Hoaxes & Myths in Philippine History

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The Philippine archipelago has a very rich oral tradition. In fact, the various Filipino ethnolinguistic groups have a collection of their own epics, legends, folk tales and mythology. These tales have been utilized by historians to examine the culture and society of precolonial Philippines. But in the absence of other corroborating evidence, they tend to be unreliable historical sources. Oral literature, by its very nature, is transmitted orally through generations, and thus, is vulnerable to alterations. Still, these tales are valuable historical sources because they embody the collective consciousness of the Filipino people.

Frauds in History refers to the legends and other oral stories that were once believed to be reliable historical facts, but further research has exposed their inconsistencies and questionable features. The inclusion of this category in Philippine history was done to inform readers of the Philippine historical hoaxes in order that we can delineate what constitutes history and what belongs to the purview of fiction.

Below are ten of the hoaxes and frauds in Philippine history:

  1. Code of Kalantiaw - was a mythical legal code in the epic story Maragtas written in 1433 by Datu Kalantiaw, the chief of Negros. It precribed extremely brutal punishments to criminals.
  2. Legend of the Ten Bornean Datus - refers to the ten chieftains who allegedly ventured to the Island of Panay boarding a boat called balangay (or barangay) to evade the tyrannical ruler of Borneo, Datu Makatunaw.
  3. Code of Maragtas - was a document dated between 1200 to 1250 which tells the story of the arrival of the ten datus from Borneo who allegedly bought the island of Panay from the Aetas for a golden salakot.
  4. Rajah Bendahara Kalantiaw - was one of the mythical characters in Jose E. Marco's Maragtas Legend. He became the chief of Negros (or Aklan) two hundred years after the rule of Datu Bangkaya.
  5. Datu Puti - was the supposed leader of the ten Bornean datus. Under his command, they reached Siwaragan (now San Joaquin), Iloilo.
  6. Datu Sumakwel - headed the Bornean datus upon the return of Datu Puti to Borneo. He ventured to the mountains in search of a local deity named Bulalakaw.
  7. Povedano Map - was geographical map illustrated by a certain encomendero by the name of Diegus Lope Povedano of Buglas Island which shows his many land travels and sea voyages with the King of Spain, including that in the year 1572.
  8. Povedano Calendar - was a manuscript that showed a wheel composed of twelve-month year, and seven-day week time calculation in baybayin. It was supposedly a replica of the calendar used by the precolonized inhabitants of the Philippines.
  9. Tasaday - was a group of tiny people who emerged, in 1971, from a rain forest in mountains of the Philippines. They were uncivilized and had thought of the forest as being the whole world itself, with them as the only people living in it.
  10. Princess Urduja - was a mythical, legendary warrior-princess who ruled the kingdom of Tawalisi in the province of Pangasinan. She was said to have personally took part in waging battles and engaged in duels with other warriors



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