The prehistoric links between Taiwan and the Philippines

The Tsou Tribe of Taiwan. Source: Philippine Inquirer 20150406

A feature describing the prehistoric and modern links between the indigenous tribes of Taiwan and the Philippines.

The Tsou Tribe of Taiwan. Source: Philippine Inquirer 20150406
The Tsou Tribe of Taiwan. Source: Philippine Inquirer 20150406

Taiwan’s ‘rock star’ tribal folk share same ancestry with Filipinos
Inquirer, 06 April 2015

In communities of the indigenous Amis tribe across Taiwan, locals say lima for five, pito for seven and mata for eye, just like Filipinos. In southern Taiwan’s Alishan mountain, the Tsou tribe calls the community’s meeting hut a kuba, strikingly similar in design to the Philippines’ kubo.

Whether in language, architecture or way of life, links among indigenous peoples of the Philippines and Taiwan are undeniable, with both sides tracing their ancestry to the Austronesian migrations across the Pacific Islands thousands of years ago.

The ties are ever apparent as Taiwan’s indigenous groups continued to reemerge, a revival seen over the last three decades. Once neglected and kept to themselves, Taiwan’s tribal peoples have now become rock stars.

Today, Taiwan’s 540,000 indigenous peoples—a two percent segment of the total 23 million—are prominent in Taiwanese daily life, from billboards and stage shows to their own television stations, newspapers and even rap albums.

With this rise came the urge to reach out to their Austronesian brothers and sisters, eager to have not just their history and ancestry as a common ground, but also a shared future.

Taiwan officials and scholars believe prehistoric ties between Philippine and Taiwanese indigenous groups provide a window where the two sides may pursue stronger relations, despite occasional irritants.

Full story here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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