Christiana. The first book printed in the Philippines, Manila, 1593. A
facsimile of the copy in the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection. With an Introduction by Edwin Wolf. Washington: Library of Congress, 1947.
Doctrina Christiana, Spanish for “Christian Doctrine” or “The Teachings of Christianity,” is believed to be the first book printed in the Philippines in 1593. The present book is a faithful facsimile of the original, of which only one copy is known to exist in the world today, located in the Library of Congress. The present text contains the same contents and has the same dimensions as the original text, though the latter was unbound and made of mulberry paper.
This 74-page text is written in three languages: Castilian, Tagalog in the native Baybayin characters, and Tagalog transliterated into the Romanized phonetic script. Doctrina Christiana preserves a record of the ancient Baybayin script, which died out of usage during the Spanish colonial period, and its transliteration to the Romanized script still used to this day. In fact, the Tagalog language is so well preserved that the writing in Doctrina Christiana is still intelligible to the modern day native speaker, with a few minor differences: the letter “c” in the book is currently replaced by “k,” some of the “u” letters is now spelled with “w,” and some of the “y” letters is now spelled with “i.”
The first few pages introduce the Spanish and Tagalog syllabaries. The rest of the contents are prayers and religious doctrine: the Pater Noster (“Our Father”), the Ave Maria (“Hail Mary”), the Credo (“Apostle’s Creed”), the Salve Regina (“Hail Holy Queen”), the Articles of Faith, the Ten Commandments, the Commandments of the Holy Church, the Sacraments of the Holy Church, the Seven Mortal Sins, the Fourteen Works of Charity, Confession, and Catechism.