In the lead up to the celebration of the country’s 118th anniversary of independence today, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) gave the public a rare glimpse into the richness of pre-Hispanic heritage with an exhibit titled, Ginto: A Golden Heritage from our Filipino.
The truly valuable display features ancient gold ornaments crafted by our Filipino ancestors from 700 to 1,200 years ago, which are part of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Pre-Hispanic Gold Collection.
In the Philippines, the 10th and 14th centuries were years of political economic and social progress when primary artistic and scientific development occurred. Unearthed gold ornaments from that time manifest a rich culture dating almost 300 years before Spanish colonizers discovered the islands. Because of the metal’s abundance, the Spanish explorers who landed on the islands in the 16th century noted, “Pieces of gold, the size of walnuts and eggs, are found by sitting on the earth in the island.” As gold was plentiful, ancient Filipinos mastered gold working and created splendid works of art that are exquisite demonstrations not only of the skilful mastery of metallurgy, physics, chemistry, and other sciences, but also of political, cultural, economic, religious and artistic expressions.
During the launch at SM North Edsa’s The Block’s Atrium, a special section of replicas of exquisite gold ornaments worn by notables from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao was also mounted. These included bracelets with fluted designs and flaming rims from the Cagayan Valley; large conical necklace finials and a pair of long pendant double-swirl earrings from Pangasinan; a terra-cotta figure with inlaid gold from Batangas; and large square quartrefoil earrings and a bracelet set, both from Mindoro.
The BSP Pre-Hispanic Gold Collection from the Visayas included Patan-aw or “Look at Me” earrings from Leyte, Cebu and Bohol; a t- shape dagger handle from Cebu; and caterpillar shaped ear ornaments from Samar and Leyte.
The Mindanaon pieces meanwhile were both exquisite and exotic, comprised of Kandit sashes; belt buckles or finials; dragonfly necklaces; Kamagi bead necklaces; and a pair of waist cord finials, all from Surigao.
Sharing honors at the ribbon cutting ceremony were BSP Deputy Governor for Monetary Stability Hon. Diwa Guinigundo and Corporate Affairs Office Director Fe dela Cruz, NCCA Plan/Policy Formulation and Programming Division Chief Marichu Tellano and International Affairs Office Head Mary Anne Luis, and SM Senior Vice President for Marketing Millie Dizon.
Other guests included Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas officials: Deputy Director of Corporate Affairs Office Atty. Elizabeth Navarro, Bank Officer Ramon Sarmiento, and Corporate Affairs Office Manager Jay Amatong. NCCA International Affairs Office Project Manager Ian Felix Alquiros and Project Development Assistant Kevin Joshua Mejos also attended the event together with the mall’s Regional Operations Manager Jocelyn Lapid, and Senior AVP for Marketing Ruby Reyes.