Doctrina Christiana, first book printing of Baybayin

Posted on Sep 5, 2009 in history, misc, resources


Doctrina Christiana, en lengua española y tagala, corregida por los Religiosos de las Ordenes. Impresa con licencia, en S. Gabriel, de la orden de S. Domingo. En Manila, 1593. The first book to be printed in Manila in 1593, and the first book printing of baybayin.
(Click an image to enlarge)

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1. Cover of the 1991 reprint published by The National Historical Institute of the Philippines in Manila. This was done to commemorate the Decade of the Centennials of Filipino Nationalism, Nationhood and the Philippine Revolutionary Movement and the Philippine Decade of Cutlure.

2. Inside spread of the Doctrina Christiana. Translation of La Salve Regina. On the left page is the tagalog version written in baybayin. On the right side is the Spanish version in the European alphabet.

3. First page of the Foreword of the Doctrina Christiana

The original copy was traced by Luigi Banzi, a bookseller of Bologna, who acquired it from an Italian school teacher of the Romagna region around 1942 or 1943. It had originally been with a peasant family who descended from those who had visited the Philippines in the late 16th century. Currently, the book may still be at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., donated by Lessing J. Rosenwald, a wealthy book collector.


There are two later versions of the Doctrina Christiana imprint:

  1. Doctrina Christiana en letra y lengua China
  2. Tratado de la Doctrina de la Santa Iglesia u de ciencia naturales
(Source: Journal of History, Vol. VIII, No. 3 (September, 1960))

A Gift from Bahay Nakpil
During my visit to the Bahay Nakpil Museum, I must have shown Tess and Raymund so much enthusiasm for the baybayin that I was generously bestowed a complimentary copy of the Doctrina Christiana as a gift from Tess. As I turned the pages, they were so crisp and fresh that they still stuck together. I feel that I had to share this gift from Bahay Nakpil by showing you the cover and some pages of this special book… Thank you, dear Tessie.

It may still be possible to find a copy of the 1991 reprint in a local Philippine bookstore. In the United States you can try contacting Philippine Expressions Books(Tel (310) 514-9139) or Arkipelago Books, both in California.

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