Note: I published this on the old vedicempire.com back in 2010 with another article entitled ‘Philippines- A Golden Heritage‘. Inspired research of Native Filipino scholars and activists has revealed a tremendous historical past. Rather than an illiterate isolated island group, the ancient Philippine Civilizations were in fact highly cultured, literate and part of a vast trade network spanning half the globe.
Kasulatang tansong natagpuan sa Laguna
A document was found in 1989 that was written in a much older and more complex writing system ever seen in the Philippines before.
On that day in 1989, a man in the concrete business was dredging sand at the mouth of the Lumbang River near Laguna de Ba’y when he uncovered a blackened roll of metal. Usually he would just throw away such junk, as it tended to get jammed in his equipment, but when he unfurled the roll he saw that it was a sheet of copper with strange writing on it, about the size of a magazine.
He offered the copper sheet to one of the antiques dealers in the area who bought it for next to nothing. The dealer, in turn, tried to sell it for a profit but when he found no buyers, he eventually sold it to the Philippine National Museum for just 2000 pesos.
In 1990, Antoon Postma, a Dutch expert in ancient Philippine scripts and Mangyan writing, and a long-time resident of the Philippines, translated the document that came to be known as the Laguna Copperplate Inscription (LCI). When he saw that the writing looked similar to the ancient Indonesian script called Kavi, and that the document bore a date from the ancient Sanskrit calendar, he enlisted the help of fellow Dutchman, Dr. Johann de Casparis, whose area of expertise was ancient Indonesia.
Casparis confirmed that the script and the words used in the Laguna document were exactly the same as those that were used on the island Java at the time stated in the document, which was the year 822, in the old Hindu calendar or the year 900 C.E. (Common Era) on our calendar.
In 1996, a Filipino history buff in California, Hector Santos, precisely converted the Sanskrit date over to our calendar by using astronomical software and some historical detective work. He determined that the Sanskrit date written on the plate was exactly Monday, April 21, 900 C.E.
swasti shaka warsatita 822 waisakha masa di(ng) jyotisa.
caturthi kresnapaksa somawara sana tatkala dayang angkatan lawan dengan ña sanak barngaran si bukah anak da dang hwan namwaran dibari waradana wi shuddhapattra ulih sang pamegat senapati di tundun barja(di) dang hwan nayaka tuhan pailah jayadewa.
di krama dang hwan namwaran dengan dang kayastha shuddha nu diparlappas hutang da walenda kati 1 suwarna 8 dihadapan 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 makaña sadaña anak cucu dang hwan namwaran shuddha ya kapawaris dihutang da dang hwan namwaran di sang pamegat dewata.
ini grang syat syapanta ha pashkat ding ari kamudyan ada grang urang barujara welung lappas hutang da dang hwa
From Laguna Copperplate Inscription Wikipedia
The plate was found in 1989 by a labourer near the mouth of the Lumbang River in Wawa, Lumban, Laguna in the Philippines. The inscription was written in Old Malay using the Kawi script with Sanskrit and Old Javanese influences.
The Laguna Copperplate Inscription, among other recent finds such as the Golden Tara of Butuan and 14th century pottery and gold jewellery in Cebu, is highly important in revising ancient Philippine history, which was until then considered by some Western historians to be culturally isolated from the rest of Asia, as no evident pre-Hispanic written records were found at the time.
The inscription is a document demonstrative of pre-Hispanic literacy and culture, and is considered to be a national treasure. It is currently deposited at the National Museum of Anthropology in Manila.