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Maharlika doesn’t mean noble, says historian

The word maharlika does not mean noble or nobleman, a historian has said.

According to Joseph Morong's report on "24 Oras", Professor Xiao Chua said the American colonizers had erred in translating Spanish documents that contained the word mahadlika or maharlika.

"Ang ibig sabihin ng maharlika noong unang panahon ay isang uri ng tao na malaya," Chua said.

Chua said that while there was the classes of datu and of uripon or alipin, there was the class in the middle of the system that was called maharlika, or timawa in the Visayan language.

"Middle class. Malaya," Chua said.

According to an article from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, maharlika came from Sanskrit mahar, or noble, and likha, or creation.

However, there's even a theory that maharlika could have come from a Sanskrit or Indian word that meant something unpleasant.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday expressed his agreement with the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' supposed plan to change the country's name from the Philippines to Maharlika.

The Philippines was named after the Spanish monarch Philip II. The archipelago was a Spanish colony for centuries until it became a US protectorate in 1898.

"Philippines because it was discovered by Magellan using the money of King Philip. Kaya pagdating ng ulol ginawang Philippines. Pero okay na ‘yan, balang araw palitan natin,” Duterte said in a speech in Buluan, Maguindanao.

“Actually, tama si Marcos. Panahon ni Marcos, tama talaga si Marcos. Gusto niya palitan [ng] Maharlika, the Republic of Maharlika because maharlika is a Malay word and it means more of a concept of serenity and peace,” he added. —NB, GMA News