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Aeta Tribe: 4 Incredible Facts About the African Ethnic Groups of the Philippines


The Aeta (pronounced as “eye-ta,”), Ayta, or Agta is an indigenous group of people who reside in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of Luzon, Philippines. They’re known as “Philippines Negrito” and are included in the broader wider Negrito grouping of Southeast Asia, with whom they share the same common physical characteristics like short statures and dark skin tones. 

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They are considered to be one of the first inhabitants of the Philippines. Continue reading to learn more about the Aeta Tribe and discover four incredible facts about these African ethnic groups of the Philippines

The Aeta Tribe Are Naturally Nomadic

The African ethnic groups of the Philippines are nomadic. They only construct temporary shelters made of sticks and the palm of banana leaves. The more civilized people of the Aeta tribe have migrated to areas and villages of clear mountains. 

In those places, they live in houses constructed using congo grasses and bamboo. Check Amazon for books that cover the nomadic lifestyle if you would love to learn more about it. 

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As hunter-gatherers, the Aeta tribe relies on fishing, hunting animals, and foraging for wild vegetation and other nutrients, like honey, for food. Owing to this, adaptation plays a vital role in Aeta communities to survive.

That’s why they’re knowledgeable about the tropical forest they reside in and many other seasonal changes that impact the behavior of the flora and fauna in their location. In the Aeta community, the dry season is a time of intense work.

They fish, hunt, and prepare the land for future harvest. While men and women work together to clear and cultivate the land, Aeta women usually do most of the harvesting. 

During the time of harvest, they transact with other non-Aeta communities living around their place of temporary settlement, selling the foods they gathered. Most Aeta people are trained to gather and hunt at age 15. 

Some Aeta people use the traditional bow and arrow to hunt, while others prefer knives and dogs. Both males and women also get involved in fishing. 

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Aeta Women are Herbal Medicines Experts

Within the Aeta community in Ilagan, they use banana leaves to cure toothache. To cure fever, they use cooled-down water boiled with camphor leaves to bathe. Sometimes, they use the camphor leaves to prepare herbal teas that they drink three times a day if the cold or fever persists. For muscle pains, they usually drink herbal teas prepared with kalulong leaf extracts. 

When women give birth, they use cooled-down water boiled with sahagubit roots to bathe to prevent relapse. They also recommend drinking sahagubit tea to alleviate stomachache or deworm children. 

The people of the Aeta tribe only seek help from recognized herbalists if the sickness persists after drinking the recommended herbs. They do so simply because they believe that some sicknesses are caused by spirits that they might have offended. 

If that’s the case, medical doctors or herbal medicines can’t curse it. You can learn more about the spiritual beliefs of the  African ethnic group of the Philippines by getting books that discuss the topic on Amazon

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Skillful in Plaiting and Weaving

When it comes to arts and crafts, the Aetas are exceptionally good. Women exclusively weave mats and winnows, while males make armlets. They also make raincoats using palm leaves. The base of the raincoat surrounds the neck of the one wearing it, while the topmost parts will spread like a fan around the wearer’s body. 

Scarification is their form of traditional traditional visual art. They purposefully wound the skin on their arms, back, legs, and breasts and irritate it with lime, fire, or other means to create scars. Furthermore, they have a musical heritage comprising different agung ensembles. 

The African ethnic group of the Philippines is a unique tribe. They’re historically hunter-gatherers, typically comprising around one to five families per mobile group. If you find this ethnic group fascinating and want to learn more about them, check Amazon for Aeta tribe history. 

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Uchenna Agwu
Uchenna Agwu
Hi there! I’m Uchenna Agwu, and I love to write. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me reading books or watching documentaries (I’m a bit of a nerd). But I also like to get out and explore – whether that means going on hikes or checking out new restaurants.


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