Philippine Map in the 18th Century


This is a very rare 1734 European map of the Philippines by Fr. Murillo de Velarde. Amazing how old maps were created even before satellites or Google Maps–just pure triangulation and imagination. The painstaking work of a cartographer.

The earliest civilizations started near bodies of water to answer man’s need for water for survival. Tigris & Euphrates for the Mesopotamian Civilization, Nile for Egyptians, Aegean for the early Greeks.

For us Filipinos, this map shows the importance of waterways to Pre-hispanic Filipinos. They served as roads that connected islands and people; not separated them as how the Spanish believed it. We had no need for roads and bridges that the Spanish later built; because the sea were our roads. We had no need for the wheel–we had our boats. Everyone were seafarers who could swim like fish.


On the northwest portion of the Fr. Murillo de Velarde map shows Manila–and in the 1700s Manila comprised of that only in the walled city of Intramuros, unlike the Metro Manila we know now.


On the Eastern part of the map shows a scene of cockfighting (our national sport before Pacquiao was born) and a crocodile. Philippine waters used to be infested with crocodiles. Remember the scene in Noli me Tangere? Filipinos used to swim with freshwater and seawater crocodiles! I don’t know where most of the crocodiles are now; but our forefathers probably ate them a. We do like to lechon everything.


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