The Philippines is at once 1000 B.C. and A.D. 1500, 1880 and 1963. For it is one of the astonishing features of the Philippine landscape that the different stages of history survive among the tribes and minorities who have been shut away from Western and contemporary influences by natural barriers and by ancient beliefs, and among the great majority of agricultural folk who live in the convents of provincial custom.
In mountainous regions scattered throughout the islands are the aboriginal inhabitants, small, negroid people who live by the blow gun and the bow and arrow.
In the mountains north of Manila are the Igorot tribes, where forefathers 3,000 years ago met the challenge of nature by transforming the mountainsides into rice terraces, and who to this day live as their forefathers did, observing the ancient rites and practicing the ancient arts.
In the southernmost islands live the Muslim tribes, whose culture represents the splendor that the people of the islands achieved before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century.
Throughout the islands, in the protection of mountain, forest and sea, there live more than fifty different tribes, each with a distinct culture, and each representing a chapter in the history of Philippine civilization. The music, dance, literature, architecture and crafts of the past survive, not as relics, but as organic element of life.
In the lowlands, in the towns and cities, one finds a vivid and varying blend of the later cultural influences. China, Spain, and America, Christianity and Democracy. The 19th century lives on in provincial towns, in the elegant architecture, the colorful festivals and the leisurely way of life. And in Manila, capital of the country, one discovers the 20th century a modern metropolis … progress and aspiration.