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Laguna Copperplate Inscription (900 AD), a thin

copperplate measuring less than 8x12 inches in size and is inscribed with
small writing that had been hammered into its surface, shows heavy Indian
cultural influence (by way of Srivijaya) present in the Philippines during the era
previous to Spanish colonization in the 16th century

The transliteration is as follows:

Swasti. Ṣaka warṣatita 822 Waisakha masa di(ng) Jyotiṣa. Caturthi
Kriṣnapaksa Somawāra sana tatkala Dayang Angkatan lawan dengan nya
sānak barngaran si Bukah anak da dang Hwan Namwaran di bari waradāna
wi shuddhapattra ulih sang pamegat senāpati di Tundun barja(di) dang Hwan
Nāyaka tuhan Pailah Jayadewa. Di krama dang Hwan Namwaran dengan
dang kayastha shuddha nu di parlappas hutang da walenda Kati 1 Suwarna 8
di hadapan dang Huwan Nayaka tuhan Puliran Kasumuran. dang Hwan
Nayaka tuhan Pailah barjadi ganashakti. Dang Hwan Nayaka tuhan
Binwangan barjadi bishruta tathapi sadana sanak kapawaris ulih sang
pamegat dewata [ba]rjadi sang pamegat Medang dari bhaktinda diparhulun
sang pamegat. Ya makanya sadanya anak cucu dang Hwan Namwaran
shuddha ya kapawaris dihutang da dang Hwan Namwaran di sang pamegat
Dewata. Ini gerang syat syapanta ha pashkat ding ari kamudyan ada gerang
urang barujara welung lappas hutang da dang Hwa
English translation
Long Live! Year of Syaka 822, month of Vaisakha, according to Jyotisha
(Hindu astronomy). The fourth day of the waning moon, Monday. On this
occasion, Lady Angkatan, and her brother whose name is Bukah, the children
of the Honourable Namwaran, were awarded a document of complete pardon
from the Commander in Chief of Tundun, represented by the Lord Minister of
Pailah, Jayadewa. By this order, through the scribe, the Honourable
Namwaran has been forgiven of all and is released from his debts and
arrears of 1 Katî and 8 Suwarna before the Honourable Lord Minister of
Puliran Kasumuran by the authority of the Lord Minister of Pailah. Because of
his faithful service as a subject of the Chief, the Honourable and widely
renowned Lord Minister of Binwangan recognized all the living relatives of
Namwaran who were claimed by the Chief of Dewata, represented by the
Chief of Medang. Yes, therefore the living descendants of the Honourable
Namwaran are forgiven, indeed, of any and all debts of the Honourable
Namwaran to the Chief of Dewata. This, in any case, shall declare to
whomever henceforth that on some future day should there be a man who
claims that no release from the debt of the Honourable...

Code of Kalantiao
The so-called Code of Kalantiao has been considered as the
"centerpiece" of Aklanon history by most Aklanons, especially by local
historians in Aklan. It has been compared to the Code of Hammurabi.

The Code was described to have been "in use in 150 (?) since 1433" and
was codified and enforced by a certain Datu Kalantiao -- later called Datu
Bendahara Kalantiaw -- who ruled in an ancient civilization -- a sakup called
Aklan, with Batan (or Batang) as its center of government.

According to William Henry Scott, the late historian who investigated

the provenance and authenticity of the Code of Kalantiao, the real author of
the Code was a certain Jose E. Marco of Pontevedra, Negros Occidental, who
also wrote La Loba Negra which was previously ascribed to Father Jose

The fantastic story of the Code of Kalantiao originated from the two-
volume manuscripts called Las Antiguas Leyendas de la Isla de Negros
which, according to Marco, were written by Jose María Pavon. The
manuscripts were actually a product of Marco's fertile imagination.

Wrote Prof. Scott: "The shift of the Code from Negros to Panay
presumably began with [Josue] Soncuya's conclusion that Rajah Kalantiaw --
as he called him -- had written the code for Aklan because of the presence
of two Aklanon, rather than Hiligaynon, words in the text." (Josue Soncuya,
one of the founders of Centro Escolar de Señoritas, was from Banga, Aklan.)
1. You shall not kill, nor steal, nor wound the aged, or you shall be in danger of death. Whoever
shall transgress these laws shall die by being drowned in a river with a stone or in boiling water.

2. You shall comply with all your debts due to the chief by fully paying said obligations. Whosoever
is in default shall be lashed one hundred times for the first offense. If the debt is considerable, the
offender's hand shall be put into boiling water. For the second offense he shall die by being

3. You shall obey by not having wives who are very young or more wives than you can take care of,
nor shall you indulge in excessive lust. Whosoever shall not comply, obey and follow shall be
sentenced to swim for three hours, and for the second offense, he shall die by being beaten with

4. You shall follow and obey: You shall not disturb the peace of the graves; upon passing by them,
you shall respect them in the caves or trees where they may be. Whosoever violates this law
shall be put to death by being exposed to ants or by being beaten with prongs.

5. You shall obey: Barters for food shall always be complied with strictly and to the letter.
Whosoever violates this agreement shall be beaten for one hour. Whosoever shall repeat the
offense shall be exposed to the ants for one day.

6. You shall be obliged to revere sacred places of trees of well known value and other spots.
Whosoever shall not comply shall pay with his labor for one month., in gold or honey; for the
second offense he shall become a slave.

7. The following shall suffer death: Whosoever shall fell trees of venerable aspect; whosoever at
night shoot arrow at the aged and women; whosoever shall enter the chief's dwelling without
permission; whosoever shall kill a shark or strip a crocodile.

8. Whosoever shall kidnap the wives of chiefs shall be reduced to slavery for one year; the same
penalty shall be imposed upon whosoever shall keep dogs that have beaten chiefs and
whosoever burns another's crop.

9. The following shall be beaten for two days: Whosoever shall sing as he travels at night or shall kill
manual birds, or shall tear the documents of the chiefs or who shall tell lies with malice

10. It shall be the duty of every mother to secretly impart sex education to her daughters and prepare
them for womanhood; for men to refrain from being cruel or punishing their wives when caught in

11. The following shall be burned at the stake: Whosoever shall, by force or trickery, baffle or elude
punishment, or shall kill two children, or shall attempt to kidnap the elder's wives.

12. The following shall be drowned: All slaves who resist their superiors or owners or masters;
whosoever shall abuse their lust; whosoever shall kill their idols by breaking or throwing them

13. The following shall be exposed to ants for one half day: Whosoever shall kill cats during the New
Moon, or shall steal things pertaining to the chiefs and elders, however small and inexpensive
they may be.
14. Whosoever, having beautiful daughters, shall not consent to their marriage to the chief's sons or
shall hide them in bad faith, shall be reduced to slavery for life.

15. Concerning beliefs and superstitions: Whosoever shall eat the bad meat of sacred animals, and
herbs that are reputed to be good; whosoever shall kill manual chickens or white monkeys shall
be whipped.

16. Whosoever shall break wooden or clay idols at their altars and places of offerings; or whosoever
shall destroy the spear of priestesses with which to kill pigs, or shall break drinking vessels shall
have their fingers cut off.

17. Whosoever shall profane places where sacred things of idols and chiefs are buried shall be put to
death. Whosoever shall let his bowels moved or urinate on said spots shall be burned at the

18. Whosoever shall fail to execute these mandates, if he be a chief, shall be stoned and crushed to
death, and if he be an elder shall be thrown into a river to be devoured by sharks and crocodiles.

Datu Bendahara Kalantiaw

Datu Bendahara Kalantiaw (or Kalantiao), of course, was the so-called
great ruler of a pre-hispanic civilization who codified a set of rules, the so-
called Code of Kalantiao.

In 1956, Digno Alba (a native of Batan, Aklan who was a government

pensionado to the US in 1903) wrote a pamphlet which stated -- without any
supporting evidence -- that Kalantiaw chose Batan as the capital of the
ancient sakup of Aklan.

In 1966, Sol Gwekoh wrote in the Sunday Times magazine that Datu
Bendahara Kalantiaw was born in 1410 -- again, without any supporting

In 1970, Gregorio Zaide included in his book Great Filipinos in History

other details: that the Datu's real name was Lakan Tiaw (which means,
according to Zaide, "Chief of Brief Speech") and that the great Datu allegedly
said "The law is above all men." The Datu was said to be the only son of Raja
Bendahara Gulah. All these assertions had, of course, no supporting
Bornean Datus
The account of the voyage of ten datus and their followers from a
foreign land to Panay and their subsequent settlement in this Visayan island
is narrated in a book written in Hiligaynon by Pedro Monteclaro, a native of

In his book, Maragtas kon (historia) sg pulo nga Panay kutub sg iya una
nga pamuluyo tubtub sg pag-abut sg mga taga Borneo nga amo ang
ginhalinan sg mga Bisaya, kag sg pag-abut sg mga Katsila, Monteclaro
narrated that the ten datus came from Borneo where the tyrant Datu
Makatunao ruled. The datus and their wives were Puti and wife Pinangpang,
Sumakwel and wife Kapinangan, Bangkaya and wife Katurong (who settled in
Aklan and whose son Balingsanga could not pronounce the letter r ),
Paiburong and wife Pabulanan, Padohinog and wife Ribongsapaw, Dumangsol
and wife Kabiling, Dumalogdog, Lubay, Balensuela, and Dumangsil.

No archaeological evidence, however, has been unearthed to give

credence to this tale. No historical support for the voyage of the datus and
their subsequent settling in Panay exists.
In the Maragtas, Monteclaro wrote: "... akon diri igasambit nga duha ka
talamdan ang akon naayap..." (I would mention here that I obtained two
documents.) However, nobody has ever seen those two documents.

Code of Maragtas
The datus, who had settled in Panay, divided the whole of Panay among
themselves. Definitely, they had to have some sanctions against polygamy,
adultery, inter-racial marriage, robbery, and other cases contrary to their
customs. So, a "code," later called the Code of Maragtas, (then, still a little
later, called the Code of Sumakwel) was said to have been devised. La-di-
da... Manuel Carreon wrote that the Code of Maragtas antedated the Code of
Kalantiao by over two centuries!

Guillermo Santiago-Cuino surprised historians and other people

interested in the Maragtas when his article "El Codigo de Maragtas" was
published in the 20 February 1938 issue of El Debate. He boasted that his
writing was a direct translation of "ancient Filipino writing." However, he
could not produce any evidence. Moreover, the word "Maragtas" first
appeared only in 1907 when Monteclaro's book was published. Santiago-
Cuino's article is, therefore, the only source of the so-called Code of
The Maragtas Legend was believed to be a document which dated between
1200 to 1250. The document claimed that there were ten Bornean datus (or
chieftain) who arrived in the island of Panay to escape from the tyranny of a
certain Datu Makatunaw of Borneo. The datus allegedly bought the Island of
Panay from Marikudo, the chief of the Aeta group, for a golden salakot (in
English: hat). These datus and their families were said to be the people
responsible for populating the entire Visayan region, and for forming a
confederation of barangays called Madya-as under the leadership of Datu
Sumakwel. This legend is now commemorated in the yearly Ati-atihan
festival since the late 1950s when it officially became a part of the feast of
Santo Nino in Kalibo, Aklan.

This legend was previously accepted by many historians; however, recent

scrutiny of scholars shows that the Maragtas is actually a fictitious book of
Visayan oral local legends written by Pedro Monteclaro, a Visayan public
official and poet, in Iloilo in 1907. He wrote the book in the Hiligaynon and
Kinaray-a languages of Panay. Monteclaro used the word maragtas to mean
"history," although until the present, the said term has only been known in
referral to his compilation.

The renowned historian William Henry Scott examined the original Maragtas
book and found out that it was just a creation of a certain Guillermo
Santiago-Cuino, who based his book on the compilation of Monteclaro and
published it in 1938.

Tagbanwa script had been used in the Philippines until the 17th
century. It is believed to have come from the Kawi script of Java, Bali and
Sumatra, which in turn, descended from the Pallava script, one of the
southern Indian scripts derived from Brahmi.
Tagbanwa is a syllabic alphabet in which each consonant has an inherent
vowel /a/. Other vowels are indicated either by separate letters, or by
diacritics. When vowels appear at the beginning of words or one they own,
they are represented by separate letters.Tagbanwa is traditionally written on
bamboo in vertical columns from bottom to top and left to right. Though it is
read from left to right in horizontal lines.

The word baybayin is a very old Tagalog term that refers to all the letters
used in writing a language, that is to say, an “alphabet.” It is from the root
baybáy meaning, “spell.” Early Spanish accounts usually called the baybayin
“Tagalog letters” or “Tagalog writing.” And, as mentioned earlier, the
Visayans called it “Moro writing” because it was imported from Manila, which
was one of the ports where many products from Muslim traders entered what
are now known as the Philippine islands. The Bikolanos called the script
basahan and the letters, guhit.

Another common name for

the baybayin is alibata,
which is a word that was
invented just in the 20th
century by a member of
the old National Language
Institute, Paul Versoza. As
he explained in
Pangbansang Titik nang
Pilipinas in 1939,

"In 1921 I returned from

the United States to give
public lectures on Tagalog Paul Rodriguez
philology, calligraphy, and Verzosa
linguistics. I introduced the
word alibata, which found its way into newsprints and often mentioned by
many authors in their writings. I coined this word in 1914 in the New York
Public Library, Manuscript Research Division, basing it on the Maguindanao
(Moro) arrangement of letters of the alphabet after the Arabic: alif, ba, ta
(alibata), “f” having been eliminated for euphony's sake."
Versoza's reasoning for creating this
word was unfounded because no
evidence of the baybayin was ever
found in that part of the Philippines
and it has absolutely no relationship
to the Arabic language. Furthermore,
no ancient script native to Southeast
Asia followed the Arabic arrangement
of letters, and regardless of
Versoza's connection to the word
alibata, its absence from all historical
records indicates that it is a totally
modern creation. The present author
does not use this word in reference
to any ancient Philippine script.

Many of the writing systems of

Southeast Asia descended from
ancient scripts used in India over
2000 years ago. Although the
baybayin shares some important features with these scripts, such as all the
consonants being pronounced with the vowel a and the use of special marks
to change this sound, there is no evidence that it is so old.
The shapes of the baybayin characters bear a slight resemblance to the
ancient Kavi script of Java, Indonesia, which fell into disuse in the 1400s.
However, as mentioned earlier in the Spanish accounts, the advent of the
baybayin in the Philippines was considered a fairly recent event in the 16th
century and the Filipinos at that time believed that their baybayin came from
This theory is supported by the fact that the baybayin script could not show
syllable final consonants, which are very common in most Philippine
languages. (See Final Consonants) This indicates that the script was recently
acquired and had not yet been modified to suit the needs of its new users.
Also, this same shortcoming in the baybayin was a normal trait of the script
and language of the Bugis people of Sulawesi, which is directly south of the
Philippines and directly east of Borneo. Thus most scholars believe that the
baybayin may have descended from the Buginese script or, more likely, a
related lost script from the island of Sulawesi. Whatever route the baybayin
travelled, it probably arrived in Luzon in the 13th or 14th century.
Buhid urukays from
The Mangyans of Mindoro by Violeta B.

Kahoy-kahoy kot malago

Kabuyong-buyong sing ulo
Kaduyan-duyan sing damgu,
Dalikaw sa pagromedyu
Singhanmu kag sa balay barku
Anay umabut ka nimu.
Like a tree overgrown with branches
My mind is full of turmoil
Though loaded with pain and grief
My dreams continually seek for an end,
Let it be known that I am on my way
Perchance you'll catch up with me.

Gusto ko lamang kag si Inambay sa dalan

Kag managun latay
Sa batang kag managaytay
Pag-uli kaw sa balay kita ga
Gaamigos kita anay
I want Inambay to stay only on the pathway
So we can roam freely in the woods
And when I reach home, you and I
Will not quarrel
And we could remain together
Hanunóo ambahans from
Treasure of a Minority by Antoon Postma

Magkunkuno ti anak lunas

Anong suyong muyuan
Anong bansay kayasan
Kang di way sa bilugan
Ako kanmo nga amban
Ako kan bansay huywan
Pagka ngap ak nirwasan
Pag idnas sa salsagan
Ud binabaw sa pupwan
Ud linilang sa duyan
Ti lumilang bay aban
Uyayi bansanayan
Sud-an sa bagunbunan
Ako inaghon diman
Tinakip dagaynaan
Dapat bay una kunman
Aba hulin lumbadan
Kanta nga aldaw masdan
Hinton di nguna aban
Girangon yi rug-usan
Ti may pa-oy linyawan
Kang hulin talisigan

Says the baby, lifeless born:

My beloved mother dear,
Father, oh, my father dear!
When I was resting in your womb,
Closely united with you,
I was my father's favorite.
Taken from my safe abode,
plac'd upon the bamboo floor,
no one put me on your lap,
no one rock'd me in a crib.
What became my crib at last,
was a hammock strongly built:
as a bed, a burial hill!
Discarded I was, unlov'd.
Cov'ring me was the cold earth
and the weeping sky above.
But although it be like this,
a happier day will come.
Maybe it'll be coming soon!
And what will be happ'ning then?
The old people weeping, sad,
in a dark'ning, mourning sky:
I will fin'lly leave behind!

Kawayan sa tumalo
Kawo no kang itudlo
Kawo balaw dumayo
Hurok nakaburino
Ga panabasan panyo
Bamboo bush along the stream;
If I could show it to you,
you would like the glossy gleam.
Beautiful the young shoots too,
like a headdress cut supreme!

Tagbanwan accounts from

Indic Writings of the Mindoro-
Palawan Axis
by Fletcher Gardner and
Ildefonso Maliwanag
Marriage Custom
Adatit magpangasawa sito amon
magsorogidon. Imagkasawa na
moganait bandi ama. Iirog mi na
mangasawa ako na. Imangasawa
ono ari pangasawaan mo nga
duwan pulo may lima, mapanisan ni
lana kaiyani. Adat namon.

The custom of marriage among us will be

discussed. The man about to marry gives money, (tells) father, "I wish to
marry now." If you marry, (give) whom you will marry twenty and five
pesos, wipe on hands oil. That's our custom.
solsog / nagtasan / nagduwa /
si ina / si ama / inao ko /
amayan / apo ko / aka ko / ali
ko / kamana ko / anak ko
sibling / cousin / second cousin / the
mother / the father / my aunt / uncle /
my grandchild / my older sibling / my younger sibling / my relative / my

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