Laguna Copperplate Inscription:  A New Interpretation Using Early Tagalog Dictionaries

By Jaime F. Tiongson

Pila Historical Society Foundation Inc.

[Paper prepared for the 8th International Conference on Philippine Studies 23-26 July 2008, Philippine Social Science Center, Quezon City, Philippines]

 A copperplate measuring 8 x 12 inches was recovered in a sand quarry at Barangay Wawa, Lumban, Laguna in 1989 and was sold from one antique dealer to another until it was  bought by the Philippine National Museum which named the artifact the Laguna Copperplate Inscription (LCI). 

The Philippine National Museum was able to decipher the script written on the copperplate through the efforts of Antoon Postma of the Mangyan Heritage Center in Oriental Mindoro.  The LCI was written using Kavi script and one of seventeen Old Malay inscriptions so far found in South East Asia. The LCI (dated 900 A.D.) is about the payment of debt and mentioned Philippine placenames still in existence today namely: Tundun, Pailah, Binwangan and Puliran.  Antoon Postma suggested that the last three placenames are located north of Tondo in the Province of Bulacan.

This study presents a different interpretation of the LCI using early Tagalog dictionaries.  In contrast to Postma, the study asserts that the placenames are located south of Tondo, that the LCI defined the entire region occupied by the Tagalogs, and that it is about the love story of the first known ruler of the Tagalogs. 


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