12
Apr
09

The Surigao Archaeological Golds

sash1One day in 1981, a bulldozer driver named Berto Morales stumbled upon several pieces of golden belts, cups, earrings, pendants and necklaces. He unearthed them while he was doing some clearing operations on a land that will be used for an irrigation project. His life changed after that and rest is an amazing history.

This story was part of the documentary program, Probe, hosted by Cheche Lazaro. The Filipino Channel has been showing some of the best episodes of the Probe since Holy Thursday and this afternoon’s episode was one attention-catcher. I knew later from the internet that this particular feature was shown sometime last year.

The show presented Berto’s story about the golds that he accidentally found in Surigao. He sold some of these golds, and some he left to a Surigao priest, who also sold them one by one.

The golden pieces were believed to have been made between during the 10th and 13th century. In that case, these golds were already worn by our ancestors even before the spanish colonialists found our country. These artiftacts speak of how our ancestors lived during the old times.the-belt1 According to some historians, the colonizers found the people in our country as having ornamented by golds from head to foot. Our country was very rich in gold that our ancestors used them in trades. Even before the pre-colonization period, our country already have a sophisticated civilization. This is something to give us a sense of identity and pride as a people.

The Zobels (of the Ayala group of companies) realized the importance of these pieces in our cultural heritage, so they tried to locate the pieces and bought them one by one. They did not get the complete collection but those that they were able to buy are now displayed at the Ayala Museum, and some at the Central Bank of the Philippines.

I was not the type who’s into golds, as I would only buy a few small pieces to bring home to my family members whenever I go for vacation to the Philippines. Saudi gold was a common pasalubong item and my mom just likes having pieces whenever I come home. But I was in complete astonishment with the Surigao golds. They were intricately designed, and the fact that they were a thousand year old, they were priceless.

The archaeological gold collection in the museum are now considered the largest in the country, as well as in the rest of the world. Nothing of this scale and magnitude has ever been seen before, according to Dr. Florina Baker, former curator of the Ayala Museum.

I googled to check whether I would find some pictures of the gold on the internet, and luckily found some on sites that also discussed the said items. I am posting them here and I hope that other people would also discover our rich culture. I am very proud of our heritage.

I promised myself that I will visit the Ayala Museum on my next vacation to the Philippines. I am just crossing my fingers that the people there would allow me to take pictures of this magnificent collection, our national treasure.

Kudos to the Probe team and Cheche Lazaro for a very in-depth and interesting documentary.

ginto21gold1

To watch the Probe episode on youtube, click HERE.

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61 Responses to “The Surigao Archaeological Golds”


  1. 2 elizar
    April 15, 2009 at 2:55 am

    Thanks for sharing the link! It was indeed a very well-researched documentary. The Surigao golds really defines who we are as Filipinos. Nice review!

    Like

  2. 3 digitalcatharsis
    April 16, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    thanks marc and elizar for dropping by!

    Like

  3. April 18, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks for the info.
    Really very interesting. I am so amazed and very proud of our anscestors’ outstanding craftmanship.

    Like

  4. 5 digitalcatharsis
    April 19, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    The Surigao treasures truly speak of our identity as Filipinos. Thanks for the interest, Donnabelle.

    Like

  5. 6 mike
    April 29, 2009 at 10:11 am

    thanx for sharing this article… i’ve seen this documentary last year. Proud to be living near Tago River, where the golds were found.

    Like

  6. 7 digitalcatharsis
    April 29, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Hi Mike! Nice having a proud Surigaonon here!

    Like

  7. 8 jorenrivera
    July 4, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    this artifact shows that we Filipinos are true craftsmen even before

    Like

  8. 9 digitalcatharsis
    July 5, 2009 at 3:35 am

    Oh yes… that our talents were innate, and not taught by the colonizers. thanks, jorenrivera for dropping a note…

    Like

  9. 10 r. manalus
    October 11, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    i’ve seen the documentary in you tube. i think the title is gintong pamana. it’s awsome! makes me feel proud to be a surigaonon/filipino. i’ve never known about such very important archaeological find before i saw the documentary.you better watch it in you tube.

    Like

  10. 11 digitalcatharsis
    October 12, 2009 at 1:14 am

    Hi R. Manalus, Thanks for the visit and for dropping some lines! Nice to hear from a proud Surigaonon. I watched it on tv, and then found copies on youtube later on. The link of the first part is in the post, and yeah, it’s entitled “Gintong Pamana.”

    Like

  11. 12 Big_ant
    March 25, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    I have watched the probe docu years ago and still mesmerized by the truth that we filipinos are not indios at all, as what our colonizers refered our ancestors. These are just proofs of our rich heritage and culture, blossomed even before they arrived and colonized us. So to speak, we are a race of talented and well-mannered people, living in a well-blessed environment. We have to be proud of it.

    Like

  12. 13 digitalcatharsis
    March 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks Big ant for dropping some notes. The treasure is indeed a proof of who we are, even before the colonization period. I’m as proud as you are.

    Like

  13. 14 jerryson orpilla
    September 8, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    if all of these treasures were found, i’m sure philippines can pay all it’s debt from other country and will be consider as one of the richest country. . .

    Like

  14. 15 digitalcatharsis
    September 10, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Hi JERRYSON, if all of these treasures were found and the government uses the money from these gems wisely, our country will be one of the richest.Thanks for dropping some insights.

    Like

  15. September 30, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    hi!!!me i ask if i may i print out this page for our project .

    Like

  16. September 30, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    i just want to avoid plagiarism!!!

    Like

  17. 18 digitalcatharsis
    September 30, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Hi JESTON ALARCON, Yes you may! Just make sure that you acknowledge the author or the site in your project.

    Like

  18. 19 jaemark
    October 12, 2010 at 10:33 am

    …thanks for the informationss….

    Like

  19. 20 digitalcatharsis
    October 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Hi JAEMARK… you are welcome!

    Like

  20. 21 Treasure hunters
    November 24, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Surigao is very rich in minerals.. Try to googled Red Mountains. Several mining co are already cultivating our rich mountains!

    Like

  21. 22 digitalcatharsis
    November 25, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Hi TREASURE HUNTERS,it’s scary to think that one day, all our forests will be denuded if people do not stop destroying our natural habitat. I wish the government does something to protect Surigao.

    Like

  22. 23 Netalierpx
    June 13, 2011 at 5:38 am

    cute! thank you.

    Like

  23. 24 weddingsh
    June 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I’ve learned a lot from your blog here,Keep on going,I will keep an eye on it.

    Like

  24. June 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    mayaman talaga tayo nuon pa..no wonder soanish people o kong sino pa yung mga nanakop sa atin really loves Pinas..one of reason I think is the resources we have..
    what you think?

    Like

  25. June 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    wow! ang ganda naman nito.. would love to visit this museum in person too! 🙂

    Like

  26. June 23, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    The gold displayed in the museums here are really intricately designed. I was able to visit Banko Sentral’s Museum and National Museum, and even with not-so-modern technology back then, they worked with skillful hands!

    Like

  27. 31 hothats
    June 24, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Nice to meet you here, so great articles. Don’t stop, I will keep an eye on it. Welcome to visit my websites:New Era Hats or Red Bull Hats

    Like

  28. June 25, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    THANKS FOR POSTING THIS! I WANT TO VISIT AYALA MUSEUM WHEN I VISIT PI THESE YEAR,I AM VERY INTERESTED AND WANTED TO SEE THEM SO MUCH!I WAS SHOCKED WHEN I SAW THE SYMBOLS ON THE BELT IT IS THE SYMBOL OF DNA,ACCORDING TO OTHER ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS,DURING THEIR TIMES THAT’S THE SYMBOL OF THE CREATION OF THE MODERN MAN,AND THE MOST MYSTERIOUS THING TO ME,HOW DID THEY DO ALL THOSE ASTONISHING SOPHISTICATED WORKMANSHIP WITHOUT ANY MACHINES?OR MAYBE WE ALREADY HAVE A TECHNOLOGY AND WE LOST THEM FOR SOME REASON?WHO KNOWS?BUT ONE THING I AM SURE OF,THERE IS MORE TO KNOW IN OUR PAST,I HOPE OUR GOVERNMENT STARTS TO SUPPORT THIS KIND OF DISCOVERIES INSTEAD OF CORRUPTING THEM BECAUSE THIS ARE THE ONLY WAY SO WE CAN UNDERSTAND OUR PAST.

    Like

  29. June 28, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I wonder bakit nasa central bank yung ibang gold?

    Like

  30. June 28, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    thanks for the blogs, it’s a work of art… the cultural heritage of the Filipinos is the wellspring of Philippine Arts. It Reflects the Artfulness of the people since prehistoric times..

    Like

  31. 38 grapefruit
    June 30, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Honestly wishing you the best success in the future, as long as this comment is displayed, I believe you will be lucky in your work 😀

    Like

  32. 39 Pepx
    July 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    One thing i can say: We should be proud of who we are and what we are !— a FILIPINO who has a rich heritage and culture!

    Like

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    July 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    some truly excellent posts on this site, appreciate it for contribution.

    Like

  34. August 14, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    it really makes me proud being a filipino citizen, the gintong pamana only telss us how rich our country even b4 the colonization of the spaniards

    Like

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  38. 46 Physics
    September 11, 2011 at 11:53 pm

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  39. 47 denver
    September 12, 2011 at 12:45 am

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    • 52 baybayin
      September 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm

      It’s amazingly crafted by our ancestor. Truly, we are a proud race even before the spaniards set put in our land. Rizal could have been more happier now more than ever because of the finest proof of our glorious past before the colonization. Mabuhay ang mga Maharlikans!

      Like

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  50. August 5, 2014 at 2:31 am

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