The Philippines` pre-colonial period was filled with indigenous peoples engaged in healthy trade with different cultures and economies in the region and foreign traders. After paying for repairs in the 1950s, Japanese companies and investors quickly returned to the islands. Today, Japan is a strategic economic and political partner of the Philippine government. However, as after Spanish and American colonialism, Filipinos are still struggling to define a national identity after such widespread trauma. Other challenges facing the Philippine State today are the settlement of a territorial dispute over areas of the South China Sea with the People`s Republic of China; allow the return of the U.S. military to the islands; mediating lasting peace with the historically Muslim-dominated south; address the growing number of Filipinos working abroad and the resulting social and economic consequences of this migration; and poverty reduction. These realities, juxtaposed with the Philippine Department of Tourism`s slogan “It`s more fun in the Philippines,” suggest that understanding the Republic of the Philippines today means studying the historical roots of power and influences that emerged from the imposition of colonial structures. Today, the Babaylans are leading resistance movements against imperialist interests in their resource-rich country. Lumad communities in Mindanao such as the Matigsalom take great care to appoint a Babaylan who can competently guide their community through crises and difficulties. The parishioners counted on Babaylan`s leadership, which would ensure both peace and active resistance in times of political contention.
In some Lumad communities, the Babaylan even rely on Babaylan women to prove that they are physically capable of carrying weapons to defend their lands. I often feel betrayed by reductive stereotypes that Filipino women are gentle and mahhinin. This is completely hypocritical, especially when the reality is that we are surrounded by hundreds of concrete examples of courageous and brilliant Filipino women. And now that I have learned about the Babaylans and their unwavering opposition to colonialism and imperialism, I am touched by the silent understanding that we, powerful and tenacious Filipino leaders, have always existed. Read more about Babaylan Women here. Today, Rizal`s immortality extends to national hero status, with numerous awards, national monuments, parks, clubs, films, poems and books dedicated to his memory. Rizal`s writings spread on the Internet. His works, once considered by some to be inflammatory propaganda, are now available for free download.7 Fans who refer to Rizal as their hero on social media and post facts about his background and achievements or quotes from his texts.8 The power of Rizal`s stories goes beyond the handwritten paper documents 125 years ago. He is remembered as a Filipino who wrote for his people, an Indigenous son who used storytelling tools to uncover the truth about life under colonial rule. Explorers for Spain were not the first to encounter the islands.
Chinese, Arab and Indian traders, for example, were already trading extensively with the local population around 1000 AD. But it was the Spanish government that linked thousands of islands under a single colonial rule. The maps, which depicted Las Islas Filipinas as a unit, believed the ethnolinguistic diversity of the region. Although anthropological research continues, researchers believe Spain claims an area that includes more than 150 cultural, ethnic and linguistic groups. In this colonial geography, however, Spain realized that the real distance between the center of Manila`s capital and the areas on the periphery (as well as the very real problems of overcoming difficult areas between communities) made governance difficult. Socially and geographically isolated communities have retained some Indigenous traditions while experiencing Spanish colonial culture to varying degrees. Vicente Rafael`s White Love and Other Events in Filipino History (2000) documents this separation between the domination of the colonial center and that of territorial boundaries.1 His findings suggest in part that although naming and mapping the Philippines gave the Spanish some legitimacy in claiming the islands, it was something of a cosmetic gesture. For example, the famous Filipino historian William Henry Scott (1994) reports Visayas, who “worshipped the spirits of nature, the gods of certain places or activities, and their own ancestors”;4 Bikolanos, whose “female shamans called Baliyan.
spoke with the voice of dead spirits and said prayers in songs”;5 and Tagalogs, to whose pantheon “Lakapati belonged,” appropriately represented by a hermaphrodite image with male and female parts, [who] was venerated in the fields at the time of planting.” 6 Over time, however, Spain`s colonial hegemony, power, and influence, which were used to consolidate their dominance, spread through the vehicle of Catholicism, displacing or influencing many of the local spiritual traditions adapted to the new religious paradigm. In the 1560s, the Spaniard Miguel López de Legazpi introduced Catholic monks to the north. Christianity has redefined the worldview and relationships of some inhabitants and has established a social structure strongly based on biblical perspectives and instructions. In the eighteenth century, indigenous peoples caught practicing so-called pagan rituals were punished; Local stories written on bamboo or other materials were burned and cultural artifacts destroyed. The church buildings dominated the landscape as the symbolic and psychological center of the permanent villages and towns that arose around them. Once firmly established, the Catholic Church clearly shared power with Spain through various religious orders with their own agendas, and the two jointly administered the colonization of the islands. The main purpose of a Tagalog marriage was to give the woman a groom and not a groom with a woman. In other words, the Tagalog Society was organized for women, with men being necessary accessories.  Virginity was seen by pre-colonial Filipinos as an obstacle to marriage.  The blood shed during the de-escalation of a young woman was considered an impurity, so when a girl reaches her naked years, a specialist was hired to defuse it.
According to Potet (2017), the man responsible for the operation may also have worn protective amulets to protect his penis from blood impurities. The term panatin was used to refer to pre-colonial ceremonies that marked female nudity, and was also used as a term for the ventilation process itself.  Pre-colonial Filipinos used two types of swords for combat, Kris and Kampilan.