REFLECTION: MATHEMATICAL IDEAS IN EARLY PHILIPPINE SOCIETY BY RICARDO MANAPAT
GLENN Y. SIGUA
Do I agree with Fray Gaspar de San Agustin wrote in 1703 that Tagalogs in counting are unreliable and bad mathematicians? Yes: • It is unreliable because at that time Filipinos possessed minimal intellectual skills. They are being deprived in sending them to school that is why they call themselves as “Indios”.
• If the weather condition is not fair, the practices about observing the “bulan or arao” are not quite reliable and another example is the unit of measure using the body parts. No: • Before the present civilization, those countings were agreed upon by our early ancestors in their day to day living which until now is useful. Examples, how do they know the time?...its morning?...change of seasons? By simply observing the position and movements of the sun(tala), once the cock crows and looking at the trees or plants(taglagas
• Tagalogs are not bad mathematician. In fact during the pre-colonization, they are cosmetologists, environmentalists, agriculturist(harvesting time) and they are good in abstract and geometry ( e.g. building a large vessel wherein they can build another smaller vessels that will be fit to one another vessels and the weaving patterns). Perhaps, the early Filipino mathematicians are just careless maybe they are too much overwhelmed to something. That is why those ideas and principles are not properly documented for the future use or maybe documentation is just not part of their culture, much like the indigenous people of the other countries.
— oOo— The author is Teacher III at EPNHS