Towns, Trade and Travel

Malcolm Mintz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


This chapter opens with the view from Quipayó, the main Franciscan mission in Bikol and Marcos de Lisboa' residence during his time as the Vicario Provincial of the region. Lisboa noted differences in language preferences of the people living downstream in the towns around Quipayó compared to those in villages further upstream. He also named locations, some of which have disappeared over time, but others which can still be identified with some degree of accuracy, places where people went fishing, or bought boats, or were simply on the way to somewhere else.

This is followed by a section on towns, their estimated population, where they were located, and questions asked of strangers to determine where they had come from. What happens when people had to leave their towns and establish residency elsewhere, through marriage or work, or the seeking of refuge, follows, including some of the agreements people reached regarding forms of abstinence where their absence was considered temporary.

Towns, out of necessity, needed each other. They cooperated when labour was in short supply to harvest or plant crops, or to man boats when there were not enough individuals to form complete crews. This need would serve to quell the all too common periods of conflict, but conflict did occur both within and between towns, and a discussion of this ends the section.

Section 3 is about trade. Just as towns needed each other to supplement labour, they also needed each other for trade, with the produce of the coast exchanged regularly with the that of the communities further upriver. Included in this section is a brief discussion of international trade, with goods arriving primarily from China and Macao to ports on the South China Sea, and then moved by local traders to various parts of Luzon. The section focuses primarily on local trade and traders.

In Section 4, the discussion is about travel, overland and by sea, some of the dangers faced, the preference to travel with a companion, and the use of guides to make sure the proper trail was taken. This is followed by a discussion of the reasons for travel whether simply out of a sense of adventure, or more pressing reasons such as the search for food, for employment or for treatment for a serious medical condition. Included in this section is the preparation for departure, the carrying of provisions, the breaking of the journey and routes taken to reach one's destination.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMonograph 1: The Philippines at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century with particular reference to the Bikol region
Subtitle of host publicationIntersections:Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific
EditorsCarolyn Brewer
ISBN (Electronic)9780646568195
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2020

Publication series

NameIntersections: Gender, and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific
ISSN (Print)1440-9151


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