In the Philippines, the study of anthropology was first introduced by Dr. Henry Otley Beyer. He was a well-renowned American anthropologist who had colorfully spent his early and late adulthood years in the country to teach about the world of indigenous culture to Filipinos. Therefore, he was given the most priceless title as the Father of Philippine Anthropology. To know more about him, this article allows you to discover how he was able to transform the realms of social science for the benefit and welfare of the young and future generations of the Philippines who wish to study and explore the field of anthropology to better comprehend and assimilate the different areas of this branch of social science for the sake developing a multifarious national identity; however possessing a unified Filipino ideology.

Dr, Henry Otley Beyer.

Dr, Henry Otley Beyer.

He was born on July 13, 1883 in Edgewood, Iowa to a pioneer clan with a Bavarian descendant. He had been smitten by the alluring charm of the Philippine Islands when he visited the nation for a Philippine Exhibit, at the Louisiana Purchase Centennial Exhibition in Saint Louis, USA. After successfully finishing his degree in Chemistry from Denver University the following year, he gladly volunteered to travel to the Philippines to share his knowledge as a teacher. When he decided to stay in the country, he decided to teach in the Cordillera Mountains which is geographically situated in Luzon. To serve faithfully serve the Filipinos, he readily assumed a sensitive post at the Ethnological Survey Office and the Philippine Civil Service in 1905. However, when the Philippine Reorganization Act of 1905 was finally signed into law, Dr. Henry Otley Beyer was assigned to the Education Bureau of the Philippines which was then chaired by David Barrows. Henry Otley Beyer was tasked to do some research studies about the Ifugaos until the year 1908. Since then, he began to circumnavigate the world from Asia to Europe. He got deeply involved in field researches of various Philippine ethnic groups such as the Apayaos, Igorots, Kalingas and the Christian people of Ilocos, Pangasinan and Pampanga.

After several years, he married Lingayu Gambuk, the lovely daughter of an Ifugao chieftain named Amganad. During their marriage, they were sweetly blessed by high heavens with a gorgeous male offspring whom they had christened as William. Going back to his illustrious career, he also became a part-time head of the Philippine Museum. His passionate love for anthropological researches and educating others never ceased. To date, he became an instructor at the University of the Philippines in the year 1914. Likewise, he was given several awards and recognition by the University of the Philippines. Some of which are as follows: Professor and department head of Anthropology. Best of all, he became a Professor Emeritus and a four-year Curator of the university’s premiere museum and at the Institute of Ethnology and Archaeology. During World War II, he was still given the opportunity to continue his anthropological education. But, he was later interred along with the other Americans in Philippine soil.

At the time of his death, three widely recognized learning institutions had published commemorative volumes of his exemplary writings as a lasting tribute to his undying service and commitment to the unselfish provisions of Philippine scholarship. These were San Carlos University in the province of Cebu, Ateneo de Manila and UP. Indeed, Henry Otley Beyer will never be forgotten by those indigenous tribes which he had loved unconditionally with all his heart, mind and soul.

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