

 

Sources:
Ethnologue, www.ethnologue.com
Oracle Think Quest. Negrito, http://library.thinkquest.org/
Cultural Heritage. Philippine Tribes: Aeta, http://www.globalpinoy.com/
Joshua Projects. Ayta Abellen, http://www.joshuaproject.net/
Education for and about Indigenous People,   http://www.peoplesoftheworld.org/

 

Photo of the Week

Crowd gathers to watch tree lighting ceremony in Fairview Ayala Terraces, Quezon City

Crowd gathers to watch tree lighting ceremony in Fairview Ayala Terraces, Quezon City

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