Sunday, February 13, 2011

The archipelago of the Philippines

7107 is the number of islands in the archipelago of the Philippines. The 11 largest islands make up 95% of the total land area. Their often whimsical coastlines amount up to 36289 kilometers, which is almost as long as Russia's 37653 km.
A typical Philippine island has mountains that are surrounded by coastal lowlands. The islands are volcanic in nature as these are part of the Pacific ring of fire (see here). As a result the islands have rich mineral deposits. The Philippines have the largest gold deposits after South Africa.

Consolidated Mines, Inc.
Certificate for 19000 shares, 1946

The latest estimates indicate a population of nearly 100 million Filipinos. As anywhere else, being mobile is important. Yet, due to difficult terrain, the many scattered islands and underinvestment in the past, the infrastructure on the land is limited outside urban areas. Traveling by train, air or water is often necessary. With more than 200 public and private airports, the Philippines ranks 25th on the list of countries with most airports. In 2003 the Strong Republic Nautical Highway was established. The SRNH is a 919-kilometer integrated system of highway segments and ferry routes.

Mindanao Mining Company, Inc.
Shares of 10 Centavos par value, 1936
The Mindanao island, see map in underprint,
is the 2nd largest of the archipel and is larger than Ireland.
Source : Boone auction 2006

More than 170 different languages are known in the Philippines and several of them are spoken by millions of people as you can see in this top 5 spoken languages list (source Wikipedia, data 2000) :
  • Tagalog : 22 million
  • Cebuano : 20 million
  • Ilokano : 7.7 million
  • Hiligaynon : 7 million
  • Waray-Waray : 3.1 million

In 1782 a government tobacco monopoly was established.
Philippine tobacco and cigars were exported and appreciated all over the world.
The tobacco monopoly was abolished in 1880.
Cia. General de Tabacos de Filipinas
Accion de 500 Pesetas, 1882, Barcelona, Spain
click to enlarge 

Spanish was introduced in the 16th century when the Philippine Islands became a Spanish colony. It became the lingua franca of the islands for the next three centuries. In 1898, as a result of the Spanish-American war, Spain sold the Philippines for 20 million dollars to the US. Since then, English became widely spread. After a period of self-governance, Japanese troops occupied the country in World War II. In 1946 the Republic of the Philippines became independent and the usage of Spanish further declined. The version of the Tagalog language, spoken in Manila and other urban regions, is known as Filipino. Both Filipino and English are the official languages since 1987.
The share of this Chilean publisher maps its Spanish reading customers :
the Latin American countries (middle), the Iberian Peninsula (right),
but also the Philippines (left).
stock certificate of 25 Pesos, unissued, 1936
Editorial Ercilla, Santiago de Chile
click to enlarge

When it comes to Philippine maps on share certificates, here is a curiosity to end with. The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company is the largest telecom provider in the country. It's common American issued certificates are well-known to collector's but they show, or should I say lack, an interesting feature. The vignette shows an allegorical woman seated between the two hemispheres. Surprisingly the Philippines are missing on the map! I suspect the vignette was borrowed from a general reusable design. Sloppy artwork or the designer ran out of time.

Do you have any other Philippine stock certificates depicting maps or typical Philippine topics. Email an image and I'd love to include it in this posting.



Thornton Pacific Investment Funds S.A. 
Share of 1 Pound, 1987, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg


  1. Article update 27th June 2014 : Image added with Philippines on the map - Thornton Pacific Investment Funds.

  2. Hi Franky,

    I came across your post and have a tobacco stock in my possession from 1882. Since i dont see an email to send it to I have included an url in my post where you can get a photo of it.

    1. Hello Mathijn,

      The certificate is well known : an 1882 founder's share in the COMPANIA GENERAL DE TABACOS DE FILIPINAS, which was a Spanish company. See it also here together with later issues :

      At the bottom of the blog, there is an contact form, just in case you want to send a message.

      Thank you for your interest and best regards,