Photo of Canilao (a.k.a. Migs), Michael Armand P.

Michael Armand P. Canilao (a.k.a. Migs)

Graduate Student



Building & Room:

BSB 3152D


1007 W. Harrison Street


Ancient gold, its extraction, transport, and processing is what drives my broader research. My dissertation at UIC specifically studies gold from five networks in the Northwestern flank of the island of Luzon in the Philippine archipelago from the Early Historical (10thto early 16thc) to Historical period (late 16thc to early 20thc). I reconstruct the journey of gold from the hands of small scale indigenous ethnolingusiitic groups in the Cordillera mountains of Luzon to the evanescent to permanent markets in the coast up to its transport via sea- crossing southeast asian vessels and chinese junks en route to gold centers within the Indian Ocean and South China Sea system. The method I employ is multidisciplinary and multiscalar, working with datasets from Geographic Information Systems (GIS), high resolution multispectral satellite remote sensing, archival map data, primary and secondary historical sources, oral traditions, and archaeological site data.


Selected Grants

The DigitalGlobe Foundation, WorldView-2 and WorldView-3 Satellite Imagery Grants covering the dissertation project's five networks, totalling 8,855 sq. km 2016-18, Principal Investigator

DigitalGlobe Foundation and Hexagon Geospatial, Content Partnership Grantee (short term licenses) (2017), Principal Investigator

University of Illinois at Chicago, Chancellor's Graduate Research Award (2015), Principal Investigator

Instituto Cervantes, Publications Grant Award Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation (2012), Principal Investigator

Chicago Counsular, Corps Award (2014), Principal Investigator

National Commission on Culture and the Arts in the Philippines, Research Grant, National Committee in Historical Research (2012), Principal Investigator

Phillippine Social Science Center, Research Assistant Program, Principal Investigator

Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, Asian Graduate Student Fellowship, Fellow

Office of the President, University of the Philippines Dilima, Presidential Scholarship, Awardee

Selected Publications

2018   Isles of Garrisons: remote sensing Ijangs in northern Philippines (sixteenth-century) in Geojournal– Spatially Integrated Social Sciences and Humanities

2018   Charting the Abra gold trade network of Northwestern Luzon using ethnohistorical archaeology and WorldView-3 satellite imagery in Journal of Archaeological Science- Reports 19: 357-396

2018   Bulked gold, riverine trade, hiking trails, and WorldView2 satellite remote sensing in Northwestern Luzon: The Angaqui network, in Journal of Archaeological Science- Reports 17: 689-711

2017   Early Historical Gold Trade Networks in northwestern Luzon, as reconstructed from ethnohistorical accounts, WorldView2 satellite remote sensing and GIS predictive modelling, in Journal of Archaeological Science- Reports 16C: 127-148

2017   Determining the suitability of gold bulking villages articulated to the Lepanto gold district of Northwestern Luzon with the aid of WorldView2 satellite imagery in Journal of Archaeological Science- Reports 14: 620-637

2017   Weight of Evidence Geospatial Analysis and Potential Locations of Ancient Gold Mining Settlements in Benguet in the 16th and 18th Centuries in Philippine Journal of Science 146(2): 187-192

2017   WorldView2 satellite imagery in remote sensing a past gold trading trail in Luzon: testing Ethnohistory-based and GIS- based models, in Journal of Archaeological Science- Reports 12C: 363-377

2017   Predictive Model of the Balatok- Tonglo- Aringay Gold Trade Trail in Southwestern Cordillera [Research Note], in Philippine Journal of Science 146(1): 81-84

Professional Leadership

Officer, Katipunan Arkeologist sa Pilipinas (Guild of Philippine Archaeologists)

Notable Honors

2005, University Scholar Merit Award for attaining at least magna cum laude and above standing, University of the Philippines Diliman


Presently PhD Candidate- Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois
at Chicago USA

2017 Master of Arts Environmental and Urban Geography, Department of Anthropology and Geography, University of Illinois at Chicago USA

2015 Master of Arts Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago USA

2008 Master of Arts Archaeology, University of the Philippines Diliman PHILIPPINES

2007 Graduate Diploma Archaeology, University of the Philippines Diliman PHILIPPINES

2003 Bachelor of Arts Social Sciences (majoring in Anthropology and Economics), University of the Philippines Baguio PHILIPPINES

Professional Memberships

Katipunan Arkeologist sa Pilipinas  (Guild of Philippine Archaeologists)

Selected Presentations

2018   Paper Presenter, “Weaving the site, the region, and the network: some methods that facilitate multi-scalar analysis using a region case study of Northwestern Luzon, Philippines.” IndoPacific Prehistory Association 21st Conference, Hue, Vietnam, September 23- 28, 2018.

2018   Poster Presenter, “Gold Trade Networks in Northwestern Luzon Early Historical to Historical period (10th to Early 20th c).” 2018 UIC Student Research Forum and Impact Day, Chicago IL USA April 11, 2018

2018   Paper Presenter, “Reconfiguring Hillforth Defenses in Northwestern Luzon, Philippines Early Historical to Historical Period (10th to early 20th c).” Second City Anthropology Conference, Chicago IL USA March 10, 2018

2016   Paper Presenter, “Gold Trade and Evanescent Market Encounters of Northwestern Luzon Island 10th to early 20th C.” 8th World Archaeology Congress, Doshisha University,  Kyoto, Japan August 28 to September 2, 2016

2016 Paper Presenter, “Residential Burial Re-use in Coastal Ilocos Sur, Philippines.” Second City Anthropology Conference, Chicago IL USA March 5, 2016

2014 Paper Presenter, “Burial Coffin Traditions of Highland Ilocos Sur- former Commandancia Politico Militar (CPM) Tiagan, Alilem, and Amburayan”. 1st Regional Conference on Cordillera Material Culture Studies,Baguio City, Philippines May 30- 31, 2014. paper read by Curator Ceres Canilao

2014 Paper Presenter, “Landscape and Settlement Archaeology Methodology in the            Cordillera Region of Luzon, Philippines”. 79th Annual Meeting Society for American Archaeology, Austin, Texas April 23-26, 2014.

2014 Paper Presenter, “Changing Views in House and Architecture in the Philippines at Spanish Contact (16th c) and its Implications to Climate and Weather Resiliency”. Second City Anthropology Conference, Chicago IL USA, March 8, 2014.

2014 Paper Presenter, “Hollowed Burial Coffin Traditions of Upland Ilocos Sur”. IndoPacific           Prehistory Association 20th Conference, Siem Reap, Cambodia January 12- 17, 2014.

2012 Paper Presenter, “Variable Borders in a Period of Colonial Transition (19th to 20th   c): Maps, Rituals, Burial Coffin Traditions and the Kankanaeys of Upland Ilocos          Sur”. Asia Pacific Sociological Association APSA 12th Conference, Ateneo de Manila University, Manila, October 22-24, 2012.

2012 Paper Presenter, “Application of the Conjunctive Approach of Ethnohistory and Archaeology in understanding Calanutian Archaeological Site: A 12th to 16th c            Maritime Trading Center in Coastal Ilocos Sur, Philippines”. European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists EURASEAA 14th Conference, University College Dublin, Ireland September 18- 22, 2012 paper read by Dr. Yvette Balbaligo.

Research Currently in Progress

Intra-Asian region gold exchanges, chiefdom studies, upland-lowland interactions (10th to 16th c.), contact period archaeology (17th to early 20th c.)