What's The First Book Printed in the Philippines?

The first book to be printed in the Philippines is believed to be the Doctrina Christiana. It was published in the capital city of Manila in 1593. The original text was written in Chinese, Spanish and Tagalog (in Alibata writing). The book was printed using wooden blocks in much the same fashion as Chinese books had been produced for centuries. There's a theory among a good number of scholars that the Doctrina Crhistiana my have been engraved and printed by a Chinese craftsman. This theory is not that far off considering that there were sizable populations of Chinese people in the Philippines during the Spanish occupation.

Actually, there were three versions of the Doctrina Christiana that was printed. The Chinese version is believed to have been written by two Dominican friars, Juan Cobo and Miguel de Benavides. The book was written specifically for the Chinese community with the goal of spreading the Gospel among them. The only copy of this book is at the Vatican Library.

The second book was printed in Tagalog and Spanish. It basically used two languages and two alphabets. It's believed that this version was written by a Franciscan friar named Juan de Plasencia. This friar was a missionary who is credited for founding a number of towns/municipalities in and around the Laguna area. The only copy of this book is at the Library of Congress in the United States.

The third book was written by a Dominican priest named Juan Cobo. The text was written in Chinese but in a more literary style. The version was meant to be brought into mainland China through the Chinese traders who periodically visited the Philippines to conduct businesss. Dominican priests were hoping to establish Christian missions in China. The only copy of this book was discovered by a Taiwanese researcher at the National Library of Spain.