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Most of these people stayed in the Philippines where they were slowly absorbed into local societies.Many of the barangay (tribal municipalities) were, to a varying extent, under the de jure jurisprudence of one of several neighboring empires, among them the Malay Srivijaya, Javanese Majapahit, Brunei, Malacca, Indian Chola, Champa and Khmer empires, although de facto had established their own independent system of rule.Even scattered barangays, through the development of inter-island and international trade, became more culturally homogeneous by the 4th century.Hindu-Buddhist culture and religion flourished among the noblemen in this era.Prior to that, the earliest human remains found in the Philippines were thought to be the fossilized fragments of a skull and jawbone, discovered in the 1960s by Dr. These include the Homo sapiens, as distinguished from the mid-Pleistocene Homo erectus species.The "Tabon Man" fossils are considered to have come from a third group of inhabitants, who worked the cave between 22,000 and 20,000 BCE.

The Philippines was a Spanish colony for 333 years, setting a foundation for contemporary Filipino culture.In the period between the 7th to the beginning of the 15th centuries, numerous prosperous centers of trade had emerged, including the Kingdom of Namayan which flourished alongside Manila Bay, Butuan, the Kingdom of Sanfotsi situated in Pangasinan, the Kingdom of Luzon now known as Pampanga which specialized in trade with most of what is now known as Southeast Asia, and with China, Japan and the Kingdom of Ryukyu in Okinawa.From the 9th century onwards, a large number of Arab traders from the Middle East settled in the Malay Archipelago and intermarried with the local Malay, Bruneian, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Luzon and Visayas indigenous populations.The original meaning was "a person of Spanish descent born in the Philippines" (a person of Austronesian ancestry and not of Spanish descent was called an "Indio"). Historian Ambeth Ocampo has suggested that the first documented use of the word to refer to Indios was the Spanish language poem A la juventud filipina, published in 1879 by José Rizal.A number of Filipinos refer to themselves colloquially as "Pinoy" (feminine: "Pinay"), which is a slang word formed by taking the last four letters of "Filipino" and adding the diminutive suffix "-y".

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