Thursday, April 23, 2009

Doctrina Christiana

Here is the first ever book published in the Philippines, scanned by the World Digital Library and available for viewing at that website. Written in Spanish and Tagalog, the book was also the first to show a 'distinctly Philippine alphabet', and featured basic prayers, catechism, and poetry about the Catholic faith. Here is the whole story, via the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

RP first book in cyber library

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 07:09:00 04/21/2009

Filed Under: Books

Published in 1593, the “Doctrina Christiana, en lengua española y tagala,” is the first book printed in the Philippines and the first book printed in a Philippine language. It is also the first book showing an explicit and distinctly Philippine alphabet.

The only known extant copy of the Doctrina is in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. But a copy of the 79 pages of the Doctrina is available just by clicking the image of the Doctrina’s cover page showing the image of St. Dominick.

Aside from the Doctrina, also posted in the World Digital Library is the French version of the Journal of Magellan’s Voyage, dating from 1525.

The work, attributed to Antonio Pigafetta, a Venetian scholar, details Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage around the world in 1519-22 and includes an early Western description of the people and languages of the Philippines.

A search in the digital library for “Philippines” will give six more results.

These are Aguinaldo’s Navy (created in 1900); The Attack of Manila, October 1762; Map of a Part of China, the Philippine Islands, the Isles of Sunda, the Moluccas, the Papuans; Journey to the East Indies and China, Undertaken at the King’s Command, from 1774 until 1781; Conquest of the Malukus; and Religious parade, Santa Rosa de Lima.

Inquirer Research

Here is the link to the World Digital Library's page on Doctrina Christiana. Following it should be easy, if you know Spanish and can read its archaic orthography. The ancient Tagalog used here presents a more interesting challenge, though, especially since it uses Spanish orthography and is generally deeper than the extant variant used colloquially today (especially in Manila).

1 comment:

Vic de Jesus said...

Antonio Pigafetta, a Vicentine

Just a little correction.

The diarist of Magellan's voyage has been mistakenly, and widely, known as coming from Venice.

Pigafetta is actually a native of Vicenza, a city in northern Italy, the capital of the "eponymous province in the Veneto region, at the northern base of the Monte Berico, straddling the Bacchiglione."