Pintados

THE HISTORY OF THE PINTADOS
Cantius Kobak's (O.F. M.) translation of  the Lenox Text of Alzina’s Historia de las Islas e Indios de Bisayas …1668 refers to the Bisayan group of islands, located in the heart of the Philippine Archipelago as appearing to suffer from historical anemia. Samar and its sister –island, Leyte are actually rich historically, culturally, archeologically and anthropologically but least explored in the archipelago .

In burial sites above the seas and rivers and on cliff fissures can be found pre-Hispanic culture. Rev. Karl Hutterer, SVD, while with Divine Word University made valuable recoveries in the caves of Basey. Among them are some stone tools dating back perhaps to 40,000 years. Also tucked in libraries in Madrid, Jesuit archives in Rome, and in the Newberry Library of Chicago can be found “thousands upon thousands “ of manuscripts regarding this Bisayan region, its 
fascinating past, and  its people –the pintados in Alzina’s  Historia de las Islas e Indios de Bisayas.

In the manuscripts of Alzina, the author speaks about the natives (indios) of these islands and referred to them by two names: one as bisaya which means happy, good tempered and pleasant man; and the other, derived from the ancient practice of tattooing themselves - pintados.

It is a fact that all the Bisyan men tattooed themselves. However, they did not do so at the same time nor the same way. Among the Bisayans, the person who did not have himself tattooed was a coward for so they said that if a man did not have the courage to bear the pain inflected by friendly needles, how could he be able to face the pain caused by enemy lances?

The tattoos usually covered the areas from ankle to groin. The abdomen was also tattooed and covered the breast like a breast plate which ascended with great symmetry and method to the neck. However, the women did not tattoo their bodies except for the outside of their hands with very small designs. With great care they tattooed all the outside of their hand up to the wrist so each finger looked entirely tattooed. The designs were mostly flowers and knots and looked like damask cloth of china. All women put false moles on their hands and arms and loved to have big chignons and flowers on their hair.

Like other Asian neighbors, the pintados held festivals to honor their deity, in celebration of victories in war, good harvest and other special occasions. The agong of various sizes, the korlong, palmos, sanglei 
and sanguile bells, canuelo,ongote and coriapi would resound all over the village while the tribes people dance, stomp or kick in rhythm with the music.
 
Sources : Cantius Kobak: Ancient Bisayan Literature, Music and Dances: In Alzina’s Historia de
                                           Las Islas e Bisayas…1668, Leyte –Samar Studies Vol.XI : No. 1,1977
              Cantius Kobak : Alzina’s Historia de las Islas e Indiosde Bisayas…1668, A translation of the  
                                           Lenox Text, Leyte-Samar Studies
Website Builder