THE-PRE HISPANIC VILLAGE

Milaor is as ancient as the rest of the settlements of the region: Prior to the advent of Spain, scattered settlements were already flourishing along the banks of the Bikol river. Although little evidence of its pre-colonial culture had sur­ vived, the chronicles of the early explorers and conquistado­ res about the riverine district revealed interesting insights to its past culture. Since Milaor was one of those villages which belonged to the riverine district, Governor-General Guido de Lavezares' description of the culture of the people in the Bikol river district applies to the inhabitants of Pre-Hispanic Milaor.

"The people are the most valiant yet found in the region, they possess much good armor - as iron corsets, greaves, wristlets, gauntlets and helmets - and some arquebuses and culverins. They are the best and most skill­ ful artificers of jewels and gold that we lw.ve seen in this land, almost all the peo ple of Los Ca- marines pursue this handicraft. "

This creative talents of the ancients Bikolanos apparently survived the onslaught of colonization as it surfaced in their craftsmanship, particularly as carpenters, of which the men of Milaor were famous for throughout the Spanish regime.
Fray Matin de Rada, one of the earliest Augustinian mis­ sionaries who chronicled the various conquering expedi­ tions in the Philippines, took note of the bravery and influ­ ence of the inhabitants of this district. Such was also true with those of Milaor:

"Thepeople there are the most valiant and best armed of all these islands. Consequently, although they never attacked the Spaniards , still they defended themselves in all their villages and would not surrender unless conquered by force of arms. Consequently, all those villages were entered in the same way, byfirst summoning them to submit peacefull y and to pay tribute immediately unless they wished war. They re­plied that they would first prove those to whom they were to pay tribute and consequentl y, the Spaniards attacking them, an entrance was made among them by force of arms and the village was overthrown and whatever wasfound pillaged. "

While admiring the natives' display of bravery, Fray de Rada was deeply disturbed by the consequence of native resistance. "Therefore, since all the people defended themselves, more have perished in that land than in any other yet conquered." Resistance to Spanish incursion was evidently strong but the overwhelming superiority of the Spanish arms eventually decided the historic destiny of this people. Milaor became subject to colonial rule.

 

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