Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Literacy in Pre-Hispanic Philippines

Literacy in Pre-Hispanic Philippines. When Spaniard Miguel de Legazpi came to Philippines, he found that a large portion of the population could read and write. This caused the priest to publish a book in the native script in 1593, long before the first book was published in what was to become the United States. However, within a century of the arrival of the Spanish, literacy in the Tagalog script that they had found was gone. It was not until the end of Spanish rule that it was discovered that several isolated mountain groups had maintained their literacy in scripts similar to the Tagalog script.

From the site:

Why does the world consider China, Japan, and Thailand as countries that have a tradition of writing and assume that the Philippines owes its literacy to the West? It is because these countries use their own writing systems while Filipinos read and write in the Latin alphabet. Although outsiders may be forgiven for such a belief, many Filipinos unfortunately also do not know that a writing system was in place in the Philippines long before the Spaniards arrived.

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