Robert Fox and Wilhelm Solheim were both anthropologists who conceptualized distinctive peopling theories namely the Fox Theory and the Island Origin Theory. They both came up with the said theories through the use of archaeological discoveries and artifacts. According to Fox, the first men who came to the Philippines inhabited the archipelago since the Paleolithic era, which dates back 500,000 years ago. He believed that the Philippines was once connected to mainland Asia as Palawan’s form and geographical location suggested that it perfectly bridged the Philippine Islands and Borneo.
He found traces of men in the Tabon Caves, which are located in the western part of Palawan. In there, he found skullcap remains of which he presumed to belonged to the Tabon Man. In addition, Fox discovered burial jars, ornaments, jewelries, stone tools, animal bones, and human fossils. Similarly, Solheim also made use of archaeological discoveries and artifacts. However, he hypothesized that the primitive Filipinos originated and dispersed from an island in Southeast Asia.
The prehistoric men in the country are said to have spread northwards through the country and into Taiwan. By its very nature, Philippine prehistory is “the period of unrecorded history consisting of archeological discoveries, way of life, geographical and geological data in order to know our country’s origin and the roots of the original Filipino. ” As such, it is important for Filipinos to learn about their heritage so as to establish their own national identity.
Furthermore, studying Philippine prehistory urges Filipinos to not merely accept the information that is given to them. But rather, question and analyze the said information considering that the world is evolving and that times are changing. For instance, prehistory helps Filipinos discover what their strengths and weaknesses are as individuals through the upbringing and culture that they are accustomed to. Once they recognize these, they may be able to determine what they can do together as a people.
As reflected in prehistory, the ‘original Filipinos’ were really resourceful and creative in nature, as they made their own jewelries and tools. At present, there are many emerging local industries that are thriving due to the innovativeness that they put into their work. These include Jacinto & Lirio, Binalot Fiesta Foods, and Human Nature to mention a few. In this manner, Filipinos are given a sense of pride as they showcase to the world what they are capable of and what they are really all about.
In essence, learning about “our Austronesian heritage” made me realize that the neighboring countries of the Philippines are all definitely closely related given that all the languages of the Austronesian countries stems from a single ancestral language. With this, I now understand why other nations implied the same meaning on certain words as well as applied similar grammatical rules. For this reason, bordering nations and the Philippines easily relate to one another as it retained a common framework for the concepts in its language itself despite each country being influenced by diverse foreign religion and culture.