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Igorot Oral Tradition v. The Latest Wave Migration Theory

The early Igorots are the ancestors of all non-Negrito Filipino tribes, as well as the ancestors of the Malaysians, Indonesians, and Oceanians.

 |  4 min read

Igorot Oral Tradition v. The Latest Wave Migration Theory

Maharlika Chronicles creator, Arthur Soriano, tackles on the latest genetic study on Filipino origin conducted by the Larena Lab, Uppsala University. The following were pulled from his analysis post on Instagram:


I find it unusual that scientists put so much value on old theories that they later disprove (like out of Taiwan) and don't think about oral history that they could confirm (Igorot's oral tradition of having always lived in Luzon).

The above images are pulled from the latest genetic study by Maximilian Larena et al. Multiple migrations published on March 22, 2021. When reading such a study, we must note that assumptions are generally made concerning past beliefs. I pulled quotes from the study to point out what I found to be important.

For me, the most important findings are that the Igorot tribes mentioned are again proven to be the ancestors of the majority of the Philippine tribes, Malaysians, Indonesians and Oceanians. This helps people with this ancestry understand where they come from.

Secondly, the Igorots were not derived and do not have Negrito genes. However, the Negrito has admixed with many other tribes over time.

Like other studies, the scientists continue to push the theory that the Negrito was the first Homo sapiens on the Philippines even though the earliest Homo sapiens remains found to date was not Negrito, but they readily admit that there were archaic humans in the Philippines who could pro-create with the Negritos. They also show that these archaic humans pro-created with the Igorots, too.

The cover diagram from the study shows how the ancestors of the Igorots are separate from the original Australians of whom the Negritos are supposed to have derived from. Many Igorot tribes claim to have always been on Luzon. Perhaps their ancestry with the archaic humans is where that claim comes from.

Consider the following quote from the "12 Important Insights into the Genetic Origins and Diversity of the Filipino People by Maximilian Larena +"

"The arrival of Cordilleran-related (or Austronesian-related) groups resulted in interbreeding with resident groups who arrived earlier during the initial waves of migration. Remarkably, central Cordillerans (Kankanaey, Bontoc, Balangao, Tuwali/Ifugao, Ayangan/Ifugao, Kalanguya, and Ibaloi) remained as the only ethnic group within the Philippines, out of the 115 groups investigated, who did not display any sign of interbreeding with Negritos. This is unusual in human history, given the assumption that when two distinct populations meet, one way or the other, they will likely interbreed with each other at some point in time. As highlighted in this study, we find that this is not always the case. Our study places the central Cordillerans in a unique position in human evolutionary history, making them the least admixed (or "purest") descendants of Basal East Asians."

(Click here for the full report and for a more visible image)

The image above shows the many tribes of the Philippines. In the study, they acknowledged that the Igorots are the best example of the original Austronesians whose blood and language permeates through the many peoples of the Philippines. But rather than acknowledge Igorot's oral traditions and claim them as first, they claimed them as last believing that the Igorots must be un-admixed because they arrived last rather than noticing that everyone else has their genes and language, even the Negritos which makes them a candidate for first in layman's terms.

This is where an overall view of related studies becomes handy. First, I'd like to acknowledge where I agree with this study. This study states that it doesn't fit with many theories of the past like Beyer's Migration Theory, Out of Taiwan Theory and Out of Sundaland Theory. I did not agree with any of those theories 100%. Now let's remember my 2/14/21 post about the Four Archaic Humans found in Filipino Blood and the last image above that shows the existence of Denisovans, Homo luzonesis, Homo floresiensis, Homo Erectus and other archaic humans.


We already know that Denisovan and Homo neanderthalensis flow in all Philippine tribes blood. With the last image it could be the diminutive (under 4 foot tall) Homo luzonesis and Homo floresiensis or it could be the sometimes taller Homo erectus or some other unknown archaic human. The fact is that there were a lot of archaic humans on Luzon who could procreate with each other. The Negritos arriving 50,000 years ago was not first on Luzon especially when archaic humans who show up in our blood were there at 709,000 years ago. The Igorots claim to have always been on Luzon and thus far I have no reason to deny that.

One last thing the study shows even if one doesn't acknowledge the Igorots as first, Igorot blood runs through all Filipino and Negrito veins and so does their language.

If you are interested in pre-colonial Philippines, read Maharlikan Chronicles. Check out our merch on our website and @maharlikanchronicles.

Note: Published with permission by Arthur Soriano.

Ibaloi-Kankana-ey hybrid.

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