What Happened to the Filipino Scripts?

For many years little was known about the different Filipino scripts and the script was almost lost completely. During Spanish colonization and the conversion to the Catholic faith, early Spanish missionaries considered the scripts as the work of the devil and should be destroyed. Soon evidence of the script was to be burned and since some of the writings were on plates of metal they would be melted down.

Fortunately, there was one plate that was discovered by accident in 1989 in the Laguna province by a laborer who was dredging sand to turn into concrete. Suspecting that the artifact might have some value, the man sold it to an antique dealer who, having found no buyers, eventually sold it to the National Museum of the Philippines.

A Dutch anthropologist, Antoon Postma, who had married into and lived among the Hanunuo of Mindoro, was also an expert in ancient script deciphered the writing. He found that the inscription was written in a writing system developed in Java called Kawi Script.

Laguna Copper Plate

Here's what the message on the plate explains. Sounds like an ancient banking statement.

Long Live! Year of Siyaka 822, month of Waisaka, according to astronomy. The fourth day of the waning moon, Monday. On this occasion, Lady Angkatan, and her brother whose name is Buka, the children of the Honorable 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 Honorable Namwaran has been forgiven of all and is released from his debts and arrears of 1 katî and 8 suwarna before the Honorable Lord Minister of Puliran, Ka Sumuran by the authority of the Lord Minister of Pailah. Because of his faithful service as a subject of the Chief, the Honorable 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 Honorable Namwaran are forgiven, indeed, of any and all debts of the Honorable 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 Honorable.

When the Spanish missionaries first encountered the Filipinos, they were amazed how literate everyone was in reading and writing. The discovery of the copper plate was phenomenal at many levels and establishes that there was a system of commerce in place.
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So Where did all the Copper Plates go?

Why weren't there any more copper plates to be found? Well. here's my theory, since the missionaries condemned the script as work of the devil and the scripted plates should be destroyed, this gave opportunity to those who owed debts to the Datus to melt down their obligated debts as long as they convert to the Catholic faith. So of course, the locals are going to burn those plates and convert to the Catholic faith. Those copper plates were really IOU notes to the Datus.