"We visited the Ati, the aborigines of the Philippines, who were sequestered in a ghetto on Boracay Island. The Daughters of Charity, a religious order founded by St. Vincent de Paul, friend of Francis de Sales, minister to these people. The Ati are called the “black people;” their skin tone is dark and their hair extremely wooly. They are classified as Philippine Negritos, first settled the Philippines, and were at one time a nomadic group of hunter-gatherers roaming freely in the wild without clothes. Modern society forced them in clothes as well as ghettos both of which are socially traumatic for the Ati., who now depend on charitable donations for subsistence. The Daughters of Charity have been their only advocates with the government and in the words of one sister “I will wear out my sandals walking to the local government to petition for these lovely people and to protest the expropriation of their land.” They now live on land belonging to the relatives of the Casa Pilar owners, our hotel on Boracay.
The children are attractive and charming. They learn the basics in a kindergarten that was opened the second day of our visit. We learned that it would be an insult to help them with any physical labor such as picking up trash and beautifying their areas. Francis de Sales and the spirituality of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales reminds us to respect people where they are and to treat them with dignity. Since food was a great need, we decided to purchase rice and other staples for the families. The Daughters supervised us as we respectfully distributed the food to the families. We also gave plantains (small bananas) to the children in the kindergarten and interacted with the teacher and the students".
"A full-grown Ati woman. I actually think she is attractive. She's definitely cute in a child-like way anyway. Note the classical woolly hair of the Philippine Negritos. This is not the same hair as the kinky hair of US Blacks. Other Negritos in the Andaman Islands have peppercorn hair like the Bushmen of Africa".