Theories on the Origins of the Philippines

Pacific Theory

According to Bailey Willis, a noted geologist, the Philippine islands were formed as a result of volcanic eruptions. These volcanoes were found under the Pacific Ocean towards the eastern region of Asia. The Pacific Theory or the Volcanic Theory says that some 200 million years has passed since the eruption of these volcanoes. This natural phenomenon caused the splitting of rocks followed by the waters surrounding them.

This phenomenon also happened in Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, and New Zealand. These countries from what is now known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. There are 250 volcanoes around the region. The Philippines has 22 active volcanoes. It is no wonder then than earthquakes occur quite frequently around the country. (Custodio 1998)

Asiatic Theory

According to the Asiatic theory of Dr. Leopoldo Faustino, the islands were form through the process of diastrophism. This explains the movement of the earth that caused some parts either to rise or sink. This happens with the folding, faulting, and wrapping of the earth.

Wave of Migration Theory

According to the theory of H. Otley Beyer, a renowned archaeologist, the Philippines was once a part of the Asian continent because of land bridges. This geographical feature was common during the Pleistocene Period or the Ice Age some 1.8 million years ago. Waves of migrants from Mainland Asia made their way to the Philippines crossing these land bridges.

After the Glacial Period, the ice around the continent began to thaw, causing waters to rise and the oceans to form over the land bridges. The lands above sea level shaped the islands dotting the archipelago. This theory also explains the similarities of plants and animal species found in the country and in some parts of the Asian region.

The theory also identifies five land bridges that connected one area to another:

  • Palawan and Borneo
  • Philippines, Taiwan, and Asia
  • Borneo and Sulu-Mindanao
  • New Guinea-Mindanao (Jocano 1975)
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