Thousands of years ago, the earliest people inhabiting this island in the Pacific have already established a culture of their own—even before foreign colonizers came and conquered.
One of the assets of this pre-colonial culture in the Philippines is gold. It is an important element in crafting things used in everyday life including ornaments, funeral furnishings, and a means of trade.
To showcase the world just how “rich” the lives of the earliest Filipinos were as it revolved around gold, the Asia Society Philippines and Ayala Museum, in cooperation with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), is staging the exhibit, Philippine Gold: Treasures of the Forgotten Kingdoms.
Happening from September 11 to January 3, 2016 at Asia Society Museum in New York City, the exhibit aims to sheds light on the half-forgotten early history of the country wherein religious, cultural, and political connections with our Southeast Asian neighbors has been there ever since before the Philippines was colonized.
Featuring pre-colonial gold artifacts found 40 years ago in different islands in the country, pieces to be seen in the exhibit include necklaces, chains, waistbands, bangles, ritual bowls, implements and ceremonial weapons.
About 150 major gold items in exhibit come from the collection of Ayala Museum and BSP, with a few lent by private individuals and institutions like Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Musee du Quai in Paris, and the Lilly Library in Indiana.
According to Asia Society in the Philippines Chairman Doris Magsaysay-Ho, it is timely organize the exhibit on a very crucial part of the history because the country will be hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in November. She believes that through the exhibit, the Philippines can further strengthen relationships across Asia by understanding and bridging differences.
For their part, Ayala Corp.’s Fernando Zobel de Ayala and Amando Maglalang Tetangco Jr. shared the same sentiments as they both think that this exhibition is an opportunity for Filipinos and for other people to see and know the rich cultural heritage the Philippines has to offer.
According to Teresa “Mia” Florencio, president of the Guild of Philippine Jewellers Inc.
The Philippines’ gold deposits at present are estimated to be the fifth largest in the world, with a figure pegged at 203 million metric tons. At current prices of $1,100 per troy ounce, this translates to approximately $9 trillion. (“The business of jewelry in the Philippines,” The Manila Times, August 2).