The Povedano Map of Negros refers to the geographical map illustrated by a certain encomendero by the name of Diegus Lope Povedano of Buglas Island which shows his many land travels and sea voyages with the King of Spain, including that in the year 1572. It made its first appearance in the 21 November 1913 edition of the paper Renacimiento Filipino. Originally, the map was said to be drawn in a parchment paper discovered by Jose E. Marco who likewise donated the said artifact to the National Library in 1914. However, the map was destroyed in World War II but a photographic copy of it survived in William Perkins Library at Duke University in Northern California.
The map features three land areas – Buglas Insulis or Buglas Island (the largest in the map), Anunipay Insulis or Anunipay Island (the island on the left, believed to be the present-day Siquijor), and a third island on the bottom part. It traces Povedano and the King's voyage in the said island in 1572. Three crosses and fortresses are seen in the map, and the name “Juan Camunhin Rigay” is scrolled at the bottom left of it. Further studies conducted by historians on the map showed its inconsistencies with earlier accounts on Philippine history, and disproved its reliability and validity.
Fraudulence and Inconsistencies
Povedano map is among the now considered frauds in history. It was said to be discovered in the torn-down walls of the Himamaylan prison in Negros in 1833. The parchment was neatly rolled inside a metal tube placed in a lead box and kept hidden in one of the prison's walls, and written at the back of the map was an inventory of the contents of the box. It stated that the items were left at the hands of a certain Don Manuel Valdivieso y Morquecho which he likewise signed with two other witnesses. But records in the Madrid and Seville archives showed that M.V. Morquecho was still in Cadiz at that time and was asking Queen Isabella II that he not be sent to the Philippines. However, he did become governor of Negros in 1849.
Another feature of the map that was subject to queries was the unknown leuea linea measurement labeled in it (might be a misspelled legua or league). Using this measurement, Negros was then approximated to be 243 leueas from north to south, but the island's more recent measurement only reached 45 leagues. The leueas measurement of the island is somewhat closer to its actual modern length of 222 kilometers, but it should be noted that kilometers was invented only in 1799 by the French government.
Illustrated in the map were crosses, believed to be depicting churches supposedly located in the towns of Himamaylan, Pontevedra and Bacolod in Negros Occidental.But it was not until after the rediscovery of the Philippines by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi that churches were built in the islands. In 1572, there were only ten priests in the entire country,and none were in Negros.
Three fortresses were also shown in the map but the Gagalangin fort was not. According to Manuel Artigas, in his article Civilización Prehispana published on July 1913, Datu Kalantiaw built his fort in Gagalangin. To compromise this, the Philippine Library, after it acquired the map from Marco, changed the location of Kalantiaw's fortress to Calingling.
The Document's Survival
Unlike all other documents dated at Spanish period which were written in a typical paper of that time, the Povedano Map was illustrated in a parchment. It was questionable as to how such a delicate material as a parchment was able to survive the tropical climate of the Philippines. Likewise, after more than 200 years, how could an image retain its visibility in a thin piece of paper. Despite the short shelf life of parchment, it was also unbelievable that it did not chipped off when it was unrolled from its metal tube container.
As a Hoax
For years, many believed to the validity of this map, but began to be a subject of researches among scholars and historians. After further researches and scrutinizing, Povedano Map's legitimacy was disproved and was now included to the list of Philippine historic frauds.
- Scott, William Henry. Prehispanic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History. University of Santo Tomas Press, Manila, 1968.