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 Boxer Codex
  By Petronillo Bn. Daroy
  Philippine Jewelry and Ornaments: The Art of Celia Molano

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        arly Spanish ethnographic notes written into official reports and missionary and administrative historiography provide us with a close-up of Filipino society during the "contact period," which covers much of the 16th century and give us a perspective of pre-Spanish Philippines.                       

The outstanding works include Relacion de las Yslas Filipinas (Relations of the Philippine Islands) by Miguel de Loarca, 1582; "Customs of the Tagalogs" and "The Worship of the Tagalogs, Their Gods, and Their Burials and Supersititions" by Fr. Juan de Plasencia, a.p.M., 1589 (in Blair and Robertson); Relacion de las Islas Filipi璶as, by Fr. Pedro Chirino, S.J. 1604 (also in Blair and Robertson); Labor Evangelica by Fr. Francisco Colin, S.J., 1663; Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas by Dr. Antonio de Morga, 1609 (annotated by RizaI1889), The Boxer Codex (The Manners, Customs and Beliefs of the Philippine Inhabitants of Long Ago: Being Chapters of "A Late 16th century Manila Manuscript") transcribed and annotated by Carlos Quirino and Mauro Garcia.

Captain Miguel de Loarca was made encomendero or colonial overseer of a land grant (encomienda) for his services to the crown; so were others who had fought with Legazpi rewarded with fiefs. Loarca was given the encomienda of Oton (Arevalo) in Panay in 1571. His accounts deal with the Pintados Islands and the mode of life of the people. The early Spaniards referred to the Bisayans of the central Philippines as Pintados or painted, meaning, tattooed.

Of the Pintados, Loarca observed that they bore their ears in two places and wear beautiful ornaments, not only in their ears but also around their necks and arms. Gold, jewels and slaves were the main items of the dowry given by the husband to his wife. He also mentions the baylanes (shamans or mediums) as priestesses who performed rites to cure the sick and while engaged in session was gaily dressed with garlands on their heads and "resplendent in gold." Mourning relatives of the dead wore rattan bands covering their entire arms and necks and putting back their golden adornments after the mourning period.  

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