In Part 1 of this topic, we mentioned that the legend of Limahong hiding and begetting children in the Cordilleras is most likely just a legend. But how do we explain the “Chinese” features of some Igorots/iCordilleras? I think it’s because our ancestors really did come from mainland Asia as Arcibald wrote in our earlier post, .
According to the current prevailing theory, people from the Philippines came from the north and not from the south. So as Edwin writes in his post here, it would seem like the migration wave theory (i.e., the Philippines was populated by waves of Negritos, then Indonesians, then Malays) that we learned in school may not be true at all.
Anyways, going back to the “Chineseness” of some Igorot groups, did you know that Barangay Tabaao in Kapangan, Benguet has a pretty significant number of people of Chinese descent? How did this come about?
From Time Magazine/August 13, 1945
In the steep Caraballo Mountains of northern Luzon, a battalion of the 127th Infantry Regiment last week came upon a vast road block—a chasm blasted by retreating Japs.
A battalion commander, Lieut. Colonel Powell A. Fraser, had his jeeps dismantled, called for native bearers. Scores of volunteers—sturdy, brown-bodied Igorot women —eagerly picked up wheels, engines and other parts, carried them along paths which at one point soared 2,000 feet above the road. On the other side of the chasm the jeeps were reassembled, and Fraser’s men sped after the Japs. The Igorot women stayed behind to help the engineers rebuild the road.
Legend has it that Limahong, the Chinese pirate who raided Manila back in the 1500s, escaped to the Cordilleras when Spanish/Filipino soldiers regrouped to kick his ass out of the capital.
According to the legend, Limahong and his band of pirates sought refuge in the Cordilleras and married the local women. This supposedly explains why a lot of Igorots have some East Asian features. See above photos for instance.
Displayed at the Civet Coffee House in Marikina. Photo courtesy of Maryan54.
Thanks to Vincent Cabreza for picking up our post on the Ifugao hut in London and for adding new details to the story. Thanks also for the shoutout to both this blog and The Nashman’s.
You can read Vincent’s article here. But here’s some excerpts and our usual unsolicited comments (hehe):