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Ancient Philippine Culture from the Night Skies: Me Ganon?

"Emu in the Sky" Image from Wikipedia
Philippine Ethnoastronomy!  Me Ganon? :-)

Total eclipseLunar Eclipse Image via Wikipedia
Ancient Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Egyptians and so many other cultures have named constellations and mapped the skies and used these for both practical (ex. navigation), religious and other uses -- evidence of their developed cultures and observational acumen.  For westerners, we have Orion the hunter, the Big Dipper of Ursa Major which helps us find our bearings in relation to the North Star, etc.;  others like the Aborigines of Australia have the Emu in the Sky.

And now I learn from "Balatik:  Katutubong Bituin ng mga Pilipino" that we had our own cultural understanding of the night sky.

I am so excited with what my friend and other young Pinoys are discovering via Philippine archaeology and ethnography (wrote about it here).  I am also a stargazing enthusiast, less equipment :-). However, I haven't heard about the combination of these two joys -- ethnography and astronomy.   I don't even know the two exist in combination -- not until I read about the founder of Philippine Ethnoastronomy (Dr. Dante L. Ambrosio) from this great site.  I came across the site while I was looking for info on yesterday's total lunar eclipse.  I wasn't able to shoot a photo of the eclipse because my camera is still broken and I don't have an appropriate lens and tripod but I was able to tip a friend who eventually took good shots of the phenomenon.

I'll read Dr. Ambrosio's "Balatik:  Katutubong Bituin ng Mga Pilipino" later.  The link to the pdf file is on the site.  An excerpt from the material reads:

"Kapag tumingala sa langit ang mga sinaunang Pilipino, hindi lamang basta langit ang kanilang nakikita.  Nakikita nila ang sariling kabihasnan dito, lalo't mga bituin ang pag-uusapan.  Gaya ng ibang kultura, itinatak nila sa langit ang kanilang kakayahan.  Inangkin din nila ang langit.  Naging isang saligan ito ng kanilang pag-iisip, pagkilos at pamumuhay.  May nabuo silang sariling kabang-yaman ng mga pananaw, paniniwala, kaalaman at kaugaliang kaugnay ng kalangitan."

This is such a treasure for those like me who continue to re-discover the Philippine culture that has been erased (both unknowingly and maliciously).   As we celebrate  Dr. Jose Rizal's 150th birthday let us remember his efforts to let the Filipinos (term used as we know it today) and other nation's know that we had and have a rich culture that needs to be unearthed and should inspire national pride.  This he purposely tried to accomplish with his annotation of Morga's Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, hoping readers would see that pre-colonial Philippines already had a rich culture but was only erased by 300 years of foreign domination.

Hurrah for that awesome lunar eclipse!  Hurrah for sites like Journey to the Stars!  Hurrah for Philippine ethnoastronomy!  Hurrah for Rizal's 150th birthday!
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