William Henry Scott has a book entitled Philippine Studies published by the Ateneo University. What's awesome about this book is that it talked about pre-Hispanic Pinoy communities, the social structures in the 16th century, the many barrios that constituted these communities, even rice and boats were mentioned.
Of course, slavery is a hot topic there, too.
While everyone's going crazy right now over the role that Kris Aquino landed in the movie Crazy Rich Asians, let us remember that before she was Princess Intan, there were the maharlikas in our country. Do you wanna know how we came to know about these elite class and the other classes below them?
These were the documents used in researching the said classes -
1. The Relacion de las Islas Filipinas by Miguel de Loarca in 1582.
2. The 1589 Relacion de las costumbres que los indios se han tener en estas islas and Instrucción de las costumbres que antiguamente tenian los naturales de la Pampanga en sus Pleitos by Juan de Plasencia.
3. The Relacion de las Islas Filipinas in 1604 by Pedro Chirino
4. The Boxer manuscript dated late 16th century.
5. The unpublished 1668 Historia de las Islas e Indios de las Bisayas written by Francisco Alcina.
Prior to Spanish occupation, the islands were composed of different kingdoms, rajahnates and sultanates. Some are even part of a larger Empire outside of the modern day map of what is now the Philippines, for example; Manila was once part of the Bruneian Empire. (Wikipedia, 2018).
Well, you've held your breaths long enough. The three classes are -
Maharlika (Upper Class) - is divided into two sub-classes. The Datu and his royal family belong to Class I while the Lakan, Gat, and Umalahokan belonged to Class II.
The Middle class has two sub-classes which were the timawa (freed slaves who engage in hunting, fishing, boat making, agriculture, livestock, carpentry, etc.) and the aliping namamahay (are still slaves but have some rights granted to them by their owners). The aliping namamahay who is able to buy his freedom then becomes a timawa.
The lowest classes were the aliping sagigilid (poorest of the poor) and the alipin (these were usually those who committed crimes and those who inherited this status from their criminal parents).
History of the Philippines (900–1521). (2018, August 02). Retrieved August 8, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Philippines_(900–1521)
Philippines Social Hierarchy. (n.d.). Retrieved August 8, 2018, from https://www.hierarchystructure.com/philippines-social-hierarchy/
TAGALOGS Class Structure in the Sixteenth Century Philippines. (2018, June 16). Retrieved August 8, 2018, from https://www.aswangproject.com/tagalogs-class-structure-in-the-sixteenth-century-philippines/
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E.S. Villamor has made a career in writing for a decade now. Her online business - GIML (Gabriela Isabel & Miguel Lucas) Publishing started in 2014. She advocated for women's rights and was once enamored with imparting financial literacy through training and blogs but she is now focused on propagating all things Filipino. This site is also being groomed as a rich homeschooling resource.