Keen and sensitive to the cultural values of the people they were evangelizing, the Dominican missionaries made an effort to collect implements of life which are now proudly displayed in the UST Museum. These collections serve as vivid records interesting for all who wish to have a deeper understanding of Philippine native culture.
While the artifacts of ethnology are classified according to tribal divisions of the Mountain Province, Cagayan Valley, Bataan, Zambales, Sierra Madre, Mindoro, Zamboanga, etc., the visitor could as well view them according to objective groupings: weaponry, kitchen wares, religious paraphernalia, personal decors, and musical instruments.
All who view the weaponry collection can be acquainted with the fighting style of the early Filipinos. Most interesting are the Ifugao headhunters’ arrows and axes, and the various types of the most prominent Muslim weapon, the Kris. Other interesting artifacts, are all kinds of bamboo arms, with ingenious arrowheads, used by the Aetas from Nueva Ecija and Zambales.
The household wares, implements, and basketry are also priceless artifacts. They give the observer an idea of peaceful times. They serve as reminders of daily chores and domesticity, which are unique to our ancestors' tribes. There is a myriad of objects to fascinate, delight and inform. Many of the religious objects used for animistic rituals can be considered belonging to rare collections. The missionaries realized that they were cultural riches headed for extinction. The feather headdresses worn by the priests of the Igorotes, bowls of the Ibalois, the necklaces, anklets, earrings, and other prices of jewelry constitute the native religious collections.
The recording of Philippine ethnology will not be complete without mentioning tribal instruments: flutes, strings, drums, and gongs. The wind instruments typify the North while the gongs typify the South; the strings and drums are common to tribes everywhere. There was music for burial, for victory, for courting and for religious celebrations.
Browse Selected Pieces from the Collection: