RE­FLEC­TION: MATH­E­MAT­I­CAL IDEAS IN EARLY PHILIP­PINE SO­CI­ETY BY RI­CARDO MANAPAT

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

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

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