Boxer Codex Second Edition

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Boxer Codex
El Códice Boxer Second Edition

A Modern Spanish Transcription and English Translation of 16th-Century Exploration Accounts of East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Transcribed and Edited by Isaac Donoso
Translated and Annotated by National Artist of the Philippines Carlos Quirino, Ma. Luisa García, and Mauro García
Preface to the 2nd edition by Isaac Donoso and Gaspar Vibal

Series: Academica Filipina+

Copyright 2022
476 pages, 17.78cm x 25.4cm


In 1947, colonial Iberian scholar Professor Charles R. Boxer acquired a late sixteenth-century manuscript written by an anonymous scribe who had compiled several eyewitness accounts of both Spanish and Portuguese expeditions to Asia and the Pacific. Through detailed descriptions and lavish illustrations, this manuscript depicted the customs, costumes, and ways of life of the various peoples of East and Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines. In the decades since the book came to light, an international constellation of scholars has expanded our understanding of this valuable document, which has given us the clearest depiction of the lives of newly colonized Filipinos and the politics of early modern Asia. As such, Boxer Codex is indispensable for understanding both Iberian and Asian encounters at a pivotal time in world history.

This second edition contains the complete color plates of the original manuscript, maps of the different expeditions, an extensive bibliography, and an updated introduction that situates the work in a global context and presents the intertwined stories of academician Charles Boxer and Philippine National Artist Carlos Quirino, whose friendship ignited global interest and passionate study of the codex. Coupled with a fresh English translation and a modernized Spanish transcription, Boxer Codex is not only a historic text with a singular iconography but also a work that can be enjoyed as a literary product of the Hispanic baroque period in the Philippines, Asia, and the Pacific.


El Códice Boxer configura un singular y animadísimo momento de la magnífica prosa y la intensa producción española o hispánica de ultramar. Por encima de los géneros del informe y la crónica, representa acaso uno de los mejores momentos de la vivacidad naturalista de una cultura expresiva abocada a la universalidad barroca. Se trata de una resolución entrañada ejemplarmente en una tradición, la del Arcipreste de Talavera, ahora deslumbrada ante los nuevos mundos y las posibilidades de una literatura ensayística de materia antropológica.

—Pedro Aullón de Haro, Universidad de Alicante


This book offers a rigorous bilingual edition of the Boxer Codex, an essential work for scholars. At the same time, it opens a great door for the average reader who is invited to enter into a fascinating compilation of stories and images of sixteenth-century East Asia and the Pacific that are full of enigmas, ethnological wealth, and delightful details.

—Manel Ollé, Universitat Pompeu Fabra


No other single documentary source gathers more information about so many indigenous groups of Southeast Asia and the North Pacific during the early days of the Spanish colonization than the Boxer Codex. This treasure of firsthand accounts of detailed and revealing daily life is finally put in perspective and introduced and annotated for twenty-first-century readers in its original Spanish along with an English translation. This edition is meant to last as a primary reference for contemporary scholars for many years to come.

—Carlos Madrid, Director of Research, Micronesian Area Research Center



List of Abbreviations
List of Figures and Maps


1: Account of the Ladrones [Marianas] Islands

2: Description and Status of Cagayan Province, the Dress and Customs of Its Natives, and Its Rivers and Creeks, as Follows

3: Account of the Natives of Zambales

4: Customs, Ceremonial Usages, and Rites of the Bisayans

5: Customs and Traditions of Moros in the Philippine Islands of the West

6: Account of the Pagan Rites And Ceremonies of the [Tagalog] Indios of the Philippine Islands

7: Customs of the Moros

8: Borneo

9: The Customs, Modes, Manner of Living, and Religion of the People of the Maluku Islands

10: The Most Accurate Account that Could Be Given of the Javanese and Their Martial Style and Weapons as Follows

11: Sea-Maps and a Report that Don João Ribeiro Gaio, Bishop of Malacca, Made of the State of Aceh for Our Lord the King

12: Report of Don João Ribeiro Gaio, Bishop of Malacca, with Antonio Dias, Henrique Mendes, Francisco Das Neves, João Serrano about Matters Concerning Patani and the Towns of Aceh and Panarican

13: Report and Sea-Maps of the Kingdom of Siam for the King Our Lord [by João Ribeiro Gaio]

14: Account Made by Miguel Roxo de Brito about New Guinea

15: Japan

16: [Tributary Kingdoms of China]

17: An Account of Matters Related to China, which Is Properly Called Tai Ming [by Fr. Martín de Rada]

18: [Ceremonies of the Chinese Emperor]

19: [Battles of the Chinese Against the Tatars]

20: [Gods and Idols that Are Worshipped in China]

21: [Birds, Animals, and Monsters of China]

22: Account of the Customs of the Kingdom of Champa

Addenda: [Letters of the Bishop of Malacca Written to His Majesty and to the Governor of the Philippines]

[Letter of Fr. Gregorio de la Cruz to the Governor-General of the Philippines]

[Letter of Fr. Gerónimo de Belén Certifying the Translation from the Portuguese]

[On the Conquest of the Kingdom of Siam]



Hardcover: Php 1,699
Softcover: Php 1,399 


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Isaac Donoso holds a doctorate in Islamic studies and master’s degrees in humanities and Hispanic philology from the University of Alicante in Spain. He also obtained master’s degrees in Islamic studies from the University of the Philippines and in music from the University of LaRioja, Spain. In 2004 and 2008 he was awarded the research prize Ibn al-Abbar, the most important Spanishaward for Islamic studies. His published works include Islamic Far East: Ethnogenesis of Philippine Islam (2013), critical editions of José Rizal’s prose works (2012) and his seminal novels, Noli me tangere (2011) and El filibusterismo (2018). He also edited the volumes, More Islamic than We Admit (2018), More Hispanic than We Admit: Insights into Philippine Cultural History (2008), and Historia cultural de la lengua española en Filipinas: ayer y hoy (2012). He currently teaches at the University of Alicante.



Academica Filipina+ is an interdisciplinary series that pushes the boundaries of scholarly publishing with smart, literate, and thought-provoking works exploring the Philippine past, present, and future.

Other titles in the series include Bullfighting in the Philippines 1602–2022, Philippine Genealogy and Art History: The Luciano P. R. Santiago Reader, Púgot: Head Taking, Ritual Cannibalism, and Human Sacrifice in the Philippines, More Cebuano Than We Admit, More Hispanic Than We Admit 1 to 3, More Tsinoy Than We Admit, More American Than We Admit, More Tomboy, More Bakla Than We Admit, Sisa’s Vengeance, The World of Manila-Acapulco Galleons, Santo Niño de Cebú 1565–2015, and Salungat: A Soledad S. Reyes Reader.