The Aetas, Agta or Ayta  are the original black race (Africans) that live in scattered, isolated mountainous northern part of The Philippines on the island of Luzon before the Austronesian (Malays and Asian groups) migrations. Historians and anthropologists debate precisely when and how they migrated there, the consensus being that they crossed from the island of Borneo between 20 and 30 thousand years ago, using a land bridge that was partially covered by water around 5,000 years ago - the remaining part of which is now the island of Palawan.
                               Aeta black people of Philippines

                                                Aeta woman in her traditional costume

 Whatever the migration path was, they are without doubt among the first - if not the first - inhabitants of The Philippines. They are considered to be Negritos, who are dark to very dark brown-skinned and tend to have features such as a small stature, small frame, curly to kinky afro-like textured hair with a higher frequency of naturally lighter hair color (blondism) relative to the general population, small nose, and dark brown eyes.
                                       beautiful Aeta children

The Aeta were included in the group of people termed "Negrito" during Spanish colonial rule as Negritos. Various Aeta groups in northern Luzon are known as "Pugut" or "Pugot," a name designated by their Ilocano-speaking neighbors, and which is the colloquial term for those with darker complexions. In Ilocano, the word also means "goblin" or "forest spirit.They have survived as forest dwellers and as hunters and gatherers for thousands of years.  The Aeta people are a peaceful and non-violent indigenous people with their own traditions, customs, identity, and their own language called Sambal. The Aeta have suffered racial discrimination and receive little recognition and support from the government, and during the past fifty years they have lost  much of their ancestral domain to land grabbers, loggers and mining operations backed by corrupt politicians and officials.
          The Aeta, a Negrito group in the Philippines, Protest for Land Rights in the Philippines July2011.

During the past hundred years they have been pushed further away from the coast line into the mountains as the new arrivals, the Malays and then the Spanish took over and began to cut back the rain forest and develop settled agriculture.The Aetas have shown resistance to change. The attempts of the Spaniards to settle them in reservations all throughout Spanish rule failed. While resisting change from the other society for hundreds of years, the Aetas have adjusted to social, economic, cultural, and political pressures with remarkable resilience; they have created systems and structures within their culture to cushion the sudden impact of change.
                                            Agta hunter

 Since the latter half of the 20th century, however, the Aetas have been declining in number. Their very existence has been threatened by problems brought about by other people and by nature. Poverty-stricken lowlanders, seeking food, have encroached on forest lands, displacing the Aeta. The flora and fauna needed for Aeta survival are no longer available due to forest depletion. Disasters like the Pinatubo eruption destroyed and buried most of the Aeta ancestral lands.

                        Aeta man

 There are different views on the dominant character of the Aeta religion. Those who believe they are monotheistic argue that various Aeta tribes believe in a supreme being who rule over lesser spirits or deities. The Mamanua believe in the supreme “Magbabaya” while the Pinatubo Aeta worship “Apo Namalyari.” The Aetas are also animists. For example, the Pinatubo Aeta believe in environmental spirits such as anito and kamana. They believe that good and evil spirits inhabit the environment, such as the spirits of the river, sea, sky, mountain, hill, valley, and other places. The Ati of Negros island call their environmental spirits taglugar or tagapuyo, which literally means "inhabiting a place." They also believe in spirits of disease and comfort. No special occasion is needed for the Aeta to pray, although there is a clear link between prayer and economic activities.

 The Aeta dance before and after a pig hunt. The night before Aeta women gather shellfish, they perform a dance which is half an apology to the fish and half a charm to ensure the catch. Similarly, the men hold a bee dance before and after the expeditions for honey. The Aetas are also skillful in weaving and plaiting. For example, the Mamanuas produce excellent winnowing baskets, rattan hammocks, and other household containers. Women exclusively weave winnows and mats. Only men make armlets. They also produce raincoats made of palm leaves whose bases surround the neck of the wearer, and whose topmost part spreads like a fan all around the body. 
               A group of young Aeta men from Pastolan Village doing traditional dancing.

Their traditional clothing is very simple. The young women wear wraparound skirts. Elder women wear bark cloth, while elder men loincloths. The old women of the Agta wear a bark cloth strip which passes between the legs, and is attached to a string around the waist. Today most Aeta who have been in contact with lowlanders have adopted the T-shirts, pants and rubber sandals commonly used by the latter. A traditional form of visual art is body scarification. The Aetas intentionally wound the skins on their back, arms, breast, legs, hands, calves and abdomen, and then they irritate the wounds with fire, lime and other means to form scars. Other "decorative disfigurements" include the chipping of the teeth.
                                          Filipino Aeta man in his traditional outfit

                                    Agta man hunting in the forest

 With the use of a file, the Dumagat – another sub-tribe who belong to the Aeta family - mutilate their teeth during late puberty. The teeth are dyed black a few years afterwards. The Aetas generally use ornaments typical of people living in subsistence economies. Flowers and leaves are used as earplugs for certain occasions. Girdles, necklaces, and neckbands of braided rattan incorporated with wild pig bristles are frequently worn.
                                             Aeta tribe girl

                                       Aeta children

Aetas 'Apu Buk-Kot' festival

Every Holy Week, different Aeta tribes from Central Luzon gather at this sacred land, which the Aetas believe to be where their most holy ancestor Apu Buk-Kot turned himself into spirit and joined his creator in Heaven.
                                         Aeta's traditional dance

The place is inside the Boton Forest Area at the back side of the Subic Technology Park, more than two kilometers from Argonaut Highway in the Subic Bay Freeport.
During the Holy Week, about 20 Aeta families left their homes in the foothills of Bataan and Olongapo City to visit the place in Boton forest to pay respect to their ancestors, especially Apu Buk-Kot, the tribe’s holy one.

                           Beautiful Aeta tribe girl

                                               Aeta girl

anawangin aeta by Jaime Singlador - Babies & Children Children Candids

Aeta girl in a stream

Philippines: In Isabela, Mindanao the Agta, a subgroup of the Aeta indigenous peoples, run across a gravel court after a runaway ball, some barefoot

Aeta children playing

Pinatubo and the Aeta's
Mount Pinatubo is an active volcano located on the island Luzon of the Philippines. Home of the Aeta's. Very poor people, of which several thousands died when it erupted in 1991.

                                                  Portrait of Aeti girl

                                    Aeta indigenous people working in a field as laborers

                                   Aeta little girl

                                                 Aeta grandmother and her grand-child

                                                 Aeta girl from Philippines

                                                                      Aeta family

                             Young Agta man with his fish catch   (The Agta and Dumagat are a subgroup of the Aeta people,)

                                            ati women

                                         Aeta girl

       Aeta man

                                          Aeta boy

                                                             Dumagat (Aeta) man on remote beach

             Pinatubo and the Aeta's
Mount Pinatubo is an active volcano located on the island Luzon of the Philippines. Home of the Aeta's. Very poor people, of which several thousands died when it erupted in 1991.

© Jaime Singlador


  1. great photos of beautiful people! thanks!

  2. Fascinating...Beautiful People...

  3. wow I will create organization help African American and Africans to the philiphines.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Your not negrito/ATI. So you can't really speak on that. We Negritos did come from Africa. You really thought you can speak for the Negritos when your just a public Filipino or whatever you guys are.

    2. You aren't Negrito/ati. Don't say We like your us. Yeah negritos live in the same island but don't mean were the same as you guys. Negritos did come from Africa. Nice try.


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