The unusual orthography of the earliest document of the Katipunan, entitled “Casaysayan; Pinagcasundoan; Manga daquilang cautosan” (Narration; Covenant; Principal Orders), dated January 1892, raises some puzzling questions regarding its authorship and provenance. This document widely uses the letter “j” in lieu of the “h,” which had become the standard in Tagalog orthography by the late nineteenth century. The author proposes a possible explanation for the use of the letter “h” based on linguistic interference with the Chabacano creole language. Given the plausibility of this explanation, the author points to some possible inferences regarding the individuals behind the founding of the Katipunan.
Keywords: Katipunan • Ladislao Diwa • Chabacano •
Orthography • Philology