The Aeta are an indigenous people who live in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of Luzon, Philippines. They are thought to be among the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines, preceding the Austronesian migrations. The history of the Aeta continues to confound anthropologists and archaeologists. One theory suggests that the Aeta are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Philippines, who, contrary to their sea-faring Austronesian neighbours, arrived through land bridges that linked the country with the Asian mainland about 30,000 years ago. Unlike many of their Austronesian counterparts, the Aetas have shown resistance to change. The attempts of the Spaniards to settle them in reservations all throughout Spanish rule failed.
Mining, deforestation, illegal logging, and slash-and-burn farming has caused the indigenous population in all parts of the Philippines to steadily decrease to the point where they number in the thousands today. The Philippines affords them no protection. In addition, the Aeta have become extremely nomadic due to the social and economic strain on their culture and way of life that had previously remained unchanged for thousands of years.