Why is the Philippines called Perlas Ng Silangan?

Why is the Philippines called Perlas ng Silangan?

Have you ever wondered why the Philippines is called "Perlas ng Silangan"? I have. I've wondered about it a hundred times since I was a child. Until I just accepted the fact that we are called such because we are indeed a beautiful country in the Orient. But there is more to it than that.

Since we are using this very name in this website, it is only fitting for us to understand where the term really originated from.

How the Term Perlas ng Silangan was Born

The truth is, I have just learned about its conception recently, when I met Mr. Ismael "Toto" Cruz, the great-grandnephew of no less than our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. According to Mr. Cruz, the term Perlas ng Silangan was original coined by Gat Jose Rizal himself, in his last poem Mi Ultimo Adios, saying the Philippines is a Perla de Oriente.

His exact words were "región del sol querida, Perla del mar de oriente, nuestro perdido Edén!", which means "treasured region of the sun, Pearl of the sea of the Orient, our lost Eden!" (translation by Lozada). You will find this on the first part of the poem.

For everybody's reference, here is Jose Rizal's 1896 poem, translated into Filipino by Gat Andres Bonifacio, and into Modern English by Edwin Agustín Lozada. For comparison's sake, I have placed the two translations side by side with the original. Enjoy!

Mi último adiós

¡Adiós, Patria adorada, región del sol querida,
Perla del mar de oriente, nuestro perdido Edén!
A darte voy alegre la triste mustia vida,
Y fuera más brillante, más fresca, más florida,
También por ti la diera, la diera por tu bien.

En campos de batalla, luchando con delirio,
Otros te dan sus vidas sin dudas, sin pesar;
El sitio nada importa, ciprés, laurel o lirio,
Cadalso o campo abierto, combate o cruel martirio,
Lo mismo es si lo piden la patria y el hogar.

Yo muero cuando veo que el cielo se colora
Y al fin anuncia el día tras lóbrego capuz;
si grana necesitas para teñir tu aurora,
Vierte la sangre mía, derrámala en buen hora
Y dórela un reflejo de su naciente luz.

Mis sueños cuando apenas muchacho adolescente,
Mis sueños cuando joven ya lleno de vigor,
Fueron el verte un día, joya del mar de oriente,
Secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente,
Sin ceño, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor

Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo,
¡Salud te grita el alma que pronto va a partir!
¡Salud! Ah, que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo,
Morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo,
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir.

Si sobre mi sepulcro vieres brotar un día
Entre la espesa yerba sencilla, humilde flor,
Acércala a tus labios y besa al alma mía,
Y sienta yo en mi frente bajo la tumba fría,
De tu ternura el soplo, de tu hálito el calor.

Deja a la luna verme con luz tranquila y suave,
Deja que el alba envíe su resplandor fugaz,
Deja gemir al viento con su murmullo grave,
Y si desciende y posa sobre mi cruz un ave,
Deja que el ave entone su cántico de paz.

Deja que el sol, ardiendo, las lluvias evapore
Y al cielo tornen puras, con mi clamor en pos;
Deja que un ser amigo mi fin temprano llore
Y en las serenas tardes cuando por mí alguien ore,
¡Ora también, oh Patria, por mi descanso a Dios!

Ora por todos cuantos murieron sin ventura,
Por cuantos padecieron tormentos sin igual,
Por nuestras pobres madres que gimen su amargura;
Por huérfanos y viudas, por presos en tortura
Y ora por ti que veas tu redención final.

Y cuando en noche oscura se envuelva el cementerio
Y solos sólo muertos queden velando allí,
No turbes su reposo, no turbes el misterio,
Tal vez acordes oigas de cítara o salterio,
Soy yo, querida Patria, yo que te canto a ti.

Y cuando ya mi tumba de todos olvidada
No tenga cruz ni piedra que marquen su lugar,
Deja que la are el hombre, la esparza con la azada,
Y mis cenizas, antes que vuelvan a la nada,
El polvo de tu alfombra que vayan a formar.

Entonces nada importa me pongas en olvido.
Tu atmósfera, tu espacio, tus valles cruzaré.
Vibrante y limpia nota seré para tu oído,
Aroma, luz, colores, rumor, canto, gemido,
Constante repitiendo la esencia de mi fe.

Mi patria idolatrada, dolor de mis dolores,
Querida Filipinas, oye el postrer adiós.
Ahí te dejo todo, mis padres, mis amores.
Voy donde no hay esclavos, verdugos ni opresores,
Donde la fe no mata, donde el que reina es Dios.

Adiós, padres y hermanos, trozos del alma mía,
Amigos de la infancia en el perdido hogar,
Dad gracias que descanso del fatigoso día;
Adiós, dulce extranjera, mi amiga, mi alegría,
Adiós, queridos seres, morir es descansar.


 

Pahimakas

Pinipintuho kong Bayan ay paalam, Lupang iniirog ng sikat ng araw,
mutyang mahalaga sa dagat Silangan, kaluwalhatiang sa ami'y pumanaw.
Masayang sa iyo'y aking idudulot ang lanta kong buhay na lubhang malungkot;
maging maringal man at labis alindog
sa kagalingan mo ay aking ding handog.

Sa pakikidigma at pamimiyapis ang alay ng iba'y ang buhay na kipkip,
walang agam-agam, maluag sa dibdib, matamis sa puso at di ikahapis.
Saan man mautas ay dikailangan, cipres o laurel, lirio ma'y patungan
pakikipaghamok, at ang bibitayan,
yaon ay gayon din kung hiling ng Bayan.

Ako'y mamamatay, ngayong namamalas na sa silinganan ay namamanaag
yaong maligayang araw na sisikat sa likod ng luksang nagtabing na ulap.
Ang kulay na pula kung kinakailangan na maitina sa iyong liway-way,
dugo ko'y isabong at siyang ikinang
ng kislap ng iyong maningning na ilaw

Ang aking adhika sapul magkaisip ng kasalukuyang bata pang maliit,
ay ang tanghaling ka at minsan masilip sa dagat Silangan hiyas na marikit.
Natuyo ang luhang sa mata'y nunukal, taas na ang noo't walang kapootan,
walang bakas kunot ng kapighatian gabahid man dungis niyong kahihiyan.

Sa kabuhayang ko ang laging gunita maningas na aking ninanasa-nasa
ay guminhawa ka ang hiyas ng diwa
hingang papanaw ngayong biglang-bigla.
Ikaw'y guminhawa laking kagandahang akoy malugmok, at ikaw ay matanghal,
hiniga'y malagot, mabuhay ka lamang bangkay ko'y masilong sa iyong Kalangitan.

Kung sa libingan ko'y tumubong mamalas
sa malagong damo mahinhing bulaklak,
sa mga labi mo'y mangyayaring itapat, sa kaluluwa ko hatik ay igawad.
At sa aking noo nawa'y iparamdam, sa lamig ng lupa ng aking libingan,
ang init ng iyong paghingang dalisay at simoy ng iyong paggiliw na tunay.

Bayaang ang buwan sa aki'y ititig ang iwanag niyang lamlam at tahimik,
liwayway bayaang sa aki'y ihatid magalaw na sinag at hanging hagibis.
Kung sakasakaling bumabang humantong sa krus ko'y dumapo kahit isang ibon
doon ay bayaan humuning hinahon at dalitin niya payapang panahon.

Bayaan ang ningas ng sikat ng araw ula'y pasingawin noong kainitan,
magbalik sa langit ng boong dalisay kalakip ng aking pagdaing na hiyaw.
Bayaang sino man sa katotang giliw tangisang maagang sa buhay pagkitil;
kung tungkol sa akin ay may manalangin idalangin, Bayan, yaring pagka himbing.

Idalanging lahat yaong nangamatay, mangagatiis hirap na walang kapantay;
mga ina naming walang kapalaran na inihihibik ay kapighatian.
Ang mga bao't pinapangulila, ang mga bilanggong nagsisipagdusa;
dalanginin namang kanilang makita ang kalayaan mong, ikagiginhawa.

At kung an madilim na gabing mapanglaw ay lumaganap na doon sa libinga't
tanging mga patay ang nangaglalamay, huwag bagabagin ang katahimikan.
Ang kanyang hiwagay huwag gambalain; kaipala'y maringig doon ang taginting,
tunog ng gitara't salterio'y mag saliw, ako, Bayan yao't kita'y aawitin.

Kung ang libingan ko'y limat na ng lahat at wala ng kurus at batang mabakas,
bayaang linangin ng taong masipag, lupa'y asarolin at kauyang ikalat.
At mga buto ko ay bago matunaw maowi sa wala at kusang maparam,
alabok ng iyong latag ay bayaang siya ang babalang doo'y makipisan.

Kung magka gayon na'y aalintanahin na ako sa limot iyong ihabilin
pagka't himpapawid at ang panganorin mga lansangan mo'y aking lilibutin.
Matining na tunog ako sa dingig mo, ilaw, mga kulay, masamyong pabango,
ang ugong at awit, pag hibik sa iyo, pag asang dalisay ng pananalig ko.

Bayang iniirog, sakit niyaring hirap, Katagalugang ko pinakaliliyag,
dinggin mo ang aking pagpapahimakas; diya'y iiwan ko sa iyo ang lahat.
Ako'y patutungo sa walang busabos, walang umiinis at berdugong hayop;
pananalig doo'y di nakasasalot, si Bathala lamang dooy haring lubos.

Paalam, magulang at mga kapatid kapilas ng aking kaluluwa't dibdib
mga kaibigan bata pang maliit sa aking tahanan di na masisilip.
Pag pasasalamat at napahinga rin, paalam estranherang kasuyo ko't aliw,
paalam sa inyo, mga ginigiliw; mamatay ay siyang pagkakagupiling!

(Sa salin ni Andres Bonifacio)

Source: Univie.ac.at

 

Mi último adiós

¡Adiós, Patria adorada, región del sol querida,
Perla del mar de oriente, nuestro perdido Edén!
A darte voy alegre la triste mustia vida,
Y fuera más brillante, más fresca, más florida,
También por ti la diera, la diera por tu bien.

En campos de batalla, luchando con delirio,
Otros te dan sus vidas sin dudas, sin pesar;
El sitio nada importa, ciprés, laurel o lirio,
Cadalso o campo abierto, combate o cruel martirio,
Lo mismo es si lo piden la patria y el hogar.

Yo muero cuando veo que el cielo se colora
Y al fin anuncia el día tras lóbrego capuz;
si grana necesitas para teñir tu aurora,
Vierte la sangre mía, derrámala en buen hora
Y dórela un reflejo de su naciente luz.

Mis sueños cuando apenas muchacho adolescente,
Mis sueños cuando joven ya lleno de vigor,
Fueron el verte un día, joya del mar de oriente,
Secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente,
Sin ceño, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor

Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo,
¡Salud te grita el alma que pronto va a partir!
¡Salud! Ah, que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo,
Morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo,
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir.

Si sobre mi sepulcro vieres brotar un día
Entre la espesa yerba sencilla, humilde flor,
Acércala a tus labios y besa al alma mía,
Y sienta yo en mi frente bajo la tumba fría,
De tu ternura el soplo, de tu hálito el calor.

Deja a la luna verme con luz tranquila y suave,
Deja que el alba envíe su resplandor fugaz,
Deja gemir al viento con su murmullo grave,
Y si desciende y posa sobre mi cruz un ave,
Deja que el ave entone su cántico de paz.

Deja que el sol, ardiendo, las lluvias evapore
Y al cielo tornen puras, con mi clamor en pos;
Deja que un ser amigo mi fin temprano llore
Y en las serenas tardes cuando por mí alguien ore,
¡Ora también, oh Patria, por mi descanso a Dios!

Ora por todos cuantos murieron sin ventura,
Por cuantos padecieron tormentos sin igual,
Por nuestras pobres madres que gimen su amargura;
Por huérfanos y viudas, por presos en tortura
Y ora por ti que veas tu redención final.

Y cuando en noche oscura se envuelva el cementerio
Y solos sólo muertos queden velando allí,
No turbes su reposo, no turbes el misterio,
Tal vez acordes oigas de cítara o salterio,
Soy yo, querida Patria, yo que te canto a ti.

Y cuando ya mi tumba de todos olvidada
No tenga cruz ni piedra que marquen su lugar,
Deja que la are el hombre, la esparza con la azada,
Y mis cenizas, antes que vuelvan a la nada,
El polvo de tu alfombra que vayan a formar.

Entonces nada importa me pongas en olvido.
Tu atmósfera, tu espacio, tus valles cruzaré.
Vibrante y limpia nota seré para tu oído,
Aroma, luz, colores, rumor, canto, gemido,
Constante repitiendo la esencia de mi fe.

Mi patria idolatrada, dolor de mis dolores,
Querida Filipinas, oye el postrer adiós.
Ahí te dejo todo, mis padres, mis amores.
Voy donde no hay esclavos, verdugos ni opresores,
Donde la fe no mata, donde el que reina es Dios.

Adiós, padres y hermanos, trozos del alma mía,
Amigos de la infancia en el perdido hogar,
Dad gracias que descanso del fatigoso día;
Adiós, dulce extranjera, mi amiga, mi alegría,
Adiós, queridos seres, morir es descansar.


 

My Last Farewell

Farewell, beloved Country, treasured region of the sun,
Pearl of the sea of the Orient, our lost Eden!
To you eagerly I surrender this sad and gloomy life;
And were it brighter, fresher, more florid,
Even then I’d give it to you, for your sake alone.

In fields of battle, deliriously fighting,
Others give you their lives, without doubt, without regret;
The place matters not: where there’s cypress, laurel or lily,
On a plank or open field, in combat or cruel martyrdom,
It’s all the same if the home or country asks.

I die when I see the sky has unfurled its colors
And at last after a cloak of darkness announces the day;
If you need scarlet to tint your dawn,
Shed my blood, pour it as the moment comes,
And may it be gilded by a reflection of the heaven’s newly-born light.

My dreams, when scarcely an adolescent,
My dreams, when a young man already full of life,
Were to see you one day, jewel of the sea of the Orient,
Dry those eyes of black, that forehead high,
Without frown, without wrinkles, without stains of shame.

My lifelong dream, my deep burning desire,
This soul that will soon depart cries out: Salud!
To your health! Oh how beautiful to fall to give you flight,
To die to give you life, to die under your sky,
And in your enchanted land eternally sleep.

If upon my grave one day you see appear,
Amidst the dense grass, a simple humble flower,
Place it near your lips and my soul you’ll kiss,
And on my brow may I feel, under the cold tomb,
The gentle blow of your tenderness, the warmth of your breath.

Let the moon see me in a soft and tranquil light,
Let the dawn send its fleeting radiance,
Let the wind moan with its low murmur,
And should a bird descend and rest on my cross,
Let it sing its canticle of peace.

Let the burning sun evaporate the rains,
And with my clamor behind, towards the sky may they turn pure;
Let a friend mourn my early demise,
And in the serene afternoons, when someone prays for me,
O Country, pray to God also for my rest!

Pray for all the unfortunate ones who died,
For all who suffered torments unequaled,
For our poor mothers who in their grief and bitterness cry,
For orphans and widows, for prisoners in torture,
And for yourself pray that your final redemption you’ll see.

And when the cemetery is enveloped in dark night,
And there, alone, only those who have gone remain in vigil,
Disturb not their rest, nor the mystery,
And should you hear chords from a zither or psaltery,
It is I, beloved Country, singing to you.

And when my grave, then by all forgotten,
has not a cross nor stone to mark its place,
Let men plow and with a spade scatter it,
And before my ashes return to nothing,
May they be the dust that carpets your fields.

Then nothing matters, cast me in oblivion.
Your atmosphere, your space and valleys I’ll cross.
I will be a vibrant and clear note to your ears,
Aroma, light, colors, murmur, moan, and song,
Constantly repeating the essence of my faith.

My idolized country, sorrow of my sorrows,
Beloved Filipinas, hear my last good-bye.
There I leave you all, my parents, my loves.
I’ll go where there are no slaves, hangmen nor oppressors,
Where faith doesn’t kill, where the one who reigns is God.

Goodbye, dear parents, brother and sisters, fragments of my soul,
Childhood friends in the home now lost,
Give thanks that I rest from this wearisome day;
Goodbye, sweet foreigner, my friend, my joy;
Farewell, loved ones, to die is to rest.


 

(English Translation by Edwin Agustín Lozada)

Source: CarayanPress

Calabia Family with Mr. Ismael Cruz & Mrs. Bessie Ocampo-Cruz

Above image shows some members of the Calabia Family with Mr. Ismael Cruz & Mrs. Bessie Ocampo-Cruz

Featured Image by Patrick Neufelder from Pixabay

 

Hello, Philippines!

Perlas ng Silangan

Hi everyone!

Before anything else, let me first introduce myself. My name is Jairene Cruz-Eusebio. I am a wife to a loving husband named Ferdie, and a mother to a lovable kid named Himig.

I love the Philippines! Before I got married, we have traveled to many places in the country. Not only did we discover the picturesque parts of the country, but we were also able to glimpse a little of the culture and history of the places we visited.

You may have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of Philippine travel blogs. This is not going to be one of those. This is going to be a website about discovering our culture, learning more about our history, and digging deeper into what being a Filipino actually means.

I am by no means an expert in culture, history and language. I learn as I go, and I will share with you those learnings as I see fit. If you think there are some information that needs to be corrected, I am always open to listen. But please back it up with proof so we can have a fruitful conversation.

Why am I writing this blog in English? I once heard a writer say, “write in the language you are most comfortable with”. So that’s what I’ll be doing. And also, so that people from other countries who are interested in learning more about the Philippines would be able to understand it as well.

If you are looking for something written in Filipino, we have our sister-website SulatKamay.com, which features fictional work written in the vernacular. For fictional work written in English, we also have ACosmicEncounter.com. But those websites are for fiction. Here in PerlasNgSilangan, we will focus more on the facts.

I consider this a journey for self-discover. We believe that in order for us to find our identity, it is necessary to look back on our history, culture and heritage. These three molded us into who we are today.

So without further ado,

Welcome to Perlas ng Silangan!

Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas: The Money Museum

Money Museum - Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

[sgmb id="1"]Museums are great venues to understand more about the history and culture of a certain place. If you want to understand the Philippines’ monetary system and trade structures way before our Spanish colonizers arrived in the country up until today, what better place to visit than the Money Museum of the Central Bank of the Philippines (Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas)?

The Money Museum Location and Open Hours


The museum is comfortably located inside the compound of the country’s primary monetary authority, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The compound is located at the corner of A. Mabini and P. Ocampo Streets, in Malate, Manila. The Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is different from the museum located right next to the BSP compound, named Metropolitan Museum of the Philippines (we'll visit this one on a different day!).

The Money Museum is open from Mondays to Fridays, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, with a one hour lunch break from 12 noon to 1:00 pm. Anyone can come in and visit the museum, free of charge. However, the security is strict (what do you expect, it’s the Central Bank after all). You would need to bring a valid government ID before you are allowed inside. Proper attire must also be observed. No sleeveless and short skirts for women. No sleeveless or sando and shorts for men. You must be wearing closed shoes.

At the front gate, you will be required to present your ID, write your name and other pertinent details in a piece of paper, and you must state the purpose of your visit. You can just tell them you are there to visit the museum inside. You will be given an access pass that you can only use for the museum doors. You will not be allowed to visit other areas of the compound, so don’t even try.




Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Tour


Money Museum Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (17)Once inside the museum, you will be asked to watch a video presentation of what the museum is all about. Here is a description of the museum based on their brochure:

As repository and custodian of the country’s numismatic heritage, the Museo collects, studies and preserves coins, paper notes, medals, artifacts and other monetary items to show the nation’s rich legacy.
The Museo is designed to walk the visitor through the different periods of the country’s history. Each gallery is dedicated to a specific period and the evolution of the Philippine currency is traced alongside the development of the economy.

Exciting Finds


Money Museum Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (7)The museum has an extensive collection of monetary units used during the pre-colonial times, during the Spanish, American and Japanese periods, up until today. Before the arrival of the Portuguese Magellan, early Filipinos trade and barter using various products as currency. Rice, precious metals and even tea were used as currency. In fact, the word salapi, which currently means money or paper tender, is actually a word used to refer to bundles of freshly harvested rice.

As for precious metals being used for trade, these metals were formed not only into jewelry, but also into animals and other items! There were crocodile money, rooster money, knife money and cannon money.

Through the museum, I found out that there even was some rebel-created money, called the Resistance Currency, circulated during the Japanese occupation. It was one of the ways of the rebels and of the locals to defy the Japanese government. There was a different resistance currency for every province that opposed the Japanese government.

Money Museum Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (16)We were also astonished to find the biggest paper bill produced in the country: the ₱100,00 note. The size is 8.5 x 14 inches, the biggest legal tender note produced by our very own Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Only 1,000 pieces were produced.

The museum also houses various Philipine medals that commemorate important events in the country, mainly the anniversary of independence. Other medals during the Spanish and American occupation are also on display.


If you ever visit the Money Museum, let us know what you think!

In the mean time, check our photos below for a preview of the Money Museum.

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